Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘Perceptions

Baking Adventure

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Both Cyndie and I have noticed how the lighter color of the new deck boards catches our eye with a false perception of snow covering the deck, especially at night. It happened to me last night, on a trip to the bathroom, except on the way back to bed, the view out the window revealed a white covering over everything.

This morning there is a light frosting on the landscape. Sure is nice to have the deck project completed.

We’ve adjusted by moving our adventures indoors. Cyndie’s favorite bakery in Hastings, Emily’s, prepares an almond danish coffeecake that has inspired Cyndie to try making one herself. My contribution was to build her a fire in the fireplace and standby to test taste.

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I am happy to report her first try of enacting a combination of old recipes uncovered online turned out delicious. Cyndie said one she found was posted by a very old-looking grandma who wrote the recipe had come from her grandmother.

It felt like olde-time baked goods. It tasted like historical goodness. Almost made me want to have coffee with it.

But I don’t like the taste of coffee. That would have been a real adventure for me.

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Written by johnwhays

November 2, 2019 at 9:47 am

Duly Moved

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Last night I watched the award-winning documentary, Free Solo about Alex Honnold’s epic climb of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. What a masterpiece of a film! I highly recommend it. I was duly moved by the intimate glimpse into Alex’s life, and the inclusion of the emotional challenges of those around him coping with the immensity of the monumental risk he was facing in his quest to climb that granite monolith without ropes.

Alex points out that any of us could die at any moment, whether doing something risky, or not. I tend to avoid things with a high risk of death whenever possible, but it is true that my life could end at any time. One way I interpret his thinking is to frame myself as “free soloing” all the time.

It made my walk with Delilah a little more exciting than normal after the movie.

She suffered a bit of a panic inside her overnight safe-space crate yesterday morning when a rowdy thunderstorm rumbled over top of us at oh-dark-thirty. I didn’t have much success trying to assure her we weren’t in jeopardy as I prepared to leave for work, which made it rather stressful for me to walk out the door and leave her alone until Maddie was due to show up an hour or two later.

I soothed myself by considering how she would greet me when I got home at the end of the day, as if clueless that anything out of the ordinary had happened earlier, which turned out to be true. She did.

We then made the rounds on the property, hiking the perimeter trails and surveying the results of the wild weather. There were 2.5 inches of rain in the gauge and the ground is fully saturated, but no new-fallen trees or limbs, thank goodness. That much rain, or more, is expected to fall before this weather event is done and gone.

We will carry on and survive to the best of our ability, even though I now have this new sense that I am doing it all without the benefit of any ropes.

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Written by johnwhays

September 12, 2019 at 6:00 am

Stop

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Words on Images

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Written by johnwhays

August 22, 2019 at 6:00 am

Plenty Tall

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When we were on the road to the lake for the Independence Day weekend earlier this summer, we found the farm fields to be shockingly underdeveloped. Many didn’t show any sign that a crop had even been planted. Where corn was visible, it was barely six inches tall.

The classic rhyme of “knee-high by the 4th of July” was far from being met this year.

On the way home from work on Monday, as we approach the middle of August, I suddenly became aware of the dramatic growth finally achieved by local farmers of field corn.

It’s well over a head taller than me.

That picture shows the field immediately to the south of our property.

Having 8-foot walls of corn stalks arise along our rural roads really changes the ambiance of those portions of my commute.

I once read that genetic engineering of corn plants has changed them to be more tolerant of crowding. An acre of land can produce higher yields of corn if you can plant seeds closer together.

The stalks are now planted so tight with one another that I can’t even fit between them.

They’re also so tall that I can’t see over them.

A cornfield would make for a really fine maze, wouldn’t it?

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Written by johnwhays

August 14, 2019 at 6:00 am

Yeah, Summer

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Here’s the thing about summer: it’s not a thing. It’s not one thing. It’s a constant transition from spring to fall. You don’t get dandelions and corn on the cob all at the same time. There are cool days that feel totally out of season and oppressively hot and humid days that bookend the cool ones.

Maybe that is why it seems difficult to do summer justice at any given moment. Summer is a whole lot of moments.

Flower blossoms radiate for a limited number of days before they begin to fade in color and lose their shape.

Already, the earlier sunset is noticeable. County fairs produce thoughts of the summer-ending Minnesota State Fair. Plans are being considered for shopping back-to-school sales. We may as well start preparing our Halloween costumes and Thanksgiving menu. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

That’s just about how fast it feels.

Don’t blink.

My bike trip is history. The birthday has come and gone. The fourth of July has passed. How long will the rest of the summer last?

We need to pay attention to something summery every single day for the next two months.

Summer will last just as long as it lasts. I plan to notice it in its entirety.

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Written by johnwhays

July 12, 2019 at 6:00 am

Summertime

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is it possible to know
when we are fully honoring
the best that summer offers
with windows wide open
in short sleeves
and bare feet
fully sun-soaked
amid flowery blossoms
raspberry bushes bending
under the weight of their fruit
smells from the grill
bird songs sailing
on the wind through tree leaves
late hour sunsets
outdoor picnics
echoing laughter
kids out of school
fresh corn on the cob
outfielders chasing fly balls
sunscreen
bug spray
swimming in a lake
napping in a hammock
rumbling thunder
dewdrops of sweat
running down the outside of a glass
long grass
lawn mowers
ice cream trucks
bicycles
skateboards
sidewalk cafes deluxe
festivals of music
folding chairs
beach blankets
campers in tents
splashing in puddles
dancing outdoors on a moonlit night
lightning bugs flashing
hay wagons sagging
sand inside sandals
and this unexpected feeling
everything’s gonna be
alright

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Written by johnwhays

July 11, 2019 at 6:00 am

Moon Chasing

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Fifty years ago this month, the Eagle landed on the moon. I am thoroughly enjoying the 3-part Robert Stone documentary film, “Chasing the Moon” on the PBS program American Experience this week for its revisiting of the history that led up to that epic event of the first human setting foot on the moon.

Catch the ending tonight if you have access to the PBS programming.

I have enjoyed the portions of the first two episodes that reveal what was happening in the early years of my life before my awareness and ability to remember were formed. As the chronicle moves on to years when I was old enough to be making memories, it is interesting to see the mix of familiarity and obliviousness.

Even the astronauts admit to being out of touch with much of the turmoil of the 60s because they were so singularly focused and generally isolated by the space program. I’m not the only one who couldn’t keep track of everything that was happening at the time.

I find it striking to compare the awed engrossment in every launch and mission detail from those early days of space flight to the virtual invisibility of most trips to space now.

We’ve come a long way, baby.

How long before we find shuttling to visit Mars so unremarkable that nobody pays any attention?

If it happens within my lifetime, I probably won’t remember it very long, anyway.

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Written by johnwhays

July 10, 2019 at 6:00 am