Tag Archives: fall leaves

temporary: birthdays and fall leaves

It’s Sunday morning and I am slowly getting a start to the new week. I am on my second cup of coffee and Ivy has been outside on patrol and she’s back inside. She’s curled up at my feet beneath the desk where I do much of my thinking and writing.

Ivy loves resting in the leaf pile, I think she feels camouflaged….

Friday was my birthday. It was also the coldest day of school year so far. I checked the temperature and it was 16°F. I smiled and thought back to when I was 16 years old. I’ve grown up, but in many ways, I am still that kid who at the age of 16 was looking ahead at the future and wondering and dreaming. It’s been 40 years since that birthday. You can do the math, but I don’t feel like a 56 year-old, however a 56 year old should feel.

Age is a number and it’s temporary. I am constantly learning and growing, or I should be.

Yesterday, I slept late. It was nice to sleep past my normal weekday wake up time of 4:30 AM.

It’s Fall and the cold weather has zapped the trees and the fallen leaves have covered the lawn like a thick blanket with leaves sticking in the beds along the foundation and fences, wherever there might be a stopping point from the wind.

the yard before work began in earnest

The leaves are temporary. They sprout in the Spring and last until the Fall. The cycle is lasts a little less than 200 days from mid-April to early November, sometimes longer, sometimes shorter depending on the year. We have a couple of trees that are now leafless and several trees which are relentlessly holding on to their leaves. By the end of the month, the trees will release their grip and the leaves will fall to the ground. Continue reading temporary: birthdays and fall leaves

peek – a photo challenge

It’s Saturday night, it’s late. It’s the night before we fall back and return to standard time.

It’s been a full day. I’ve set the all the clocks back an hour in anticipation of the time change. I am looking forward to driving to school in the morning light, it’s been slowly getting darker each morning over the last couple of weeks. But, conversely, I am not looking forward to driving home in the dark either. There is hope, though the days are getting shorter, they will begin getting longer again soon. It’s the cycle and I don’t need to peek ahead, I know the days will get longer soon.

I ran errands this afternoon and took a side trip to the Morton Arboretum. It’s nestled along a highway, though you’d never know it. It’s bounded by housing developments and a river runs through it. It’s a peaceful place to visit and walk. This afternoon I enjoyed the view from the top of the hill facing west into the rainy Saturday afternoon. I’ve watched the sun set from the same spot before and even though I tried, I could not see the sun peeking through the clouds today.

the sun is nowhere to be found…

While I was there, I stood beneath a pine tree and marveled at the pine cones and the water dripping off the needles and branches. It was peaceful and calming. Rainy fall days tend to bring a sense of calm and serenity. The pine cone seemed to be just peeking through the needles at me.

Continue reading peek – a photo challenge

shine/sunshine: a photo challenge

Sunday was a beautiful day in the Midwest. Actually, Saturday was a beautiful day, too and I am not referring to the Chicago Cubs.

We’ve had a run of beautiful days. Warm sunny afternoons followed by cool nights. Tonight, the sky was clear again when I took Ivy outside. Since she and Mr. Skunk met in August, she gets an escort out in the evening. I looked up and I could see several stars. Living so close to a major city, my stargazing is limited by the light pollution. I am thankful for the stars that shine bright enough for me to see.

ivy leaves shine a brilliant red-orange
ivy leaves shine a brilliant red-orange

I spent most of my day hunkered down in the basement working on school and other things. I popped out of my cave to enjoy a slice of O’s birthday cake. It was O’s birthday and W was over to help celebrate.

It was that time in the afternoon when the sun’s angle illuminates and shines across the landscape in a special way. It makes the grass greener and the fall leaves redder, oranger, and yellower than they are in the midday sun or morning sun.

the leaves of the maple tree peak through the other trees lit by the sun
the leaves of the maple tree peak through the other trees lit by the sun

The backside of our home faces west and is surrounded by mature maple trees and a lonely ash tree. Among the maples is a maple tree that turns the brightest orange-yellow in early fall. It is so bright it appears to be afire. The other maple trees turn a pale yellow and drop almost simultaneously after the first heavy frost in mid-November. One of the maple trees has a vine that climbs the trunk and had turned a brilliant red-orange. Continue reading shine/sunshine: a photo challenge

Thankful, once more and always…

The turkey is roasting and it smells delicious. B and O, my wife and daughter, are still out of town. They’ve loaded the car, but haven’t hit the road, yet.

I’ve alluded to it in the last several posts but haven’t been direct. B’s mother and my mother-in-law, my favorite mother-in-law, I might add, passed away a week ago Monday morning. The funeral was last Saturday. Her wake, funeral, post-funeral gathering was a beautiful tribute to a wonderful woman who led an extraordinary life. She leaves behind three children, a son-in-law, a daughter-in-law, and seven grandchildren. We will miss her.

I drove home with W, my son, Sunday afternoon. He slept, I drove thinking about the two days I had to teach my 8th graders.

Instead, I thought of all of the parts of my life for which I have to give thanks.

I am thankful for so much. I am third.

I am thankful for my faith in God, who has sustained me over the last several years as our families have struggled with loss.

I have a wonderful family, a great wife and kids, and a great dog, too. My mom, step-mom, my brothers, my wife’s brother, sister-in-law, her sister, and all of nieces and nephews, who are strong role models for my two children and always make time for them. Continue reading Thankful, once more and always…

Tuesday’s Tune: “Love and Marriage”

Monday was our anniversary. It was our twenty-fourth wedding anniversary. It seems like the other day I was waiting for my mom and step-mother on the sidewalk outside the church. They had gotten lost on the way from the hotel to the church. I can’t blame them, it’s easy to get lost on country roads. I still get lost when I go back to Ohio for a short visit and I get off the beaten track.

My brother David and I had been pacing outside the church, waiting. My other sister-in-law, B’s older sister had checked on us and asked what was up. It was the time before cell phones or at least inexpensive cell phones and few folks had one. I had no idea, I explained I thought they were lost. She seemed to accept it and went back inside the church. I can only imagine what was going through B’s head.

They arrived, more than several minutes late – my mom, step-mother, and sister-in-law climbed out of the car and hurried inside. My mom apologized and I smiled a nervous smile and muttered, “You’re off the Christmas card list,” under my breath.

I was kidding, of course. She gets a Christmas card every year and a call Christmas morning to wish her a Merry Christmas. She reminds me she got her Christmas card. And, we laugh.

She also reminds me that if they had arrived on time, the sunbeam, that had illuminated B and I at the precise moment we said our vows, would have missed us. Completely missed us, divine providence.

Much happens in 24 years – kids are born, parents and other family members pass away, there are job changes, career shifts, smiles, laughter, people change and grow, and all sorts of things that make a marriage strong. There are other highs and lows of life along the way.

I have much more grey hair than I did in 1991. Then, it was just coming in, and it’s longer, too. But, I still have my laugh and sense of humor and sarcastic wit, forged by experience and life’s hard lessons. I’ve learned to shovel snow, rake leaves, and be somewhat of a happy handyman that comes with being a homeowner.

Love and marriage, love and marriage
Go together like a horse and carriage
This I tell you brother
You can’t have one without the other

Frank Sinatra is right, you can’t have one without the other.

Saturday morning I was at the flower market and got a dozen pink roses. They are beautiful, like B. They’ll last the week and then some, if we care them, like a marriage.

It was a busy weekend and time got away from writing, but that’s okay. I had time for the important stuff – family and love. Continue reading Tuesday’s Tune: “Love and Marriage”

The Can Crush

It’s been over two weeks since I wrote a post. It’s not because I haven’t had ideas. I’ve had loads of ideas and I even started a post last Sunday morning, but I ran out of time. That post died on the vine, it’s no longer relevant.

Since my last post, O has been to her first middle school social. The social was the day after her birthday and she had a wonderful time and could not stop talking about on our way to W’s final regular season football game. We arrived with a minute left in the second quarter to watch the Tigers score a touchdown and take 14-9 lead to the locker room. They needed to win the game to make the playoffs. This is how they did it.

Since then, W’s football team has ripped off two more wins and next weekend play in the state playoff quarterfinals. The team’s first playoff win was in the blinding snow and howling winds on Halloween night with a last minute field goal to tie and a touchdown to win in overtime. The second win was yesterday afternoon – it was a beautiful fall afternoon, perfect for a high school football game. Continue reading The Can Crush

It’s a Girl! Throwback Thursday Edition

It snuck up on me, I don’t know how it did, but it did. Today is O’s birthday. She’s 12 and it doesn’t seem possible. I remember the morning we went to the hospital. The delivery was scheduled and B’s parents were here from Ohio to keep an eye on W and help where they could. When we came home with O – she didn’t have an official name, yet – we would decide between two choices: O and Hannah. We stuck with O and I’m glad.

October 23, 2002 - "It's a Girl" fly from the mailbox and leaves litter the ground. It's fall.
October 23, 2002 – “It’s a Girl” fly from the mailbox and leaves litter the ground. It’s fall.

So much has happened between then and now – O’s growing up and is now in sixth grade. Sometimes, she’s sassy, but most of the time she’s my O.

Today’s her birthday; and there will be more birthdays to come. There will be more growing and probably a lot more sass, definitely a lot more sass; but she’ll still be my O, and B’s too, but I write this blog, so she’s mine for now.

Last night we looked through the photos of her first day and we snuggled, laughed, and cried. It was a special day twelve years ago and I captured it with our first digital camera. The photos look grainy but we don’t have similar photos of W – he’s pre-digital and I didn’t think to bring a camera into the delivery room when he was born.

O and I - less than an hour old all swaddled and warm...
O and I – she’s less than an hour old and all swaddled and warm…

Since that first camera, we’ve had five more – including the two we are using now. And, we have loads of photos, more than I can process. I am not including our phones, which happen to have better cameras than that first digital camera from 2002.

O came into the world about 8:35 AM on a Wednesday morning. I had a sub in my classroom and my students were researching in the library. I don’t have a sub this morning, but I’ll share the photo and a memory. Later this morning, my science students will be researching in the library – just twelve years later; my how some things change and some things simply stay the same.

B's parents welcome O - grandpa passed away this summer - we miss him dearly - glad we had the memories of his laugh and the twinkle in his eye...
B’s parents welcome O – grandpa passed away this past summer – we miss him dearly – glad we had the memories of his laugh and the twinkle in his eye…

Tonight, will have dinner and a cake – a delicious Italian Cream Cake. It’s our birthday cake, homemade with real buttermilk and frosted with cream cheese frosting. You can’t beat it. A birthday in our home isn’t the same without it. But for now, I’d better get moving. It’s gonna be a great day. I know it and I can feel it, so I had better jump up, jump in and seize the day. Making the days Count, one day at a time, one memory, and one birthday at a time.

Have you ever come close to forgetting a birthday? Or, let one sneak up on you?

Weekly Photo Challenge – Dreamy

dawnsearlylight
the two maples work in concert to brighten our front yard – dreamy

Trees are ablaze around us. It’s fall. We have two trees, which appear as if they are afire; yesterday the sun’s light reflected into the bedroom and illuminated it in an orange glow. Soon the leaves will be falling to the ground and covering the lawn. Soon, my weekend activities will shift from dreaming to working on the lawn clearing leaves. That’s okay, that’s is what happens at this time of the year; the days get shorter and the dreams become stronger.

The dream of the lake, the pull of the lake.

I long to see the sun rise over the lake and watch the sun’s rays slowly bring the hills and trees to life. It’s quiet at the lake at this time of the year only a few people visit in the late fall. I’ll be there soon enough, I have a few chores to do before winter sets in. Last year I went alone, this year it’ll be a family affair and all of us will venture north for a short weekend of working the yard and getting the cottage ready for winter. It’ll be all hands on deck and then we’ll get to rest and relax Saturday night and dream.

dreamymorning2013
the lake on early summer morning, mist rising off the still lake and the sun slowly bringing the hills to life on the opposite shore – dreamy

In the meantime, my dream is to finish grading lab reports and articles of the week today. It’s going to be a great day, the weather is cool, misty and the forecast calls for rain. Perfect weather for sitting down and working. My dreams will have to sustain for another day. Making the days Count, one day at a time, one trip back in time, one dream to keep me going.

What dreamy place gives you a ‘gentle push’ when you need it?

sparks_fly
campfire and the moon when the sun sets – dreamy

Today’s post is in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge – prompt – at Word Press.  The week’s prompt is “Dreamy.” This week, we’d like to see an image that looks dreamy to you. A photo of a place you often visit in dreams. A snapshot of your dreamy boy- or girlfriend. A scene that looks a bit out-of-this world. Take us on a flight of fancy!

Death of a Tree – the FINAL CHAPTER

I did not feel well yesterday, and when a teacher does not feel well, that’s not good. I came home and went to bed. I took two Motrin, crawled under the covers, and fell fast asleep. I could have slept much longer had it not been for the stump grinder coming to finish off the tree. We lost that tree this past June, a week after the arborists came for that tree, B’s dad passed away. He was a sturdy as a tree and he’s been on my mind ever since. The stump grinder coming to finish it off was just another step in the circle of life.

the remains of our tree..
the remains of our tree..

I have been thinking about that tree and all of the trees we’ve lost to Emerald Ash Borer. But, I’ve had more on my mind that just trees, I’ve been thinking of the poem, “Trees,” and its poet – Joyce Kilmer. Sgt. Kilmer was killed in the Second Battle of the Marne on July 30, 1918 and is buried at Oise-Aisne American Cemetery in northern France. Continue reading Death of a Tree – the FINAL CHAPTER

Weekly Photo Challenge – Nighttime

There was a time in my life when I was a nighttime creature. Thirty years ago this past summer, I met a girl and I was attending summer school full-time, working full-time, spending the weekend nights with her and her friends – up all night, and sleeping part-time. I could do it then, but not now.

the end of game discussion - the South end of the field

the end of game discussion – the South end of the field

Thirty years later, that girl is my wife and next week – in seven days – we will celebrate 23 years of marriage.

Thirty years later, my eyelids are heavier than they once were and I can’t hang out too late, but on Friday nights in the fall – there is Friday Night Lights. I have been a high school football fan for a long time and I enjoy watching the games. It’s even more fun because W is out there this year – hanging on the sidelines. He has yet to play Friday night, but he’s there for film, weights, conditioning, and practice working and waiting for the moment when the Tigers will need him. Every Tiger player was there once, too. It’s the way things are. Continue reading Weekly Photo Challenge – Nighttime