“I don’t believe you have to be better than everybody else.
I believe you have to be better than you ever thought you could be.”
~ Ken Venturi
California had some of the most interesting trees I’ve seen. I’m not sure what this tree is, but I was mesmerized standing under it. The intricacies of the limbs and trunks and leaves weaving a beautiful shade. Life is a lot like this tree, weaving intricate patterns that ultimately make a beautiful shade for us to stand in.
“One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.”
~ Lucille Ball
Remember the post from two days ago and Sunken City when I mentioned that parts of Point Firman had sank too? Driving from our lookout near that overlook to Point Firman felt a lot further than it actually was. When I took this shot I felt I’d seen this tree before. I had. It’s the point between Sunken City and Point Firman. That drive was deceptive because they’re really very, very close (and, yea, that’s Long Beach in the background with tops of mountains peeking through). Plus, I think it’s hysterically funny that these grown men climbed this little tree. Never grow up completely. It takes all the fun out of life if you do.
“Your attitude really does have an effect on how things work out. When you can’t change your life any other way, you can still change your attitude. When you do, your life changes.” ~ Bernie Siegel
Some of the trees high in the Pisgah Forest of North Carolina are weighed down in lichen and moss. It’s a moss that looks like the short, green cousin of Spanish Moss in the Southern states of the U.S. It’s easy to see in the fall when the leaves are off and the rain heavy clouds drape the mountain tops in mist. I tried to take a walk this morning to get a closer look, but those rain heavy clouds unloaded on me, and my excursion was short lived. I’ll say this though, if I ever have the chance to have a home in the mountains, I may never be heard from again. Beauty and peace beyond words in these high places.
“Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be.” ~ Unknown
Mom and dad wanted a short time away in North Carolina, so they enlisted the help of a chauffeur; me. Despite the less than stellar weather, it was a beautiful drive (though much longer than we anticipated). We stopped at an overlook in Virginia where I snapped one tall tree against another. The older I get, the more I value my time with my folks. There will come a time, sooner rather than later, when they’re no longer able to travel. I’m grateful to be able to take them as long as they want to go…but there won’t be another trip as long as this one, I’m pretty sure of that. We’ve learned our milage limit with this one – ha!
“Learn from nature: See how everything gets accomplished and how the miracle of life unfolds without dissatisfaction or unhappiness.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
Last night, as the full worm moon was rising, I walked outside for a few shots. The sky was beautiful. The surroundings glowed. The snow and stars twinkled like a mirror images. My home looked so warm and inviting from the outside. That must be one reason why I enjoy it so much. I wish I could have gotten out to the country for some evening shots, but I’m awfully grateful to get what I got.
“Erase from your vocabulary the word “someday.” Do not save things for “special occasions.” Take into account the fact that every day is special. Every day is a gift that we must appreciate and be thankful for. Wear your attractive clothes, wear your nice perfume, use your fine silverware and dishes, and drink from your expensive crystal glasses … just because. Live every day to the fullest and savor every minute of it.” ~ Rodolfo Costa
I don’t think the second of March will ever pass again that I don’t feel a hole in my heart. Here we are, three years after the F-3, and to me, it feels like it just happened. There are some days I just ache for my grandmother’s home, my home, and my hometown. I miss them as if they were people, not things, but living, breathing human beings. The town; she’s so very slow to come back. What little has cropped up feels devoid of character somehow. It’s not as if West Liberty was a picture postcard town before the tornado, it wasn’t, but it did have that small town, all-American Mayberry something about it. Main Street was lined with a mix of stone and wood buildings, shutters and porches and worn flat sidewalks and people. There were homes, real homes, dotting the landscape, each different in color and texture and more people. I feel like I won the lottery growing up in that little town. We left for Arizona for a time, but all I ever wanted was to go back. It’s where I knew I belonged. A place and its people – those people at the time of my growing – were a mighty force. It wasn’t all perfect, but it was perfect for me. I suppose I will always yearn for the West Liberty I understood, and for as long as I live, I will be grateful for what I had there for as long as I had it, warts and all.
“Remember that at any given moment there are a thousand things you can love.”
~ David Levithan
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the three years since the outhouse began, it’s that you really can find something to love in every place, person, or thing that crosses your path. It might not be obvious. You might have to stop what you’re doing, stop what you’re thinking, breathe deeply, let go, and allow to surface in that moment the morsel that’s worth loving. I promise it’s there if you just let it rise. In a world filled with turmoil, when young men like Michael Brown are killed for no good reason, when a misfit band of insane militants chop heads for spectacle, when money buys elections, and children go to bed hungry in the richest nation the world has ever known, it’s important to remember what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Start by loving the little things. It builds collateral the whole world can use.
“I decided that the most subversive, revolutionary thing I could do
was to show up for my life and not be ashamed.”
~ Anne Lemott
The Pawpaw is getting some love of late. Last week NPR ran a story about the North American fruit. My facebook feed lit up with repostings. Pawpaw trees are plentiful where I come from in Eastern Kentucky. Last year, my Uncle Danny sent to Lexington, by way of mom, a seedling hardly more than six inches tall. It had a single leaf. He said to plant it right away. That was October. Then came the brutal winter. The kind of long-lasting freeze that cause temperate foliage to die a slow, painful death; decorating spring knee-deep in barren branches. I was pretty sure my little pawpaw tree was dead as a post. As I was about to pull the little brown stick from the ground, a tiny green leaf down in the tall grass caught my eye. The pawpaw had survived. Three leaves later, Riley Morrow decided the pawpaw needed to die. I think he thought it was a weed. That boy tried his best to kill the little tree. He, too, failed. Even though Riley ripped every leaf off the pawpaw, four new leaves have since grown back. And because our rainfall has been plentiful, new leaves continue to grow (that’s true for my apple trees, too). I love my little pawpaw tree. He’s got a strong will to live.
“Stop thinking too much. It’s alright not to know the answers.
They will come to you when you least expect it.”
This is the back of the building that was in yesterday’s post. Driving home from work I slowed to take more pictures. Stacy gasped, “Look at that cross!” You couldn’t really see it when all the trees were standing, but now, without them, it’s striking. You have to wonder if it was an electrician’s purposeful doing or purely coincidental. Whatever the case, it will be in a pile of rubble this time tomorrow. It’s been pretty neat to find in the meantime.