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Slow Down and Start Living
February 20, 2012
If you participated in the 'Great Backyard Bird Count', I hope you had a wonderful time counting and enjoyed the birds.
The count really is an extraordinary effort put on by so many and when tallied, the counts help the experts with the rise and decline in bird populations.
What are, or could be possible causes and effects placed on habitats and the
You may even spot a bird that doesn't belong.
Yes, you and I are now an 'amateur Scientists'.
Something happens when I take time to the watch birds.
I slow down.
My pace becomes more relaxed.
My senses become alive.
I take notice of the bird antics and my surroundings.
I begin to notice and observe the things that surround me.
What sounds do I hear?
The past six weeks have been a challenge for me.
Since the first of the year, I have lost three friends.
First my neighbor and friend, Lynn passed away (72).
Next was my special friend John (43).
This past week, I buried my good friend Paul (43).
John and Paul were rather sudden.
I am emotionally whipped.
I had another topic in mind for this week, but my spirit told me to bring this topic up again.
Slow Down People.
All too often, we are in a hurry.
A Big Hurry.
We rush to get to work.
On the fly to get back home.
Gotta pick up the kids from practice.
We rush to get our house work and yard work done.
To the grocery and hardware stores.
Quick to eat lunch and dinner so we can get on the computer or watch TV, or work in the yard.
A fast stroll in the yard and gardens to see how things are growing.
You may even curse the snow for making you late.
A fast paced society.
(They don't call it the human race simply to see who is the fastest.)
By quiet for a moment.
Look and listen.
(Pictured are the kidney shaped impressions left from a mama deer and her two half grown, not quite yearlings, as they weathered out a recent snowfall.)
Have you ever noticed, the well adjusted person is the one that moves at a slower pace?
A person that takes time to enjoy life.
A person that smells the air, and is thankful for that breathe.
He/she can spot the deer standing amongst the brush or a beneficial insect just sitting and waiting for its next meal.
You may be that person or know someone like that, but too many of us are too busy to even notice the sunset.
Letting the world and life pass us by.
This isn't a trial run, there is no second shot.
God has put us here to be stewards and to enjoy his handy work.
Creation has given us every opportunity and tool to enjoy life.
When we are so busy, we pass it by.
We miss out on so many things.
When you make an effort to slow your pace, you may find that you are a bit jittery at first.
Full of nervous energy (like me).
You don't know how to act or what you are supposed to do.
For most people in the western world, we have to practice to take it easy.
It takes time and effort to observe our surroundings (and who has time for that).
I grew up a country boy and developed certain qualities, or skills (for a lack of a better term) that a slower country life offers.
A person learns to train his senses to his surroundings.
You learn to see and hear things that otherwise you would walk right by.
I noticed nature and beer bottles.
Yes, beer bottles.
Collecting beer bottles was this boy's main source of income, you developed some keen eyes.
After the snow had melted, ditches were like gold mines so to speak.
All we had to do was find and retrieve the brown bottles.
Not an easy task when bottles are often hiding in the dead grass and leaves and often covered in mud.
Yet, I became a champion beer bottle spotter.
You needed a lot of 2 cent bottles to make a few coins, and when a 5 cent jumbo came along...................
It was like hitting the lottery back in the early to mid 1960's.
I believe this helped to develop a skill that carried over through other parts of life, and I did witness a bit of nature while walking the ditches of those country roads.
I can spot certain things right now (like a frog head popping out in Duckweed) and Karen is left standing and wondering how I saw that.
Is it training, or simply being more aware and observant to my surroundings?
(Sadly, the day came when cans and bottles were disposable and the years when ditches became giant trash dumpsters.)
Even at a busy pace, I often notice things that others don't.
Instead of cursing the snow, appreciate the beauty as it blankets the landscape.
Observe the animal tracks or a simple wind blown leaf on a blanket of white.
Awe in the wonder, that no two snowflakes are the same.
(Snowflake on Mourning dove above picture.)
Understand that snow is a protective insulator for plants and hibernating wildlife.
Instead of giving your gardens a quick once over or pulling a weed, slow down and watch the life that surrounds you.
You may witness a Crab spider sizing up a bee for a possible meal.
A Daddy long leg as it carries off a section of old earthworm (Bottom picture).
Watch the butterflies as they float from flower to flower.
Have you taken the time to watch as the butterfly's straw like proboscis probes flowers and sucks up the nectar?
Observe the different species of bee as they so busily fly from flower to flower collecting pollen and taking time for a quick sip of nectar.
Now watch the various species as the groom and store the pollen on their bodies.
You will have a whole new appreciation for these work stalwarts of the garden.
Isn't 'Nature' Grand?
Is there a toad or small lizard waiting for a meal?
How about the birds as they flit through your gardens in pursuit of food and nesting material?
Be still and enjoy.
Take time to notice the different tree barks.
Besides the white of Paper birch, there is the curly, exfoliating bark of River birch.
Shag bark hickory, the smooth, silver/gray tones of American Beech.
Do you grow citrus trees?
Appreciate the efforts these trees put out every day.
I can't think of another tree that blooms while produces fruit at the same time.
Year round, non stop, from flower, to fruit, to flower again.
You get the idea.
Pay special attention to the venation in your plant leaves and flower petals.
Enjoy a lazy day watching clouds drift by.
Watch and listen to a stream as the water trickles by.
Smell the earth, a pine forest, flowers.
Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the seasons.
Right now, I can here some late winter songs from Tufted titmice and Northern cardinals.
I even heard a Robin chirping last week.
Don't stop there.
Slow down some more.
Observe the antics of the wildlife that surrounds you.
Pet a Bumblebee.
The mating season and all it involves.
Babies being born and hatched all around.
We have been given a one time shot at life, slow down and enjoy your surroundings.
You may be surprised what is around you.
Think of all the neat discoveries just waiting for you.
Before the industrial revolution, life was a slower pace.
You got to a destination when you got there.
People knew their neighbors and their surroundings.
When I go on short trips or vacations, I'm always talking to the locals.
Who better to ask about the community and surrounding area.
Often I am pointed in the direction of a special scenic view that isn't in a tourist brochure.
Now days, I slow down enough to soak in my surroundings, where ever I may be.
Even if it takes some time to get in slow mode, I am getting better at it.
Several years ago I was on overload.
Yolanda was in the hospital, Karen couldn't work.
I felt the need to work two full time jobs.
I had to be the man and take care of my family, no matter the cost (or so I thought).
Eventually I paid for it with health and emotional issues (I know, I share too much).
My doctor told me that something had to give.
His quote " No one on their death bed ever said , I wish I could've worked more".
We managed financially and things eventually got better for us.
Slowing down takes time and
Still, it is a must for you and me.
Your blood pressure will thank you.
Your family with thank you.
You will discover little things you never knew were there.
A whole new world opens up to you.
I want you to enjoy some of the little things in life that I've been able to enjoy.
After all, isn't that part of 'Gardening For Wildlife'?
It is possible my friend.
Be quiet and slow down.
Look and Listen.
Above all else, let your Creator, family and friend know you love and care for them.
Slow down and spend time with them..........
Time in a garden, a walk in a woods, or maybe dangle a few worms from a pole and hook.
Watch a hummingbird groom itself.
You can have the best of the best this way.
Well, it is time to fly for now.
Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.
"There are times when silence has the loudest voice."
I've used this scripture before......
It is one of my favorites.
“Be still, and know that I am God;
Psalm 46:10 (NIV)
"Treat the earth well:
It was not given to you by your parents,
It was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our
Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."
Ancient Indian Proverb
Your friend indeed,
Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.
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