Morning Walk

I had a great walk this morning.  Not a long one, but a fun walk with my smaller camera as my companion.  I found some gems!

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For instance, this perfect fruit, that was growing on a very well tended cactus.

 

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This is the biggest prickly pear cactus I’ve ever seen.  It was roughly ten feet tall, and growing in an alley near my home.

 

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I love the growth of this big, old tree.

 

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It was fun looking up through the branches of this pine, too.  I took many other pictures.  Not bad, considering it’s all within a few blocks of my house!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facing Jeopardy

 

via Daily Prompt: Jeopardize

 

 

I’ll admit it, I’ve been a coward.

I’ve run from dangers both real and imagined.  I’ve refused challenges, told myself it wasn’t worth it, and given up on golden opportunities.

Why?

Because I didn’t want to jeopardize my self concept or my bodily self.

I’ve realized something.

Running from those scary things, refusing to learn to master my fear, and turning away from those challenges have jeopardized me and my self concept more than those activities ever could have.

So one challenge at a time, I try to turn into the face of fear and tell it “you are not my master, you are the product of my self and I am your master.”  I look into the monster’s eyes until it disappears.  Then I am free.

Sometimes I succeed.  Sometimes I fail.  But now, I try.

Finally, my coloring book is back!

I had this all done, then we noticed there was something that needed to be improved on the back cover.  We got partially through improving it, then the graphics computer’s CPU died.  Now the new CPU has been bought and installed and the back cover has been fixed.  So everything is good to go!

This coloring book is all about dragons, 30 original illustrations, all full page.  It’s great for anyone who likes to color.  I donated the last copies of the ones with the improvement-needed back cover to flood relief in Texas, in hopes that some kids might at least have fun with them.

If anyone wants to get a better look, or buy one, click on the link here!

 

 

Daily Prompt: Youth – Do You Feel Young?

via Daily Prompt: Youth

 

I’ve heard it said that you’re only as young as you feel.  There’s how you feel in your body, of course.  Do you feel creaky?  Limber?  Pained?  Strong?  Since starting to exercise again, I feel younger physically than I did a year ago. Even six months ago, I felt sluggish and my back hurt most of the time.  Amazing how much difference even twenty pounds can make.  Even though I’m still in the obese range, my blood pressure is lower, my back doesn’t hurt as much, and I feel younger.  It makes me want to lose more and become stronger.  Exercise helps me shed my premature age.

Youth is a mental state as well.  You can be naturally young due to age, you can freeze in time at a certain point, perhaps sixteen or twenty, and not age from there.  You can be eighty and enjoy a second childhood – whether from dementia or enlightenment.  I aim for a conscious maturity, though I never want to devolve into ossification.  I stay active, mentally and physically.  I want to be like the willow, strong and supple throughout my life.

How old do you feel?

How old do you want to feel?

 

How did a maple learn to fly?

 

I see a maple’s sunlit dream
of flight, in early seed-hood.
Giant’s reaching roots drink deep,
but stretches yearning branches high.
Remembering that first, best spiral
when wind-swept ‘cross veiny airfoil
and landing, settled to the ground.
Who first taught a tree to fly?
What evolutionary climb
gave wings like owls, and sparrows
and Beeches, and Cessnas?
Next time I spy a maple seed
helicoptering from heights
I’ll listen closely for the whoop
of dizzy joy and pure delight!

 

 

-Rohvannyn Shaw

The Sweetness of Life

Sometimes work, no matter how monotonous, can be enriching.

I work at a mail order pharmacy. I get my share of grumpy people, usually grumpy for very good reasons. And I hear my share of silly customer tricks. Most people are pretty nice if you treat them that way, but it’s not always easy. I work long hours and get really tired of the pinch of my headset, and of staring at a computer screen all day. It was hard to get where I am, and people in general often take me for granted or don’t respect what I do. However, I’ve found it’s all worth it in the end.

I have learned some things from my job and I have found some precious treasures that I’d like to share. I’ve taken a few moments to hear war stories from a 90 year old vet, and been glad to thank him for his service. I’ve taken secret delight in telling a grumpy patient ‘happy birthday,’ and hear them sound just a little less grumpy. I’ve seen the couple who have been together for sixty plus years, one spouse calling in orders for the other, and saying in passing “I’d be lost without her.” The sheer love I hear in that simple declaration is humbling. I can only aspire to that.

Sometimes I find someone who is really upset, and very hard to deal with. Once I find out the root cause of their frustration, and let them know I want to do anything possible to help, they almost always calm down. People, in general, aren’t that nasty on purpose, they just want to know that they are heard and also to know they aren’t powerless. That’s been a very good lesson for me. It’s enough to make me want to go the extra mile, help as much as I can, and if I can’t help, give them any other options or information available.

Among the hours of answering questions and dealing with boredom, I feel so privileged to witness certain things. So grateful to be a small help, and to touch a life, even for a moment.

I have found, most of all, that it’s good to be the person who spends time explaining a difficult concept and who is allowed to treat an elder with the respect that they so often lack. If you are reading this, smile at someone today. Offer a kind word. If you already do it, be proud!

A Dimming Mind

My grandmother is nearly 97.

In many ways, she is a lovely person – but at the same time, she has held on to so much of her timidity and worry about life that she has little left at this point. She had to be a strong person when she was younger, and she went through hardships. Sometimes she did everything without a husband to help her, including raising eight kids.

She’s fairly deep in dementia now, and I find it sad to see how so much of her good memories have gone and how she focuses on her worries more than her joys. I think of her when I need a reason to be positive. And I write her letters, so she knows she’s not forgotten. I want to lay up such a store of positive, empowering thoughts that when I am old it will still be there to sustain me, and my twilight will be a good one. In a way, I wrote this bit of free verse for her.

 

lost

the ebbing mind

slips from its moorings

set adrift

without fanfare

a remnant of bitter flavor

acrid on the tongue

memories flow and ripple

through clutching mental fingers

nothing left

to satisfy that need

for steady ground on which to stand

-Rohvannyn Shaw