Nature verses the local grocery...

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

HUNGER TRAILS: Food boxes versus food stamps

13 February, 2018

I never thought I would hear this type of suggestion from the high house of the nation. From a president who never has to do without food or any other “luxury”. From a president who spent many paragraphs in his recent national speech, touting his 'push for AMERICA – for Americans'.

Many years ago, with a young child in tow, I was pushing hard myself, to improve my life – and the future of my son's, by getting an academic degree. I worked part-time and was on a SMALL amount of food stamps. It was hard, but in my 30's, I still had the energy to do what needed to be done – the long hours, the physical output.

In the end of my junior year, the country and it's ethical prowess decided to cut back on food stamps. My roughly $120 a month – dropped down to $30 a month. Being young, filled with trust and hope in my govt, I went to the Dept of Social Services and asked for guidance. I explained that I was one semester away from getting my bachelor's degree in Geology (my greatest Love – next to Physics). She arrogantly explained that there was nothing she could do. (Unless of course if I wanted to switch to secretarial....). THOSE WERE THE DAYS!

So, I switched to Earth Science for which I already had enough credits, took an internship for the last part of my senior year and managed to graduate the next summer. But, I never forgot that event – never forgot how my govt let me down while I was pushing to improve my station in life; they were more interested in saving $$'s – at the expense of the poorer people – already scraping through, than to cut corners in their own back yard – a yard that would not miss a few less opposed to yards lacking – sometimes...even proverbial grass, as did mine.

Well folks, they are at it again! I mean really; “a box of food including peanut butter, canned vegetables and a few other items”, instead of the measly amount of food stamps now allowed? I guess 'food-stamp-people'...don't deserve to have the choice to buy fresh greens or fruit for their children any more.

The news channel where this was aired mentioned how many millions of dollars would be saved. At whose expense? It reminds me of my early history lessons – so many, many years ago when we learned about 'Fiefdom' and how large landowners worked peasants to near death for pennies – barely kept them alive, while the owners enjoyed their wealth. I think there is a cliché (my writing teacher from many moons ago would cringe at the mention of cliche), but sometimes – it applies; “Getting ahead on someone else's back”!

Why not cut a few paid travel trips...a few dinners on the govt tab, etc. Where is reality in this decision-making?

It reminds me of the light bulb “movement”. Yes – I know there is energy-saving in the long run. But have the CEO's at Walmart and Chase Manhattan Bank...Wells Fargo...made “energy changes” in their everyday living? Have they decided to ride their bicycles instead of their larger vehicles and yes – airplanes & helicopters? How much are these folks 'changing' their energy usage “for the cause”?


But I digress. The real question here is – what do YOU think about this possibility? It ALWAYS feels good to plead the case of the “many people abusing the system”; JUDGING, is always so self-satisfying....  And - of course – it is true, there certainly are many people doing that. big a ratio are they - of the entire group in need?  

Is this yet another ploy where the majority have to pay for the crimes of a few? Indeed – FIX the problem areas; monitor the abuse and change it!

It USED to be in this country that we were ruled BY THE MAJORITY. 
-Think about that. 
-Do your research. 
-Find out which congress people/Senators/President....treat us this manner---and VOTE THEM OUT.

Are we not still...a rule 'of the people, by the people...for the people'?

I wonder...

Nature prevails.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

CREATIVE TRAILS: Blackberry Bramble Basket

My Son, the NATURE GUY...connects more with NATURE than anyone I know in my life.

Yesterday - as he rode his beloved bicycle along his favorite Oregon trail, he found his lunch; free, healthy - a GIFT revealed to him from his knowledge base.  KNOWLEDGE AND INFORMATION empower us.  He writes me:

"Today's catch on Larison rock. Chanterelles, Yellowfoot (a type of Chanterelle) and Hedgehogs (toothed mushrooms which probably have nerve healing aspects)."     Enjoy, Son!

This video I found SO reminds me of his NATURAL nature that blends and CO-exists with the awesome NATURE with which Mother Earth has blessed us.  I too,  could have lived in a TEE-PEE in my 'many-moons-ago' age.  But....I digress.

This video I found reminds me of the NATURAL ways that our fore-founders CONNECTED and LIVED with Nature; took care of her; pruned her prolific growth to enhance our ability to function ECOLOGICALLY with our Earth Mother.

As I ponder this planet...and it's possibilities, it occurs to me that with proper CARE and NURTURING, everything we humans available---for the "taking".....provided we CO-exist with our Natural GIFTS....



Tuesday, January 16, 2018

WRITING TRAILS: One Cottonwood Lane


The noise embraced her entire space – vibration resonating in her bones. Any moment she resigned in her thinking, she would be flying through the air; the pain would be unthinkable. It was time, ran through her mind...

An eternity, it seemed. Banging and sharp cracks..thuds. And always – the deafening noise, like a train going over and through her. So large a reality that there was no room - even for fear. Only being, enduring. Time now - an enemy, pulling every iota of participation from her. She belonged to a reality that was not hers; yet it was. A surreal reality, not imaginable in her longest, deepest nightmares.

Then the eternity slowly abated, the noise lessened, the stinging against her skin slowed, and then stopped.. She ran her fingers gingerly over her eyelids, raking off a layer of dust and mud. She lifted herself from the barrow ditch and gazed upon a world she did not recognize. 

In the distance the tornado slowly worked itself back into the clouds. Interesting, how it was not as huge as she had imagined while she had waited through the eternity of its destruction over her property.

Today – was a good day to die, she recalled WARF saying so many times on Star trek. But today...was not her day.

She embraced the deafening quiet...


I so enjoy writing - both fiction and Non.  My first story, a western, written in high school.

Yet - as with so many events in my life, they lay unfinished, partially created, lying in wait for their birthing.  It IS frustrating and bores deep into my psyche if/when I succumb to the 'editor's' charm!

But thanks to my Mother's enduring genetics, my courage kicks in. I hug myself and thank my Divine inner self for it's MANY blessings I possess...and go on.  THE CIRCLE OF LIFE, and all that tommy-rot.  (Which isn't such 'tommyrot', of course!)

One of my many short-lived 'events' are scenes from story embryos...partial 'realities' that pop up in my mind and then - disappear just as quickly as they appeared.  Over the years, there must have been over 50 or more.

An elderly friend once told me when I was in my early 30's (many, many moons ago...) that I should write a book about IDEAS.  How wise he was; how 'usual me' was I.

SOOO... I will begin to post these 'appearances' here, for any one's use.  Just let me know you were interested; may help me to refuse that editor's CHARM, an ongoing battle I seem to be unable to resolve. 

If you are a writer, take heed!  Persevere; grab your tenacity; knock that eternal EDITOR off your shoulder and kick it TO THE CURB!  Forever!

Trust in your Divine inner self to guide you, to take you to those 'story places' that lay somewhere in that GREAT BEYOND of our psyche's.

Trust that......Nature WILL PREVAIL.

Friday, October 6, 2017

TRAILS OF WISDOM: Neil deGrasse Tyson

October 6, 2017

OK, I admit, I've been 'trailing' the bottom this week. Can't find my 'mojo', it has yet-again run away (probably screaming in horror, as usual).

I've been looking for that 'rock' that hides the motivation I desperately need right now.  I was hoping that meaning  (ANY MEANING outside my immediate realm) MUST be "somewhere"...nearby; desperately hoping it might fall down in front of me, slap me across the cheek, reach out and bite me, SOMETHING/ANYTHING, to get my attention.

But no; obviously, my 'surroundings' are quiet; at least devoid of the precious things for which I am desperately searching.

Then, from out of a small, hometown, free newspaper, buried in a corner, my DH finds the quote below.  They say; be careful what you need or desire; put your need 'out there'...many similar trains of thinking. 

 “The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things like Love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting under a rock. The most successful people recognize that in life they create their own Love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson
Am 'off to work";  I have a bit of manufacturing and generating ahead.


Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Perfect Understanding

25 December 2016

This isn’t a Christmas story, per say.  It isn’t about presents and trees and Santa Claus.  And it doesn’t mention Jesus’ birth or midnight Mass.

But it does teach us about fallacious judgments and deep Love; tenacity in the face of poverty…beauty in both dressage form and deep human feelings. And – if I have some semblance of grip on the deeper meaning of this holiday, it is indeed - all about Love, its depth, its power and all that the story of Christ’s birth seems to represent…to me.

Oris George wrote a book called “Along the Back Roads of Yesterday; the 6th chapter is called “A perfect understanding”. In this story, which takes place in 1944, Mr. George talks about his experience with a disheveled man by the name of Bert who owned an ugly old mule named Toots. 

“Mom was convinced Bert owned only one pair of bib overalls, and she knew they had never seen the inside of a washing machine. Tobacco juice stained his thick, greying beard.  A greasy baseball cap crowned a head of long, wild, unruly grey hair. He lived down under the hill behind the feed store on a straggly little two-acre farm surrounded on all four sides by cottonwood trees and tall brush.  The small, dilapidated barn and the one room cabin reminded me of Snuffy Smith’s place in the Sunday funny papers.”

Most of the townspeople joked about – and laughed at Bert, and certainly Oris’ Mom wanted him anywhere but hanging around him.  Oris was close to his Grandpa and his curiosity drove him. 

“Granddad, where’d Bert come from?  Granddad set the feed bucket on the ground and leaned against the gate.  Well, Son, nigh onta twenty year ago Bert’s neighbors woke one mornin’ and found ‘im established in that old shack.  No one knew anything ‘bout ‘im or where he came from, and he never volunteered no information.  Ta this day he ain’t said nary a word ‘bout hisself.”

As the story continues, Bert begins to train a beautiful Palomino mule called Stella who is as wild as a bronc.  She is so vicious that Bert begins her training by knocking her out with a stump of wood in order to save himself from being savagely bitten. Oris begins to visit Bert, gets to know him as he watches him train this mule – which takes over a year to accomplish. He quickly realizes that there is more to Bert than meets the eye.

As their relationship grew, Oris learned that ...”He was born and raised on a horse-breeding farm in Warren, Tennessee. He was forty years old when his father died.” After dealing with complex family problems he left Tennessee a ‘lonely, bitter man.’ “

As Oris and Bert connect, Oris begins to see – what others do not; that Bert is more than his dirty overalls and is far from being the ignorant person they all assume – from his exterior appearance.

Bert enters the yearly rodeo at the county fair the following September.  The rodeo progresses, everything is as usual…until… 

“The crowd fell silent as a golden palomino mule entered the arena at a Fox Trot.  Her rider, a man in a black derby hat, black swallow-tailed coat, and shiny black riding boots, rode in perfect form – a sight never seen in this community.”

“The mule stood perfectly still, with her long slender ears pointed straight ahead, chin tucked under, and an arch in her neck.”

“A murmur rippled through the grandstand when the Mystery Man on the golden palomino mule removed his derby and the crowd recognized the eccentric Bert.”

After some discussion between Bert and the announcer, “Bert rode to the front of the grandstand, tipped his derby to the crowd, and Stella bowed.  Turning Stella to the left, they moved out at a Fox Trot.  The crowd was silent.  Halfway around the arena, Stella changed to another gait.  The crowd went wild!...poured out of the bleachers like a giant wave and surrounded Bert and Stella. Hands were extended to Bert.”

A new Bert, and Stella…exited the arena that day in 1945.”

I have only breezed over this chapter; treat yourself to the 'rest of the story',  and the numerous other chapters about his growing pains, hard work and hard fun on his family's farm during the 1940’s.  Enjoy the  bad red rooster dressed to the hilt; ride along with him on his donkeys as he explores down by  the river with his pal Henry (who at times may be his worst enemy!).  Feel his fear as he listens to his family deal with the atrocities of the war years in another special chapter, "The Man Along the Side of the Road."

To purchase this book, go to

As always, NATURE prevails, especially in the 1940's.

Monday, November 21, 2016


Searching the net for an inspiring quote this cool fall morning, I came upon a friend's website.  It is an 'older one' (secrets are OK!).  But - the insight, validity and profoundness of the ideas in print here are ageless and timeless.

Children are indeed our heritage, our future, our reason for living at times and certainly the objects of our hope for the future.  This includes a place for Mom as she 'greys up', we hope!

But seriously, children are who we are as a society.  Where would any of us be - without their existence.  And I might add...without their innate ability to teach us - when we think we are teaching them; to calm us in the face of our aged fears as they reach their tiny, courageous hands...into ours.  Oh yeah!

I have wondered for years, why our society trains and educates for all the myriad of careers that make up our society; yet...we do not 'train' for the most important - most valuable job we contain as a people on planet EARTH - parenting.  It does not come naturally to all of us  - particularly if we ourselves, were not parented in a most healthful manner (which includes a large populous of parents!).

Children are treasures which some of us are blessed to have in our family presence. You cannot find them in Sears bargain basement nor at the third floor boutique at Macy's.  They don't appear under Christmas trees and they certainly aren't available through Amazon.

Indeed - they are gifts presented to us - sometimes when we least expect them; sometimes when they ARE the plan; sometimes by choice from a foreign land or agency.  Always...they are the center of our lives, the sunshine in our rainstorms...the purpose for our pride and the reason, sometimes, why we continue in the face of...well, life.

Check out my friend's poignant words in her link above; hear her Love and kindness; smile with her joy as a parent.

And - if by chance you need a website, she may be the key to your future online success.

Kudos, Jan.


Besides the fact that our children have an impact on our lives, it is our responsibility to make an impact on their Besides the fact that our children have an impact on our lives, it is our responsibility to make an impact on their lives. We must first give our children the strength of a foundation to build upon, and then with unwavering joy, we must set them free to fly independently into the future. We must realize that we are influencing the choices of the next generation and set out in faith and love to do justice to the opportunity we have been given lives. We must first give our children the strength of a foundation to build upon, and then with unwavering joy, we must set them free to fly independently into the future. We must realize that we are influencing the choices of the next generation and set out in faith and love to do justice to the opportunity we have been given

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Trails of LOVE: Back Roads and Daisies

Whether we are 18 or 80, we all understand Love and deep feelings of family and life.

A friend sent me this song today. As my dear heart and I sat listening with tears in our eyes, I was reminded how important each day is – each moment especially; how the simple feeling of Love can heal us – in and out.

  • Did you watch your little one take her first step yesterday? 
  • Did you marvel at the way your rooster chortles at some bit-of-something on the ground that brings his girls running to eat it…while he stays back and watches? 
  • Did your friend call with a smile the other day – just about the time you were ready to bury your head in the oven? 
  • Did you notice the earthy, moist, fresh smell in the air this morning as you stood in the pre-dawn twilight, listening to the crickets sing their song?
Hug your pet chicken tonight; take your teenager's face in your hands for a moment - and smile; wave to your neighbor; heat up your dear heart’s tea water before he does; look into the eyes of your favorite pet and acknowledge their unconditional Love.

The simplicity in/of Love, is a map for an easier life with less stress.  Simple Love can un-complicate our moments, re-connect us to earlier days when youth held eons of time and untold hope. 

I was re-reading a book about such things last week; a book that reminded me that life in the 1940's – though very different from life today in so many technological ways, still resonated the power of human emotions.  It yet again, gave me moments of smiles, of tears and yes – Love.  Along the Back Roads of Yesterday by Oris George may not include computers, moments on the moon or same-day surgeries.  But it does include the more simplistic elements of life that connect us all.  Love…apple pie…child rearing…and child-learning. 

One of my favorite stories in this book is The Dunfee Mule, a story about our human ability to judge and be judged...sometimes mistakenly, based on our exterior appearances instead of our inner humanity, inner beauty...inner capacity for Love.
"The loudspeaker crackled and the announcer said, 'Our own Albert Montague, formerly of Warren, Tennessee, has agreed to give us a demonstration ride on Stella, his gaited mule.' "

"Bert rode to the front of the grandstand, tipped his derby to the crowd, and Stella bowed. Turning Stella to the left, they moved out at a foxtrot. The crowd was silent. Halfway around the arena, Stella changed to another gait. The crowd went wild! Whistling and shouting, the spectators poured out of the bleachers like a giant wave and surrounded Bert and Stella. Hands were extended to Bert.

A new Bert, and Stella - no longer the Dunfee mule, exited the arena that day in 1945."
Take life’s moments today, embrace them thoroughly.  Count your seconds…and be grateful; for your mate, your family, your friends, the safety of our communities, the food we enjoy, the privileged life we live in America.

And yes...for the rivers that still run, and the four winds...that still blow.

AS always…Nature prevails.