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Monthly Archives: November 2013

Here I am nearing the end of my vacation. Not unlike the vacations of the past few years. Most of them don’t turn out the way that I have them envisioned.  However, I did enjoy some much needed relaxation and rest.

This is the time of year that I get to sit down and enjoy some special time with a few of the folks near and dear to my heart.  One of the only times of the year that I ever get the sense that I am a part of a family. Having a pretty little freckle face girl call me Uncle Ron fills me with joy. Hearing the laughter at comments I make while letting a fine meal settle reminds me of the Thanksgiving times of my youth. Memories of some of my favorite gatherings.

I hope in some small way I’ve been a part in making memories for these young ones too. Something they can hold to long after I’m gone.  These special times along with time spent with my adopted older brother are what keeps me going. Those early morning laughter filled phone calls light up my heart much like the rising sun.

There are yet other family members that I have. They have fur and four legs.  Sitting on a rock in the middle of a patch of woods today brought me much joy. The little dog that accompanied me brings me great comfort. The vision of watching her working her nose. The potential that she has bred into her. Now to unlock that potential.

My other furry four legged friend was happy to see us upon our return. A dog is always grateful to see you. Period. They give you unconditional love. There is truth to the phrase that they are man’s best friend.

Time spent alone in nature is never wasted. Opening my mind to all those hounds of my past. The memories that thirty-six year old shotgun bring.  The lessons learned through the decades of wandering the hills, hollows, bottomland and riverbanks of Tennessee are priceless. Each step is filled with memories and lessons yet to learn.

As much as the interactions I’ve had with others over the years have moulded me. These times spent alone in nature are responsible for making me the way I am.

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Crisp bluebird skies gave the impression of springtime. One short breath of the frigid air reminded me of the reality of late fall.  The season in which I feel most alive.  Oddly enough I was headed to the cemetery.  Somehow feeling alive urges me to visit the grave of my Daddy.  He lives on in memories that I hold to dearly.  The site of his burial is down the hill from a spot he spent much of his time during the 50’s and 60’s.

Every visit I make to his grave puts my mind into overdrive. Days like yesterday are pleasing to me.  Days when I don’t have to be anywhere. Days in which I have time to wander and wonder.  Driving down roads that are filled with memories.  Passing through time as if they recently occurred.  These journeys are often painful. Yet it’s that pain that keeps me company.  The ever-present  reminder.

Wandering aimlessly I found myself nearing the workplace of someone near and dear to me.  After a phone conversation I learned that they had company in from out of town.  These people are family. They love me unconditionally as such. They are in the tiny elite group that I depend on.  I worked my way to their house and spent the rest of me evening there.

I’m fairly certain that it has been a couple years since I’ve seen their daughter.  She lovingly refers to me as the big brother she never wanted. We pick and pester one another like siblings do.  She fusses at her mother. Her mother sets her straight.  Her two beautiful daughters keep us entertained.  Picking and laughing and fussing. It was a fun filled night. A night I will cherish. A night of feeling like and truly being family.

Later today I will experience this yet again. I am fortunate enough to spend the evening with a lifelong friend. Someone that knows both good and bad about me. I am amazed daily that we survived our sixteenth year on this earth.  Man did we have fun.  I get to be immersed in the love of family here too. His beautiful wife and wonderful children are precious gifts that I have been blessed with.  The visiting. The food. The stories. The catching up.  The smiles of that pretty little freckle face girl. My heart will be running over with happiness.

Also today I’ll be thinking of some folks who don’t live close by. People who are extremely important and special to me. People in other states. People I don’t see near enough. People that have opened  their home to me as a refuge. Someone I call my brother. Someone I respect and love along with his wonderful girlfriend. Good people that mean more than they’ll ever know.

I think of another couple today. A couple that moved a short distance away. They mean the world to me as well. Showing me that they cared. Sticking beside me through some of the darkest times of my life. People that I am forevermore indebted to. People that accept me without question.

Finally I think of someone who has been a part of my life since junior high school. Someone that I could never replace. Someone who I don’t spend near enough time with. Simply knowing they are there is the most comforting of all. Knowing that I’m here for her no matter what. Being the on to get that phone call. Hearing the tears or the laughter. Filling me with love.

I’m truly blessed to have this small group. They each are a part of my life for a reason. They happened into my life and left their permanent  mark upon me. These people may not be blood kin, but they are more closely connected to me than almost anyone else upon this planet. They are my compass and map. They are my dousing rod. They are my whipping post. They keep my together when I can’t do it myself.

Today is Thanksgiving Day here in America. A day to be thankful. I’ve been abundantly blessed in oh so many ways throughout my life. The most valuable of blessings are these people.

 

There once was a time that vacations took planning. For months they were planned out. What would my destination be? What will I take? How will I get there?  Will I ask anyone to join me?

I’ve reached a point in life that I don’t plan out things very far ahead, if at all. Being the lone caregiver for my elderly Mother and Aunt doesn’t afford me that luxury. It seems if I try to plan things that means a certain impending cancellation.  I think it’s better to simply fly by the seat of my pants anyway.

Being on a schedule five nights a week causes me to not want any such planning when I’m off work.  Sure I’ll have a general idea of what I want to do. But if if doesn’t pan out I try not to be too pissed off about it.

Thanks to social media I’ve been able to see what’s going on at a place I once couldn’t wait to be. There were a few years that I loved trekking to West Virginia to deer hunt over the Thanksgiving week. I carry some very fond memories of those times.  There are a few other such memories as well.

I haven’t been one to participate in the month long giving of thanks in social media posts. I try to be thankful daily for the blessings I’ve received.  Honestly there have been many.  Far more than I deserve for sure.  The biggest of blessings have been a handful of people.  People that have remained my friends. People who are my family.  People who love and accept me in spite of myself.  It’s not easy doing so.

In this time of the year when the days are short and the nights are long we tend to reflect. Pulling up memories of years since past on. It’s bitter sweet. There are those we love dearly who’ve gone before. Forever leaving an emptiness within our hearts. There are those who simply don’t communicate with us anymore.  For reasons  known only to them, they come around no more. Still we hold them within our hearts. Hanging to that dangling thread of hope. Someday they will reconnect.  Never knowing if it will be so.

For all the joy, happiness and love that circles about this time of year there is also heartache and sorrow. Remember that it’s not a wonderful time for everyone.  For some it drives the knife deeper into the wounds.

Still there are new beginnings. Budding friendships. Tender relationships working their way through the fertile soil of our souls.  Giving off the glimmer of hope. Projecting the possibilities that lie before us.

So I take these few days off to rest my weary body and soul. Feeling refreshed and anew. Thinking of the ones I love both old and new. The special people who left their mark on my being. All those who took the time to shape and mold the man I’ve become.  Occasionally stumbling across yet another artisan who has just the right tool to make their mark. Strong enough to remove but a little of that rust on my outer shell.

Taking a few moments to slow down  your life to reflect and study is never a bad thing. Some do it while enjoying a good cigar or pipe. Some do it while partaking in their favorite adult beverage. Some do it while holding the warmth of a pet. Others use a steaming hot cup of coffee or tea.

Often I use such as a timer. A personal limitation to the amount of time I intend to allow myself. Perhaps I use them as a means of making myself take a certain amount of time. Making sure that it is not too little.

The subjects of these reflections are many. In doing such I have come to the realization that I cannot control everything. Those wild and wooly things are the ones that need to be set free. They will find their own pathway. They will live their own life. In time they will die their own death.

The things at hand are on my plate at the moment. Not unlike a fine meal they tempt my pallet. The flavors they exude capture my breath. Some share a wonderful bouquet. Others repulse and sicken. Each serves a purpose. A lesson to be learned.

Much the same as people. They come into and go out of our lives. The timetable is often unknown. Some exit far too soon.  Others remain far too long. Lingering as a foul oder.  All drop traces of their time. Bread crumbs used as fodder for memories.

Some have such a subtle presence yet make a profound impact upon us. Taxing our very core. Unlocking our minds to see that which is right before us. Loosening the snare encircling the tips of our tongues. The words pour out as do the contents of a wine bottle. Well aged. Albeit unappreciated by all but those with the most discerning of tastes.

Take the time to take some time. You deserve it.

Decades ago I was introduced to fire. There has always been something soothing yet fierce about it.  The way the flames dance about mesmerize me. Always have. In fact few can escape the spell of fire.  The warm glow pulls you in like a moth to a porch light.

Building fires has always been rewarding for me. Learning many ways of igniting that flame was oh so fun growing up. Using magnifying glasses, batteries and steel wool and flint were but a few.  Making that spark grow into a flame. Then on to being a roaring fire.

The secret to a good fire is all in the material. Taking the time to pick the punk wood. Finding a good cedar tree to shred some bark off of. Placing the tiny twigs in such a fashion as to let them breath and burn. Having plenty of little stuff to keep the small fire going.  Placing them twig by twig. Then slowly putting on larger pieces. Twigs go to sticks. Sticks go to pieces. Pieces go to full on logs.

Taking the time to think out the process. Painstakingly gathering enough material. Slowly building up the flame. With the ultimate result of that wonderful glow coming from the fire. The blue and white coals pulsating to their own beat. The heat bending the air. Making the view into the depths of the flame unclear. Yet staring into a fire has been the means to clearing many a person’s mind.

Somewhere within the warmth, popping, hissing  and crackling we find comfort. It soothes our soul.  Providing a reason to join together. Invitations to one and all. Sitting around a fire has sparked conversations covering every topic known to man. Even sitting alone beside a fire allows us to converse with our inner voice. For some it can even be a spiritual connection. Offering a path of communication to our creator.

All of our focus isn’t on the fire. You see the heat that draws us near also pushes us away. Once the front of your body is warmed to the point of a minor scald, it’s time to turn. Warming our backside allows up an excellent time to look around. It’s the warmth that made us see our surroundings. Lest you forget, there is a grand star filled sky above.

Taking pause to gander to the heavens. Seeing those same constellations that have guided man for all time. Before the modern marvel of GPS technology the stars were the roadmap to the world. Soon our rears are all but on fire. Once again it’s time to look within.

We all have that fire inside. We can use it as our guide. For you see, looking within causes us to see what’s around us. Seeing what’s around us causes us to look within.

Feed your fire

The Fall of the year has always been one of my favorite times. The crisp coolness of the night air brings back so many memories. The beauty of the changing leaves fuels my hunger for the times of old. Some folks feel that the Fall of the year is sad. Not me. I never have.  The colors are vibrant and showing their flair. The clearness of the air removes any filtration of those colors. 

I always think back longingly of the many Falls growing up. Time spent roaming the hills and hollows of my beloved Tennessee. Chasing squirrels on the weekend mornings. Running my Bluetick Coonhounds at night. Hearing the beautiful sound of a bawl mouth echoing through the night.  In those dark hollows it seems the whole world can hear their music. The excitement of a young hound opening on the track for the first time. Often I’ve wondered if the older hounds felt proud when that happened. 

Not unlike the generations of hounds roaming those woods, my old man and uncle took the time to pass along the love of the hounds. Building skills lost far too often in these modern times.  Finding comfort in the night. Seeing the signs that nature had laid before us. A hands on type of schooling unlike any other. 

Certainly Fall brings the ending of lives. Yes those colorful leaves fall slowly and elegantly to their death. In doing so they provide nutrients. Breaking down so that they provide a foundation for the stately trees towering over the forrest floor. Hard as it is to believe, they start from a meager seed. Against all odds the grow. Through drought and flood. Thirstily eeking out the strength to grow through drought. Surviving the harshness of winter’s frost and freeze. 

Affording wildlife a means of sustenance. Deer, squirrels, coon and songbirds are but a few of God’s creatures who live their day to day lives because of the trees. The Fall is when many of these creatures reproduce. It’s the flirtatious frolicking of the Fall that brings the fawns of the spring. Those fawns grow into the mature bucks and does that hunters harvest to fill their freezers. The wonderful meat is enjoyed along with many a conversation. Reliving the thrill of the hunt. Sharing favorite recipes. 

Hopefully you can see that those lowly leaves drifting slowly down to their death are yet alive. An afterlife if you will. Their sacrifice brings sustenance to the world. One small sacrifice that makes all the difference. 

What a weekend! Had a couple days off and boy howdy did I enjoy them.  Not everything worked out the way I had hoped it would. I suppose it worked out the way it needed to be. I really wouldn’t know what to do if there weren’t a few catches in everything that I plan to do.

Like always there were a couple of bumps in the road.  Thankfully I was able to accomplish a couple things as well as put out a couple of fires that popped up.  It seems there’s always something smoldering in the ashes.  A fire is never completely out until is is buried  under an ocean of water. Even then I’m not so sure.

Wounds sometimes fester and open back up long after  we think they are healed up and scarred over.  Who knew scars could bust open and pour forth the poison from those old wounds?  Lesson learned I suppose.

The most recent wound that busted open unexpectedly came from FaceBook. It seems people have started commenting and liking a photo of my daughter from back in 2010. I have no idea what brought this to light. Unfortunately I think that’s the last time that I was able to see and spend time with my daughter.  There have only been one or two brief conversations with her since then as well.

My door and heart are always open to her. She made the choice to shut me out of her life. She decided to not communicate with me. I’ve tried everything and every way to be in her life. Nothing has worked. Someday hopefully God will soften her heart and give her the desire to have me be a part of her life. I hope she can find peace from all the hatred she harbors toward me.

The pain and misery that is the massive void in my life cannot be described.  Not knowing the reason why is crippling. For if I knew why I could find a way to fix it. But I don’t so I can’t. Plus this cannot be fixed by me alone.

This isn’t what I had in mind for this post today. But our journey through life doesn’t always lead us down the pathways that we intend to travel either.  I am but one lone traveller passing through this journey of life.

Ronman