Monday, November 16, 2009

"If I Only Had A Brain"

An excerpt from the show....see more about it in the post below!

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

It's been nearly two months since I've written here; not because there was nothing to write, but because there was so much to be done. These photos tell the story of why I've been absent for the past few weeks.

My son, the scarecrow in our production of "The Wizard of Oz", performed for the last time on Saturday night and I wanted to be there for the journey. That included making several costumes, building sets and gathering props. Though it was a long and exhausting process, I wouldn't have traded it for anything.

In our very small school, theatre is far down on the list of priorities so in order for it to be successful, it takes outside help to make things work. Along with a wonderful director and pianist, a handful of parents stepped in to transform 14 kids into magical creatures from a land somewhere over the rainbow.

A few students, including Uncle Henry and Auntie Em, had to play more than one role. Though it proved to be challenging it also showcased their talents and gave them more opportunities to perform. The efforts and success of these dedicated kids shows that it is the quality that goes into a show, not the quantity. It also proves that with encouragement from others, the right tail wind and a belief in their own wings, they can indeed fly.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Embrace the moment!

This is a picture I love. It was taken by one of my daughter's friends while they walked down the road leading away from our house. There is something unbridled and unrehearsed when young people take the camera, and it's reflected in moments like these. Moments when joy comes naturally from time spent together; when you look down the road and see so much ahead. When the world is embraced with energy and hope and plans for the future. When you love everything about your life.

"Oh, who will walk a mile with me...along life's merry way?"
This is a picture I love...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sky Watch - Morning Windmill

This was the sky that greeted me a couple of mornings ago as I headed off to work. With the windmill and cattle silhouetted by the dawn, it was easy to start the day with a song in my heart.

"Oh what a beautiful morning...
Oh what a beautiful day...
I've got a beautiful feeling...
Everything's goin' my way..."

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Skywatch - Gold on Blue

There are many things of beauty in this world: the great works of art, the masterpieces of architecture and literature...visual concepts and words that touch our soul. But there is nothing so lovely as the the magnificence of nature and those things that no man - no matter how talented - can capture.

A sunflower field is always a beautiful sight, but especially in the morning. Though dusk adds a golden glow and a feeling of peace, the sun in its beginning enhances the brilliance of their golden palette. Add a canvas of blue and you have a true work of art.

The Master's handiwork, at its best.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Son Flower

It's Sunflower time again. With the brilliant golden blooms that dot the Kansas prairie brings the dawn of my son's senior year....and I'm not ready.

You tell yourself that this time is coming. While he rides his stick horse around the living room, helps you with brownie-baking and creepy-crawler-making and lies beside you on a blanket of green grass with a storybook in one hand and a cookie in the other, you tell yourself that these times don't last. But with the busyness of everyday life and the endless days of childhood sweetness, you don't really believe it.

Then before you know it, he's taller than you with a deep voice and in a circle where you're no longer the center. It's where you want him to be, where you raised him to be and you encourage him to fly, while clipping your own wings just a bit so you're not tempted to follow behind.

He is a unique individual, my son; strong in who he is and marching confidently to the rhythm that he hears, knowing that I love him unconditionally. While his friends gear up for a year filled with football and fun, he looks beyond that to what's over the horizon and the possibilities that lie past the boundaries of our little town. And while I feel melancholy at the prospect of him growing up, I'm excited for the paths he has before him. I know he carries the tools to build a joyful life and will use them well in his journey.

So as this last school year approaches and an era comes to an end, embrace your life, son. Enjoy who you are and what this world has to offer. Leave each day a little better than its dawning possibilities. Be strong and go forward with a song - and a Kansas Sunflower - in your heart, knowing I love you.....and that I always will.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

SkyWatch - Thistles

I can't resist taking photos of thistles everytime I pass them by. There is something beautiful and intriguing in the brilliant fuchsia blooms, even though their thorny leaves are a menace to the farmers.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Beautiful Weeds

Beauty is all around me on the path that leads to home. It is unpaved and set deep with ruts that make it near impossible to travel by car. That's why I like it. The chances of running into another person are remote and thus, I have the whole place to myself.

There are no roses that line this weed-infested path; no flowering vines that wind enchantingly around the whispering cottonwoods. Here are the overlooked beauties of the roadside: the noxious thistle, foxtail, field bindweed, common yarrow and many others whose names escape me.

In the bright Kansas sun they could be easily missed. Their presence is ordinary and to most, unwelcome. They invade field and pasture like an uninvited guest who camps haphazardly wherever they feel at home. At first glance they are hardly impressive and plain, at best.

But kneel down and take another look. Intrusive, perhaps. Common, most certainly. But one cannot question their beauty against the cobalt of a bright May sky.

Look again. Life is comprised of much more than just roses. Consider the thistle. It holds a magic - and loveliness - of its own.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The beauty of today.....and yesterday

A few days ago I took some students outside to write. It was a picture-perfect spring day; blue skies and sunshine. Very conducive for writing. To encourage self-expression and so I don't 'hover', I write along with them. On this particular day we sat at different places on the playground, and my thoughts led me here...

For some reason this weather makes me miss Salina and my mind returns there.

I miss my old back yard, the glider on the deck, the flowers I planted: larkspur, lantana, iris, lobelia, daisies and marigolds, yarrow, dianthus and my butterfly bush. I miss my little corner - the creeping phlox and low-growing evergreens in the front yard...the porch swing where I sat and read and watched the rain fall. I miss seeing neighbors working in their yards, calling across the fence and sharing tips about flowers...advice about life. I miss riding my bicycle down the path by the airport and the pizza plant where the smell of dough and spices permeated the air. I miss the neighborhood children I've known since they were little; their laughter ringing from the backyard, the sound of screen doors as they ran in and out. I miss the old grade school and familiar faces in familiar hallways. I miss my job at the university with close connections and diverse people. I miss the lack of gossip and the positive feeling of support - of help from friends, but also space to reside in one's own place without interference or judgement.

But of course I know, if I went back now it would all have changed. A new family lives in what once was home. The trees have grown, the flowers are gone and what once was familiar no longer remains. Front porch melodies are silent where the swing once hung. Neighbors have moved, some passing to another life. Children have grown and left for college, and the lovely little school has grown into a building with new walls, rules, and faces. Co-workers from my days have moved on to new locations and vocations. Time stands still for no man....and I am hardly an exception.

But for today, I'm dreaming of the past. My heart is a hundred miles away, in another place and time, when the spokes of my life's wheel were in perfect alignment and turned my world with exactly what I needed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Glory in a Sunset

The sunset tonight was amazing. I sat in the grass in our backyard, hidden away from the rest of the world and watched as the sun descended silently below the horizon.

I knew, from looking at the bank of clouds in the west earlier that evening, we would have a beautiful sunset tonight. And I wasn't disappointed.

To many more glorious sunsets...and sunrises. Happy Earth Day!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Prom 2009

Another prom has come and gone. My son, a junior, enjoyed the festivities for the first time with his beautiful date - a girl whom we love - and my daughter came back to accompany a friend whom we also hold very close to our family. His lovely and dear twin sister and her date joined in as well.
The preparations were many, including these five foot cards I drew for the backdrop. Several kids helped me paint them; a task I could never have completed by myself in those last two days.

As dates arrived, hairstyles were sprayed and finery completed, the photos began:

Then it was time for a walk down the "red carpet" and photos in the limo...

These years have flown by and that little boy and girl of times past have grown up so quickly. I know my time of holding them close in this way is growing fewer, and though their future prospects invite wonderful anticipation, I can't help but be a bit melancholy for those days when time stretched endlessly and gloriously before us.

To my beautiful daughter and handsome son, I'm proud of you in so many ways and for so many reasons. May the doors continue to open up for you as you walk through this life, and may the love you hold on this special day continue to embrace you in the road that lies ahead.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Cow Patty

These are my closest neighbors; a group of Angus cattle who live across the road from us. A storm was trying to blow our way as I crossed the ditch and looked over the barbed wire, though it never quite materialized. The cattle, used to these spring tirades, lumbered slowly towards me. I'm sure they expected hay and feed instead of a lens pointed at them.

Some were gentle-faced, their eyes knowing and patient while others, like the big black bull, glared with defiance: daring me to come closer...yet warning me not to.

It's funny that even though cattle are as commonplace as dandelions, I still find delight in capturing these images. There is fun to be found in the shot; the story we tell in the frame that we take.

I think my favorite of the day was the "kissing cow". She really did look like she was sharing a tender moment with the bull. But then, what is it they say? "Spring is a time when a young man's fancy turns lightly to thoughts of love...!"

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sky Watch - Stormy March

Two nights ago we had a big storm pass overhead. The worst of it skirted to our NE, though a rotating cloud passed just outside our backyard.

These were taken in the aftermath, looking to the east where the angry wrath looked beautiful from a distance.

As always the sunshine returns with the promise of clear skies on tomorrow's horizon...

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