Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘perception

Artful Listening

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The universe is telling each one of us everything we need to know. Hearing the messages clearly is a trick because the chatter of our own minds serves as both a running distraction and a unique conduit for what the world is telling us. Sorting between the two is no simple task.

I can’t count the number of times I have found myself in the location of a tornado warning and not suffered a direct hit. Too many of those times I have neglected to go into the basement, choosing to stand at a window to observe instead. Hearing survivor stories from the incredibly damaging outbreak Friday that killed scores of people leaves me humbled.

Storms of old are no longer a safe reference for storms today.

Perception is not always reality.

That looks like old man Christmas leaning up against our house but what is up with the size of that tree he is holding?

If the tree is as big as it looks, Mr. Kringle must be HUGE!

Of course he is. His magic covers the world. His message to us is overflowing with peace, joy, love, and goodwill.

Don’t let our busy minds obscure the meaning.

Listen to the love. Send extra doses of love to the victims of the December outbreak of deadly tornadoes across portions of South-Central United States and the Ohio Valley.



Written by johnwhays

December 14, 2021 at 7:00 am

Believing Reality

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To read spur of the moment online reactions to tragedies unfolding this day and age one can get the perception that events in the world are more extreme than ever. Certainly, to everyone alive today, current catastrophes are extreme, but putting it in perspective of the span of time tempers that level of outrageous indignation over horrific events.

My initial reaction upon learning of the SUV speeding into the Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin was that I didn’t want to go to any more parades ever again. But think about it. How many parades have happened without tragedy? Dare I say the answer could be innumerable parade celebrations?

There have been parade tragedies before this one and there will be parade tragedies in the future. There have been outrageous trial verdicts, civil wars, domestic abuse, and dictatorial oppression. All are an insult to our sensibilities. The empathic response is to recoil in shared pain for those suffering.

Tragedies are a reality in the world that we must always remember to offset with the realities of joy and blessings that simultaneously exist. At the instant injuries are occurring, witnesses and first responders lovingly react to nurse wounds and support the aggrieved.

There is more peace and love happening in the world at every given moment than can ever receive equal attention from every newsfeed and mass media outlet that jump on each tragedy-du-jour.

Based on the endless breaking news feeds, perception is not reality.



Written by johnwhays

November 23, 2021 at 7:00 am

Rain Coming

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Looks like the morning will be a wet one for us. Weather radar indicates a decent-sized band of precipitation closing in on our location in Hayward, WI.

The blue marker that looks like it is pointing at Red Wing indicates our home, approximately between River Falls and Red Wing.

I’m ready to hunker down and be an indoor couch potato for a few hours. Cyndie wants to play the local version of Monopoly board game she found in town this week: Hayward-opoly. The properties are local businesses like our favorite Coop’s Pizza and West’s Dairy.

I’d rather find sports on the television. Aren’t there some Olympic games finishing up this weekend?

Before we know it, there will be a break in the clouds and everyone will hit the beach.

I will be plenty ready for that.

Did you notice there was a bird in that image above? I hadn’t noticed it when I was rushing to capture the sun rays as they changed by the second. After looking at it a few times on my computer screen, I wondered if it was actually an insect that was close to the phone instead of a magnificent high-soaring bird of prey up near the cloud.

Perception is everything.

Happy first Saturday in August everyone!



Written by johnwhays

August 7, 2021 at 8:57 am

Speed Perception

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Did the year 2020 feel like it took a long time to transpire? Does it seem surprising that we are past the middle of March already? We all know that time passes slowly or quickly depending on how we consider it, despite the fact it ticks off at the same rate no matter what. It’s our perception that changes.

On my commutes, I find myself surprised by how easy it is to spot a car ahead that is traveling significantly slower than the rest of the traffic. It comes in handy for making lane changes well in advance of needing so to do. Spotting vehicles in my mirrors that are traveling much faster than I am usually provides a lot less time to react.

It is common knowledge that water takes longer to boil if you watch and wait for it to happen.

How fast is the impact of rising greenhouse gases on the earth’s climate? It is occurring right in front of our eyes. We are living it. The thing is, I remember hearing about this threat decades ago from explorer Will Steger‘s first-hand eyewitness accounts of changes in both polar regions of our planet. We know the ice is melting. We know weather events keep getting more intense.

Will climate change take longer to happen because we are watching it? I wish.

Yesterday, I had a meal inside a restaurant for the first time in a year. That was a long time in coming. So long that it exceeded my ability to perceive whether it felt like a long time, or not. It just felt strange.

Let’s hope we are racing at breakneck speed toward a post-pandemic world that includes less poverty, more equality, zero emissions, greater social justice, the end of food insecurities/homelessness/violence/hatred, and reaches record levels of love beaming throughout the world.

That’s something I’d really like to see coming up in my rearview mirror faster than I expected.

I wouldn’t need to get out of the way.



Written by johnwhays

March 18, 2021 at 6:00 am

Love Lots

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My tendency is to downplay the import of special dates. That isn’t meant to detract from the days themselves, but to point out the benefit of celebrating the gist of each special day on every other day all year long. Our birthday marking a year passing could be celebrated every day because each day is a year beyond 365 days before.

Of all the days I should really adopt as deserving my attention, the day celebrating love should really be the primary one. At the same time, of all the special days assigned a particular day on the annual calendar, love is probably the one more appropriately distributed across all other days to the end of time.

February 14 is all red hearts and gushing over crushes. I’m all for doing that every other day just as much.

Grow your love today for yourself and others. In so many ways, there are no “others.” We are one.

We should behave as such.

Every day.

Love you!



Written by johnwhays

February 14, 2021 at 10:22 am

The Value

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Words on Images




Written by johnwhays

January 28, 2021 at 7:00 am

Fading Clarity

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At the very same speed every day, twenty-four hours transpire. It’s our perceptions that produce the variable which makes time appear to pass slower or faster. I’ve described many times that I perceive my years of living in 20-year blocks. I’ve lived to twenty 3 times. For some reason, it is easier for me to process that perception than grasping that I have been alive for over sixty years. (61-and-seven-months at the time of this writing.)

It just doesn’t feel like sixty, except, never having been this old before, I wouldn’t really know how sixty is supposed to feel. The most tangible aspect of aging that I have experienced is my loss of perfect vision. Getting used to wearing glasses has been an arduous and frustrating adjustment for me.

Given lenses that offer a static level of correction for my continuously waning clarity, I add imperfect handling that constantly fails to keep them free of clouding smudges.

There is a benefit to my new norm of experiencing a fuzzy view. I don’t need to spend money on the latest and greatest high-resolution ultra-crisp display screens because they all look a little blurry to me anyway.

If I didn’t have a camera with auto-focus capability, I’d be sunk. Unfortunately, I now have a difficult time discerning whether the resulting images are worthy or not. Auto-focus is a far cry from flawless and I am now a weak judge of the resulting level of success.

Yesterday, we were out walking with Delilah at the moments of both the sunrise and the sunset. The morning was really cold and the wind-blown snow was mostly firm enough that our boots didn’t break through the crust. Delilah, being much lighter and trotting on four feet, had no problem staying on top.

In fact, we could see in her tracks that she was walking on her tippy toes to keep her pads from the stinging bite of the extreme cold.

I suspect that image could have benefitted from better focus.

I have a little more success with the long focus of vast landscapes. Sunset was a pleasure to experience and just enough warmer by that time of day that our urgency to get back inside was reduced.

Still, I perceive that image as falling short of my preference for a much snappier crispness.

There is an interesting dynamic in our house with regard to my slow decline from the glorious pinnacle of 20-20 vision and full reading-distance clarity, because, while this change is new to me, Cyndie has lived with blurry vision and corrective lenses her entire life.

It’s hard for me to ask for sympathy from her, although yesterday she admitted that she sees the difficulty I face since it’s a new adjustment for me that she has dealt with forever.

In the grand scheme of challenges we face in life, my learning to cope with fading clarity is a rather small one and almost universal for humankind. As the saying goes with all things aging-related: It beats the alternative.



Written by johnwhays

January 23, 2021 at 10:32 am

Wandering Nonsensically

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In that moment, when the time had finally run out, it occurred to me that I hadn’t actually prepared for the end. The end of the dream. The end of the song. The end of ideas that made any sense. The end of innocence.

One second later, everything else in the universe continued on as if nothing would ever end. Things just continue changing as much as they always have. Memories, merely snapshots holding certain aspects in suspended animation.

Inspiration absent motivation. Ideology of avoidance intent on grasping nondescript constructs. Vested interests in vast expanses of physical voids in intellectual realities.

Fruition that cannot be reached.

So, we drive on, in the offhand chance we might eventually reach an end, rarely recognizing how often we probably already have.



Written by johnwhays

December 9, 2020 at 7:00 am

Evading Capture

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The mind moves so much faster than words. Thoughts are like delicate athletic dances as compared to the awkward stumbling of sentences and paragraphs. In the blink of my right eye, indescribable realizations swirl through my head, launching emotions and chemical responses throughout my body in immeasurable doses before a single word begins to form in my mind.

Conversely, at the times when my busy brain is babbling on with endless mindless verbiage, the words appear from an absence of actual thought. There are no images playing. The screen is simply blank. Words are heard, not seen.

As I write this, there are delectable aromas of home-baked apple crisp wafting from the kitchen. It’s distracting. The scrumptiousness defies description, but my mind knows how to interpret it and launches into one of those delicate dances. It’s a joyful dance.

It’s a dance my sugar addiction is very fond of.

My taste buds have no complaints about it, either.

Before I finished writing this post, Cyndie presented a sample, hot out of the oven. `A la mode.

This batch tasted even better than it smelled. I’d describe it to you, but, well… you know.

Think about love. Let that ethereal concept dance through your mind and you will have a vague sense of my apple crisp and ice cream experience.

Mmmm. See if that evades your capture.



Written by johnwhays

September 25, 2020 at 6:00 am

Incremental Change

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Like a slow train crawling along a track, I am seeing multiple signs of the changing seasons unfolding with an unstoppable impetus. I wish it would all take a pause long enough to give us added time cleaning up fallen trees and branches that are clearly visible in our woods now that the snow is gone. The clock is ticking toward the explosion of green leaves that will quickly obscure the views on either side of our trails.

What looks like a relatively simple effort now will soon become too thick with growth to effectively navigate for cutting and hauling.

On the drive home yesterday I noticed many of the farm fields are already being prepped with applications of manure fertilizer. One neighbor was out on his lawn tractor dragging something across the yard that looked like a way to break up the gopher mounds and molehills to smooth things out for that first mow of the season.

New shoots of green groundcover leaves are making an appearance all over the floor of our forest. It won’t be long and we will get a chance to see how many of our transplanted trillium plants are still surviving.

Even though there are still many places along our trails where there is standing water from the complete saturation of the soil, there are areas where some quick-growing grasses are sprouting taller than what my mower would cut off if I was able to be out mowing already.

The changes in the natural world are ongoing, day and night. Every walk around the property reveals something new that is growing or drying out. The trees are beginning to form the early hint of leaf buds that will soon create a fresh tint of yellowish-green crowns that are the precursor to the burst of actual leaves.

Many years of commuting have provided repeated evidence of how that new green glow shows up across the treetops in a matter of a day. One day, nothing. The next day, visible buds everywhere!

Every day the natural world is evolving, but I sense the locomotive of change from winter to spring is gathering much more spring-like momentum at our latitude this week.

Maybe we should start getting ready for summer while there’s still time.



Written by johnwhays

April 7, 2020 at 6:00 am