Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘sanctuary

Meeting Again

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How did you find this blog? Back in 2009 when I started, I emailed family and friends to invite them to check it out. WordPress folks with no previous knowledge of me have slowly grown my followers to over a thousand and I regularly see visiting traffic from countries all around the world. In March of this year, I learned of a regular reader whose name I recognized from high school in 1977.

Patty was in the class behind mine and I think we agree our interactions were somewhat limited. She doesn’t recall the exact path she followed to discovering my blog but the probable route through links from old Eden Prairie people and social media sharing seems logical. Her affinities for log homes, horses, and dogs drew her in but she didn’t exactly remember who I was. Since she was in the same class as Cyndie’s brother, she recognized the Friswold connection.

Honestly, I don’t always know who I am writing for, and learning of people like Patty who resonate with my stories the way she does is a real treat that inspires me to write even more.

When Cyndie’s brother, Steve, sent a text (re)introducing us to Patty with a mention she and her husband, Steve (a different one; don’t get confused) would love to visit Wintervale, we were thrilled. Checking calendars produced a target date for a get-together in April. How many nice weekends do you remember occurring in April this year? We rescheduled twice due to precipitation of the slush variety under cold temperatures and unpleasant winds.

Yesterday, the third time was the charm. The weather was so much better, the wait was easily justified. Plus, there are now leaves on the trees!

Asher couldn’t get enough of Patty and Steve, usually wanting to climb all over them. The horses –mostly Swings– showed more interest than usual in receiving attention.

We enjoyed brunch on our deck and then did a walking tour of the grounds that I hoped would bring all my writing to life for them. It’s hard for me to imagine what sense of the place readers get when they only have my words and pictures to rely on. Patty tells me their real-life visit was very much like the sense they had formed in their minds.

I firmly believe our sanctuary becomes more precious when visitors spend time here. Yesterday, the preciousness was cranked up to 11 with the presence of Patty and Steve’s energies resonating with all that Wintervale has to offer.



Written by johnwhays

May 22, 2023 at 6:00 am

Red Leaves

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On my drive home from work yesterday, I accidentally allowed myself to hear news on the radio as it blathered nothing but bad vibes, one after another. It knocked me for a loop that needs an antidote of something hopeful or some promise that better days for all might lie ahead. I can only assume that promise remains somewhere beyond the horizon because it’s not visible to me yet.

I am lucky, though. Home is a sanctuary with Cyndie and our animals happy to greet me when I arrive and the scenery around our house offering a soothing view.

Check out the maple tree leaves turning red over Cyndie’s gardens.

It’s an early adopter.

Surrounded by love in our paradise, I was able to leave the gloomy news behind for the time being.





Written by johnwhays

September 18, 2020 at 6:00 am

Grasping Hope

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I’m trying. Against an onslaught of gloom and doom coming from the extreme escalation of Middle East tensions by an impeached President who hasn’t been removed from office, I am trying to dredge up some hope for the triumph of peace and love around the planet. It involves squelching a feeling that my tiny contribution to the world is woefully inadequate toward fulfilling this dream, and as a result, futile.

We are back at Wintervale this morning, being smothered with love from Pequenita and surrounded once again by fields and forest, animal tracks, snow, and chickens.

There is a fire in the fireplace. I’m home for most of the weekend before returning to the regular routine of my 4-day work week and the commuting it involves.

We will be out for a little bit tomorrow to gather with Hays siblings for a post-holiday get-together that tends to happen only rarely.

Cyndie’s increasing role of support for her parents as needs dictate will shift a little as they prepare to return to Florida. I expect she will be taking an increased number of flights south in the coming months as a result.

Today we will try putting away Christmas decorations and clearing snow from the icy valleys on the roof, as well as shovel the deck and a few paths that I skipped when I came home to plow last Tuesday.

This place is such a sanctuary. It is hard to meld in my mind the peace here with unrest in other parts of the globe.

I will grasp for hopeful embers of energy to fuel an escape from worst outcomes being bantered about in the media and within the vengeful souls who have suffered offense. Somewhere in the universe, there must exist a remedy with power to forever sever cycles of violent revenge.

I tend to perceive it as, simply, the power of love. Obviously, it requires significant investment from all parties involved, but the secret (and not-so-secret) ingredient has to be love.

Unfortunately, love isn’t a very quick solution for the climate catastrophes of fires and floods that Australia, Indonesia and other parts of the world are suffering.

I don’t envy the task of mustering hope by the people living in the vicinity of major weather impacts.

It makes the blessings of our precious home all the more impressive.

Sending love as best I can!



Written by johnwhays

January 4, 2020 at 10:48 am