Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘perception

Simmering Plan

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We’ve got a trip coming up. This Christmas, Cyndie and I, along with our kids, will be joining all of Cyndie’s family for a week of vacation together in the Dominican Republic. It will be a number of firsts for me, most notably, being somewhere tropical for the winter-est of holidays.

It’s been mind-boggling contemplating the possibility. I expect it will be more so actually living it.

Similar to most of my travels over the last decade, I am inclined to take the week off from tending to RelativeSomething.com on a daily basis. Of course, that doesn’t mean I plan to let the site go dormant for a week. Oh, no.

I have an idea to fill the days with stories written in advance and scheduled to post automatically while I am away. All I have to do is write them.

Like, when is that going to happen?

I need to pack! I need to make lists. Find summer clothes. Start gathering necessary things. Where is my passport?

What procrastinator doesn’t know how to get things done at the last-minute? I’ll write the first few and then end up finishing on the plane, if it’s anything like the last time I tried having a week’s worth of posts ready in advance.

The other day I started a possible outline to help facilitate my plan. I’m now thinking that sharing that outline with you all might provide helpful pressure on me to then actually follow through with the idea.

Why are we traveling with Cyndie’s family over Christmas? I will work my way toward answering that question by starting back at the earliest days of our relationship.

1. Our initial connection

  • discover shared experience chatting on beach
  • attended Basic Youth Conflicts Seminar

2. Asking her parents permission to marry

  • after 6 years off and on dating
  • she traveled and went to several schools
  • I stayed home and went to tech school

3. Friswold Family events at Wildwood through the years

4. Friswold Family trip to ’94 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway

5. Family trips with Friswolds to Mexico and Disney

6. Friswold Family trip to Hilton Head in celebration of Fred & Marie’s 50th Anniversary

7. What about the Hays family?

8. Friswold Family trip to Dominican Republic over Christmas, 2017

With some help, research has already been undertaken to procure some supporting photos. Worst case, I just post the pictures with a few captions and let your imagination fill in the rest of the details.

That’s the way our brains work, anyway. Listen to people talk. Very often, sentences hang, unfinished, but the listeners get the gist of the message, filling in the blank space with a sufficient perception in place of absent words.

I was listening to a snippet from the second side of the Beatles’ Abbey Road on my commute to work yesterday and noticed where my brain filled in an extra note of choral “aaaaahs” beyond what was actually recorded. They lead you to that conclusion, but don’t need to sing the added note. It is implied.

Our mind completes the progression unconsciously.

I will try to complete as much of my planned storyline as possible, but it will not happen unconsciously. Most likely, it will require a fair amount of sacrificed sleep.

If I’m not entirely thorough in my detail, it will become your opportunity to imagine what fills the gaps my tales imply.

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Written by johnwhays

December 14, 2017 at 7:00 am

Key

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Words on Images

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Incredible Awareness

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It is common to hear the term “watchdog” for a dog that guards property, but I’m finding our “lookout horses” surprisingly valuable in alerting me to activity on our perimeter. Over time, my interpretation of their equine reaction to the environment has changed from one of superiority to one of much more humble respect.

I used to think the silly horses were just being hyper-sensitive when they startled over triggers to which I was oblivious. My response early on was to try to assure the horses that there was nothing to worry about. Like I knew better than them.

With enough repetition, I began to learn that I was not more fully aware of reality than they were.

Last week, as I was beneath the overhang, the horses suddenly all turned around and looked out in the exact same direction. My eye quickly spotted the movement of our neighbor on his riding lawnmower. Chuckling at their intensity over this innocuous activity, I spoke to assure them the mower wasn’t worth the attention.

Yet they didn’t sway from their focus. I stood with them and watched the mower, barely visible through some trees, and suddenly movement in the much closer cornfield caught my eye.

The horses weren’t looking at the mower at all.

I had a split-second view of a good-size deer as it hopped over corn stalks.

I’m still learning.

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Written by johnwhays

October 29, 2017 at 9:49 am

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Choose

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

October 10, 2017 at 6:00 am

It’s Curious

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For as much of my life as is now committed to caring for our property and animals, I find it curious that I can still have a series of days with very little contact to them. Yesterday, in celebration of our anniversary, we went out to dinner in Hudson after I got home from work.

When we returned after dark, I dropped Cyndie off at the barn so she could make her way to the chicken coop to close their access door for the night. I parked the car in the garage and headed inside to start my evening routine.

Tonight, I will be meeting the family at a restaurant in downtown Minneapolis to celebrate Julian’s birthday. This will lead to another night of arriving home after dark, not even seeing either the horses or chickens.

During my work weeks, it can happen that I’m completely disconnected from the activities of our ranch for a few days. It’s a little disorienting for me.

Especially since the most orienting thing of all for me is when I am able to spend time with our animals.

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Written by johnwhays

September 20, 2017 at 6:00 am

Thinking Ahead

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One of the things about writing daily for a blog is the consistency of repeatedly coming upon the start of a new month. It keeps happening over and over again, I tell you. Like clockwork. Like turning pages of a calendar.

Somehow, we have reached the beginning of the month of August. Goodbye, July.

If I were sincerely successful in achieving the art of always living in the present moment, this transition to a new month would take on a lot less significance. But, August just oozes end of summer and throws me headlong into mental images of September.

The local media can’t stop talking about the great Minnesota State Fair already, which is the very definition of the start of September to me.

Cyndie served up locally grown sweet corn for dinner last night, because they grocery store had just received a batch and staff were in process of setting it out as she walked by the display. Summer may be a time for corn on the cob, but just-picked sweet corn is a delight that happens in August here and it always seems to end as quickly as it starts. If I blink while eating it, the school year will be starting by the time my eyes open.

And if ‘back to school’ ads in every form aren’t bad enough, the frighteningly early appearance of school buses on the road in August distorts every effort to avoid the trap of thinking ahead. Bus drivers are busy training and learning routes, so my mind leaps to planning how to time my travels to miss their constant stopping when the kids show up.

News reports from NFL training camps are all triggering a dormant remnant of youthful passion for the sport that always finds ways to rekindle within me despite my better judgement. Football is a mashup of fall associations that pulls all the way into winter and a playoff season that flows past the new year.

That definitely goes against staying grounded in the here and now.

Ultimately, there is one aspect that towers above all the rest of the issues of August. One that tears me away from the present moment in an ever-so-subtle –yet not so subtle at all– change that is absolutely happening in the precise minutes of each and every late-July/early-August day. It is the constant slipping of the sunrise and sunset times.

The first time I notice it is suddenly dark when I am leaving for work in the morning, I feel an uncanny urge to wear a flannel shirt. I start wondering where I stashed my driving gloves last April. I notice a nagging compulsion to fill the firewood rack on the back deck.

Today may only be August 1st, but this time of year unleashes a flood of energy dragging me uncontrollably ahead into September and beyond.

Actually, it’s all probably just a symptom of the powerful true root cause… Autumn is my absolute favorite time of year.

Happy August everyone!

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Winter Indeed

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I thought it was going to stop snowing early in the day, based on the way the radar looked in the morning, but the flakes just kept falling the whole time I was out shoveling and plowing yesterday. That really messes with my perfectionism for having a clean driveway and walkways.

It is fascinating to me how dramatically life changes between summer and winter. In summer, I get to walk out the door without a thought. Now I pause at the front door for 5 minutes and put on several additional layers of clothes, boots, hat & mittens. It’s the way of winter.

dscn5555eIt has been a long time since I plowed snow with the Grizzly, but in minutes I was back in the routine. Down with the blade, forward gear. Up with the blade, reverse. Back and forth, to and fro. Snow flowing off the blade, off the driveway, and into the ditch.

Summer is a distant memory. I am now fully in winter mode and it feels totally normal to be so. The repetitive motion of shoveling and plowing becomes something of a meditation for me. Meditation with grunting and sweating, that is.

I suppose it’s not much different from mowing the grass in summer.

They just seem worlds apart to me.

I noticed yesterday how my mindset changes dramatically with the seasons, in terms of what is most important. In the spring and summer I work diligently to rake out the gravel from the grass beside the driveway. As I plowed the snow off the gravel driveway yesterday, I had no problem shifting the priority to removing the snow without worrying about pushing gravel up onto the grass.

What matters in this moment isn’t always the same as what matters in another.

Today, snow and cold are the prominent attention grabbers. Winter, indeed.

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Written by johnwhays

December 12, 2016 at 7:00 am