Spaceship Earth

There is only one Earth, and as far as I know we are all passengers on it…or in it.

I am sure that our ancestors thought the resources of the Earth were everlasting. I am sure that our ancestors thought that there was nothing which they…tiny inhabitants of this giant world…could do to affect the Earth. In 1700 there was only 600 million people inhabiting the Earth. We didn’t hit 1 billion people on the Earth until sometime around the American Civil War era.

Now we have somewhere around 7.5 billion people as passengers on this planet.

Every piece of plastic which was ever made still exists somewhere on the Earth. A lot of it resides in the Oceans of the world. If you go down to the beach, you will see some of it…I guarantee you. As large as the oceans our world are, they are becoming gigantic trash receptacles for human waste of all manner and description.

Six years ago in March, a huge earthquake hit Japan. It damaged a nuclear power plant near Fukishima, which had a partial meltdown. Since then 80% of the nuclear material which spilled from that plant has gone into the Pacific ocean. Forget about the hundreds of thousands of tons of “junk” which has washed up on the shores of Alaska. That’s going to be minor compared to the damage to the ecosystem which that radiation, which continues to spill into the Pacific ocean, is going to do to our ecosystem. Try to comprehend that there are 450 or so nuclear plants spread around the world. The majority of them are very near water….the ocean…major rivers, inland seas. Let that sink in.

Did you know that the majority of the Earth’s atmosphere is only ten miles thick? Did you know that extreme changes have taken place in that 10 miles of atmosphere which is absolutely essential to the life of every creature on this planet since the “Industrial revolution” back in the 1700’s. Our climate is changing, and quickly, due to the amounts of carbon dioxide which is flowing into our atmosphere. Global warming is caused primarily from putting too much carbon into the atmosphere when coal, gas, and oil are burned to generate electricity or to run our cars. These gases spread around the planet like a blanket, capturing the solar heat that would otherwise be radiated out into space. It’s really just that simple. It’s science. Lot’s of people deny this is happening, but the numbers say it is. The Earth doesn’t like it.

I could go on..and on…and on..but you get the point by now, hopefully.

Last year when we moved to our new home, the area out behind our house was a jungle! There were vines, briers, honeysuckle, scrub bushes, etc., so thick that you couldn’t even get through it. During this winter, I have cut almost all of that jungle out. I have slashed it, and raked it, and cut it and piled it up. There’s no jungle there anymore, and over the past week I have seen rabbits, squirrels, birds and other animals out in that area eating. There are “wild carrots” coming up, with their tender shoots and the rabbits love them. There are earthworms crawling out and the robins love them.

The Earth didn’t mind me doing that little “rearranging” of her surface. The fact that new and wonderful things are already beginning to peep out into the world shows gratitude. The Earth says: “thank you” if you do the right thing.

I wish people would do the right thing. I wish there was no such thing as “fracking” which is quite simply, only a money making scheme for people who are in that industry. Read this comment from a recent post from Senator Bernie Sanders concerning the recent changes in climate policy by our government. It comes from a lady who made a comment on Senator Sander’s post. She’s talking about why they are still fracking: “

I don’t think they actually don’t believe it. I think they don’t care. And a majority of the people in Texas and Louisiana I know that are “deniers” are just afraid that all the oil field guys will lose their jobs if fracking is shut down. It’s not that they don’t believe it’s bad for our environment. My husband was a line boss for Halliburton and he even says it’s horrible. People can’t even imagine the money made from fracking. It’s uncountable. And that’s what matters to most Republicans. Money. I’m not even a Democrat but I do believe that. Whatever will keep all their business money safe is what wins. Screw anyone else and the Earth for our descendants.”

That pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it? It’s all about the money for the current passengers on “Spaceship Earth” and screw our descendants. I hate to think about it, but that’s pretty much it.

There is only one Earth, and as far as I know we are all passengers on it…or in it. And when it’s gone, we are gone…all of us, all of our descendants, all of life which exists on this planet. All gone.

Mull it over for a while, and decide if some of the things which we think are absolutely necessary for life, really are.

Standing at Second Base

As I stood on second base tonight during Eli’s ball practice I had a strange feeling of unease. I looked around carefully and finally figured out why. I believe its almost the exact spot where the grammar school principals office used to be located. I’ve had my butt whupped in that spot several times. That explains the feeling I had.

I took some photos of the little kids, and in the background was the cotton mill, the railroad trestle, and other familiar old things.

I suppose this is the reason I am still here. Familiarity gives me comfort.

I’ve been to New York City, and San Francisco by the bay. I’ve been to Athens, Greece and lived in Athens, Georgia. Boise, Idaho and Bogalusa Louisiana. I’ve sang songs in Nashville, Tennessee and walked through the Alamo in San Antonio. I have cruised to the Bahamas, and visited Mickey in Orlando. I couldn’t even begin to name all the places I’ve been.

Yet I always come back to this little tiny old town. And I have often asked myself why? Why?

Tonight it was because my Grandson’s ball team needed a little help. Tomorrow Baby Evie will need me. To be needed is good…on most days. To be necessary is even better. And there’s nowhere where it’s better to be necessary than home.

I think most humans feel this way.

A lot of my childhood friends have moved away, but I bet they still have a little space in their hearts for that spot near second base, where Ms. Ethel’s office used to stand. Or just across the road where old THS stood. Wouldn’t you like to have just one of those days back?

Yea, I thought so…

I don’t understand our creator

I don’t understand very much at all about our creator. I do know that we are not here to do some of the awful things we hear about on our TV every day.

I do think we are meant to have love and compassion for other people. I believe we should treat others the way we want to be treated.

I believe if we have more than we need, we should help others who don’t have enough.

I believe we should take good care of our planet, and all of the other living creatures who live here.

When I was in High School I used to sing the song “I Believe”. It was written after the Korean War as a song of encouragement for this nation, and was the first song to become a number one hit to be introduced on our new medium, the television. That was in 1953.

I always loved the ending: “Everytime I hear a new born baby cry, or touch a leaf, or see the sky. Then I know why, I believe”.

I love babies. And the blue skies. And everything our creator has given us to enjoy during our journey here on Earth. It is not in the nature of man to truly understand God, but to just appreciate the nature of God.

No matter what you have chosen to believe as your life’s philosophy, just remember to be kind.

No greater love

I read that in Italy and elderly Catholic priest gave up his ventilator to a younger man willingly, the later died. James 15:13 “ Greater love has no man but this: that he lay down his life for his friend”

I don’t quote the Bible much, but this came immediately to mind when I heard the story.

No greater love. It occurs to me then that Jesus laid down his life for ALL others. No greater love….

Who knows what each of us will be called upon to do in the coming months. We should think of the love being exhibited by those who are serving their fellow man by trying to save their lives. By those who toil to keep food and medicine in stores. By those who obey the health rules so that they don’t become disease spreaders. All of these are acts of love.

And while these people do this out of love and a sense of duty, when the time is right these people should be rewarded by a grateful country. No greater love….

There’s a long way to go, and there will be many who’s norms will be severely tested before this is all over.

Old Memories and People go With them.

There’s a few things I can still remember:

I remember catching my first fish. it was at Lake Wanda Reita.

I remember my first day in school. They had to tear Sandy Hammond away from her Mom, but she was ok from then on.

I remember every person who lived in every house in my neighborhood in 1958. Jake Woods family lived next door, then the Ardens, and across from them lived Van Buren Rice. Across the street was Frank Watts and family. Up on West Pine was Paul Rosser, Flossie Mae, Dale, Annette, and their older sister…Paulette? was it…

And on the next street was my Uncle Curly, The Floyd family…Sloppy and Doris, Nancy Jim, Susan and Jimmy. The Barfield family, Jan and her sisters. Across from them, the Haygoods, with their boys…Mark was my age, then Randy, I think. Mrs. Rush and Marilyn. The Collettes, Joe and Ruth, Johnny and Jimmy and Marsha. Up on the hill to the North, The Caheelys, The Sprayberries, The Hawkins…with John and Jim. Just around the corner was Dennis and Don Durham and their folks…then the Langston family. I could go on and on. I know I left some out too. The Styles a little further down, and the Webb twins.

I reminisce as I walk that area. Then I walk West Hill, and a lot of those people are now there. Not more than a block from where they lived. Time goes by quickly.

Anybody who grew up in a little bittie town knows how I feel walking these streets. It’s past and present all rolled up a ball, and for people like me nostalgia just sometimes overcomes me, and stops me in my tracks. I’m 65, but I’m 6 sometimes too. But there is also still a future to live.

By the time I get back home, I’ve gotten it all pretty much out of my system. I’m back in the present and ready to press on. And I know why I stayed here. For the memories. To give my kids a chance at the same, not too bad small town raising. Its getting a lot different now, but I can’t complain too much. (although Paula might tell you different) Its still home, and that’s where the heart lies.

The Ordinary Things of Life

It is the ordinary things, the mundane moves…which make life…life. Day to day to day, what you have done is, in reality, the terrific.

I find an out of place blue pacifier on the shelf, and I think of all the pacifiers I have handled, stuck in baby mouths, wiped off and sterilized over the years. I still have the very first one I ever saw from 47 years or so ago…it was a baby bottle lid with tape across the bottom. They have definitely improved over the years.

The grass was cut Friday and the smell of it, freshly slain and lying defeated in the yard was intoxicating and primal. It always takes me back to a time before I have memories, a time of just happy, smelly bliss.

I find I love a song by a group called “Casper Baby Pants”. Google them. They’re real. It’s a lullaby, kind of…and it makes me smile. It picks my soul up and transports it up, and up…into the sky above skies. I have always loved music, almost any kind of music. Music is my constant companion and soother of last resort. It doesn’t matter to me how silly the name of the group.

I exercise every morning. Hard enough to make my heart beat hard and fast. Hard enough for the sweat to soak my brow and neck. Not because I love working out that much, but because I want to help anyway I can to prolong this wonderful life.

I raked brush and leaves yesterday like a Tasmanian devil of yard nullification. Huge piles were left in my wake, and then I leaned on the rake and felt the thump…thump..thump…hard and fast. No pain. Good. Another day then.

I love being a human. I love doing the simple things that humans do. Every day doesn’t have to be a trip to Disney World or the beach….although that would nice. But, just to open a book and lose myself in another person’s wonderful imagination, to see a beautiful photograph, to watch the birds and squirrels in the yard, feeding. Just to see the stars at night, or even the lightning and hail of a few days past!

How spectacular is existence! How glorious is sensing all of this wonder surrounding us.

I waste way too many thoughts on things which are far beyond my ability to control, and I’m angered by actions which others take, which I have little ability to affect.

My appeal to you, my friends is to not let yourself fall into the traps and conditions which cause you to miss the beauty of life which is unfolding before you each and every day.

Witness the ordinary and think on the mundane, and be content.

Looking in the Mirror

When you look in the mirror, who do you see looking back at you? Of course, I see “myself” the person who is an amalgamate of my Parents, my Grandparents and all of my other ancestors who have come before me.

Sometimes I see a glimpse of my Grandfather Stewart, sometimes a glimmer of my Dad. As I get older, this happens a little more frequently. I know that genetics has certainly played a part in what I see physically looking back at me. I also know genetics has also played a part in some of the personality traits which I have, some of the ways I act. I know that environment and external influences have also combined with these other factors in making me what I see.

We are limited by our genetics to some extent, but able to overcome much through learning and the environment we put ourselves into. That being said, then only our souls are individually ours, aren’t they? Until we are able to love that creature we see in the mirror and embrace what he or she is, we will not fully be able to love others to any extent. If we are not satisfied with what we see, only WE are able to affect a change for the better.

It is no bad thing to love one’s self…warts and all, faults and all, sins and all. As a matter of fact, it is a good thing. Only by learning to love ourselves can we learn to love ALL others, and only by doing that can we prove that we are individuals worthy of the title “human”

Time is our most Precious commodity

As I listened to my granddaughters speaking and singing today, and my grandson talking last weekend, I found, and find comfort. In my adult life, I have always loved the sound of the voices of children. Most of all the voices of my own children. As I get older, I cannot now remember how my children sounded as they were growing up. It’s a thing that escapes me.

I know I anticipated each of them saying “real” words. Dada. Momma. I really enjoyed that “gobbledygook” process that the human mind takes to develop language, in each of them. Similar, yet oh so different. Individuals. People who my wife and I created together, because we wanted something in common, beyond our own love for each other. We wanted children. To us it represented our love for each other, and our determination to see that particular love continue on, beyond us, through those children.

Never did I anticipate everything that would be included in being a parent. Nobody can. Not even the best planners ever do. It’s the Chaos theory in real life.

But, back to the voices. I really wish there had been the capability back in the 70’s and 80’s to so easily record events in life, such as we have now. I can just point my phone at Ellie, like I did a few times last week, and push a button…..and make a mini movie of her. Laughing, dancing, singing. Another push of a button shares that movie with many people.

Tonight Rue is here, and I hear some of Jessy in her voice, and a couple of intonations of Kirsten. It’s deja vu.

I sometimes wish the mind worked like a video tape machine, and we could rewind it when we wanted to do so, and watch our past times, like a movie. I’ve seen Forrest Gump a dozen times, and it’s a great movie, but it’d be really nice to see an hour and a half of the day my daughter learned to walk, or the days my two sons learned to say Daddy (or Wawry, as it was) To hear that one phrase again would be worth more than gold to me.

But, time is relentless…and uni-directional. You’d better pay more attention to those things you may be taking for granted today, those things that will never, ever happen again. You’ll be sitting around in a few years, like I am today, and wishing you knew the exact location of those eight track video tapes your Dad took. I know I’ve got them, and I plan on finding them and having them digitized. Then, I probably won’t have to watch Forrest Gump anymore for a long, long time.

I hope I have the time to get it done. I think I do.

Time is our most precious commodity, no matter what we think, and that’s the truth.

Angels

I sat outside tonight, looking for angels. I didn’t expect to see any.

I saw the sunset peep out from behind the clouds, through the deep green pines. I saw the cardinals, bright red and muted orange in their spring attire. I noticed the Azaleas getting ready to bloom….their glorious pink flowers barely concealed.

I watched as three different layers of clouds passed by, all going different speeds and directions. I heard the coyotes “yip-yip” out in the ravine behind the house, and looked and saw the stairway of lights come on going up the forty-five degree angle of Lookout mountain as the light faded away from day to night. I came looking for Angels, and didn’t see any, but it was worth the time to sit there and watch for them.

The Universe Inside Us

It’s just my opinion, but I believe that each of us lives within our own “Universe” inside this beautiful mind that we have at our instantaneous beck and call. We are all simultaneously on a journey with those around us, while we are also on our own very personal and very unique trip. We should be respectful and tolerant of everyone’s individual journey here on Earth.

Condemnation of each other for our individual beliefs is not what we need. If another person is not on the same “wave” which you are on, move on and let them alone. You can always find balance if you seek it.