Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘perspective

At Last

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After too many days of no improvement, we are finally seeing glimmers of the old Delilah we knew and were often irritated by. Funny, how perspectives change, and behaviors that came across as a nuisance when she was overflowing with canine energy can become a celebration after a long series of days of droopy, pained existence.

Delilah has regained a little spring in her step, and has flashed moments of youthful yearning to playfully bite and romp, quickly curtailed with reasonable restraint.

Just hearing her let loose with a full-body shake that flops her ears in the rapid tremolo pounding against her own head is of significance when the sound has been absent for so long.

It is like a fresh ray of sunshine after a long period of rain, which is also an apt description of the day we have been blessed with today.

Hello, fall colors!

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Written by johnwhays

October 8, 2017 at 9:14 am

Fresh View

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I’ve read the book. Now, I’ve seen the movie. Last night, Cyndie and I went to see, “Neither Wolf Nor Dog” at a theater in Red Wing.

I think the movie is a good adaptation of the book. In my opinion, the subject makes for a better book than a movie, but as a film, it works. Hats off to Steven Lewis Simpson for directing, and to him and Kent Nerburn for reworking the novel into a script for a film.

Mostly, bravo to actors Dave Bald Eagle, Christopher Sweeney, and Richard Ray Whitman for their portrayal of the lead characters.

The story lays bare the too often discounted or forgotten injustices heaped upon generations of the first nations people.

It puts a glaring spotlight on the hypocrisy of opinions about the righteousness of the efforts to form this country by enacting atrocities against the native people already living on the land.

This movie provided me with a fresh view of another perspective, and I found it very humbling and rewarding.

I highly recommend it.

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Written by johnwhays

October 4, 2017 at 6:00 am

Today, Pausing

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Today, we have all the ingredients for taking a pause from the multitude of news and projects facing us with relentless regularity: A Sunday; gray skies; soggy grounds; workshop aftermath; no plans.

I caught a moment of television news coverage reporting the latest synopsis of Hurricane Harvey this morning and was struck by the different perspective it presented from the minute-by-minute reality of what it must be like “on the ground,” so to speak.

They wrapped it up in such a neat little package of a few minutes, and then moved on with their regular scheduled broadcast.

It felt like, “Yeah, it is bad, but… whatever.”

Meanwhile, I’m wondering, if the municipalities are inundated with emergency response requests, the power is out, the water continues to rise, tornadoes repeatedly threaten, boil water orders are in place, toilets are becoming useless, and catastrophic amounts of rainfall will continue for days… how are people going to cope?

It doesn’t wrap up nicely in a breaking news update.

Reading a portion of 911 calls with one after another requests for rescue from families with infants and elders trapped by rising water gives just a tiny sense of the immediate emotions involved as the drama continues to play out.

This can’t be conveyed in the short news briefing that so quickly ends to be followed by the next inconsequential distraction.

I don’t mean to imply that I fault the updates. On the contrary, the updates are valuable for what they can provide. I am just boggling over the canyon of differing perspective I notice from them.

Just as I am boggling over the Sunday calm settling over us today, with no pressing demands forcing our decisions, in juxtaposition to what is simultaneously going on in the Houston area.

If I end up puttering with the silt fence by our swamped soil runoff spot today, I will be certainly be thinking about how our predicament here compares with what is going on in Texas.

It definitely gives pause.

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Written by johnwhays

August 27, 2017 at 9:45 am

Part Way

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I made it part way through doing a thorough job of re-leveling the gazebo frame when my patience for the project ran out and I resorted to doing a less-than-perfect, but good enough wrap up to call it done. Funny how the perspective changes when the limited hours in a day are slipping away and the cost/benefit assessment provides a justification for aborting a plan.

Only time will tell whether or not it was a worthy choice. In the short-term, we are well satisfied with our progress. The shaded platform is ready for use.

With that done, we did turn our attention to using the loader bucket to remove a significant portion of the oldest composting manure. These were piles that had gone cold due to no longer actively composting. Interestingly, of the three piles we tended to, two of them retained a lot of moisture and one was surprisingly dry.

The dry one proved to be suitable for rodent housing and it appeared we disturbed a momma mouse in the process of giving birth. While Cyndie was at the pile discovering that, I had driven off with a full bucket and spotted a large mouse scrambling to and fro on the mechanisms of the loader arms.

It was a little like trying to drive a car with a bee flying around you. It was pure luck that I didn’t bash into the side of the barn while backing up as I focused on trying to get the dang critter to jump off the bucket and not run up toward my position.

He skittered over to an opening at the end of one of the loader arms, so I lifted the bucket high to slide the mouse out, but I don’t know if it is actually open all the way through. I never saw where he came out, or maybe he’s still in there.

It’s the kind of mini-drama that we are growing accustomed to, and as a result, we tend to just shrug these encounters off and carry on with the task at hand.

All manner of creatures can be found taking advantage of the spaces we create. They probably see our occasional intrusions on their luxurious accommodations in a similar way we look at hazardous weather. It happens. You clean up after it and get on with life.

Mowing the fields dislodges a lot of crawling and slithering things. Last time out, the prevalent sighting was a leaping creature. Several large, long-legged frogs were disturbed by the big wheels and high RPM roar of the tractor. I’m pleased to be able to say I didn’t witness any unfortunate encounters with the whirring blades of the brush cutter.

There are still plenty of other compost piles for the rodents to take up residence. Better there than in our house. Inside, they have to deal with a storm called Pequenita. When that happens, we have to deal with watching where we place our feet in the morning.

It’s such a glamorous life we lead.

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Written by johnwhays

August 5, 2017 at 9:39 am

Multiple Gifts

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It may seem like backward logic, but we really view guests visiting Wintervale as a gift to us, in contrast to visitor’s thinking of it as a gift to them to be able to immerse themselves in the peaceful aura of our forest, fields, flowers and animals. We all win!

Preparing the grounds to accommodate a stroll, otherwise known as “mowing the grass,” is something that needs to be done anyway, but it is a little more fun to do when I know someone is coming soon. It is way too easy to let things slide if Cyndie and I are the only ones who are going to see it. So, expecting guests is a form of inspiration.

Of course, the other incentive is that there is so much to be done that I don’t dare neglect any one thing for too long or the whole operation would get away from us.

We have other gifts to be thankful for today. We are enjoying the gift of healing as Cyndie continues to make progress recovering function after her shoulder surgery, and I am enjoying the gift of her being able to once again handle the power trimmer.

She took it upon herself yesterday, while I was out on the lawn tractor, to start the engine and get the trimmer over her head and onto her good shoulder. I asked how she got it started.

“It was hard. I had to stand on it and pull the cord with my left hand.”

Once she has it running and in position, holding the handlebar and swaying the business end to and fro actually puts very little stress on her weak shoulder.

We will be picking up momentum now in a push to conquer the relentless growth of summer and get the property ready for a busy month of Wintervale workshops. With Dunia Morales graciously offering to come from Guatemala to help lead sessions with Cyndie, we are looking to recover some business from the shortened summer of shoulder repair.

What a gift!

We are lucky to have so many.

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Written by johnwhays

July 29, 2017 at 9:51 am

Look Up

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Some very interesting images can be found by looking straight up. A few days ago, I posted a shot looking up a concrete utility pole in Florida. Here is another version of the same pole, after walking around to the other side.

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They probably deserve to be shown as a pair. I like the contrast of the opposing direction of the light source between the two.

Meanwhile, I’m back at the day-job, digging out from a backlog of work that piled up while I was away. I was so exhausted when I walked in the door after work yesterday, I laid down for a minute. Pequenita immediately took advantage of my presence and pummeled me with kneading and head-butting in a quest for attention.

I think she missed me.

In a blink, I was no longer blinking. My eye lids stayed down and my brain checked out. It just so happened, my labor wasn’t immediately needed outside. For the first time since Cyndie’s knee surgery on the last day of November, she handled the outdoor ranch duties!

I think the chance to do some extended walking while we were in Florida, away from the icy, snowy terrain, boosted her confidence. Monday night she walked Delilah while I cleaned up manure and filled hay boxes. Yesterday, she did morning and evening chores, drove to a physical therapy appointment, did exercises there, and then went grocery shopping.

Talk about getting back into action. Of course, after dinner it was quickly time to get horizontal for the rest of the night and ice the knee. Fair enough.

It feels like I have come out of the tunnel. Things are definitely looking up.

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Written by johnwhays

January 25, 2017 at 7:00 am

Passenger Pilot

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It occurred to me two days ago how split I feel between being the pilot who directs the activity of my body and a passenger riding along for whatever happens next. Whether it’s a virus that pays a visit or an emotion that elicits a response, there is a constant balance of submission and control.

johnhsgradyoungjacksonbrownersmagWhen I was younger, I wanted to have straight long hair that would fall around my face the way Jackson Browne’s did. My hair style involved inherent waves. I worked desperately to battle my natural flip that keenly mimicked the classic women’s hairstyle of the ’60s.

Achieving 6 foot height was not in the cards for me, either. These things were not in my control. I’m a passenger to the genes determining such features.

At the same time, in the role of pilot, I was making decisions (and learning from my mistakes) on who I wanted to be and how I wanted to behave. I get to choose how I react to the world around me and decide whether I want to make healthy decisions for this body, or not.

It gets tricky at times, because there are a lot of mind/body interactions that happen unconsciously, plenty of it at a cellular level, in the areas of transition between the two perspectives of pilot and passenger. We have the freedom to choose how self-aware we are going to be. Some people think it serves them just fine to be willfully inattentive, even though they often grumble about the eventual outcomes that result.

I struggle to comprehend why our minds so easily overlook information and evidence that indicate negative consequences for our choices or behaviors. Why isn’t there a stronger drive to improve ourselves at every opportunity? It should be an integral part of our survival instinct.

Why would either the pilot or the passenger choose to settle for less than the best?

In time, I figured out a way to stop fighting my hair and instead let it do what it wants to naturally do. It curls. I even took it to the extreme for a while and dreadlocked it. I have yet to perfect the part where I choose not to settle for something less than optimal health —mind, body, & soul. There remain some days when I give in and allow myself to pay no heed to the healthiest choice.

For me, the secret to getting away with that is an intentional effort to ensure those are only temporary lapses. I need for more days than not to involve me getting off my butt and navigating down the center line of my healthy highway.

I think I’d also like to keep relearning how to integrate the two extremes of pilot and passenger that reside within me every day.

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Written by johnwhays

November 30, 2016 at 7:00 am