Monday, August 15, 2011

A View from Bear Mountain

A View from the Top
Last week, we hiked all around Bear Mountain. The views were incredible, whether from the top of the mountain, or walking around the lake, or down a stream. 

When I'm in these locations, I always wonder why it's so hard for me to tear myself away from my work. 

I think most of us get so caught up in what we think we are supposed to be doing, that we lose sight of what would actually give our life a nice boost.

Taking a day trip to Bear Mountain was a nice break for my brain. It was a wonderful time with my family. It refreshed me. I returned to my life and work the next day with renewed energy and a fresh perspective. 

I think I need to go back to Bear Mountain. ; )

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Nature Finds a Way

This Flower Grew where the Base of
Building Meets the  Sidewalk
Examples of nature finding a way, like this flower, always affirm for me that there is a strong will in living things to survive and succeed in life.

Sometimes, as humans, we forget that we have this strong survival instinct ourselves.

However, just a quick recollection of your own history will remind you that even in the worst of times, you managed to get up, find food, and make it through the day. Yes, you may not have wanted to, but as a living thing you were programmed for survival and you have incredible inner strength.

From early childhood, every time I saw something green  growing up through the cracks of a sidewalk, I felt hope. I realized that as much as man built over nature, nature was going to find its way to live. And if nature could find its way in the unfriendly environment that was cement, I could surely survive in a harsh world myself. 

This flower is an amazing symbol of hope. It not only grew from an impossible location, where a crack at the base of a building meets the sidewalk, but even more incredible...the hundreds of people walking by it every day allowed it to grow and thrive. 

There is much good in this harsh world.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Remembering Past Summer Days

Originally Published in 1953
While at my local New York Public Library researching lions, turtles, and spiders for future Story Clubhouse episodes, I spied this gem of a book, "On a Summer Day."

Lois Lenski is a favorite of my dear friend, author / illustrator Lizzy Rockwell. And I'd never seen this book before.

So, I piled "On a Summer Day" on top of my 'science' books and headed for a table. I confess I read it first. I was so blown away by the words and scenes inside. Kids playing like real kids played, like my sister and brother and I did as children....pretending to chew on hay...actually doing it sometimes, acting like dogs, being wheel 
Playing "Horsey"
barrows and so many other things that kids used to do when our entire summer days from morning to sun down were spent playing outside. Free from shoes, parents, and any expectation that our clothes would be clean or undamaged at the end of the day.

I'm sure there are children somewhere who still spend their days outside, but I don't know any.

Honestly, at the time, I would have liked to have been in air-conditioning on hot Kansas summer days, watching television, but that wasn't the life back then. We were out playing restaurant, serving soup to my brother made from grass and mud puddle water, collecting rocks for our rock store, jumping off the barn into soft grass, climbing up into a tall 
Playing Dog
tree and watching people come and go from my father's veterinary clinic, digging a swimming pool, using and losing the household spoons in the process....the list goes on and on.

To this day the three of us can claim to never being bored. I wonder if it's because during our early years we learned that we were the masters of our days and could have them be anything we wanted.

Here's wishing everyone, young, middle, and old, the gift of playing freely and making your days anything you want them to be.