Defeat The Drearies

You say your head aches? You’ve got a runny nose and your ears are stopped up so bad you can’t hear yourself burp? Add to all that you got the bloat and your back hurts something terrible? You’ve taken aspirins for the headache, used up a whole box of tissues on your nose, and took something to make you burp louder but overall you still feel like something the cat dragged in? And this describes one of your better days?

Well, why not shun the pills, the gas relief glop, and all the other do-nothing remedies for awhile. Instead, limp on out to the car, groaning loudly of course, and head for an appointment with Momma Nature. I have found that sometimes even a very short commune with the fresh outdoors can accomplish more for a person than all the “wonder drugs” in the world.

If at all possible try to find a grove of trees where you can be alone. Just you and the natural world. Find a tree that seems inviting to you. Sit down and lean back against it. Maybe take off your shoes and socks and wiggle your toes in the dirt.

Try and relax your body totally. Talk to the Nature Spirits. Talk to the trees. Talk to the dirt. Talk to God. Whatever seems right for the moment. Even if you feel silly, do it anyway. Enjoy yourself and don’t worry about anything.

Breathe deeply of the fresh air. Try and feel all the pains, stress, and whatever else is bothering you begin to seep out of your body. Close your eyes and allow it to happen.

The results may surprise you.

In The Woods

It happened in the woods. I remember it as if it took place just yesterday. My first major up close and personal experience with the unseen.

It wasn’t that I had never been around trees. Houston, being only 50 miles from the coast, had lots of rain and fog. Perfect for lush growth of all kinds of trees and plants. Heck, there were trees in our back yard. But this place was different. This was dense woods. More nearly a thicket. The parents of my best friend, who lived two houses from me, owned this undeveloped land near the banks of Buffalo Bayou and they had invited me to go there with them for a day.

When we arrived I immediately found myself in completely unexpected surroundings. As I turned slowly in a circle I saw pure, wild, unblemished Nature. All kinds and sizes of trees with a variety of other plant life covering most of the ground. I was speechless. I was thrilled. I just stood there awe-struck with my mouth hanging open. I was brought out of my daze by my friend tugging on my sleeve and telling me to follow him. He said he wanted to take me to a special place he had found. He said it was magical.

As we walked along a dim path the plant life got even more lush, for we were getting closer to the bayou. Soon, the path took a sharp turn and suddenly we were in a small clearing. It was completely surrounded by dense foliage and had an otherworldly air about it. There was what appeared to be the remains of an old wall, built out of large moss covered stones. Just behind it was a huge tree with long beards of Spanish Moss hanging down from its limbs.

Quietly we made our way over to the wall and sat on a low, flat bolder that was nearby. My friend reached down and removed his shoes and socks, indicating I should do the same. Not a word was said between us. We just sat there in silence, wiggling our bare toes in the moist earth and drinking in the atmosphere of the place…and atmosphere it most certainly had.

Suddenly, there was something very special there. I felt it arrive. I closed my eyes as it wrapped its specialness around me and held me close. I could hear occasional hints of the most beautiful music. There was an almost overpowering presence of love and caring that filled me with an incredible warmth and sense of well-being.

I don’t know how long we sat there for time seemed to stand still. Eventually we heard my friend’s mother calling for us to come and eat lunch. We opened our eyes, quickly put our socks and shoes back on, and reluctantly left that place.

What did I encounter that day in the woods? I didn’t know what it was but it touched me deeply. Soul deep in fact. I was very young, but whoever or whatever it was, I knew I liked it and wanted more.

And so, on that magical day, in that magical place, so many years ago, I took my first step on what I call my path to forever.

Caves

I’ve visited a number of caves over the years and as I sit here thinking about it there is one question that stands out.

That question is, “Why? Why did I go to all of those caves?”

I don’t like caves. I didn’t enjoy any of them. In fact, I was quite nervous the whole time I was in them. The idea of being far below the surface with all those tons of rock over my head gave me a case of “the willies.”

For someone who gets creeped out by caves I have gone through a lot of them. Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, Diamond Cave in Arkansas, and Cave of the Winds in Colorado. And in Texas I’ve visited Natural Bridge Caverns and Wonder Cave.

Now I will admit most of those caves were beautiful, but as I said, they were nerve wracking for me.

No more! Give me a nice and reasonably well lit nature trail through a forest and I’m happy.

carlsbad-226252_640

How Not To Photograph A Creek

During the years I lived in the Dallas area my favorite spot to go on my days off was a neat little place in Oklahoma, not very far past the state line.

It’s called Turner Falls. The waterfall there is simply beautiful. There are lots of hiking trails and things to explore.

Adventures? Oh yeah, and on one visit I managed to have one that was typical. I was photographing the creek considerably below the falls and decided I wanted to get a view from the middle of the creek. It was rather shallow and I found a place where I could step on several large rocks and actually be right in the middle of the flow without getting wet.

As I stood there, intent on focusing my camera, a splash of cold creek water hit my right ankle. Without thinking I quickly moved my foot. My balance was already precarious and that sudden movement resulted in my rear-end landing in the icy cold water of the creek. The people who were watching said they had never seen such wild scrambling to get back to dry land. I wasn’t hurt but from the waist down I was wet and miserable.

By the way, just as I plopped into the creek I accidentally clicked the shutter. The resulting picture was of my left foot just as it hit the water.

That was the first and last time I ventured into the middle of a creek with a camera.

San Antonio

One summer when I was still quite young my mother and dad took my sister and I to San Antonio.

I had gotten my very own Kodak Brownie camera for Christmas and I was going to finally get to really try it out.

We visited all of the tourist spots and historic places. The Alamo, the rose window at Mission San Jose, the Chinese Sunken Gardens at Breckenridge Park, and the Buckhorn Saloon.

But the river walk appealed to me most of all. It instantly became my favorite place. We walked the entire length of it, crossed a footbridge and walked back to where we had started. After re-crossing the river we had dinner at the Casa Rio.

A few days ago I came across some of the pictures I took there with my Brownie Camera on 127 black and white Verichrome film. Some of them were considerably better than what I produce today with my fancy digital outfit.

Note: The image below is from the internet…not from my Brownie camera.

walk-292995_1280

Weeds

I like weeds. They’re hardy and will grow just about anywhere. They don’t require tilling and feeding with some special fertilizer. Lots of them are good to eat and many have beautiful flowers.

I don’t know why weeds got such a bad rap. It it weren’t for them some places would be really barren, funky looking affairs. Consider how dreary those wonderful high mountain meadows would be without all those wildflowers (weeds) ablaze with their blooms.

During those dry summers when the lawn of St. Augustine grass looks bedraggled the crabgrass can be counted on to remain nice and green. And, of course, we can always depend on dandelions to proliferate and supply a good show of yellow flowers.

I like weeds. God created them so He certainly must think they are important. I’m not inclined to question God’s opinion?

So…all together now…let’s hear it for the weeds. “Yea weeds. Live long and prosper.”

The Dandelion Sower

The owner of the duplex hates dandelions. He considers them a blasted nuisance, spreading all over his precious lawn. He says they multiply worse than rabbits. He spends hour after hour digging them up. He tells his tenant next door he can’t figure out where they all come from.

The tenant loves dandelions. Everything about them is wonderful. They make great additions to a salad and hot dandelion tea can’t be beat. And then there are the beautiful yellow blooms. Ah, but the seeds. They are a special delight the way the breeze can scatter them about. What a wonderful thing.

As the afternoon winds down and dusk approaches the landlord finishes his dandelion digging and retires to his home for the night.

Hearing that door close the tenant opens his and steps outside. He eases off the porch and heads down the road to a large meadow not too far away. It’s one of his favorite places and it’s full of dandelions. After sitting amongst them for awhile he arises and begins his return walk to his home.

Upon arrival however, before going inside, he smiles and quietly walks all around the lawn gently sowing all those seeds he brought back with him.