A Porch of My Own

A Porch of My Own

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Paths I Know

Live Oak
The cold dreary weather and family commitments have kept me from walking the woods around my little cabin these last few weeks. I am beginning to feel a real longing for taking my cedar loppers and making the rounds. 
I miss the smell of the cedar-scented air and the brisk breeze against my face. I miss the sun reflecting off the limestone hills and the crackling of the dried Spanish oak leaves on the ground. 

I miss the silence. 

I miss the ravens that fly over every day to see if I have left any food scraps out that they might like. I miss how I can try to duplicate their cry and they will converse back and forth with me. I wonder what we are saying.

I miss how the longhorns stand at the fence when it is feeding time, patiently waiting for someone to come and fill their feed pans. I wonder if they stand there every morning and evening when I am not there and how long they wait.

I miss the way I can turn in any direction in my little cabin and see out a window.

I miss sitting at the counter drinking my coffee and looking outside to see what is stirring in the yard.

I miss watching the twin fawns I've seen grow up all year.

I miss the 80 to 100 wild turkeys that surround the yard every day or so, moving from the water troughs to the deer feeders to the bird feeders to the turkey feeders. The gobblers are starting to strut their stuff and make their gobbling sounds.

I miss the way the rest of the world and its problems and pettiness disappear when I am surrounded by these things.

I miss the way the full moon shines through the window by the bed, lighting it up enough to read a book without turning a light on.

I miss the blue of the sky that you only see when you are in a dry climate.

I miss the way the sun sets over the top of the trees spreading an orange and red glow over the clouds.    

It's time to go home.

"I want to go home, to the dull old town, with the shaded street, and the open square, and the hill, and the flats, and the house I love, and the paths I know. I want to go home."
Paul Kester

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Teach Your Children Well...

Just some thoughts I had today on what I hope my children and grandchildren have learned from me. It's always best if they learn things by watching you, but I hope when I have failed in that area that they have at least been told enough to have it stick. I know some of these things they learned from my parents and from people they met along the way in life.

Sword of Orion
1. We are not each the center of the universe. Not even of our universe. While it is great to feel good about yourself and your value, don't let that make you self-centered.

2. What is inside is more important than what is outside. You can't always judge a book by its cover.

3. We should help others less fortunate than ourselves. "If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one."  ~Mother Teresa

4. It is better to err on the side of compassion that to be right in our assumption that people don't deserve our compassion. "When death, the great Reconciler, has come, it is never our tenderness that we repent of, but our severity." George Eliot

5. If you give a homeless person $5 and he buys beer instead of food, that is not your concern. Maybe on that day he needs a beer more than he needs a burger. In any case, you have done your part to give charity. It then rests on that person. Charity should not come with strings attached. Just do it and wish them well.

6. What goes around, comes around. My dad stopped and changed so many flat tires for stranded people, and that has made it's way around to come back to someone helping me.

7. "In about the same degree as you are helpful, you will be happy." ~Karl Reiland

Rickie is not afraid to laugh at himself.
8. Laugh a lot, and mostly at yourself.  

9. In some way, stay close to the earth. Look closely at butterflies and trees.  In you have any room, plant a garden and work in it yourself. If you don't have room, make trips to the country. Sit on a riverbank. Lay on your back and look at the tree above your head. Know that you are part of the whole of nature. And not necessarily the most important part. 

10. Work with your hands in some way. Be proud of those chipped fingernails and dirty hands. Don't have someone else do all your dirty work for you even if you can afford it. 

11. Others may have different opinions that yourself. Try to understand why they would feel that way. The things that shaped their life may not be the same things that shaped yours. I have one governing thought on whether to accept other opinions or not. It is whether that opinion is produced by hate and whether it concludes that one race, gender, class, sex, religion, or person is more important and "better" than another one simply based on the race, gender, class, sex, or religion. These type of opinions I don't accept.

12. There are many different ways to live life. If a culture is different than what you are used to that fact alone doesn't make it wrong and you right. 

13. Treat others as you would like to be treated. If you will do this one thing, then the other things will automatically occur. 

14. Enjoy life. While there is much to be depressed about, offset every downer with an upper or you will be a miserable person to yourself and others. There is both good and bad in the universe, and I like to think that good will prevail, the ring will be delivered by the Hobbit, and a gardener will save the world when the Hobbit loses his way.

Our garden last Spring

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Images from the holidays...

It was another beautiful holiday season at the ranch. Thought I would share some of the images from winter there.

"There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you.... In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.  ~Ruth Stout

"If happiness truly consisted in physical ease and freedom from care, then the happiest individual would not be either a man or a woman; it would be, I think, an American cow." William Lyon Phelps

"For the animal shall not be measured by man.In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not bretheren; they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the Earth: 
-- Henry Beston

This little lamb and his mom belong to my neighbor. The little lamb was only a few days old. 

"If all the beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts also happens to the man.  All things are connected.  Whatever befalls the Earth befalls the sons of the Earth." Chief Seattle of the Suquamish Tribe, letter to President Franklin Pierce

"My first copies of Treasure Island and Huckleberry Finn still have some blue-spruce needles scattered in the pages. They smell of Christmas still." 
~ Charlton Heston (1923- ), American film actor. 

"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time for home."  ~Edith Sitwell

"Our prime purpose is life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them."
Dalai Lama

(Photo - Llama guards the sheep and lambs)