Sunday Post – Plains

A few hours ago I posted a Virtual Walk on the Beach because I am so happy to have my body in the warmth of Southwest Florida. I noticed, however, that the past few days I have been longing for the fields and farms of southern Michigan. What I am longing for is the sight of newly plowed fields, green winter wheat, and new crop shoots poking out the soil.

Winter Wheat

Winter Wheat

Local farmers in Michigan provide us with a wide variety of meat, fruits and vegetables and we know when the season for each is approaching. We know when to begin to look for them at the farm markets. We plan our lives around when we can freeze blueberries and strawberries, when tomatoes are ready for canning. We long for that first picking of fresh sweet corn.

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Because we haven’t lived in Florida through a full year, we haven’t internalized that knowledge of seasonal change. I feel a little disoriented because of it. I know there are local fields because I buy the produce at my favorite farm market – I just don’t know where the fields are. In Michigan I know the farmers and know which grows the best sweet corn and peaches and blueberries.

Blueberry Farm - Ken & Janet

Blueberry Farm – Ken & Janet

I’m not in Michigan and even if I was it isn’t the time of year to take pics of productive fields. They are lying dormant right now – frozen solid. I can meet my craving for the Michigan plains’ (I think) agriculture by visiting my photo files.

Corn Field

Corn Field in the Fall

To read and see more about the rich plains of the world and to add your two cents, visit Jake at:

http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/sunday-post-plains/

Sunday Post: Unforgettable

Jake, over at jakesprinter, did it again with a fun challenge. This week’s Sunday Post is Unforgettable. I didn’t want to forget this one so I went to work on it right away. Of course I started thinking about photographs and my most memorable ones – the ones I look at the most and thus are the most unforgettable – are the ones from my travels. Even before I opened my many files of travel photographs I realized that what I remembered most about these trips were the people.

I have gathered together photographs of the people, not because the photographs are unforgettable. These aren’t in the same league as the young girl with the green eyes. These are ordinary snapshots of people who are beautiful because they shared a part of their life with me. They opened their homes to me. They shared their table and their food. They shared their life story. They invited me to parties and laughed with me. They looked into my eyes and smiled at me.

When I look at these pictures I am flooded with memories. There are many great stories behind these pictures – some of which you can find on this blog. Some are waiting to be put in words. But here are the faces of people in Russia and Kyrgyzstan who invited me into their lives.

As I was preparing this post, I was also thinking of all the wonderful people I met in Switzerland, England, Scotland, Ireland and Germany that I don’t have digitized pictures of.

Here’s to all the people who have touched us in so many ways – in ways that make them unforgettable.

Commitment

Our local paper ran an Associated Press article about John and Ann Betar who have been married 80 years. Wow, that was a long commitment to make on their wedding day. It wasn’t possible for me, as a young bride on our wedding day, to imagine what it is like to live 80 years. But to live long enough to be married for 80 years is mind blowing. We promised each other to be married “till death do us part,” but 80 years somehow sounds much longer than death.

John is 101 and Ann is 97 and they still live in their home along the Connecticut shore. My husband and I have been married 48 years – which sounds piddling next to 80 years – but long enough to be able to read between the lines of their story and to know a thing or two about the challenges of maintaining commitment and of the great rewards.

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Ann and John grew up across the street from each other and John drove Ann to school in his Ford Roadster. They fell in love but Ann’s father had already arranged for her to marry someone else. They eloped, which must have upset Daddy. Were they able to mend these family ties? Did they feel jealous when the other spent too much time with old friends or parents who needed help on Saturday afternoon? Did they ever fall in love with someone else along the way? What secrets did they keep from each other to preserve the marital trust?

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Ann was 17 and John 21 when they got married. They still had some growing up to do and living life changes us. As they grew at different speeds, did they ever wonder if they still loved each other. Did either ever have dreams of great adventures, that scared the britches off the other? Were there regrets of opportunities missed? What did they tell themselves to keep from running off when the grass seemed greener on the other side? There was a period of time when my honey and I stopped loving each other but luckily it was at different times – and we were too poor to afford a second residence. Neither of us thought of moving back with Mom & Dad because we knew they wouldn’t allow it. Now I’m glad that we had to work it out on our own.

In the article, the Betars make it sound easy with only a few simple rules. “We just live with contentment and we don’t live beyond our means.” Did he ever feel overwhelmed as he tried to support his growing family with the earnings from his grocery store? What about those lean years when shoes and coats were needed and the car broke down? Did they argue because one wanted to save and the other wanted to spend? I kept the budget in the early years when there was never enough money so I knew there were things we needed and he insisted we save a little each payday. We fought, we compromised, and I’m glad he insisted on saving some.

John says they “just go with the flow.” But they raised 5 children and anyone who has children knows the flow sometimes becomes a raging torrent.  Did Ann ever cry when she learned she was pregnant again? Did she ever get tired of cooking for seven people and get mad because no one picked up after themselves? I once got so mad that I threatened to go on strike – which then made hubby mad. Did John keep the peace by eating meatloaf every Wednesday even though he hated it? Did Ann bite her tongue when John exaggerated how big the (fill in the blank) was?

I’ve been trying to think when the change came about. When did we start knowing each other so well that we were able to finish each other’s sentences? When did we become so comfortable with ourselves that we no longer felt irritation with the other’s quirks – at least most of the time. I don’t quite remember when we started being able to snap at each other when we needed to but then to quickly shift to laughter and a hug.

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How wonderful it is to wake each morning and look forward to seeing his smile and warm good morning. We know it is a good morning because we have another day together. I want to say that the stress of having a young family made getting along difficult in the early years. Then I remembered that we traded that stress for the stress of aging bodies and chronic illness and a fixed income. We seemed to find more compassion and understanding along the way. Maybe we recognize how precarious life can be. Maybe we fear that we don’t have much time left with each other. After all we only have 32 more years together if we are to celebrate our 80th anniversary – like the Betars.

Sunday Post: On-Going

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It is Jake’s Sunday Post time and I am feeling at peace. I am confident of my ongoing place in the world – even if it isn’t forever. My ongoing is for today, for this moment, as long as there is “this moment” for me. In this moment I feel joy and there is a smile on my face. In this morning moment I heard beautiful music and a meaningful message – both of which touched my soul. I shared a delicious breakfast with the man that I love and we sat and talked. We laughed at funny little things – life has many funny moments when we look for them.

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But life is on-going. An on-going of moments. In some of those past moments I cried – in some we cried together. The crying came from deep pain but I still remember those moments with a kind of fondness. They were a part of my life – the moments of my life and they make me who I am. I’m glad that I care enough to be hurt by life’s injustices. I’m glad that I let love in enough so that I hurt when love leaves.

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Life is the on-going of changing moments. Children learning to walk – away from the nest – further and further. Bodies getting older, wearing out. New moments of new opportunities for work, for love, for fun. Life’s changing moments bring loss but also new; new needs, new pleasures, new sorrow, new treasures.

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Life is the ongoing change of who I am and who is in my life and what is important to me. So, as I have faced and embraced all of my past life moments, I will face and embrace the ongoing moments of my future.

The photographs were taken in the Naples Botanical Gardens.

To see other blogger’s interpretation of On-Going, or to add your ongoing thoughts, go to the jakesprinter blog at:

http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/2013/02/10/sunday-post-on-going/

 

Tagged F: funny, fearful, flight

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Welcome to Sun Air International Airline. Please put each of your bags on the bathroom scales here. What is your weight, please? I think the flight today will be a bit rough.

We are on our way to Victoria, Texas – about two hours south of Houston by car. It is a long round-trip drive and our daughter is working today so we are taking the shuttle between Houston Bush International Airport and Victoria Airport. I have been looking forward to this experience since our daughter took this shuttle in December and showed us a newspaper article about it. I like living on the edge – well, as close to the edge as my age and my height anxiety let me get. No sky diving or cliff walking.

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Welcome aboard! This is the pilot and he assigned our seat as we boarded – “you sit on the left, second row” (of four, not counting the pilot’s seat). Based on weight. He knows the weight of the checked baggage and then, using the passenger list with our weights, distributes the weight in the cabin. The person on the right is the one who checked us in and carried out our bags.

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This is my view from my seat. I have an isle seat – oh and a window seat. The seat in the first row just in front of me holds the pilot’s bag – there isn’t a co-pilot. I’m in the second row and there are just four passengers. But not to fret – we are flying with the Big Boys.

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Well I did feel a little nervous because we could have rolled right under the wing of that Big Boy and never been noticed. But I’m a little ahead of myself. The pilot shimmies into his seat and after clicking a lot of buttons and turning a lot of knobs and checking his list a couple of times, he starts the first propeller engine. Then he starts the second. And I’m thinking I’m seeing more than I really want to see about flying a plane. My anxiety, however, is outweighed by my fascination. And this isn’t my first small flight – last year my husband and I went up in a Ford Tri-Motor that was great fun – but it was bigger.

After both engines are going and the person is pointing his sticks for us to leave, the pilot turns off the engines and starts to stand up. Pointing at some lights above the dash he said, “These lights shouldn’t be on. I have to check it out.” Gulp. He slammed the back door and returned to his seat. Light is out and everything was fine for take-off.

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It was a rough ride and I found I kept trying to level the plane by shifting my body to the right and left as the wings dipped right and left. I also realized I went into little frenzies of photo taking – at the same time that the plane really started bouncing around. I always have coped with anxiety by getting into thinking and doing. It isn’t easy taking photos while on the bounce.

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I know that airplanes have auto pilot but I had a strong urge to tap him on the shoulder and ask him to please keep both hands on the wheel. Instead I focused on the gauges. That was when I noticed that both gas gauges read a little over 1/4 full. Did he forget to fill up before he left? How far can a small plane go on a quarter of a tank? Where is the next gas station? What happens if we are put in a holding pattern over Victoria (small-town airport)?

I think it was about this time that I started developing a plan. What if the pilot (a youngish man) has a heart attach? I don’t have a license to practice medicine or to fly a plane but decided I’d place my bets on landing a plane with help from the ground tower. I rehearsed in my mind that I would jump into the co-pilot seat, grab the headphones from his head and tell my husband to keep him from flopping onto me while I yelled into the mic looking for someone to talk me through it. There, I have everything under control if there is an emergency.

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With a plan well laid out, I was able to relax and enjoy the rest of the flight. Soon I could see the runway out the front window and we went in for a smooth landing. I hope he realizes that he couldn’t have done it without my help.

This is Frizz’s tagged – f that you can learn more about by clicking here.