Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘sunrise

Inspiring Start

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Cyndie snapped a shot of the morning sky yesterday, shortly after the sun broke the horizon. It provided inspiration for our continued efforts to accomplish the most possible while weather was favorable and our energy held out.

With the temperature climbing as fast as the sun, I hopped on the diesel tractor to mow with the brush cutter. Knocking down the tall grass along the hay-field and back pasture fence lines was a minor goal that made it convenient to achieve a major goal.

I haven’t cut the drainage ditch along our southern border all summer, so it was seriously overgrown. It’s a chore that requires enough days without rain for the ditch to completely dry out. Yesterday was perfect.

It is late enough in the summer that I’m hoping I won’t need to bother with it again before winter. It’s a great feeling to have the ditch looking ready for whatever nature dishes out, be it heavy rain this fall or spring runoff next year.

While I was out there, I also mowed around the gazebo and along the alleyway between the paddocks and the arena. I parked the tractor and got back inside half way through the first quarter of the Vikings/Packers football game. Too bad those few hours ended without a victory, despite the last chance to kick for a win.

Cyndie came in a short time later, after using the power trimmer to cut the grass beneath the fence.

Little did we know what inspiration yet lie ahead for us.

With Jackie registering her intent to move out, Cyndie opened up interviews for new candidates to do some house & animal sitting for times we would like to get away. Two appointments were scheduled for the afternoon.

In a blink, it seems we are back to having options for coverage that will allow us occasional weekends away from our paradise. Good thing we are refining our landscape management skills to get a month’s worth of work done in one weekend.

That’s what it will take if we continue to be away as many times as Cyndie shows planned in her calendar.

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Written by johnwhays

September 17, 2018 at 6:00 am

Looking Around

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Without a doubt, one of the best rewards for receiving over a foot of snow in one day is the beautiful landscape views we get to enjoy for days after.

Cyndie has been capturing and sharing a series of sunrise photos for me in the last couple of weeks. This fleeting glimpse of sunshine from yesterday was the only view of the ball of fire that she got all day. Clouds filled in shortly after the picture was taken and gray ruled the rest of the day.

Luckily, it just so happens that a gray winter sky provides really nice light for taking pictures.

I think Cyndie has acquired a keen sense of what appeals to me in photographs.

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If she had put these images on my computer without telling me, I would have thought I’d taken the pictures myself.

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Written by johnwhays

January 25, 2018 at 7:00 am

Ambiguous

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Words on Images

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Frosty Morning

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We are well into the season of squeaky footsteps. The air was dead calm this morning, somewhere in the double digits below zero, allowing sounds to carry clearly for great distances, except that you can’t hear anything but your own squealing boots against the packed snow along the trail at these temperatures.

Though, stopping for a moment to listen to the mostly quiet, calm winter morning becomes a spiritual experience. At least, it is when you really love this season more than all the others.

The horses were showing the effects of the cold on their faces.

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I wonder if they ever contemplate what it would be like to suddenly find themselves standing on a tropical beach at this time of year. Was I just in the Dominican Republic last week?

I’m having trouble remembering what that was like. Maybe that’s what frozen eyelashes will do to you.

We are expecting a little break from the extreme cold, which will allow the horses a chance to get out from under the blankets to scratch itches that naturally develop.

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They were happily soaking up the initial rays of sunlight while voraciously gobbling fuel to stoke their internal furnaces in recovery from another long, cold night. I think they will find the next few days a nice respite from the endurance exercise of the last two frigid weeks.

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Written by johnwhays

January 6, 2018 at 11:18 am

Sun Salutation

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Our horses’ morning routine isn’t anything like the classic yoga postures, but on a clear day when the sun appears over the eastern horizon, they give it respectful attention.

Yesterday morning was cold and calm. The smoke trail of the neighbor’s wood burning furnace formed a lazy trail across the landscape.

The horses watched the sun climb above the trees. When you can start to feel the energy of the rays, they all turn sideways to it, forming a line behind Legacy. I was still scooping poop when they did this yesterday, and I ended up needing to snake around through them to get back to the wheelbarrow each time the scoop got full.

In a very short time, their hides warm up dramatically.

That’s gotta feel pretty special to them after the cold darkness of the night.

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Written by johnwhays

November 24, 2017 at 7:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

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Looking, Listening

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The morning light coming over the eastern horizon bathes our property with such picturesque hues. Yesterday, Cyndie captured how the smooth, freshly mowed hay-field looked as she and Delilah made their way around to open the chicken coop and tend to the horses.

Was it a coincidence that while I was processing this image, John Hartford’s “Gentle On My Mind” was playing and took over my brain with its lyrics?

“…in back roads by the rivers of my memory
Keeps you ever gentle on my mind.”

Maybe. Maybe not.

That’s the kind of song I wish I had written.

I’m probably in this mindset after reading Rickie Lee Jones’ tribute to Walter Becker on RollingStone.com. Just put me deeper in songwriting envy, revisiting the Steely Dan catalog and some of Rickie Lee’s best.

“done up in blue print blue. It sure looks good on you…”

She writes, in answer to her query about the “blue” meaning, that Walter told her he didn’t know; just felt like writing it.

I understand exactly.

Rickie Lee’s big breakout self-titled debut album was released when I was working full-time in a record store. Her phrasing and lyrical story telling captured me immediately.

“you never know when you’re makin’ a memory…”

My memories are flowing over the rolling hill of the hay-field toward the rising sun that is sculpting the popcorn clouds hanging low under the high blue sky. I am thinking of lives and loves who have come and gone with whispers and kisses, dipping toes in unknown oceans of improbable possibilities that did or didn’t actually play out, but undoubtedly shaped everything that has happened since.

Luckily, love grows, unbounded by physical limitations, and it continues to pave the rivers of my memories.

Ever gentle on my mind, indeed.

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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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