nature, perspective

Before Time Runs Out

She made it to the finish line. The retirement announcement. The fancy party. The tearful videos and testimonies. Thirty years of service. An increasingly rare achievement these days. Most don’t get to the gold watch anymore, but she did. It was time to go out with style.

If she started teaching right out of college, she could retire in he early 50s. So young! She said she wanted to spend time with her parents, still living. She could now travel to see them whenever she wanted. Her own daughter had started teaching and she would volunteer in her classroom. She would enjoy her grandchildren.

When she retired, she had been my colleague for only one year. We did not see eye to eye on many things, but I respected her. And she will always be the person who helped me get the job that got my daughter into the school she needed to go to. For that I am grateful.

Now it is just a hair more than two years later, and her family is saying goodbye to her in hospice care. Her parents. Her children. Her grandchildren. Her husband. Friends, colleagues, all of them. It was only a few weeks after she retired that we learned she had aggressive cancer. It has been a sometimes slow, sometimes quicker downhill slide ever since.

I can’t say that I knew her very long or very well. I know she loved her family dearly. I know many of my colleagues are deeply grieving the sad decline of a good friend and mentor.

Why do these things happen? Just when she finally made it to the finish line, and the rest of life was just getting started, a new finish line was put before her, much much sooner than anticipated or planned.

The lesson I am reminded of is this: don’t wait for some future benchmark or goal to start living. Don’t put things off that you want to do or be or become. Take the trip of your dreams. Tell the person what you need to say. Dream and dare often.

It’s a lesson that my parents’ early deaths taught me long ago. Just when they got to the time of life for grandchildren and travel, they lost their health and then their lives.

We never know when our time will end. We may hope to live to a ripe old age, but there’s no promise of that. Make each day matter, before time runs out.

3Splitz Farm, nature

Spring’s Surprises

Hard to believe, but it’s our first Spring season as owners of 3Splitz Farm. We put some of our own plants in the ground, but what’s also been exciting is watching what blooms and emerges that we didn’t even know was there.

So far we’ve had sprinklings of daffodils, clusters of crocus, hills of violets and some beautiful bushes coming to life. But what made me smile most was looking out my bedroom window to see the familiar dapple of white flowers unfurling.

Dogwoods were my mother’s favorite. When I walked the property I counted at least 8 of them lining our drive and flanking the cabin. Each craggy, each unique. I was ready to plant a dogwood there last fall but it wasn’t time to put them in the ground. Every house my family has owned has had a dogwood in the yard. 3Splitz would be no different. Little did I know those beauties were already there. Another symbol that feels like I am on the right path, even if I am surrounded by distractions.

Spring is just beginning at the farm. Things are greening up. I wonder what will blossom next? Azaleas? Iris? Lilies? Who knows. Thanks to the previous owners for these delights. Excited to see what’s next.

nature

Rain, #2

The forecast was rain all weekend. The breaks in the clouds would seem to be at odd times in the midst of the storm(s). It’s the raining season yet the to-do list grows. Off we go to battle the elements.

Day 1 seemed okay. Not too much rain on the humans however the puddles and mud were abundant from the days and hours before. Thank goodness for some mud boots. We put in yard work where we could. We played a little too because we could.

Day 2: 100% rain. How disappointing! We wake early to the sounds of roosters. Off to walk the dog and feed some peppermints to the horses. It’s so cute to hear the horses crunch on the hard candy mints. They may even like the hint of fresh breath in the morning. The mints are just as refreshing to them as they are for me giving them.

I opted to be beat the rain storm from point a to point b. It worked. I was about an hour or so ahead of the eye of the storm. The cute little pup and I decide to take a little nap by the window on this rainy day.

Ah how the rain can just drain even the most energetic pup and say it’s time to nap. Zzzz  zzzzz to the sound of the rain and its anthem. A little thunder. Some big booms. The large drops of rain. Then the fierce and fast rain that goes on for a long time. Reduced to a little soft spit of rain. I watched the storm from my window. Dozing in and out of sleep. Now it’s time to rise.

The sky still appears grey but the sun wants to poke through. The birds are back to chirping. The trees are being quiet although the leaves are on the ground from the winds that just shook them about. My crew snoozed while another crew entertained themselves at the other end of the rain storm.

It’s funny how the rain can hit one’s day. This was my rainy Sunday. Hoping for sunshine and lollipops next Sunday.

nature

Moonlight

It was a cold and dark night after a recent storm. The darkness was pitch black. A dark only a flashlight could brighten outside. What a clear dark and chilly night to gaze at the stars.

It was a creepy night walk with the pup. The blackness after a storm. Halloween lurking. The late night howls from displaced animals after the storm added to the creepy factor. A chilly reminder of the cold nights to come in the season.

As the morning hours creep in so did the moonlight. The dark light I see. The greyish sky that you can now see off into the distance. From pitch black to grey skies around 5 am. Just an eerie reminder of what you can observe when you watch the spookiness of nature. The grey sky was a peaceful sky to me. No rain. No heavy wind. Just the chilly grey air.

As the sun rises a slight fog appears as does the shimmer from the sun poking through the last bit of night. A slight warmth but not much in the air. The fall air is crisp almost to freezing but not quite. Winter is on the horizon.

A brisk walk before bed and another early in the am. Some benefits of pet ownership or annoyance I suppose. I often escape to my day-to-day grind in the mountains. The nights are simply quiet, breathtaking and full of variety. As the nights call you to bed early the morning rises are equally surprising and breathtaking. Each one different. Each one special whether it be fog, dew or sunshine that highlights the morning. Mornings in the mountains call for early rising when most others want to sleep.

A cup of coffee, a warm blanket and my pups is a great way to start the day. Wishing you a happy and healthy week ahead.

challenges, nature

Stowaway

It had been a rough day.  The kind of day where you’re shuffling online files, trimming, uploading, then re-editing, reuploading in different places, and so on. I spent the afternoon chasing my tail, making no progress.

Finally, I walked away from a project that I had spent hours trying to figure out.  I was just too frustrated to finish.  It could wait until morning.

I gathered my things and loaded my shoulders with all my bags and other stuff, ready for the relief of an afternoon bike ride, then looked down. 

W.  T.   F.

I looked closer.  

?!?!?!

A scaly knot on my floor.  Curled up.  I touched it with my boot and sure enough it slithered.

Again, W T ACTUAL F. 

SQUEAL. 

Mind starts pinballing. Heart racing.  How do I get it out of here?  

Custodians are gone for the day.  Don’t have access to a broom and dustpan.  I can’t just leave it here.  IT’S. IN. MY. OFFICE.

I find a bowl and set it on top of the slithering striped shoelace.  Then I walk calmly down to see if a couple of my “country”-type colleagues are still here.  Nope, already headed home.
So, it’s just me.  And the scaly shoelace IN MY OFFICE.

I had to pace to gather my courage.  I finally picked up the bowl and there it was, my little sworn enemy.  And just like that I 

STOMPED

STOMPED

STOMPED

And screamed DIE.

DIE.

DIE.

Stop.  Was it dead?  (Poke).

NO.

STOMPSTOMPSTOMPSTOMPSTOMPSTOMP.

DIEDIEDIEDIEDIEDIE.

And finally, I stopped, looked, and it was still.

Scooped it up with a file folder and dumped it in the woods. I was hyperventilating-ugly-crying-nose-running awful. So hard to calm down.

Then the what ifs? crept in.  I was in my office with a snake for who knows how long.  What if I had been bitten?  Or someone else?  Too much to think about.  Just be grateful it wasn’t worse.

You might be surprised to read that I like snakes.  Well “like” might be too strong…I’ll just say as I’ve gotten older I understand their role.  I know many of them are good and I just work around them when I see them on the farm.  It’s me living in their habitat not the other way around.  

Maybe that’s why it was so upsetting to find one IN. MY. OFFICE.

It can’t just slither under the rocks and disappear.  It was a showdown. She or me. 

Yes, I killed it and it made me sort of sad on top of the other huge knot of emotions.  I was a little less sad when I found out it was poisonous, but again relieved it had not been worse. 
I wondered, how did it get here?  Was it born here?  Are there more around the corner?  Or is a farm varmint trying to stowaway for a quick vacation? More under the car seat? I’m still on the lookout.

Thank goodness I chose boots over Birkenstocks that day.    

Just another animal adventure to add to the growing list.