Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘perspective

Other View

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‘Twas the day before the US Thanksgiving, and I’m already home from work. Why? SNOW DAY! Hello, to the first big snow event of this season. All day long yesterday the specter of this looming winter storm hung heavy in the air at the day-job. The dramatic potential was all over the news as the weather service warning covered a multitude of states across the heartland of our country for the day before the national holiday.

Staff started making decisions based on the likelihood of the coming weather disruption, which meant moving some actions up a day and delaying others until next week. Compounding anxiety over the weather was a moderate epidemic of ill health making its way through the workplace.

More than one person decided in advance to stay home today, myself included.

In the hour-long commute home yesterday afternoon, I vacillated between an impression from the heavy gray sky of near-immediacy for the flakes to start falling, compared to another view where the clouds were thin and it seemed almost sunny. The differing views noticeably altered my mindset.

It reminded me of a discussion earlier in the day over the impact our minds have over framing how were are feeling when “under the weather” with illness. Personally, I am inclined to whimper at home with Cyndie when I get sick, lamenting over how critically ill I must certainly be, despite my belief that mentally willing myself to feel better holds more power to improve conditions for me, as well as those around me.

All that needs to happen is a change in how I view things. Imagine if citizens would allow themselves an open mind to view societal issues from an alternate perspective to see how they fit into an ethical and loving framework. What would it be like to be able to engage in a constructively curious dialog with someone who holds an opposing view about important issues?

Conversely, think about how we constrict ourselves when confining our news and information feeds to a narrow array of sources backed by specific corporate interests. No single view holds exclusive rights to absolute correctness.

The weather, our health, the economy, our democracy… all of these look different depending on how we view them.

We would all do better if more people made an honest effort to view these issues from a loving perspective that is not based on fear.

Today, I am going to view all the snow that is falling with an attitude of awe for the transforming beauty it brings to our otherwise barren forest landscapes. I’ll also be viewing the snow from the seat of our Grizzly ATV while pushing it off and away from our driveway.

It’s beginning to look a lot like winter at Wintervale…



Written by johnwhays

November 27, 2019 at 7:00 am

Blasted Grill

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For the amount of time I am stuck commuting on Interstate freeways, I should be grateful for the majority of hours I sneak by incident-free. My greatest challenge has been battling fatigue on the drive home in the afternoons. Beyond that, the number of times I have gotten caught in a backup caused by a crash or bad weather in the six years I’ve been commuting from Wisconsin can be counted on one hand.

I’ve rarely even witnessed incidents involving other vehicles occurring around me. I credit much of this good fortune to the off-peak hours I am usually on the road. My early morning departures did lead to a side-impact from a deer that got up close and personal with my driver-side door a year and a half ago, but overall the hazards of early-hours travel are offset by benefits of less actual traffic.

Yesterday morning, my luck ran out in the reduced visibility of early darkness when a pickup truck in front of me ran over a large, flat piece of debris that kicked up into the air so that it slammed into my grill at full freeway speed. In the split second available to consider my situation, I hoped it was mostly harmless light plastic because impact was inevitable.

By the sound it made, I knew it wasn’t light and I was immediately relieved that it had found the grill and not the hood or windshield in front of my face.

There was nowhere convenient to pull over and it was still completely dark outside so I simply continued the drive to work, arriving long after I’d already forgotten the incident had even happened. I walked inside, oblivious.

It wasn’t until I went back outside after the sun had come up, looking for the newspaper that hadn’t been delivered (again), that I suddenly remembered the incident and took time to inspect for damages.









Aww HECK! The license plate frame (not my real numbers), the grill, and the plastic of the main front cracked and chipped!

On the way home from work, I stopped for a damage estimate and learned the headlight assembly was busted up, too. Do you know how expensive the new-fangled LED headlights that can shine around corners are? This one is almost $900.

I’m glad we saved so much money by fixing the deck ourselves this fall. Some of those savings will now be needed to pay the insurance deductible for auto body repair.

I’m a little ashamed to be whining about such luxury problems. At least I have a new car that will hold value if repairs are maintained. I also have money to afford the expense, even though that is not how I prefer to be spending it. I am able to sacrifice hours from the day-job to deal with the appointment of dropping the car off in 6 weeks and picking up a rental for the 4-days minimum to complete the repairs. I have insurance that includes coverage for rental car expenses.

I am paying attention to being privileged enough that this is what I’m inclined to whine about right now.



Written by johnwhays

November 21, 2019 at 7:00 am

It’s Like

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It’s like one of those days when you are enjoying a fresh bite of an incredibly delicious meal and your teeth suddenly chomp on your own flesh.

It’s like the time lost waiting for a page to load, watching the progress bar fill to the last little bit where it pauses for far too long before finally jumping to a page that announces the failure to load and suggests the possibility the page has moved. Really? My gmail site has moved?

It’s like the umpteenth time of settling down into a reclined position and then discovering your reading glasses were left somewhere far out of reach.

It’s coming to realize that you can’t remember what it was like when you didn’t need reading glasses.

It’s that second time you bite the swollen wound on the inside of your lip from two days before.

It’s like that moment when screwing in the last of twelve screws to secure the cover of something you just fixed and finding there is one last part remaining to be reinstalled.

It’s like that feeling when re-reading your own business email message included in a reply sent by your customer or vendor and finding a writing error that disturbingly undermines your intended message in the first place.

It’s like waking up to shower for work, getting dressed, and heading out the door before discovering there are still two-and-a-half hours left until your alarm is due to go off.

It’s also like the day you embraced the ability to overcome the chemical reaction unleashed in the brain by these uninvited incidents to frame them in the grand scheme of things as not deserving more than a moment’s chagrin.

It’s like the chemical rush of endorphins that cascade on the first scrumptious bite of your all-time favorite deep-dish pizza pie.

It’s like the rich appreciation possible when pausing to count privileged blessings for all of the times when web pages load without hesitation, a soft chair or warm bed is available for reclining, reading glasses are at the ready, you wrote just the right message in a business communication, and you got a healthy, full night’s sleep.

With practice, we can choose to determine what each of life’s foibles are like for us.

Make a healthy choice!



Written by johnwhays

November 6, 2019 at 7:00 am

Three Views

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Sunday morning rounds walking Delilah and tending to the chickens in the fabulous early sunlight led to these three views…

I took off my gloves to use the camera and they became the subject in this frame.

The fence shadow making a statement is what initially caught my eye.

I think it’s interesting that from where I was standing, it looks like the barn’s not level. There is pretty much no flat ground anywhere on our property, but as far as I know, the buildings are actually level.

Waves of grain. Well, grass seed, anyway.

The paddocks have received little in the way of attention since the horses departed in April.



Written by johnwhays

July 23, 2019 at 6:00 am

Different Perspective

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I am thoroughly enjoying the heavy radio and television programming that has been focusing attention on the Apollo 11 mission to the moon fifty years ago this month. Last night it started with PBS NOVA episode 18, “Apollo’s Daring Mission” which tells the story of Apollo 8 that set the stage for the moon mission to follow.

Those who have had the privilege of flying in airplanes know the sensation of gaining a new perspective about the places we live from above. Just imagine what it was like for the astronauts looking back at the entire planet earth.

After that program, we watched “8 Days: to the Moon and Back,” a fascinating recreation of the Apollo 11 mission using actual recorded audio between and among the astronauts and Houston Control.

I was only ten years old when man landed on the moon. Reliving the experience fifty years later provided a different perspective for me that was significantly more informed.

What an amazing accomplishment that happened in my lifetime. I wonder if I’ll be alive when someone eventually lands on Mars.



Written by johnwhays

July 18, 2019 at 6:00 am

Starting Early

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Cyndie and I left for the lake after I got home from work yesterday. We had no idea that Wednesday night the 3rd of July would be the time when towns would hold their fireworks shows in Wisconsin.

It seemed to me that traffic was flowing fairly well for the night before a holiday that was providing a 4-day weekend for most folks. Maybe the people who were going to be out of town had already left. We only ran into two backups.

The first one was at a roundabout, of all places. The very system that was created to minimize congestion at an intersection was not achieving its potential when we arrived. There was no zipper merging happening because someone in our lane was intent on waiting until no other cars were anywhere in sight before executing their right turn.

The second backup happened as we approached Shell Lake. Several hours before darkness was to arrive, officials had already closed Hwy 63 and were detouring traffic through town to create a safe zone for the fireworks show. We didn’t wait around to see the spectacle. It seemed a day early to us, but maybe it had something to do with the holiday falling on a Thursday.

We stopped for dinner at a local diner/gas station that won our hearts after our first visit there last year. In this case, the second time wasn’t the charm. It seemed so dang impressive the first time we ate there. Last night, our experience was surprisingly underwhelming.

It’s all relative, I tell ya.

Makes me want to try seeing things with the joy and wonder of the first time, regardless of how familiar it may have become. I’ll have a good chance to practice this over the next few days. We are up at Wildwood for the annual 4th of July festivities, including the long tradition of games between the “bats” and “mice” teams.

Water balloon toss; shoe kick; watermelon eating contests; relay racing.

We’ve been through this routine so many times, it is easy for me to become jaded over it. When it was still fresh to me and I was much younger, I was so moved by the experience that I wrote a song about it. The excitement has faded as I have aged.

This year I have a new goal to look at the weekend with the wonder I felt the first few times I came up here and to send a lot of love to all who show up to participate. What’s the worst that could happen? I might have as much fun as the year I wrote that song.

Go, team, go!

Happy US Independence Day everyone!



Written by johnwhays

July 4, 2019 at 6:00 am

Rosier Color

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There is a way that the slowly transitioning angle of light moving through the seasons silently changes our perspective of everything. Because we tend to be oblivious to the subtlety, curious circumstances that materialize in our daily affairs often appear as having some outward cause, when in fact, it originates from within.

It’s the way we see events from inside our own minds that colors the realities.

It would behoove more people to consider choosing a rosier color. The trick, however, is in having enough sense to recognize when the worst of history begins making its way back for an encore. How do we keep “never again” alive?

We don’t have the luxury of voting bums out, because our system is built on voting people in. The majority might agree on not wanting any more of a current administration, but they struggle when it comes to needing to agree on the replacements.

One difference from everything that came before, is the amount of industrial pollution fouling the planet. Our amazing progress is conjuring up weather events that wield uncharacteristic intensities. The calamities that grab our attention now are not the challenges that our parents faced.

If only a twitter or facebook message could fix all that ails us.

A simple slice from the surface of a thumb can wreak havoc on buttoning a shirt, or turning a page. Little things that were once inconsequential, become monumental challenges. Is that because the way our mind sees it? Or simply because, that’s the way it is?

Rhetorical questions. The kind that beg to be erased by the onset of heavy eyelids, demanding to give in to the pressure of sleep. Deep sleep. REM sleep. Never hear the alarm sleep that only ends when saturation has been accomplished.

Or when the light slanting through the window in the morning provides a color of hope that our hearts fail to resist.

Who doesn’t love a moment of feeling a little hope filling their hearts at the break of a brand new day?



Written by johnwhays

May 3, 2019 at 6:00 am