Stepping Stones

October 7, 2015 § Leave a comment

Photograph © Tracy Crape

A distance twice his height and for something so close torrent water makes it endless. Shifting from one foot to the other then leading with the left before returning it quickly beside the right. Eyes and mind play creek rock hopscotch, one, two, three and four, maybe.

The right foot leading now, stretch and the body pulls forward as the dry side of the rock pushes against the sole of worn sneakers. The left leaves the safety of the shore and plants beside, steadying and now there are three, smaller and one foot at a time.

The left leaves the right and lands solid, pushing toes and straightening leg swinging the right leg quickly past to the third stone in this game, hitting its smooth top and shaking that tenses the body and eyes widen. ‘Move or drown!’ an inward shout not heard and the left foot falls short as arms raise to meet the rivers grasp.

The cold seeps in as the water flows over the top of sneakers not only worn but now wet. A smile in pause and the right foot plants firmly beside the left and the boy walks to the shore, another adventure awaits, perhaps with more success, in the dense jungle beyond.

My Childhood House

October 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

Radio Flyer

Me and Dad with My Radio Flyer in front of our house in Pocahontas

Pocahontas was small, 100 or so people small. One road ran a circle around town that started and finished at the post office and store. Other than a feed store there was not a lot except the church in this Missouri community. Dad worked as the teacher at the one room five grade school run by the church. As well as being the only teacher he also was the bus driver and any other job he would be called on to do. As the teacher his job came with a house for our family, my first home that I can recall.

While the town was small, as a preschooler it was a vast land of exploration any little boy with a wild imagination would find exciting. The house itself sat on a big lot with sloped lawns to one side and an expansive garden to the other. Topped with a long sloping tin roof and sided with white clap board, it was a home that fit the place and the time.

I am sure that I glean many memories from the photographs of this ‘grand’ place and fill many more with a child’s eye. From the dark basement where coal then wood were kept for heat through mild winters to the main floor and upstairs. Most memory is of the corner kitchen with windows where my mother no doubt watched her boys find trouble and adventure around the base of a big old tree out back. Then there are glimpses of a front room with stairs nearby to the rooms above with beds.

What fills the mind is not only the house but the times enjoyed. Playing with kids in the neighbourhood (we only had one), visiting dad at work or attending church on Sundays. There were the picnics behind the church and adventures fishing at one of the neighbours ponds. It was more than a house in a small town, it was a community and a place I felt safe, a place I began this adventure called life and a place that still finds its way into my thoughts from memories so precious.

Learning Patience

October 5, 2015 § Leave a comment

Photograph © Tracy Crape

I forget.

Much of what I have done in the past is easy. Forgotten is the first time navigating that new world and fighting the fear of being ‘found out’ while blundering through what seemed like endless learnings just trying to make it to the end of another day. Then there were years of new becoming old and the new being more challenging. Time taking less and a day producing more.

Autopilot, cruise control and second nature are all terms to describe the skills and talents developed whether an engineer, driver, carpenter, business leader or even a surveyor. As the career progresses so does the practice. Ten thousand hours to fifty thousand hours the picture gets bigger and the unknowns shrink. It is honest experience without the shortcuts.

So I sit in retirement from a career of 33 years, almost twice my age when I began my studies of my unintended profession. I have my list, things I have dabbled in and found interest but never made the time. As I explore I get frustrated because things are not easy.

It is a shift from doing something that consumed my life to following interests that I have little experience. The transition is from teacher to student and it takes patience to practice, accepting of mistakes, trying again and fighting the urge to return to things familiar.

Being Strong

October 5, 2015 § Leave a comment

Photograph © Tracy Crape

Being strong can refer to our physical strength and strength of character. Both indicate ability, both are held inwardly as well as on display outwardly and both impact our appearance albeit in different ways.

Physical strength comes from hard work and doing the heavy lifting in a literal sense. It takes discipline and time, there is no short cut. The outcome is a look of health and when carried with confidence shows power. It allows for hard work and contributes to lasting health when coupled with an otherwise healthy lifestyle.

A strong character is the mental side, in particular moral qualities. While having strength in this way could be with a moral compass pointing in any direction it is when pointing up that a person is given the attribute of moral strength. It is often held to those who overcome diversity, trump the challenges of a corrupt situation or live a life that contributes positively to themselves and society.

The best is both. A healthy mind points to doing good supported by the a body in an equal state allows for movement through life and the ability to enjoy it unencumbered. It is a seemingly desirable place but one that eludes most on one side or the other. Whether vices or ego, there are challenges to keep on a path that delivers us healthy and happy to make the most of today and all our tomorrows.

My daily reminder are those I love and my wish to explore the world with them everyday. I want to walk in those places that give me happiness holding the hand of the one I love.

Coffee Time

October 1, 2015 § 1 Comment

Photograph © Tracy Crape

It is the best day of the week. For over two years this day is one I fill my cup, sit down and share life for an hour or so. It is entertaining and calming. There is no competition or agenda. It is simply coffee with an old friend.

Conversation moves smoothly and then erratically given my interjections of of the current topic that tends to spiral off to another place. There are dry eyes and big smiles, laughter and some times eyes well up on things that touch the heart. We share adventures of our families now all living away.

The one arriving first buys, the staff know the order and without instruction hold the second cup until the other arrives. It is a routine I love and a forum of exploring of things of the past and ideas for the future.

It is the best day of the week, it is coffee day. A time for me and my brother every week with few exceptions. Time and place, same, same.

An Evening Walk

September 29, 2015 § 1 Comment

Photograph © Tracy Crape

Steps along a dirt trail cutting the hillside. The inside of palms clasp in warmth as the air cools the rest. Gentle breathe layering on the whisper of dry grass swaying.

Lips part and quietly ‘Beautiful.’

Her word makes him smile. As if he needed anymore happiness. The hand he holds he knows will never let go, a certainty for him as it is for her.

Years of following errant paths and now to find one leading into a lasting sunset. She holds in his thoughts, a presence that gives calm. A feeling absent from before when only change gave relief to things that became dread.

He always knew that it would be like this but his impatience held him away. Falling often and standing back up scarred, wounds healing after learning to be true to himself. That is a time almost forgotten. Now he stands beside his best friend, they have a lifetime ahead to discover their new world.

In a Lifetime

September 28, 2015 § 1 Comment

Photograph © Tracy Crape

Even with the cloud cover I could see the transition in colour. I don’t recall seeing a blood moon before but I felt that I needed to this time, to experience it as it might be my only chance in my lifetime.

The rarity of such things makes them celebrity. Reporting on media and social media, commentary and images abound. The digital version is nothing like standing in the fall air and looking up at the shadow of something so expansive move away to reveal its celestial partner, looming large.

This morning, standing in the garden I saw the moon setting, beautiful against a sky with a tint of morning light. It was stunning. All the attention on the evening before was lost as I stood in silence, held by its perfection. As I sit now and watch the world come to life it carries with me.

This morning may not capture the attention of the world as did the rarity of a blood moon but, it does hold me captive clearing away the clutter to experience the beauty of creation.

Happy Monday.

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