Thursday, January 30, 2014

What's The Weather?

Oh, it’s not that cold outside. That’s what I thought a few days ago, and I had to laugh. When does twenty-two degrees feel comfortable? Answer: when you’re used to the daytime temperatures hovering around the single digits, with below zero wind chill factors. You know there’s an arctic freeze in town when veteran Chicagoans close schools for two days. Brrr! The past two mild winters failed to prepare us for frequent visits from polar vortexes, but nothing on earth compares to these temperature fluctuations:


We can forget how much we need and depend on the sun. Someone stated that if we’re floating in space where the sun shines, we would feel boiling temperatures. If we’re on the dark side of earth, well, that’s where we’d turn into human icicles. Does it make you feel better to hear spring arrives in less than eight weeks? I suspect we’re all anticipating warmer days when we can bask in the sun. How will you celebrate?


Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Whistle, A Siren, And A Waltz?

I’m sitting on the couch anticipating the shriek. I barely get a warning. One minute I’m waiting, and the next minute a squeal pierces the silence. I leap up and grab the tea kettle from the stove, hoping to prevent the whistling from waking the rest of the family.

Have you ever noticed how easily situations can catch you off-guard? For instance, picture yourself driving through your community enjoying the serenity of a sunny day. Before you know it, a wailing police car’s siren warns you to move to the side of the road. If you’re fortunate, the car speeds by to deal with a crisis that doesn’t involve you. We expect some events, like weddings, to progress in predictable ways. We think we know what’s coming next, except in cases like this:


Ha! Bet you didn’t anticipate that kind of performance. Now that’s a wedding moment the guests will never forget. Even common events like whistling kettles, wailing sirens and a waltzing father and daughter can catch us off-guard.  Sometimes ordinary situations change and topple our natural expectations.  What has surprised you?          

Friday, January 17, 2014

Throwbacks, Flashbacks, and Old School

I’m old school, baby! How many times have you heard that saying? If it’s said with enough bravado, old school sounds cool. People often think old school means you’re behind the times, but it might mean that you do your own thing, or march to a different beat. Old school could also refer to someone who uses a typewriter, plays eight track tapes, owns an iPhone 4—or it might refer to this guy:          


Who knew a buffalo could plow fields? The animal cooperated like it understood just what to do and how to do it. At the end of planting season, the farmer must be exhausted—and healthy!  Buffalo plowing is several variations away from using oxen, horses, and tractors, and each method has its pros and cons. Sometimes the old way is the better way.

Maybe you’re old school, too. What do you prefer to do that seems contrary to the prevailing ideas and habits of today’s culture?  

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Within the Sun’s Reach

Earlier this week we awakened to snow blanketing the ground. After days of rain, sleet, slippery streets, and melting, the snow is almost gone. While portions of lawns peek out beneath small mounds of snow, other areas remain bare. Attribute the difference to the sun shining here, and not there. It sounds mundane, but you might be amazed by what else the sun can do. Take a look:

Although I’ve read how the Northern Lights appear in Alaska, Iceland, Norway, and even in parts of the Midwestern United States, I’ve never reflected on the connection between the Lights and the sun’s solar flares. We’re more likely to envision the distant sun offering the warmth we crave in the winter and the intense heat we shun in the summer. The video showed how there’s more to the relationship than that. Solar flares stretching out from the sun resemble cosmic arms embracing the earth. The connection results in the exhilarating beauty displayed by the Northern Lights. Have you heard or experienced anything that seemed commonplace on the surface, but inspired you or melted your heart?       



Thursday, January 2, 2014

Footprints in the Snow

What’s lurking around the corner? The last time it snowed, I spotted a number of tiny footprints dotting our driveway. I can’t tell which animals visited us during the night; one set of prints looked like they belonged to a small mammal, perhaps a fox? We can usually tell when a skunk’s visited, for some reason they feel the need to leave a stinky calling card. Since we seem to live along Deer Crossing Highway, I’m surprised I didn’t see deer tracks from a passing herd.

Did I mention the collision I witnessed? A deer charged across the street and ran smack-dab into a passing car. I’ll spare you the details, not a pretty sight. The interesting point is that two deer were paling around. Both got spooked; one ran away from the street and the other ran into it. The rest is history, a brutally short history for one of them. Be careful who you follow.  Here’s more insight:         
What a great thought for the week. As we end one year and look forward to setting new goals for the next year, it’s worthwhile to reflect on what’s worked well in the past and what we can do better to improve on in the future. What will get you to your destination? As you consider how you’ll reach your goals for the year, it’s good to have a plan. Whose footsteps might you follow?