Saturday, September 26, 2015

Missing the Sunrise

Sunrises are my favorite.
Someone at church last week asked where we see God.
I see God in sunrises.
Proof that He sees fit for humanity to have another day.

I find artwork in sunrises that surpasses any other magic in nature.
Sunsets are pretty too, but I don't have a front row seat for those--a house and trees in the way.

One of the very best times of day for me has always been sunrise.
The temperature is cool, even during heat waves in August.
The traffic sounds from the highway have not begun in earnest.
The animals are just waking. 
Birds sing, 
chickens quietly cluck, cluck as they search for nighttime bugs that have forgotten to go to bed, dogs stand at bowls, waiting for breakfast, 
the cat purrs as he makes he way in and around my ankles, 
the herd of deer wait quietly for their meager handful of corn, 
and the donkeys stretch and yawn and shake off the night.
Quiet. Cool. Still.
Then, as if on cue, the color rises in the east.  
Reds, Pinks, Oranges, Yellows, Blues and even Purples.

The lead actor, the Sun, comes onto the stage slowly.
A ball of color that can scarcely be described. 
I am stopped in my morning chores to watch.  
I mustn't move, lest I miss something.
Photographs have never done it justice, and so I no longer bother.
I just allow myself to be enveloped in the moment.
The moment will be gone before I know it.

A moment of magic and wonder and God.

Have I seen enough sunrises to make up for the fact that I can no longer witness them? 
I don't think so.
My new job has me out of bed and doing outdoor chores at 5:30am.
Well before sunrise.  
When the sun comes up, I am in my school building, preparing for the day.
I am meeting the bus that carries my Jane and Red, just after sunrise.
I am surrounded by tall trees and houses and so the horizon is barely visible anyway.

And so, I must find new things to appreciate and worship in the sky.
Luckily, I live far enough from large light sources that many stars are visible.
I will find God in the night sky.  
I will enjoy the darkness.  
I will learn to appreciate the wonder of the stars and the moon.

photo credit:
I will tell you that one star in the early morning Eastern sky has captured my fancy.
As it happens, it is not a star at all, but the planet Venus.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Five Years of Waiting

Five years ago this summer, a pair of Great Horned Owls set up household somewhere in the area.  
They have raised, successfully, 5 broods of chicks since then.

Every night in the late winter and early spring, I have gone outside to hear the familiar 
"Whhooooo, Whoo, Whhoooo"
 of one mate calling to the other.  
Sometimes they were so close, that I could hear them from inside the house.  

Always, always, I would creep quietly outside to see if I could spot them in the fading light of day.
They are terribly skittish and even one snap of a twig under my feet and they were off.

I have taken several very blurry, grainy pictures of them at dusk. 
 I have longed to see one in the daylight for five years.  A creature that I know exists, but have never truly seen in the wild-----until two weeks ago!

I was out mowing the dirt (kidding, but just barely) in my north pasture.  We had flooding rains in the spring, followed by 2 months of no rain at all.  
Tall, green grass and brush turned to tall, dead grass and brush.  
A fire danger!  
My neighbor to the north pulled onto their property and spooked a Great Horned owl from a tree.  I watched it silently glide to a stop in one of my trees.  I contained my excitement and let it settle in.  I continued mowing and catching sideways glances to see if it was still there.  
It was!

I got off the mower after about an hour and went inside.  Binoculars from the house let me know it was still there.  The problem now was that there was freshly mown, open pasture between me and the owl.  It would see me as soon as I stepped foot outside the house with the camera.

I pretended to fiddle around in the barn, which lies between the house and where the owl was perched.
I stepped from the barn toward the tree on the far side of the pasture.
Click, click, click.  
Photos through a telephoto lens.
Step closer, step closer.
Click, click, click.
Step closer, step closer.
Click, click, click.
If you look back up at the photo, you'll see that there is a large,vertical branch to the right of the owl. 
He stepped sideways toward that branch, every time I snapped a photo.  
He'd stop and look at me, as I stopped to snap pictures.
Finally, with about 300 feet between us, he'd had enough.
I searched through my camera and then with my naked eye.
He was gone. 
I hadn't even seen him leave.

Fingers crossed for one good picture, I took the camera back in the upload the photos.
One good photo from about 50!  

I know it's really no big deal, but I feel like I've captured a picture of Bigfoot!

If you'd like to read more about these amazing birds, I've attached some links.

Monday, September 7, 2015

My First Week at Work

Well, I did it.
I worked 40 hours at a place away from home for the first time in 23 years.

Katie and Jenna both asked me how my first few days went.
I explained it as follows, 
"The first day, I felt like I was climbing a ladder for 8 hours. Straight up"
"The second day, I felt like I was climbing a mountain for 8 hours.  Places to rest along the way, but still very hard."
"By day 5, I was spending my time mostly on long, gentle inclines.  Still up, but not so hard"

None of those descriptions had anything to do with being on my feet so much; but rather how steep the learning curve feels to me to be doing something so very important.

I get Jane and Red off the bus at 7:10.
Down the long hall, past the cafeteria, and elevator.
We say our names, loudly, as we pass the bathrooms--the echo is wonderful!  Don't tell the kindergarteners! Down another long hall and into our classroom.
We spend the entire day traversing hallways, bathrooms, elevators, classrooms, music, PE, art, and any therapies she might receive. 
I am responsible for general learning, but also responsible for carrying out the directions of her Life Skills teacher and the teacher that will be helping her negotiate her world as young person without sight.
Everything I do with her must mean something.
I feel that weight.
I'm am more that willing to carry it, but it is heavy.
It keeps my mind racing as I lay my head on my pillow at night.
That is new too. 
I used to race Eric to dreamland.
It even enters my dreams.

If my bladder wakes me before the alarm does, my brain now wants to be awake too.
Funny how my body is taking the wheel in these early days of learning for me.

Soon, all of us that have Jane's best interests in mind will have a definitive plan of action.
Right now we're finding out what she knows and what she can/can't do.
How can we help her reach out and grasp her wildest dreams?
On the other side of that coin, Jane is finding out about us.
Can she trust us? Does she like us? Does she like school?
Learning, we're all learning.

Down our hall.
Past the bathrooms, "Carla"  "Jane" we say, listening again for our echoes.
Past the elevators and cafeteria and down the last long hall.
Out on the sidewalk.
We wait for the bus.

Next time I'll tell you all about her friends---she has many, which delights me to no end!