Puddles or Living Water?

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Oak Mountain State Park – February, 2017

“My soul thirsteth for God, though I misinterpret my thirst, and, like a hot dog upon a road, try to slake my thirst by lapping at any puddle of dirty water that I come across in my path. There is no satisfaction there. It is in God, and in God only that we can find repose.” –   Alexander Maclaren

I can visualize this so well. Yesterday as Ruby and I were on our return route at Red Mountain, we passed several puddles on the south trail. As she walked through them, her head went down to get a lap or two of water, orange from the clay. I didn’t stop her, knowing she would only get a smidge of a taste, and knowing that I’d already given her fresh water when we’d taken a break a little while before this.

How often do I take those little tastes of “any puddle of dirty water” when I have a spring of Living Water to slake my thirst?

“For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water – Jeremiah2:13
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A Small Flood

 

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I have no idea who this is…

“Someone dies and a little trickle of indestructible keepsakes appears, to swell the flood. This steady influx is not counterbalanced by any comparable outgo.” – E.B. White

I am still fighting this flood. The trickle began when my mother-in-law died and I became keeper of the family photos and what little history there was. Before I could make much of a dent in sorting and such, my mother died. That is when the keepsakes really began to swell the flood. If I had not been there to rescue some, my brothers may have put them all downstream. Now I am still dog-paddling through photos, documents, letters, and the occasional surprise. There has been a lot of outgo, though. Some has been passed on to family members and some has hit the trashcan. Yet still I have items in three different closets that often just overwhelms me.

I thought I’d have it all sorted before this summer ended. It is a daunting task at times. When I come across the fourth copy of a genealogy chart, I have to be sure it is actually a replica and not a different one before it gets tossed. When there are numerous copies of the same photo, I have to decide who else might want a copy and contact them before I toss it. It seems never ending. And for what?

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My great-uncle Sim. Maybe related to Jed Clampett?

I hope to pass it all down to my next of kin one day. I want them to get it in an orderly arrangement so they don’t have to think about it and won’t have to make all these decisions. I want it to just flow right down to be perused at their leisure. To give them a sense of family history. A sense of belonging. For that’s what it’s done for me, though it hasn’t been easy. Fresh grief doesn’t make it any easier, either.

 

Wise Purchases

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I don’t always make wise purchases. Like the time I got gallons of peachy paint only to get them home and realize it would make my house look like Publix.

Or the time I went along with my husband’s idea of buying a double kayak, which he went out in with me maybe three times in the water behind our house. It was too large for me to tote anywhere on my own and we eventually ended up selling it to someone who bought it as a graduation gift for her son.  I don’t remember whatever became of all the peachy paint.

But, I want to tell you about three things that WERE wise purchases and have and still are serving me well.

First is my trusty backpack. I have had it for 15 years and it’s still going strong. It was first purchased for a trip to Ireland, and has been put to use ever since for hiking, carry-on for plane flight, trips with grandkids, to the library, and even to work some days. It’s thin enough to flatten in the bottom of a suitcase it needed. I purchased it from the Rick Steves website, where you can find the updated version.

Second is my Brita water bottle. I’ve had it for about three years, not sure exactly. I actually found it marked down at Publix, but it can be ordered online. It goes with me when I travel. I take it empty through security, then fill it on the other side at a water fountain.  I’ve ordered refill filters via amazon. It’s also used when I hike.

My most recent wise purchase is a hiking stick. I ordered it for hiking, but soon after had knee surgery. I used it to hobble around at work for a short while and now use it whenever I hike up and down any inclines. It’s super lightweight and folds up into its own little bag.

Today I await delivery of what I hope is another wise purchase – a new laptop.  I don’t have a desktop, so it IS my desktop.  My old one (Asus) has served me well but in laptop years I think it’s older than me. If it’s like dog years it’s 70. I use my chromebook (Lenovo now) on a very regular basis, but there are somethings I just can’t do on it, such as edit photos. I’m excited to see if this purchase (Lenovo) will magically improve my writing and photography skills. Time will tell.

 

PAD 2019 – #4 April

PAD is drawing to an end for another year. Today’s prompt was to remix a poem from earlier in the month. I decided to remix my poem from Day One. You can read both below.

 

Can’t Fool Me

 

April first brings ice on the windshield

to try to fool me

to say it isn’t spring in Alabama

But I’ve seen azaleas in bloom

and green shoots springing up

between winter’s dead blades

I’ve opened the front door

felt the breeze flow in

then out the back

being thankful for the screens

though they can’t stop all the pollen

from creeping in

to coat the porch in yellow

Longer days make me lose track of time

as I savor the sunshine

and postpone supper

All this says spring

You can’t fool me, April first

 

Not Fooled

April tried to fool me

with ice after azaleas

but now the lawn is green

the air a sweet perfume

mornings are cool

afternoons balmy

when the roses said hello

the pollen said goodbye

spring is loud and lovely

I listen to her and smile

yes, April tried to fool me

but May is on the way

 

 

 

Califoregon Day #4

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Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

 

Mr. Kohlah (after losing an eye) said that was all right. “One eye is sufficient for the hings I am looking forward to seeing,” he smiled, touching his wife’s swollen belly. Whereas, he added, the ugliness of the world would  now trouble him only half as much – from  A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

I am thankful for the two eyes I had to take in the beauty of the redwoods. Pictures just can’t do justice to the sheer hugeness of these gentle giants.

We drove back north a ways to begin the day at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Here we got upclose and personal with the big guys.

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I always love when I stumble upon something someone else has made or left behind, such as a cairn.

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Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

After enjoying the redwoods, we headed for Crescent City. Although we were able to find some pockets of beauty, this little town was a disappointment as far as my expectations went. Perhaps it would be better to visit this area in the summer.

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Crescent City, CA

 

The lighthouse I was hoping to explore was unreachable. I should have read this:

“Visits to the Battery Point Lighthouse and Island are only possible at low tides. Extreme care and caution should be used when crossing the two hundred feet between the mainland and island anytime wave action may cover the crossing area. Sneaker waves at any time can threaten visitors standing on or near the rocks and the shore of Battery Point Island. ”

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Battery Point Lighthouse

 

I did read more about it after the trip and there is a fascinating story HERE about the time Crescent City was hit by a tsunami in 1964.

 

We still had fun exploring a bit …

and I spotted Sasquatch near the lighthouse!

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Crescent City, California

 

We also went to The Trees of Mystery, but I’ll save that for another post.

Califoregon – Day Three

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Harry & David’s

On day three we started with another wonderful morning in Medford. Breakfast included poached pears, French toast made with a thick cinnamon bread from a local bakery, and some good coffee roasted in nearby Jacksonville, Oregon, where we were headed.

On our way out of town we had to stop at the Harry & David Store. Hubby had never heard of Harry & David – can you imagine that? If we lived closer I’d be going there often. We got some yummy snacks for the road and headed to Jacksonville.

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Jacksonville, Oregon

Jacksonville is a really cute old town with lots of little shops. We found a used bookstore and made some good finds. Across the street was a thrift store where we happened upon a perfectly good $8 carry-on bag with wheels – perfect for taking back our purchases. I usually just carry-on, but since Southwest allows two free checked bags, we figured, why not? Then we headed to Good Bean Coffee for a cuppa, plus three bags of beans, since now we were going to have room to transport them.

Before leaving Oregon we made one last stop at Foris Vineyards. This is a place that you do not find by accident! Our GPS led us to the right place, partially down a dirt road,  but it turned out to be some good wine.

I was excited as we got on the road towards California, but still not prepared for that first view of the Redwoods! Just amazing! And then the first view of the west coast – so different from the east coast where I grew up.

 

We spent the next three nights in Klamath at a Holiday Inn Express. With a Casino attached. Hubby earned our “Lunch Money” one night. Well, that’s what he called it, but $7 doesn’t buy much lunch. It did, however, almost pay for that piece of luggage we’d purchased.

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Music #21

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“… for music alone can abolish differences of language or culture between two people and evoke something indestructible within them.” –  from Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky

 

 

I was introduced to the music of JJ Grey and Mofro, many years back by my daughter. I’ve only seen him in concert twice; once in concurrence with the Jacksonville Symphony (with my daughter)  and then again in Birmingham (with my husband). On my many trips from Jacksonville to Tampa I’ve driven through Lochloosa and I always think of Grey’s love for Florida.

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View from the Buckman Bridge – 2013

 

My father-in-law had a little trailer in Astor on the St. Johns River for many years.  The pictures below are from a trip I took up the river with my brother-in-law and niece back in 2012. We went out to Lake George and stopped at Silver Glen Springs. It was one of the most relaxing days I’ve ever spent.

 

 

This song, The River, grips me every time I hear it. Growing up minutes from the St. Johns in Jacksonville, I never appreciated it like I do now. As a kid, it was just the river we crossed to get to downtown. Now I understand a little more about the vastness and beauty it contains. I long to get back to this river someday.