Oftentimes, while looking at pictures like this one that I took in the North Georgia mountains, I can’t help but wonder what this old house would say if it could talk. No doubt, it would speak about a time when things were much simpler than they are today. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting life was easier back then; it certainly wasn’t. But compare what it takes for us to be content today with the simplicity that characterized the existence of our forefathers. I don’t know how long it has been since this house was occupied but I suspect that the owners never owned a television, a video game, a cell phone, or an inside bathroom. Horror of horrors, they had no air-conditioning, no forced-air heat, no swimming pool! We might be tempted to say, “Poor folks.” But wait! These people actually talked to one another over the evening meal! Their children, no doubt, played outside every day….safely! I’d bet these people took walks in the woods, dangled their feet in the creek, enjoyed vegetables out of their own garden, and, on special occasions, churned up a bucket of homemade ice cream! No, I’m not suggesting that we all go back to living like they did in the “old days”. However, I sometimes wish we could all, somehow, move out of the fast lane, slow down a little, maybe even stop……and take the time to “smell the roses”.
As I was organizing some of my recent work, I came across this picture and thought of the theme, “Someone Working” (Theme #44 on our assigned list). When I was a boy, growing up in South-Central Michigan, we called these “Yellow Jackets”. But I’ve discovered that here in the south there is a much smaller, winged insect referred to by the same name. I’ve had numerous encounters with the latter (they build their nests in the ground, in planters, in bales of hay, etc.) and though they are smaller, believe me, they really pack a big punch (and they can be very aggressive!)! In any event, and no matter the name, insects like the one pictured above play an important part in the grand scheme of things as they flitter about from plant to plant pollinating the flowers and vegetables. Hope you enjoy!
I could not help but think of the theme “Right Place at the Right Time” after previewing a few pictures I took of our two cats recently. The picture probably speaks for itself but I obviously caught Coco, the cat on the left, in the middle of a big yawn! Nothing unusual, you say? Check out the look and posture of our other cat, Prada! She seems to be saying, “Sheesh, Coco, take a breath mint or something, will you?!”
While participating in the documentation of the 2014 Sarasota Chalk Festival (which this year will take place from November 10-17, in Venice, FL), I noticed, as I walked by a beautiful motor home that was parked nearby, my reflection in the hubcap. Since I had not yet addressed the theme “Selfie” (#38 on our list), I thought, “What the heck?” As you can see, because of the shape and various levels of the cap, it ended up a three-dimensional “selfie”!. Something you cannot see in the picture is that seconds after taking this picture, I lost my balance and fell backward into what appears to be the grass field behind me. I landed on my back, not into grass, however, but rather, a large bed of sand spurs!! For those of you who are not familiar with Florida, that probably means nothing. Floridians, however, KNOW that you do not want to mess with sand spurs! They are small, spherical-shaped plants that have hard, very sharp barbs, and are extremely painful if you happen to be impaled on them! Thankfully, there were others around who were able to pull the sand spurs (about 2 dozen in all) from my back. I assure you, whenever I think of the word “selfie” in the future, my mind will immediately take me back to that “grass” field!!
No sooner did I hang a bird feeder in the back yard of our new home than this “Masked” Bandit showed up to snack on what the birds kicked out of the feeder. Because the sun was behind me (thus, in his eyes), he could hear me slowly moving up on him, but couldn’t see me! He peeked out from among the ferns (first picture), with a gesture that almost looks like a salute, and then went back to foraging. As I moved a little closer, he suddenly stood up from among the ferns (second picture), gave me this pose…..and then went back to business, obviously deciding that whatever he had heard was not a threat! One of the great pastimes of my life is observing and photographing the beautiful wildlife our Creator placed on the earth for us to enjoy! Hope you enjoy it, as well!
Recently, I had to replace the plants in a landscape bed in our front yard, a project I finished week before last. I couldn’t have picked a better time to do this because we have been getting much-needed rain, lots of it…..and the new plants are loving it! Well, earlier this week, while taking the trash out to the curb, I walked by the new landscape bed and much to my surprise, found the above-pictured mushrooms growing everywhere!!! They weren’t there the night before so, obviously, they popped up during the night! I waited until the morning sun peaked over the rooftop and then took a series of pictures, including this one. Though I chose the theme “Natural Beauty” (Theme #28) for this picture, I could just as easily have used “It’s a Mystery” (Theme #22). You see, I went back out to check on the mushrooms a couple of hours later and they were all gone….they had disappeared without a trace! The next morning, same thing!! Perhaps I brought them in with the new dirt or mulch or maybe it had to do with the rain, the temperature, the humidity level, etc. In any event, the experience spoke to me about taking advantage of every opportunity……when it presents itself! If I had procrastinated, I would have missed the opportunity to get this example of “Natural Beauty”. For me, it gave new meaning to the old adage, “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today!”
Finally….finally! We have had the most beautiful rain here in the Sarasota area for the past 10-12 hours. Having in mind this year’s “Challenge” and remembering that one of our themes is “Drops of Water”, I stepped outside, as soon as it stopped raining, and took this picture. Ah, the beauty of creation! Actually, I got several good shots that would have worked for this theme but this particular picture grabbed my attention. Why? Well, I’ve been trying to train myself to look for “life lessons” that can be learned from the various situations I encounter each day. You see, this solitary vinca plant just appeared in one of our landscape beds a few weeks ago; I didn’t plant it. Perhaps the widow (or her husband), from whom we purchased our home last November, planted it. Maybe the wind blew the seed in from one of the neighboring yards. Who knows, maybe a bird brought the seed from somebody else’s flower garden. No matter who is responsible, the “life lesson” I learned is that what we do now can, and will, impact those that come after us…..positively or negatively. Someone else planted this flower, perhaps years ago, and because they did, my wife and I get to enjoy its beauty!! So my goal today? Plant more “vincas”!!