Poetry, musings, reflections, life

Archive for the month “September, 2011”

Falling Leaves

 The first day of autumn arrived this past Friday, at 4:35 A.M. CST. As I went to bed the night before, I thought about waking up at that hour in order to celebrate that historical event, but at the last minute, decided against it. After a record-breaking hot summer, the temperatures had finally begun to drop from the triple digits we had experienced throughout the summer. It may not seem like fall, for the temperatures still reach into the nineties, but it has begun, regardless.

Even as the fall is in its beginning stages, I began contemplating the coming winter. I have seen some seventy-two winters in my lifetime, not that I am boasting for many of my peers have seen more than have I. Winters come and go as do other seasons.

One morning this week during our ritual of letting the dogs run, I had settled into a restful posture underneath the pines by my small pond. Never mind that the pond had dried up long ago during the extreme heat. As I was sipping on a hot cup of coffee, I watched a leaf from the Sycamore tree, auburn in color, drift gently from its perch and land ever so softly on the ground below. I noticed that other leaves from assorted trees were falling as well, a meteoric-like shower of color descending. Even leaves must succumb to the law of gravity.

Isn’t it odd that we notice things that fall but rarely do we notice things that rise? Such as the moon, bubbles, smoke, blood pressures, tempers, bread, helium, heat, the sun, gas prices, well, maybe we do notice things that rise.

As I move from my perch under the pines, I began to think about how nature correlates with life. I picked up a golden leaf and turned it over. The veins were very symmetrical. They seem to mirror the veins that course through the human body. Coincidence? Not likely!

Noting that just as the coffee warms my insides and prepares my body to accept the change, I am reminded that everything under the sun begins to prepare for the winter. And, autumn is the season for preparations.

One can see squirrels busily burying nuts, far more than they could possibly consume in three winters, much less one. The hummingbirds are in a feeding frenzy at the feeder, storing up as much energy as they can possibly contain in preparation for migrating to warmer climates. Insects such as bees and wasps are busy preparing their homes for winter. Now that the temperatures are cooler, most have already selected the best place to build a nest or hive in places I do not wish them to be, so the colony can hibernate until spring.

Winter is not here yet, but it is coming. I do not anticipate the cold with glee, yet I must prepare for winter as well. Just how do humans prepare for winter? Some may be storing up body fat. Guilty as charged, however, that aspect is not confined to preparations for winter.

We pull out our warm coats and sweaters, put our storm windows up, cut firewood, and winterize our vehicles with new tires and antifreeze. This reminds me, I must also winterize the kennels for the dogs as well.

Humans utilize many aspects of nature in our winter rituals. Although some celebrate Christmas as a secular event of winter and others ignore it completely, it is the celebration of the birth of Christ. I  love Christmas time, with the white pine or spruce Christmas trees and holly and mistletoes decorations. How many of us have a garland of real or wooden red berries on our fireplace mantel or Christmas tree, or have a cardinal or bear ornament in our house? We bring into our home these aspects of nature because they represent peace and beauty.

Everything that we experience shapes the way that we interact with life. It is not by coincidence, not by chance, but rather by design. You may not consider yourself a religious person, but you must consider a design of nature. It is not happenstance. There is nothing coincidental about the way things are put together.

All of nature, including us, have adapted in some way to surviving and preparing for the seasonal changes. Winter is a time for meditation, reflection and change, not gloom. So put your warm sweater on, light a fire in the fireplace, heat up some tasty hot chocolate, grab a good book, and enjoy what winter has to offer.

But today we are in the early stages of fall. The  leaves are falling.

Have a great day.

Pete Robertson                                                                                                                                 © September 2011

“Off We Go Into The Wild Blue Yonder”

 This isn’t a rallying cry for an old sailor. “Anchor’s Aweigh, My Boy, Anchor’s Aweigh…” is more my style. It certainly makes more sense to me. However, my grandson is career Air Force. I’ll at least hum the tune for him.

Thus far, he has had an interesting career in the Air Force. His military duty has taken him from Wichita Falls, to Great Britain to South Korea to Italy with short stays in Florida. His primary duty involves mechanic work on fighter jets.

He ventured back home to Texas for his annual leave, (which he receives about every 18 months, military time is different from civilian time). He came all the way from Aviano, Italy. That’s quite a journey. But, this story is not about his military occupation. It is about family.

All my grandchildren are very special to me, and Jeremy, being the oldest, has been faithful in visiting his grandpa. Over the years, he has made extra special trips to visit me regardless of where I have lived. I treasure those visits and I am truly grateful he is willing to come and see me. To be sure, I was not the only reason he came home. He also visited his stepfather, mother, his sisters and cousins.

Most of us do not have the opportunities to be around family as much as we would like. When it does happen, it is an exciting happening. One of those happenings was supposed to take place last Saturday. My great grandson, Judah, was having his first birthday. We were supposed to bring potato salad. That’s another story.

We left our home around 9:30 in the morning. Had the camera, the birthday presents, and the potato salad. While driving through the small community (which shall remain nameless at this point), we passed several antique automobiles traveling the opposite direction. A driver in front of me had stopped in my lane and as I recall, no turn signal and I never saw any brake lights. I hit her car in the rear.

Let me say this, we were not injured severely enough to require any medical attention, for this we can be thankful. And on that note, that ends any further conversation concerning our collision. But, some of the potato salad spilled in the ice chest.

Over the years, people experience difficult times. If that has not happened in your family, then you have something for which to be very grateful. However, I suspect that is not the case. Because of the accident, I was bemoaning the fact we would not have the chance to visit with  Jeremy. That is, until his mother called and said, he wanted to visit. It would be a very short visit for he has to return to Italy next week and he still has friends and folks to see.

As I said, it was a short overnight visit. We managed to spend some quality time with him, his mother and his half-sister. We took them out to dinner and shared a few stories. It was special and I am so glad he came.

On Thursday, they left returning to his mother’s home in Alvarado, Texas. He will continue on to Houston and back to Italy. I suppose you could say, “Off he goes into the wild blue yonder…”

So often, I think about how lives were much simpler in years past, when our children were younger, times were focused around family life and and most of us had our family around us. It may have something to do with my age.

 Nowadays, we are so scattered around the country, even the world. Seldom do we see them enough. Granted, travel is easier today (although more expensive) as opposed to the fifties, yet, lives are so busy that we never seem to find the time. That is a sad thing. I do not know how to change that.

Some of us are reaching our age limits. We need to find the time somehow to keep families together. We need to hum those old tunes, laugh at those old corny jokes, and remember those “good old days” a little more often. We need to at least try to relive those days in some sort of fashion. And we need to eat more potato salad. (Come on over, I have some left.)

Yes, life does go on. Thanks, Jeremy, for coming to see your “old grandpa.” .  ©September2011                                                                                                                                                                           Have a great day

His Roots Run Deep

A few weeks ago, I posted an article about birthdays. Actually, it was about my failure to remember birthdays. Not my own birthday, I have a unique ability to remember that one, just not others. I do not know why that is, unless I am being reminded of the fragility of growing older. At my age, I can confess that there are many more years behind me than before me.

However, the subject of birthdays has come up again. I have a great grandson who will celebrate his 1st birthday on Labor Day weekend. (someone told me) He has a big party planned with many family members coming. Well, his parents are actually planning it. It will not even show up on his radar screen. He is the first great grandson of my generation, at least in my family. He is the first grandson, the first nephew, the first 2nd cousin; all told, he is first in many categories. He is special.

Since September 4, 2010, times have been very tumultuous, what with tornados, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, droughts, wildfires, and hurricanes, and Judah’s first year. However, that is not necessarily what I would like him to remember. It is an historical year, of course, but I would want him to know his heritage, of those from which he came.

I would want him to know that his 8x great-grandfather, Reverend Dr. William Morrison, born in Scotland in 1748, settled in New Hampshire around 1781, was ordained by the New York Presbytery, February 12, 1783 and became pastor of the Presbyterian Church of the West Parish, now known as Londonderry, N.H. His roots run deep.

I would want him to know, that he is a very blessed young man to be born in the great United States of America. That he can be anything he wants to be because of the freedoms established in 1776. He must realize that freedom is not given lightly, that there is a duty to uphold those freedoms. His ancestor, Dr. William Morrison, lived in a state that has “live free or die” as its motto. His New England roots run deep.

While the times are very different today from when I was his age, I can only imagine what they may be like when he reaches my age. I would hope he would still be living in the home of the free. Whether he desires to be a doctor, lawyer, preacher, mechanic, carpenter, (like his old great grandpa Pete) or even a politician, it is possible, if he still lives in the land of the free. All of those professions and occupations lie in his ancestral background. His roots run deep.

I would want him to know about other ancestors who passed through Louisiana, staying awhile, becoming “Cajuns”, before finally moving on to the great state of Texas. There is a lot to be said about sausage gumbo and “crawfish etoffee” before attacking a smoked brisket and TexMex. His “Acadian” (Cajun) roots run deep.

I would want him to know that Texas is the greatest state in the union. I am sure there will be disagreement about that, however, it is my blog and Judah is my great grandson. There are those in his family who were not born in Texas, but they got here as soon as they could. He is an authentic Texan. His Texas roots  runs deep.

I would want him to know about his parents, his grandparents and of the bloodlines of his ancestors, those who fought in wars, those who paid the ultimate price in those wars, those who discovered new horizons, those who mentored and educated, and those who lived their lives in a simple fashion. His roots run deep.

I would want him to know his Christian heritage. That personal beliefs can and do play a part of the makeup of each individual. That personal integrity, honesty, and sincerity, coupled with compassion and a belief in God, The Holy Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, will provide him with a secure knowledge of a strong faith. That will carry him far into the life before him. His Christian roots run deep.

Judah, I could tell you  stories about a proud great grandfather (me), your great-great grandfather and even your great-great-great grandfather. Perhaps, someday I will have that opportunity. Until then, young man, enjoy your childhood, cherish the years of your youth,  they all  pass only too quickly, but your roots run deep.

Judah, this is what I would want you to know.                                                             Grandpa Pete

Have a great day

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