Dependable

A good farm tractor is a lifetime investment. That old machine may not be as sleek as a new sports car but it will serve you well long after the sports car has rusted out. I remember when my grandfather bought this one in the early 70s and my uncle still uses it today. It’s hauled tons and tons of hay. It’s plowed gardens. It’s cleared the snow and ice from the long driveway and the public road.

A few years ago I was being interviewed for a new position and the interviewer asked what kind of car would best describe my personality. I’m sure that he was thinking about race cars, minivans and the normal cars you see on the highway. My answer? I want to be a tractor. The piece of equipment that you keep for a lifetime.

When You Don’t Fit In

I think everyone has had that feeling that they just don’t fit in at some point. In fact I’d say it’s multiple points for most of us. The temptation is to forsake one’s individuality for sake of the crowd. But isn’t that lying? It’s one thing to be polite and respectful towards other opinions but it another thing altogether to fein total agreement. What’s more is that when the truth eventually comes out the others in the group will feel betrayed. A true friendship can handle some individualism and if it can’t then it was never a true friendship in the first place. It was only mimicry.

Being your own person is often difficult. There’s going to be conflict and in today’s world a large portion of population is under the misunderstanding that disagreement and hate are the same thing. They most certainly are not. God could have created a world of clones where everyone is exactly alike. Everyone would have the same opinions, the same ideas and the same looks. How boring would that be? There would also be no fresh ideas, no variety and no excitement. I’m starting to meander here so I’m just going to get to point. Don’t be afraid to stand out. Sure there’s going to be people who don’t accept you because they can’t handle anyone who doesn’t mirror them but do you really want to burden yourself with such a shallow person? Just be yourself.

International Women’s Day

I’ve have always been blessed to be surrounded by beautiful women my whole life. From my mother who raised me to my wife that loves me in spite of imperfection. Thank you to all the friends, coworkers and “adopted sisters” have truly enriched my life.

Thank you, each and every one of you. ❤

The Missing

Unfortunately this is not really one my happier posts. The image above was taken at Hawks Nest State Park. The Swans were brought in to enhance the beauty of the lake formed by the flood control dam. They were a mated pair. The Swans did their job wonderfully. Gracefully floating around lake and spreading joy, peace and love to all who came to the lake. Until one person who either through ignorance or malice shot and killed one of them. Shortly thereafter, the other got sick and died. Why would someone do such a thing as to kill the swan? I don’t know exactly. I try not to attribute to malice that which can be explained as ignorance. What kind of weapon was used? The truth is death doesn’t come in degrees and except for the amount of suffering the swan endured it doesn’t matter. One of the things that I love about nature is simplicity. To the surviving swan all that matters is the emptiness. She doesn’t perceive any difference between a gun, bow & arrow, catapult, wolf, coyote or oncoming traffic. Gone is gone and that’s it.

In the early days of the internet I became a fan of the late Ron Hood and his Hood’s Woods survival blog. I don’t if the rules originated from him or if he just promoted them but here is the rules of three for survival.

1. You can live three minutes without air.

2. You can live three hours without shelter.

3. You can live three days without water.

4. You can live three weeks without food. (under the right conditions)

5. You can only survive three months without love.

Love is just as essential to life as anything on the list. Without love a person’s body goes on but the soul begins to die. However, there is hope. As long as the body can continue to function a love life can be restored. Not only can you be restored but you can come back stronger and happier than ever before. Just like in physical survival emotional survival relies on the ability to adapt and continue the journey. In physical survival we have to adapt our diet. Nobody has been saved by finding a spectacular pizza tree in the deep forests. In emotional survival we have to hold onto the love and respect of friends and family. We have to just keep moving forward with determination until the point of rescue. Never fail to offer a stranger a smile. It may be returned with the potential of a friendship that becomes more. Don’t be afraid to hug someone. You may just find out that they are waiting for you to rescue them back. The swans were brought here and isolated. The surviving swan had no community to draw on for support. We don’t have to be alone. If you’re hurting today the best advice I can give you is to go out and find at least one person who could use a friend and then be one.

Relics

Every so often I find that my curiosity gets the best of me. I’ve always been an explorer at heart and when I see a piece of junk left behind my inner child wants to play Indiana Jones. I have passed this old drilling rig for thirty years and kept telling myself one day I’ll go down into the overgrown field and check it out. It’s not as simple as it sounds. I live in rattlesnake territory and they absolutely love to make their dens in old machines. It was still winter I figured that they were still hibernating if not frozen stiff and so I made my way to the rig. Since there’s a fine line between bravery and stupidity, I moved cautiously through the briars and winter grasses. I used my tripod to push back the brush and make sure I actually wanted to step there before moving forward. When I finally reached my goal a took a few minutes to appreciate the object before my eyes. I was touching history. Maybe not Earth shattering history but someone’s history. The drilling rig was more than likely used by miners to get core samples for the coal industry. I looked over the broken gauges and switches. The key that turned the machine on was still in the ignition. Levers that were frozen with rust had not been touched by human hands in decades. The steel cables sagged and the wheels had rotted away. I think about the men who operated the drill. I imagine the hot July and August days on the job site. The dust rises from the bore hole turns into mud when it lands on their necks due to sweat. The type of men who do this kind of work are hardy and take pride in the job. They deal with the misery of labor by laughing when it’s over. I would not be surprised if break time included some pranks here and there. There always at least one person on a crew like this who is afraid of snakes and a cheap rubber snake left near a lunch box is better than T.V. These men are not just coworkers. They’re family. They say that history is really his story . But it’s their story and our story. And when you come in contact with one of the relics, it’s your story too.

Thirst

Pour out your love upon me.

I have been so thirsty for so long.

Wash over me like a cool mountain stream.

Refresh me in your affection.

Bath me in your companionship.

Flood me with your smile,

and drown me with your desire.

I need you to surround me.

I need us.

The Seeker 

I stood in a spot between the land and the sea.  

I stood there between youth and maturity. 

Alone in the crowd.  

I called out and the waves answered; answered with your name.

I spent an eternity in a single moment.  

I feared. 

I despaired.

I reached out with my hands and caught only the wind. 

Between the dark and the dawn I stood there.  

I waited.  

I hoped. 

 I reached out with my heart found that you were already here. 

Waiting to be found once again.