Flying Free

 

 

Recently, about 5 or 6 weeks ago, our grade level ordered larva; we put them in small cups, fed them mallow and milkweed, then we observed as they turned into chrysalises, and hung quietly while metamorphosis took place.  Not long, maybe for 2 weeks or even a bit less, the children watched as they spread their wings, and were born.  13 butterflies altogether.

We kept a journal of their progress, the life cycle.  There is a lot to learn there, and since life cycles are all around us, including us, this lesson is relevant and a well-selected science topic for youngsters. They were wildly excited when the butterflies emerged.   One fellow said, “That was the best thing I ever saw!”

Another two weeks passed and we carried our ‘cage’ out to the playground and watched them fly free.  Well, most of them; two had been born with bent wings, and they did not leave the cage.  The butterflies that flew were delightful; the children were ecstatic, yelping with joy as the butterflies flitted all around us, free.

Left with reservations: lab grown caterpillar larvae for the children to observe the life cycle of a butterfly; caged butterflies, cupped caterpillars, and freedom, only to lose life very shortly thereafter, in the name of elementary science.  There is no judgement here, just a question that leans toward reservation: Is it ok to test tube life for scientific purposes?  It seems worth considering since the ways of world mimic this seemingly successful lesson.

The teacher felt sad; sad to watch the caterpillars nibble quickly hardened mallow, sad to watch the caged creatures want to fly, but couldn’t, and sad that they were born for a classroom, and really had/have a very short life cycle.

There is a valid rational for each side of the fence.  It is worthwhile though, to consider: it could be that teaching us one thing is ok leads us to believe another is as well and therefore we accept practices that our hearts question.  Please note:  utube was able to show this very same process, filmed from nature.

If we respect life when we are learning about it, we will respect life.  It is something to think about.

Coffee

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Life isn’t easy for working Americans and it is nice that we have places to stop that lift our spirits and bring enjoyment to our day.  I recently stopped by Starbucks as I often do; I so enjoy their coffee, just plain ol’ java!  I stood behind the counter waiting for my order, and watched the girls running hither, tither back and forth, and had to smile.  They were so nice, and quite adept at their craft.  This is one of the true luxuries in life – stopping by a coffee house and being able to have a lovely cuppa in no time at all, and it always, almost always, tastes great.

I was smiling and thanked the girl, and she smiled back and I had to tell her: it was so nice to watch young people working hard and doing such a great job.  Starbucks is a part of American culture now, a terrific part!  It was an extremely nice experience – simple thinking, yes, but the news is disturbing these days, not much fun there, and it lends toward worries of ‘where are we going as Americans’ that when visiting an American innovation, a successful innovation, it felt just great reminding myself that there is so much good here too!  Balance!

So, America, let’s keep going and come up with more wonderful things for Americans to enjoy that enrich our culture, and offer affordable enjoyment to all.  Starbucks proves that it is a true blessing that our country allows the creativity for such gifts as Starbucks to be born.

That’s all.  I love coffee.  I appreciate Starbucks.  I totally feel happy when there are good things here to be proud of – it is the America we truly are.

Just Cuz They’re Beautiful

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How many times in one’s lifetime, over the many, many years have they flown overhead, navigating the skies in formations clear, kind and beautiful?  There seems no leader as the formation moves and realigns again, seamlessly and almost effortlessly.  Are they equal to each other?  Can anyone join a V?  Who is most important in navigating, the vertex or the wings?  Is their misson food, fun, safety, adventure, or just their nature?

Books do tell us about birds and their habits, true, yet random glimpses of this information in life never ceases to amaze.  Nature holds no total secrets.  All is there for the human to analyze, study, observe, photograph and most importantly to learn.

We don’t look up so often these days.  How did they decide on the number 7?  Some formations are greater, but having learned the rules that dominate the sky seems to offer a sublime existence and a type of freedom; enviable, yet enjoyable to observe.

Happy Birthday Mr. Lincoln!

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“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count.   It’s the life in your years.”

~ Abraham Lincoln

Seldom would I pass this date without thinking of President Lincoln.  Growing up in Michigan, in elementary school, we always colored a drawing of President Lincoln in a heart; he has his very own day back then.

It is often said that the victor rewrites history, and as time has passed, that is plausible if one peruses all the information available these days, which is plenty.  But, while that may be, in President Lincoln’s case, truth holds evidence too.

If his words at Gettysburg, the sorrow in his eyes in his photos and the visible love seen when he is with his family are indications, the man was honorable.  He had vision, caring, and strength; he was an example of what we grew up calling, ‘the American dream’ too.

Happy Birthday President Lincoln!  However history writes and rewrites a story, sometimes, we have to look with our own hearts and our own eyes and see who our heroes really are: he is one of mine.

“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

~ Abraham Lincoln

Appreciating a Master

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Appreciating a Master

Is a Vitamin for the Brain

Anthony Doerr did in fact win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2015.  I recently read, All the Light We Cannot See, the book which earned him this prestigious prize. This book, rich in vocabulary, was not only a page turner, it grabbed the recesses of the souls of the characters, and left them almost exquisitely bare for the reader to feel, know, and even see, in one’s mind; the settings, the intensity of worn torn Paris, the smells of Nazi Germany: all were there for the reader to experience.

What is the message here?  Only that when one has the opportunity to read, well, hallelujah!  Time at work, on the computer, doing errands deplete the day of its opportunities well worth taking and ever so needed.  In a society where an author may write what he feels, researches, and finds in his soul the effort and intensity to express for others, we are ever so lucky to be able to choose to read what he imparted.  European history swirls in threads throughout the world today; war never really goes away.  It heals to read, even historical fiction.  We know in our hearts, there are always tons of good people in bad situations.

To understand is to grow.  To grow to peace for the past is to give the present its due: a chance. This book has enough brilliance that this blogger could write many more paragraphs.  Leaving it here is enough though, point being, taking time to read stimulates thinking, and thinking about things means we find good and understanding and perhaps, even change a little.

If I were a college lit teacher, or history teacher: extra credit all around for reading this amazing book.

Memories

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A Perfect Swim

Cygnet 1: The water’s perfect!  Cygnet 2: Nearly so!  Cygnet 3: Love being outside today. Cygnet 4: Could be more sun. Cygnet 5: Why am I always in the middle? Cygnet 6: I feel snuggly. Cygnet 7: I am hungry.  Cygnet 8: What a glorious day!

 

Christmas Memories or Just Memories

Christmas!  It happens most years that we gather with our families, and begin to reminisce about times gone by.  It feels so good when we get together and remember our childhoods; even young people enjoy this experience.  It doesn’t matter if we say, “Last year…” or “About 30 years ago…” or “Remember in 1992 when we…” These sentence starters happen.  Our families have the generations and so we hear these beginnings.  We laugh.  We cry.  We think.  We yearn, especially for the ones who’ve gone on, moved or live in Heaven.  We need to remember, yet, it isn’t always easy for everyone to remember, in both senses of the word, ‘easy’.

The thing is that when one ages, it seems there are more memories.  What surprises the most is the reaction others have to one’s memories.  This past holiday, memories were met with a variety of reactions, all good, but it was something noticeably interesting that conversations brought shared memories of the ones who were ‘there’ to be a bit different from each other.  It’s not that it caused any uncomfortable situations, just that shared experiences are really never completely shared.

There is the conundrum.  It occurred to this blogger’s brain that there is no way we can have the same memories, identical conversations, or feelings; we just cannot go back and expect total accuracy at all.  It like a room full of quilts: they are all beautiful blankets, works of art, but the effort, emotion, number of stiches, and meanings vary almost to the measure that they are not the same at all and only share in the part that they cover a bed.

It seems worth mentioning the fact that conversations about memories may benefit from a watchful eye just as everyday conversations do.  As each day happens, we will all experience it differently, regardless that we are all humans or that we are all Americans, or all hungry for dinner.  We share a lot, but not quite exactly the same of anything, on any level.

What’s the point?  The point is that it well worth embracing one’s own memories, but to be aware that others may not share the joy, amusement, or pain felt, or even remember the events, in the same way.  When we seek peace and love in our familial relationships, we grow from caring about our words, which includes telling our own truth in what remember while realizing another may hold a tweaked version of the truth.  Just a thought.