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back into the woods...

Saturday, October 22, 2016
.... early this morning, before daylight. After sleeping hard, though not fast enough, I am up and headed off for another day of 'retreating'. This will be a long day, as one of the planned events takes place after dark. Meaning I won't be back home to fall into bed until we have cleaned up and begun organizing for the final day on Sunday.

When I went to the library yesterday afternoon, I discovered a book sale going on. Good news for someone in dire need of reading material. I will likely sneak off to the library a couple of miles down the road, to find something to read. Yesterday, I bought a number of children's books, and plan to get them in the mail next week, to some little people who will enjoy getting a surprise - that will hopefully encourage parents to read and children to learn to love books, the written word, learning to be interested, interesting, knowledgeable adults.

The Informed Citizen is the Cornerstone of Democracy.

spent the day in the closet...

Friday, October 21, 2016
... at a retreat. Up in Harris County, where a group of fellow believers provide the man/woman-power for this semi-annual event over two consecutive weeks every spring and fall. Men one weekend, and women the next. I've been doing it for several years, volunteering my time to help make the event a success. It takes dozens of people, working behind the scenes, making it look like it all happens with smoke, wires and mirrors.

The participants do not see all the people who come together to provide all the meals, undertake all the invisible prep. work that creates such a seamless success, season after season. Until they 'graduate' on Sunday, and are so in love with the idea that they can hardly wait to be volunteers for the next event. Whereupon they are generally confounded at the number of people it requires, and the complicated process that reproduces the same setup/scenes year after year.

The little 'niche' I have found that suits my skill set so well involves a bit of floral work: right up my alley. There is a huge storage closet where lots of supplies are stored, bins and bins full of decorations. Shelves full of dry goods and disposable/paper/kitchen items. Vases, lamps, candlesticks, wooden crosses, tablecloths, all the equipage to be used for reproducing this well-planned weekend.

I make myself available as part of a team of three or four folks designated 'worship', so we are prepping for various gatherings in a small snug chapel, or larger open-sided tabernacle. My job mostly consists of assembling a couple of big cut flower arrangements, and adding some odd bits of frou-frou to decorate at various times during the event. Plus lots of down time, when I get to poke around in other people's business, kibitz with co-workers who apparently stay much busier in their little areas of expertise. I know to go prepared to get letters written, a back log of magazines read, and enjoy talking to people I only see once a year.

Today, I took my computer when I left home before daylight, only to discover that there is no wireless out there in the woods, miles from civilization. Terribly itchy to do some blogging, after several days of being in constant motion, on the road or at work. Using the excuse of going in to town to mail some notes at the post office, I went to the library and stole some internet to get it out of my system. And now, here, back at home, headed to bed: confessing. And wondering, since it is actually 'free', it's really not theft, is it?

turtle rescue...

...occurred when I was driving back from south GA on Wednesday afternoon. Out there in the piney woods, where there are many low-lying areas that never fully dry up. Thickets of dense shrubs that are always standing in water. Swampy places that look like solid firmament, but are actually watery bogs covered with green pond scum.

When I was driving down a country road, following a line of vehicles traveling about 23 mph. We were all stuck behind several trailers full or recently harvested peanuts., I noticed a huge turtle along the verge. Nearing the edge of the paving, slowly scootching through in the weeds. I made a U-turn and went back to inspect. He was enormous. A dusty black gopher tortoise, with scaly legs and sharp claws, perfectly designed for digging in the loose sandy soil of the coastal plains. Quite determined to cross the highway, which was fortunately not well traveled. He would not be deterred, so I picked him up and transported him across the rural highway. Deposited safely into the tree line on the far side of the ditch.

Sadly, like trying to herd cats, I suspect he merely turned around to start trundling back up the hill and slowly make his way onto the asphalt, returning from whence he came. He weighed about twenty pounds, and could have been a long lived patriarch.  I have heard they can live to be over a hundred years old, living in the sandy burrows they dig. The burrows  can support an entire community of wildlife, supplying shelter for a variety of animals that live in the flat lands of the south.

I hope I did a good deed and he will survive being 'helped' across the road, move on into the scrubby, shrubby lands of the pines.Hope that he will live long and prosper, stay off the roadways to create generations more of that very vital part of the food chain. Provided of course he finds someone who wants to be married to a wise old, dusty, black tunneling tortoise.

reporting on the auntie...

...from the most recent trip to visit where she is still 'held captive' in the rehab facility in south GA. She is understandably antsy about wanting to get out, feeling there is no point in her being held against her will. Sadly, there is also no 'reasoning' with someone who has short -term memory loss, meaning that every thing you say literally goes in one ear and out the other.

She seems to be improving mobility-wise. But when I saw her this week, she had been recently diagnosed with another UTI, which explained on-going crazy talk. She was insisting that she had dresses up in the attic. Even though one of the health-care workers told her there was no 'upstairs', she was certain she had been up there, and there were some of her belongings we needed to retrieve. In talking to a staffer and hearing she had started on another round of antibiotics, I was almost relieved by the recent diagnosis- which explained why she was on such a bizarre rant about something that did not exist.

There is a follow up appt. with Orthopedic Dr. next week, so I know she is expecting she will be released from future care (until the next crisis!) Which also means she will also be certain that she is ready to return home. Sadly: not without Adult Supervision, even though she will be vehemently opposed.

I expect there will come a time in the aging process when most, if not all, of us will decline to the point that we need assistance and possibly people to make decisions in our stead. I hope I will be more agreeable, co-operative and willing to be coerced when it is my turn. I've already told my family: just put me someplace they keep me clean and fed.

what it's like...

..to drive across the country side in south GA during the harvesting season: dusty. Whether the crop is peanuts or soybeans or cotton, it all generates a trememdous amount of stuffl floating in the air. I can imagine the clouds of dust that follow the guys driving the tractors and combines when they are finished with work for the day. After being out in the heat, sweating in the brilliant sunshine, and spending hours in that dust and dirt, they are probably caked with layers of mud when they get home.

I've watched the farming families harvesting rows of cotton, rolling the fluff up into big round bales, wrapped in plastic to sit in the fields until the crew comes to transport to the gin. I've seen the big combines harvesting peanuts that have been drying in the fields, lying in the sun in rows, waiting to be gathered and piled into wagons to go to market for sale. Watched the huge machines with tires as tall as a man trundle through the fields of dry soybeans, with streams of the dried legumes shooting into the trailers pulled behind those huge pieces of brightly painted farming implements.

Oddly, I can't remember the last time I saw a field of tobacco. I know it is harvested in the summer, to cure and send to market -but think there are so few farmers here in south GA that even plant it any more, I do not recall seeing any growing in recent years. I guess a combination of poor growing conditions/weather related issues, high labor costs and decreased demand have taken the profit out of growing tobacco as a cash crop.  Maybe other places, but not so much here, where I often travel, and observe the landscape.

so: did you find...

Saturday, October 15, 2016
...it yet? Yes. Well, where was it? Ok, I'm ready to spill the beans.

I recently wrote about something silly that happened, and commented on how it seems that as I get older, I am more willing to confess, laugh at myself. Admit to foibles and foolish behavior. Allowing the universe to have a chuckle at my expense.

It was buried in my sleeping bag. In the back of the car, where I had stowed it when I left Valdosta in the dark on Thursday morning. Apparently I had dropped it on the bag that was on the bed, and it got tucked into the 'stuff-sack' when I was gathering up my belongings to load into the car. I normally would have taken the bag into the house when I got home on Thursday afternoon, but I knew I was leaving again early on Friday for Decatur. So it sat in the car overnight.

With me thinking I had left it someplace in south GA before I drove back home on Thursday morning. Trying to retrace my movements, plot out my steps to remember where it might have landed as I was dashing to-and-fro between Nashville and Valdosta. Urging people in the vicinity to help in the search. While it accompanied me the whole time, much to my chagrin.

To be discovered last night when I pulled the sleeping bag out of the stuff-sack, and had the phone fall out on the floor. I was so pleased to see it, I've decided to confess, and admit craziness. But not going to be embarrassed over the people I alerted, challenged to help with the fruitless search. It was not the misplaced device so much, even though it was a little mortifying to have to describe it as 'old school flip-phone', but all those people who were 'stored' in the memory. All those folks I would miss not being able to contact, friends and family I could not reach, talk with.

Calling off the rescue mission. Problem solved.

even more distressing...

... was getting up on Friday morning, trying to get organized, loading up stuff in my car to leave home. Heading out before first light towards Decatur, in the pointless endeavor of trying to arrive in Metropolis before the traffic gets bad when four million vehicles hit the road. I'll always attempt to outfox them, hoping I can sneak in while they are showering and breakfasting, putting on their armor, readying to battle snarling traffic.

As I was putting things I would need for the weekend in my faithful little Toyo., I heard that unique sound of the phone on vibrate. I was delighted, to know it had not been abandoned in south GA, far out of reach. Thinking and  hoping it had slipped, unnoticed, down into the narrow nether world, between the back of the back seat, and the cushion part. It was too dark to look, and I was anxious to get on the road to get the stressful part of city driving over.  Comforted with the knowledge it was along for the ride.  Assured that the phone was actually traveling with me, even if not in hand.

I arrived at my destination, still waiting full daylight, when I could disassemble the  back seat and retrieve the sneaky hidden device. But when I began the search, it did  not appear. Apparently still unwilling to give up the secret hiding place, like that tiny turtle that got loose in the house when I was a kid and has yet to reappear. After a thorough search, actually taking all the bags full of miscellany out and diligently emptying and examining each one, that dang-nab-it phone was no where in sight. Still eluding capture. I absolutely know I heard that unique little noise it makes when the alarm vibrates. But didn't find the slippery little sneak.

I know you are thinking: 'why not just get someone to call it, and stand waiting for it to ring, leading you to the hiding place?' Good idea, except the guy who loves to man-handle problems had the missing device disabled when he went to get another activated, determined I should have a means of communication. He would not have slept a wink, due to fretting about the missing phone. So he gave me one I could not use, did  not have the skills to operate, but it satisfied his need for me to have one.