I would like to make an exchange.

Well, for a long time I thought that was true. I thought being richer or prettier or more loved/lovable would make my life better than the one I had. Maybe itIcon Coaching Royalty Free Stock Image would have, but you know what? As I got a bit older I began to see something I hadn’t noticed before. I couldn’t decide whose life I might want to exchange my life for. No movie star or rich jet setter or runway model, no one.

Now, I’m not perfect, or even close to it, by external Camera eye logo Royalty Free Stock Photosstandards, but I’m the only one who can perfectly be me. I don’t know why being me is so important, and maybe it isn’t in the small picture, but I’ve come to believe that in the grander scheme of things I’m very important, maybe even critical. Irreplaceable. So I’m just one pixel in the 10 megabyte picture but maybe I’m the one pixel that puts the gleam in the light in the eye of the model or something. Or maybe I’m the one pixel that clarifies the whole picture.

I’ll never know, I suppose. But one thing I can say without doubt is that my life has made me me, and I don’t want to exchange that for someone else. So, thank you very much, but I’ve changed my mind. I’ll just take my life and keep it after all.


It’s my opinion that hate, and the anger that so often accompanies iHate fist Royalty Free Stock Photost, even engenders it, are secondary emotions to fear. When humans are fearful they tend to respond with hate and anger. It feels safer than being fearful, it feels more proactive. It matters not if the target of that hate and anger actually has anything to do with causing their fear. They’re afraid, they’re angry and they’ll rationalize that fear and anger onto anything "different" from themselves, anything they think they can "conquer" and therefore make themselves "safe."

There’s much being said on social media right now, about Help us! Stock Imagemass shootings, about children who have been hurt, killed, or maybe put in positions of those things happening. And there is much said about parents who “let” their children get into those positions. The same dynamic is at play here, that if I criticize those parents, if I can prove they’re somehow at fault, my children will be safe, my children will not be hurt.

Sometimes tragedy just happens.

I don’t believe much in fear. There are all sorts of philosophical and spiritual "preachers" who can explain that better than I. I don’t believe thCaught in the Storm Stock Photoere’s anything to fear. Nothing can harm the core of Who and What I am. Of course, that’s a belief that can be hard to hang onto when the ego takes over but for the most part I can more or less live by it. I think when people are unsure of where their next meal will come from, when they wonder if they’ll still have a home to go to at the end of the day, all the existential things that seemingly make life worth living, they become fearful and then angry and often, hateful.

I have my own anger issues right now, over injustice and the widespread hatred of "other," and Chronic Back Pain Royalty Free Stock Imageseven this dam’ chronic pain issue that’s personal. I don’t know if using the anger to engender energy is the answer or somehow the reverse. I do believe that all the junk that’s going on right now around the world is the death throes of a lesser way of being and will eventually lead to a more evolved way of being. I’m just not sure I want to wait that long, if it will even be during my lifetime, or what.

There is a children’s story, by Neale Donald Walsch, called The Little SouLittle angel Royalty Free Stock Imagesl and the Sun, I think. It tells how very brave and evolved souls agree to be and become people and things that are hateful so other souls can learn how wonderful and loving they really are. And those brave souls ask that they’re not hated because of the parts they play in teaching the other souls their wonderfulness. I really need to remind myself of that too often these days. I don’t really hate anybody or anything as a rule, but the emotion of anger can be very close to that, as can being judgmental.

I have so much work to do on myself……




Horse Sense

When I was a toddler after World War II, my parents and grandparents and I moved from the farm into town and I lost some important animals that hadscan0002 been my only friends. I’d had a special bond with the huge and gentle draft horses, Pete and Fred. I would stand and gaze into the shadowy depths of their patient brown eyes, transfixed, sinking deeper and deeper. Sometimes Grandpa would lift me up to one of their damp, sweaty backs while they calmly munched their suppers in the dusty sun-striped gloom of the barn. The hair was itchy scratchy on my bare legs; my fingers gliding over it raised a distinctive damp-dusty odor. I had a panoramic view that was unavailable to me from the ground. Pete and Fred were sold to the sawmill. I never got to say goodbye.

When Grandpa’s old black car was new, all new cars were black. This car 1928-buick-buick-town-broughamtook us from the farm to town. Our new 80-year-old farmhouse at the encroaching edge of town was tucked into a grove of graceful maples emphasized by one frumpy cottonwood. Behind the house sagged a small, white barn, its peeling paint appearing to be shadow play cast by a huge, gnarled elm. Like many very old people, the barn had a distinctive musty smell. The odor of aged finely powdered dirt combined with dry, decayed old wood hung on the dust motes constantly drifting in the pale stripes of sunlight that wavered and shimmered through the cracks in the warped siding. This decrepit yet dignified building received Grandpa’s car. Here it stayed because Grandpa soon gave up his driver’s license.

Neighbor kids and sisters came along and one day we discovered the car. There it sat, in splendid isolation except for the company of a rusty old hay rake. TheRake Royalty Free Stock Photography barn became our playground, deceptively shady cool in the heavy summer heat. The irregular beat of a dozen small bare feet raised puffs of powder from the dirt floor. Storms of motes toured the barn, whirling through each sun stripe in soft violence, to finally subside quietly onto the car when we left.

Dust on the high front bumper yielded to our scabby knees as we clambered up and over the bulging front of the teardrop-shaped fenders; the chrome of the big, round headlights regained a streaky shine from our sweaty hands. We’d savor the pleasure of sliding down the slope of the fender to the running board, then gleefully scramble back up the fender. Leaning against the windshield we’d grin the savor of accomplishment, sweat creating crooked trails on our dirty faces.

With bated breath and a sense of daring we’d finally undertake to crawl to the top of the car. Staying carefully in the center we would survey the dim reaches of our dusty kingdom, a panoramic view not available to us from the floor. We were always, always careful of the rounded edges of the roof. It was a long way down.

The center of the top where we huddled was lumpy yet smooth, like boiled eggs covered by thick black oilcloth, a flexible non-metallic material that sagged gently under our weight. Shortly before my father’s death we reminisced about the car. He told me that the roof had rusted thin and leaky. With wartime frugality and ingenuity, Grandpa had patched it with layers of canvas and tar.

The interior of the car held a mysterious and private fascination for me. As Tuning In Stock Photoothers jostled to see who would get to stand at the steering wheel and “drive” through the sleepy town, I scrunched into a corner of the dusky back seat, reaching for something dim and barely felt. Eventually the others would go outside to play some more sunlit game.

I was alone. The back of the hard seat loomed over my head; the worn, dark upholstery was stiff and scratchy with horsehair stuffing. Shadows layCute girl sleeping in car Royalty Free Stock Images deep and thick on the floor. Gazing into them produced a strange feeling of sinking, sinking, transfixed, into great depths. A faint yet distinctive dusty odor, similar to but different from that of the barn, pervaded all. In late summer’s heavy humidity the smell strengthened, with a strange animal feel about it, patient, ageless, a memory of unknown things remembered.

I’d sit still, still, hardly breathing in the hot breathless air, eyelids drooping in Horse eye Stock Photosconcentration. Slowly, lightly, I’d glide my fingers over the scratchy surface of the seat, raising a dusty smell that felt familiar, a faint, far off echo just beyond the edges of recall. Eventually I’d get restless from inactivity and the sweaty itchy scratch of the seat against my bare legs, yet I was reluctant to move, feeling very close to…something, unwilling to leave it. I was sure that if I sat still just a moment longer I’d find it. But I never did. I always moved. But I never said goodbye.

The Shadow Knows

Have you ever noticed the power we give to shadow? 

I mean, we "cast a long shadow," or maybe we "stand in the shadow" of Tree Shadow Stock Imageanother.  Perhaps we’re exhorted to "always face the sun and you cannot then behold the shadow," as if it’s something to be feared, avoided.  Portents of the future may be "foreshadowed" by certain events.  We can be comforted in our travails when we’re told that "the brighter the light, the darker the shadow."  In psychology we’re often told that we must bring what’s in our personal shadow into the light of our consciousness, that what’s hidden in there can run and control our lives without our being aware of it.  Now, that’s power!

Groundhog scared of their shadow Stock PhotographyAnd yet, a shadow is insubstantial, it’s nothing solid at all.  How can something so wispy have so much power?  Shoot, we even give power to control our weather to a groundhog that sees or doesn’t see his shadow! 

What is it about shadow that so fascinates us, so captivates our awareness – or lack of it?  We might seek the shadow under a tree on a hot summer day and sigh in relief, or we might move out of the shadow on a chilly winter day and sigh in relief.  Same shadow, same response, different meaning.

At the same time that shadows can sometimes be seen as beneficent, Fear, fright, shadow on the wall Stock Photowe also tend to avoid them if we’re walking down a dark and lonely street late at night.  They make us nervous.  Who knows what’s in those shadows?  "What evil lurks in the hearts of men?  The Shadow knows!"

We shadow someone when we follow them without their being aware of it.  A shadow has the same shape as the object that causes it to be cast but it’s distorted, and at noon, it may be barely visible at all except directly beneath our feet.  Shadows can dim our sight as well as reveal something that’s creeping up behind us, at least if we’re standing just so.

Perhaps it’s this shape-shifting of shadows that amazes us, amuses us, frightens us.  They show something familiar and yet not the same as that with which we’re familiar.  It’s the unknown, the different, that gets our attention, Superhero Shadow Royalty Free Stock Photographythat makes us wonder.  Just which is "real" and which is not? 

That’s the power of shadow.  It makes us wonder, it makes us think, it gives us pause, it instructs us, it hides things from us.  What else in our lives can do all this, has such power?  The shadow knows.

Both Ends of Life

Alice sat on the bench with a weary but satisfied sigh. She looked around at the lush growth of the surrounding garden. The sun warmed her wrinkled face even as the slight breeze moved the humid air against her arms with silken coolness. The contrast was quite pleasant.

As she quietly waited for her breathing to return to normal she noted the rose bushes that were going to need pruning before too long, the mint that was rapidly spreading in the shady area off to her right, and the Artemisia that was at least four times as big as it had been when she’d put it in last year. The mild winter had been good for these plants.

The life force bursting in them was hard to resist. At the same time their disparity with her own waning energy sometimes exhausted her. She loved it all. There was nothing like a meditation garden to emphasize the continuity of life, especially as a person neared the end of one’s own.

With her pruning shears in one hand in her lap and her cane in the other beside her, she tipped her weathered face to the sun and with closed eyes drank in the warmth. The dampness of the morning dew was barely dry and the heavily humid air was redolent with growing greenery.

Suddenly she sensed someone else beside her. She lifted her head and turned to see Janet seating herself on the bench; nothing but the slight whisper of her small muffled footsteps on the pine needle mulch of the path had revealed her presence.

They smiled companionably at each other, the old lady nearing the end of her life, the young girl still moving toward her maximum fruition. In spite of their age difference they recognized in each other a kindred soul. Alice reached out. Janet softly laid her unfeatured young hand in Alice’s age-spotted one and Alice gently patted it with her other hand. Then the two of them as one, like paired sunflowers, leaned back and turned their faces to the sun. With eyes closed in bliss they shared the invisible nectar raining down from the clear blue sky.

They sat that way until Alice’s hand grew cold and stiff. The smile never left her face.

Dancing In The Rain

This month, reminding me of April showers, was slow to take hold for me but iDancing in the rain Royalty Free Stock Imagest eventually led me to remember this great quote from Vivian Greene: “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass…it’s about learning how to dance in the rain!”

Growing up in northwest Ohio farm country I never learned that one could dance in the rain. Rain was something one hurried to get out of. It seemed, from my perspective, that we had storms more than gentle rains, though I’m sure the farmers were glad of gentle rains that must have occurred.

I have only vague memories of my childhood there; counselors and psychiatrists could probably make much of that. Most of those memories are colored by grayness, whether a result of the usual (as I remember) humidity and grayness of clouds and storms or, more likely, a chronic depression that I suspect is normal for living there. Several years ago my therapist told me I had dysthymia, which is chronic depression. Whether related to personality, personal chemistry, or situational conditions I don’t know.

Liquid gold background Royalty Free Stock ImagesEventually I went to Florida to serve my laboratory internship. I’d never been below the Mason-Dixon line before and I was stunned by the light and sunshine there. And the rain. It rained every day for varying lengths of time, usually not for long. I was told that was standard for summertime. It was also the first time I’d ever seen it rain when the sun was shining. The locals got a kick out of my amazement and told me it was liquid sunshine. I believed them.

Then I went back to Ohio and everything was pretty much gray again. Well, I lived in Cleveland then and with all the stone buildings, gray was about the only color they could have. But after a couple of years I got married and after a couple of more years ended up in Texas. So much light, again! And after fifty years here, now, I’ve discovered that even light can be oppressive in excess.

But I also discovered liquid sunshine again. Now that’s the kind of rain that’s made for dancing. Not that I ever did; I don’t dance and never have. But I can recognize dancing weather when I see it. And I just saw it the day before yesterday. It’s been quite some time since I noticed it. I don’t think it’s been the only time it occurred, though. It’s just that something is very slowly and gradually changing in me and the ability to notice such things is growing in me again.

I may not dance – canes and wheelchairs are not very amenable to dancing –Hammock in the rain. Royalty Free Stock Photography but my spirit can dance and it did when it saw the light come out after the storm, followed by raindrops on the patio. I’m grateful for whatever is changing, when the grayness of the past few years, when I struggled and lost the struggle over and over, is lifting. I’m grateful and I believe gratitude brings the lightness of dance with it.

Burn, Baby, Burn!

Things have been awfully hectic since I last wrote. Tony got some pretty significant chemical burns at work a couple of weeks ago. His right leg and arm, got it the worse, and a couple of lesser areas on his back, spots on his hands. When I saw thSkin burn injury sun radiation Royalty Free Stock Photographyem again the next day, BIG blisters and max redness and peeling skin, I knew that was more than I could help with so I told him to go to the doc.

He went to a local clinic and they decided he needed to go to a diabetic wound care clinic. There they fixed him up with antibiotic ointment and bandages but didn’t suggest anything else and told him to replace them daily. Well, that wasn’t something he could do for himself and we didn’t have bandages and stuff, so he talked them into having a nurse change the dressings daily. By this time, of course, he’d told them at work so he wasn’t working any more but he still had to drive in to the clinic every day to change dressings.

After about a week of that, another doc saw him and wasted no time in admitting him to the local hospital around noon, I guess. I went to visit him shortly thereafter. I left around five or so and took his wallet and stuff with me, thinking I’d come back with them the next day. But the doc who saw him later decided to send him either to Dallas or San Antonio to a specialized burn hospital and he left about midnight by ambulance to San Antonio.

It all happened so fast we didn’t have time to think about it. Thank goodness for cell phones and texting or I wouldn’t have known anything. They took him to the big military burn center there. It’s famous for its burn care so that was good. Only he had no ID, no money, nada. I had his wallet and I was home while he was "traveling!" LOL He joked about being "broke and undocumented" but the situation was a little too surreal and yet realistic at the same time. He got some strange looks now and then. When you have an accent and brown skin and no ID, well, it can be scary.

So he was there for several days while they removed the burned skin every Dressing on leg Stock Photosday, slathered him with ointment, and considered surgery for skin grafts on his elbow and knee. Thank goodness that didn’t turn out to be necessary. After a while he convinced them he needed to go home because he figured I needed him here since I don’t do so well on my own. I can do everything that needs to be done, of course, it’s just awfully hard and takes me a really long time and I can’t convince him that’s OK. But they acquiesced.

Of course, San Antonio is 150 miles to the south, he didn’t have a car and couldn’t even rent one without his drivers license, which I had up here. So Workers Comp, which had by this time been notified of the situation, sent him home by cab. Whew! I certainly didn’t look forward to driving down there and back, though driving is generally fairly comfortable for me. That’s a big city and I’m not familiar with it and trying to get around in it and figure out where the hospital was didn’t thrill me.

So for the past week he’s been taking warm showers and then we scrape off Mummy Stock Photothe dead skin and schmear him with antibiotic ointment and wrap him up like a mummy. At least the burn hospital sent him home with bags and bags of bandages and ointment. *G* Today was supposed to be the last day I had to wrap him up but he somehow managed to get the essentials taken care of by himself and those bandages will stay on until he has his followup appointment tomorrow. Again, they’re sending a cab for him. Whew!

It’s been an exhausting week or two. Thank goodness his skin is looking pretty good now, though still really red and purplish, but it looks much better. It never did pain him as much as I’d expect it to but the itching nearly drove him crazy. I’m hoping they have something else that can be used from here on out without the daily mummy-ing again. Maybe vitamin E oil or something like that. They gave him three special shirts that are treated with silver to combat any potential infection, as well as oral antibiotics, so maybe if we can figure out how to keep the skin from drying and shrinking and being painful we won’t have to wrap him.

I’ve never had much to do with burns and even so, things are way more advanced than when I had any reason to learn about them so I don’t know what’s the protocol any more. But I’m glad they sent him to San Antonio because that burn center is famous for their burn treatments.

So, I guess we’ll have some answers by tomorrow evening when he gets back. By cab. *G*

And that’s all the news that’s fit to print!  LOL

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