Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Hatch is ON!

Think how fast a year flies by

A month flies by
A week flies by
Think how fast a day flies by
A Mayfly’s life lasts but a day
A single day
To live and die
A single day
How fast it goes
The day
The Mayfly
Both of those.
A Mayfly flies a single day
The daylight dies and darkness grows
A single day
How fast it flies
A mayfly’s life
How fast it goes.
It starts like a rise of small trout. There are dimples on the surface, little fingerlings eating midges, perhaps. But these are no fish. The water breaks and up pop the wings of a Mayfly, then another and another. The hatch is on!

This legend plays out every year on calm, dark, humid nights in late May and early June. The mayflies make the television news by showing up on doppler radar or calling snowplows out of dormancy to remove layers of duns from bridges. 
 Mayflies have two adult stages. They first emerge from the water as duns (scientifically known as the subimago stage). They then molt into the spinner (imago) stage, in which they mate and die.

This poem is from the book The Llama Who Had No Pajama by Mary Ann Hoberman. Hoberman's poems, accompanied by Fraser's illustrations, have been delighting children for 40 years. Now, many poems from their out-of-print books are available in this fun collection. The selections are mostly humorous, sometimes contemplative, and deal with animals, family, play, and plain silliness. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Memories of my Father . . .

Some Things My Father Never Did: 

1. He never took me to school or picked me up. He believed that riding the school bus helped me become more responsible. You had to make sure you were up in time to catch the bus and you had to be careful not to miss it after school - it was a long walk home. Riding the school bus taught me the importance of keeping on schedule.

2. He never met with one of my teachers or "gave them a piece of his mind." He never talked about my teachers in front of me or took my side against a teacher. If there was a problem in school it was handled at home. By him.

3. He may have put me at the sink washing dishes or behind a lawn mower - but he never put me in time out. He was a lot smarter than that.

4. He never got me out of trouble or solved problems for me that I created for myself. He may have made suggestions, but he made me handle it personally. That "actions/consequences" mentality helped me develop responsibility.

5. He never "counted to ten." He said it once, and I knew he meant it. The first time.

6. He never let the tail wag the dog. Ever.

Some Things My Father Always Did: 

1. He always taught me to believe in myself. You probably couldn't do this now-a-days, but when I was 12 years old, he put me on a Greyhound by myself to make the 300-mile trip to visit my friends in St. Ignace. I felt pretty proud of myself and I learned self-reliance. I made that trip several times without any fear - savoring the adventure of life on the road alone.

2. He always had my number from the get-go and was not timid about applying the belt to my rear for lying, showing disrespect, general laziness or for not following the rules. He reinforced that whole "action/consequences" mentality with a firm hand. His lessons have stayed with me to this day.

3. He always taught me to respect my elders and learn from them and to have respect for the past. As a result I sincerely believe that history matters. A society out of touch with its past cannot have confidence in its future. History defines, educates and inspires us. It lives on in our historic environment. As custodians of our past we must value it, nurture it and pass it on.

4. He always kept me well grounded and tried to point me in the right direction. You can be sure I didn't approach him when I was in my teens about taking a year off to "find myself."

5. He didn't give me lots of instructions about what to do and what not to do when I left the house for various activities. He did remind me to remember who I was and where I came from.

6. He always involved me in things he enjoyed. He created in me a love for the outdoors, hunting, fishing, and camping. He helped me develop a natural curiosity about how things work and why. He was in love with learning long before the term "Lifelong learner" was coined. He is the reason I still savor the smell of a real book and don't own a Kindle.

He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, 
and let me watch him do it.  
~Clarence Budington Kelland

 Here's wishing you a wonderful Father's Day with your Father if you are fortunate enough to have him with you and - if not - fond memories of him and the lessons he taught you.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Prayer of the Woods

I am the heat of your hearth on the cold winter nights,

the friendly shade screening you from the summer sun,
and my fruits are refreshing draughts quenching your thirst as you journey on.

I am the beam that holds your house, 
the board of your table, the bed on which you lie, 
and the timber that builds your boat.

I am the handle of your hoe, 
the door of your homestead, the wood of your cradle, 
and the shell of your coffin.

I am the bread of kindness and the flower of beauty.

 'Ye who pass by, listen to my prayer: Harm me not.

(This prayer has been used in Portuguese forest preservations for more than 1,000 years. Today it can be found posted at trail heads across the United States.  Before you enter the woods. take a moment and remember this ancient prayer. Appreciate the beauty and goodness nature offers us and do not harm its existence).