Clear blue skies

Getting past the weather

When the clear blue sky arrives in the mid-day, the hope is that it will stay all day. Days in which the weather is so beautiful that you cannot feel it. Whether I am cold, or hot, or the sun is full of glare or non-existent. Why do we preface so many conversations with the weather of the day? As if the weather was the catalyst for deep relational connections, we grasp at the clear blue sky.

What happens when there are no conversations that pass through the clearing? What happens when talk is shrouded with the clouds of unspoken feelings? How do I reconcile the loneliness and drudgery of daily life that has no conversation with others? The hermit life of acreage living has reached it’s desperate end. For one like me with no people interaction other than the radio or the reader of my book, the days seems as endless as the clear blue sky.

Quiet and peaceful has become empty and desolate. Becoming mum and numb to the loneliness has made me as relatable as a tree stump. So I have taken up the task of downsizing my belongings. Connections with others is all based on whether any of this junk of mine could become someone else’s treasure. What a bland weather day. The temperature is 55 degrees Fahrenheit and perfect for morning walking. It turns out to be 76 and quite pleasant most of the day.

So what is there to talk about when another hormone headache has me trying to drown it out with caffeine only to realize that’s not really the problem. The ibuprofen does not even work. Why did I have to be the sister that continues on with this visitor into my fifties? No one cares if I still disagree with my monthly guest. Not everyone gets to yank out body parts and end the cycle of hormonal havoc on my thought processes. Waking miles per day and week was suppose to help, I feel like a rotten host as I head out the door with my doodle. Running from my problems again. But it does not work. She reminds me that I really have no choice in the matter at all. What a beautiful shade of blue the sky is today.

In my readings through the past month I came across a quote that I liked. So I had to look of the quote and the owner just to find out more about him. Roger W. Babson was a twentieth century entrepreneur who died the year before I was born. He was the founder of several learning institutions. The one that gave me the most to chuckle about was Utopia University in Kansas. I immediately thought of the “wizard of oz” and his poor choice of this correlation. Then literally laughed aloud at the institutions failure and the quote that I had discovered.

“If things go wrong, do not go with them.”

Mr. Babson, I think I agree!

The clear blue sky often preludes the windy mid-day breezes. And my body being it’s sensitive self, does not care much for such gales. Walking against the stiff air often hurts both my skin and my eyes. By the time I return to the still air within the walls of the house, my nerves are on fire. So just because it looks like a beautiful day, looks can be deceiving. I check my weather app to make sure my cap will stay on to shade my eyes. I might be chasing away my own blues, but I am not chasing after my cap.

In the night not too many sleepless hours ago, this poem came to my thoughts while I lay counting the hours away. Insomnia might be another of my unwelcome guests during this time of life, but it will not win. Keeping my brain active with MP3 bible reading and prayer vigils has kept me sane. I think. So while things go wrong with my aging body, i refuse to let my brain go wrong with all those other things!

Wind Lends Wings

Wind lends wings

To seeds from trees

To flowers for bees

Wind lends wings

To cottonwood fuzz

To pollen, it does

Wind lends wings

To whispers in air

To secret love affair

Wind lends wings

To papers and caps

To smoke and ash

Wind lends wings

To aromas and smells

To fragrance that well

Stinging eyes and nose

Filling rooms and groves

Wind lends wings

To clouds and mist

To puppy’s flying disc

Wind lends wings

To leaves and wigs

To branches and twigs

Wind lends wings

To melody

To song

-pome written by Yvonne Annette, June 10, 2019


Dissolving stereotypes

Sometimes it is just as easy to walk four miles as it is to walk three and a half. The sweat begins to roll at two miles so just keep on plodding forward. The creek bottom to the south of us was full into the fields last night after another two and a half inches of rain. Listening to the water run on the descent down the hill was comforting. Listening to the water run out the sump pump hole at my sister’s the night before was so so bliss.

Rain can do wonders for the lilies in the garden. Rural water just does not have the same effect. It is almost like they know it’s just too hot to put on petals that will get beat up in the sun and wind. Then the cloudy days arrive and boom- the blossoms are abundant and gorgeous. Just when it seemed they needed a real drink, the showers gave them the extra boost to load up on flowers for the beholder.

Rain can also damage tender plants. Look at the flooded field and the stunted growth of the corn nearby. Too much water causes root rot, tomato blight, lettuce rust, and fig leaf mold. Just when taco salad sounded wonderful, two more inches of rain turned my salad plans to muddy green mush. Oh, well, maybe next time!

Where is the justice for the “just a”=s? Growing up in a small town, we had a lot of theses people that kept the community fed, clean, oiled, gassed up, and protected. There was a woman who was just a waitress that trained me in all the in’s and out’s to the cafe where I worked. My job at the cafe was a pretty good pass time until the gal that was just a mom came to work. Having had eight or nine children, her ability to multi-task was pretty evident. She soon took over the best hours and I become the care maid. Being just the maid at the local establishment had it’s perks too. Like visiting with my classmates grandparents over the coffee hour.

The man that was just a janitor retired one day. The man that took his place was just a bus driver until he took over the janitorial position at the school. This man’s wife soon though maybe she could be more than just-a-mom and tried life at the cafe the summer that I spent with my sister at the north end of the state. The owner soon had to let her go, when she noticed inventory disappearing for the lady’s family. Her summer job ended with the return of school, myself (for weekend cleanup), and position in the school lunch room. Maybe the school wouldn’t mind if she was a bit more than just-a-cook.

The lady that was such a good multi-talker eventually owned the cafe. Her husband was just the local oil man. While the farmers coop had a gas station and did much of oil and tire changes, this man had the oldest brick building gas stop. It was the first one. Not until I nearly graduated from high school did I get the difference between the two places. One was all republican and Methodist. The other was democrat farmers and catholic. But i wouldn’t say it was just a catholic indrustry on his corner. He actually had the benefit of being right next to the bank and across the street from the bar. You can guess that he didn’t spend his time loitering in the bank.

The fellow that was just-a-hired hand came into the cafe on a regular basis to see his lady-friend that was just -a-waitress. The farmer that put up the new dairy took half the man’s job away as the dairy man that first hired him sold all the cows to the new dairy. They sat at opposite ends of the restaurant for their coffee. One sat at the bar/counter, while the other sat at a table. A few minutes later the coffee crowd arrived in and all sat at a separate table. Each man had his usual.

There was a group of ladies that came in for coffee and pie once a week. They say near the wall. One of them was just a mom, wife, and checker at the local grocer’s store. The others had worked as teacher’s or other occupations until retirement. One of the gal’s lived in “just a trailer house.” She was a cousin to the guy that sold the cows. She was a sister-in-law to my best friend of the group. Her house was on the lot one block east of the house that I grew up in. While i delivered paper to my friend in the large two and half story house, and also to her cousin, I never thought of her as living in just a trailer house.

Being just a home- school mom … Really?

Just a pinky toe.

While walking recently, my old grandma feet have decided to play tic tac with my toes. Wo taping the curly ones is a new chore. While on my four mile this morning, thoughts of the pinko toe ran through my head. This poor little appendage takes the brunt of the blows way too often. How many others have found door wars, footstools, table legs, or lego towers with this little toe. Yet the little piggy takes the hits over and over. It has not left the job of hanging on to the corner of the foot. It has not considered the justice of this crashes and while it swells and aches for a day or tow, it does not quit. The job of the pinky toe continues on.

The janitor might clean toilets, floors, windows, and chairs day after day. But if you have ever broken a bone or had some other calamity that kept you from keeping house, it doesn’t take long to wish you could hire a maid. Some people hire all the dirty work done by some one wo is just a house keeper. I prefer to do it myself. Actually…

Now that the tasks that used to be easy for me become harder, I wish I was just a pinky toe. This little piggy cried wee-wee-wee all the way home from my four mile walk. There is not justice in taking the blow for the entire body. Yet that curled little digit does it day after day. Dissolving into a fit of giggles when someone touches it could be a completely different cry of “Whee! Whee! Whee!”

Maybe I can’t dissolve a stereotype in a cup of tea, but the whole point of being just a grandpa is rather ludicrous. There are now robot maids, robot lawn mowers, robot secretaries, and even robot radio/weather channel/ clock/ and encyclopedias. There is no intention on my part to throw out the echo dot machine in my home, but if I could erase the conception that there is no purpose to life outside of my role as mother, wife, gardener, housekeeper, maid, cook, butler, baker, candle stick maker, and all of the other jobs that I do. Well, I am trying hard to BE instead of being what I do.

Sometimes Joy makes me cry. Sometimes pain. Sometimes we laugh so hard we cry. Sometimes what we do makes us cry and sometimes what we can not do makes us cry. Tears on the face dissolve like mist after rain. Yes, like mist dissolves into the rain, just after the storm the sun shines again. Stereotypes that others hold can cause pain like a flooding rain. “Will the sun ever shine again?”

Not just a journal keeper, writing is not a chore to accomplish before the dishes are done. Every little toe has a reason for being where it sticks out at- not just like a sore thumb either.

Minimum Maintenance

Road closed ahead

This morning we find the cooler air inviting. It invites us to attempt that four mile walk again. The other day we left the yard and headed north only to have Molasses follow us and have to return with a cat in tow. At one mile he was tired of running to catch us and began crying. The next two days it rained and we had to do stay home.

The air is cool and damp. I find a reflective vest for myself and stuff my fanny pack with treats and my inhaler. Honey dances and prances trying to tug on the leash and pull me her way. This is her way of saying “Hurry Up! I have been ready forever.” She is so happy to go with me. We head north again and feel the gentle breeze on our faces. Her nose is very busy. The atypical light breeze is so lovely.

There are only two vehicles before we turn to go east. They see my vest and slow way down. I think I’ll tell Gavin to get me a smaller one that fits better. This one is the vest he forgot to take off at work the day he was angry at a supervisor. It really needs to be washed. It smells like EDM oil and burned plastic.

Heading east we pass the cat-tail bottom. There are no cat tails yet. The frogs croak quite loudly at us. Honey smells an animal track. I tell her to leave it. The rest of this mile is uneventful. We pass the neighbor’s driveway and the hay field. The silence is so peaceful. The traffic on the interstate two miles further east echoes over the tops of our heads.

We arrive at the corner to head south. Honey doesn’t even have to be told to turn right. She just does it. There are some birds arguing on this mile. The meadowlark, the whipporwhirl, the chickadees, the sparrows, and the killdeer all sing their song of warning to us. I always love the sound of the bird who says “I’m over here- don’t look over there!” And other favorite cry is the “Pretty bird! Listen to me-me-me-me!”

The north to south route seems to take forever. I don’t know why it seems like such a long mile. Probably because there are no groves or driveways or any thing to break the space up. The only thing to notice on the mile is sounds and the last truck tracks.

My daughter helped me tape up my two toes that like to slide under the other. But on this mile my pinky on my right food decides to slide under also. The needles that poke me because of this hurt. I stop to do some stretches while Honey smells a track. She is enjoying the walk better than I am at this point.

We arrive at the minimum maintenance road. They have added a large warning “Road Closed.” I decide that we should have gone south and the been able to turn around rather than have to wade through the puddle. “Poodles and Doodles don’t like puddles,” I say. Honey ignores me and marches west right towards the sound of the running water.

Yep, this road is definitely minimally maintained. The two culverts are in desperate need of repair. No one lives on the road however, so it is not a priority. The five inches of rain have done a much damage to the road. There are holes and running water in five different places. Walking the road is okay so far. We just go around the holes. Well, I do. Honey goes right up to them and checks out the sound.

I am thankful the snapping turtle that my neighbor saw the other day has decided the road is not place for her today. That would not have been a good encounter. I didn’t see Any tracks of hers. We saw some small prints of coyote or fox. We also saw the deer tracks in the bottom on the south road. But I was more concerned with how deep the mud would be. As we pass the old abandoned acreage, I see ahead the bottom is indeed wet. Oh well. Tennis shoes wash.

Honey is most interested in the deer tracks. They are quite fresh. Within the hour, I tell her that it is the deer who was eating our plum tree. She wags her tail at me for talking to her. No worries though if the deer tracks are still in the puddle ahead, it should not be over my toes when we plod though it.

The water makes it’s way into my socks as we take on the puddle. I really hate wet feet. The mud does not affect my girl. She just keeps moving forward. I look back at the water and am surprised at how wet it looks from the opposite side. For sure we would have turned around if I had chosen to go south first from the home place rather than north.

When the minimum maintenance turns into a closed road, what path do you take? Would you plod though the water to get to other side? Would you turn around and go back the long way home? Honey and I chose the short route and just push through the mud puddle.

Miry blog.

Isn’t there a verse about that? My mind searches my memory bank all the last mile. We are back on the black top and must listen for vehicle sounds again. There is one semi-trailer to interrupt my searching thought. I am home, have fed the dog, petted the cat and drank another cup of coffee before I remember the passage.

Psalms 40: 2 says “He drew me up front he pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set me feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.” (ESV) The miry bog.

Miry bog. Miry. wow- who uses that word these days?


For a total of 20 steps there was miry bog. I will not focus on the trouble that rainwater gave to our path. The rest of the walk is so enjoyable. In spite of the wet socks and the muddy feet. I feel secure walking with my friend. She keeps me plodding forward when the road gets tough. But more than a good companion, the One who pulls me out of the pit is the Lord. His deliverance from the “muck and mire” of life is more like rocks that rise above the mire. His stepping stones through the the miry bog keep me secure.

My faith cannot be minimally maintained. I need these therapeutic walks every few days. Time to reflect and just be. While it is fun to look ahead and look back, being in the moment while I walk with Honey keeps me sane. She sees and smells and warns me of holes and puddles. The Lord is my steady road through all the muck and the mire of life.