Posted in Freedom Friday, Photo Opportunities

Time Is Precious

This has to be my favorite time of year. With the days getting shorter and the nights growing colder, I don’t miss the sweltering heat of summer. But I’m sure if I live through six months of frigid arctic weather, I would grow weary enough to want to have the sun back. Just, not right now, though.

The Woods
The Woods

I can’t believe how quickly October went by. I was talking with a friend of mine the other day telling how this month disappeared. Then again, I did have a book release, so that did make the time fly. Nonetheless, my friend felt time has been speeding along while all we’re doing is enjoying the ride.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to the woods while the leaves were turning colors and I had the opportunity to have my camera with me. Actually, I went out to take a few photos, so the opportunity was a planned event. As I walked through the woods enjoying the scenery, I noticed how quiet it was. I noticed it before, yet it never hit me quite as dramatically as that day.

I sat on a log and took it all in. I could hear the leaves rustling in the wind. The squirrels were dancing along the perimeter foraging for food. And the air was still warm, left over from the summer.

The Woods - A week later
The Woods – A week later

A week later, I went back to that same spot and the leaves had all but changed to a brilliant orange. Gone was the multi-colored tapestry nature gladly spreads honoring those who venture nearby. In its place, a bed of leaves surrounded my feet. A cold wind ran through my jacket as I sunk my hands into my pockets. And the gray sky made everything barren-looking. I couldn’t believe how quickly everything changed.

I’ve been noticing that quite a lot lately. I’m not sure why that is. In the town where I live, construction has overtaken major roadways. What used to be a peaceful area now bustles with workers. They’re improving the area. At least that is what I think they’re doing. I notice it more when I have to drive through it, running errands.

How quickly things change.

The log
The log

This time of year calls for nostalgia, wanting for things to be the way they were. I miss those days when things were simpler, when I didn’t have all the responsibilities I have today. I’m longing for those people who were once in my life, but are no longer there. I miss them. Their ghosts come and go, yet the present remains the same.

Time is precious and there’s no escaping it. What is today will become yesterday. Let’s enjoy every moment.

[Another Freedom Friday post inspired by fall.]

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How do you view time? Does this time of year also spark a longing for the way things were?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Other Things

Sweet Moments

That moment during a hot summer day when the clouds above you churn and you know it’s coming. The smell of burning wood on a cold winter night and all those memories flood your mind of how it used to be when you were a kid. How sitting on the park bench while the wind chills you reminds you of what a hot chocolate will taste like when you get back indoors.

Spring in Canada
Spring in Canada

They’re there. We just have to see them. Those beautiful junctures that make life all the more wonderful to live. Allow me to take a sliver of time from Freedom Friday to tell you about my sweet moments.

How the grass smells when I first cut it. How the house looks when it’s clean. How the garden looks when de-weeded. How I feel when I have a good movie I want to watch and have been waiting all week to watch it. How the sound of an ice cream truck brings me back to when I was a boy playing hockey with my friends in the street. How a sunset makes all the sense in the world, even when things at the time don’t make sense.

When the first snowfall hits, and my excitement builds knowing Christmas is right around the corner. When the leaves change, and I have my camera with me to take incredible shots of the colorful foliage. When the birds return after having spent those dark months away, and they sing their wonderful spring melodies at five in the morning.

My favorite food
My favorite food

The way my tongue dances after I bite into the most delicious dinner ever made in the history of culinary excellence. The silence I hear when I’m reading a good book. The joy I feel when a plan works as expected. The smell of an electronics store when I first walk in and all I want is the latest film release, but it tempts me with more. The sight of a dog chasing its tail and not knowing anything more complicated than that.

There’s more. Like those times I walk in on my wife, grab her in my arms, and tell her how lucky I am to have her. When I look into the eyes of my children and find myself staring back. That moment spending time with the extended family and someone tells a joke that everyone laughs. How the smile on someone’s face can make all the difference in the world when having a tough day. And how I try to see the good in others even when they’re terrible to me.

You see, I have many sweet moments in my life, and I’m sure you have them, too. If you look closely, you can see them. They’re there. They’re waiting for you to discover. When you do, it will amaze you by how it makes you feel knowing you’ve found one. Not everyone knows about them, but that’s okay. One day they will.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

What are you sweet moments? What special place do you have that you can call your own?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Photo Opportunities

My Walks

If you haven’t figured it out, I write about a lot of stuff. Food. Travel. Photography. You know, the basic things that make life interesting. One topic I’ve mentioned in passing but never really delved in deeply is my affinity to taking walks. Those who know me know I’m out and about more often than not in the middle of the woods. Early to late fall is also one of my favorite seasons. Therefore, it goes without saying, I’m in my element during this time of year. And what better way to introduce my walking journeys than to write about them for Freedom Friday?

The long and winding path.
The long and winding path.

Someone asked me how I keep so trim. I would use the word emaciated but that’s just me. Thin is another polite word for saying I look all skin and bones. I don’t mind when folks call me skinny, after all, I am my mother’s son and she’s not on the meaty side either. So, it’s not really something I don’t know. Anyway, I answer whoever’s asking that I’m a walker. I walk everywhere. Even having a car, I still will walk half-an-hour to Main Street on a regular basis. I enjoy the coffee shops there. They’re cozy little establishments where you can grab a warm cup of pleasure. In the wintertime, I enjoy sitting in front of the window looking out to the traffic as folks slush their way through the snow.

I love this area.
I love this area.

Walking also provides me a time when I can think. So many wonderful ideas come from those one-hour sessions. I can’t say why certain thoughts come to mind whenever I’m outside stretching my legs. They just do. I go with it and see where they take me. On the opposite end of the spectrum, when I do take long walks, I tend to resolve quite a few problems that way. If something’s on my mind, by the time I get home it will have disappeared.

Another side effect of a good walk is crossing paths with the animal kingdom. I’ve mentioned this before in my Autumn Photography post. Have I told you my biggest fear? Well, I’ve met with raccoons, rabbits, foxes, wild dogs, black cats, ducks, and geese. That’s it. I think. Wait a minute, did I mention coyotes? I haven’t met a coyote yet, and I’m not planning to either. But my biggest fear is skunks. Thankfully, I’ve seen them, but never startled them enough to race down the street like an idiot. I wouldn’t know what to do if one sprayed me. I suppose that would be the basis for a bad day.

The stream by my house.
The stream by my house.

I’ve also encountered my share of incidents during my constitutionals. One in particular strikes my memory. It involved a car and an immovable object. I was walking home, listening to music, when right behind me on the opposite side of the street, a car veered off the road, bounced on the sidewalk, tracked through a couple of front lawns, took out a porch, a veranda and finally came to a stop with its front-right side embedded in a house. Yes, a house. Oh, everyone walked out of there alive. Yet, the whole scene shook me. To this day, I can still remember how it all happened.

I always wonder what my life would be like had that car veered in a different direction.

Nonetheless, I still walk everywhere. And I’ll probably keep walking until the end of my days. It’s what makes me who I am. It’s what keeps me alive.

[Author’s Note: I wrote this a month ago yet only now did I get a chance to post it. Hence the fall shots.]

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

Do you take walks? What comes from the exercise?

Posted in Freedom Friday

Nostalgia

It’s raining here. I’m not sure what the weather will be like in a few weeks, but it’s been raining quite often this summer. I’m almost certain it’ll probably rain again when this publishes for my Freedom Friday post.

Storm clouds over our home (June 14, 2005)
Storm clouds over our home (June 14, 2005)

Rain makes me nostalgic. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think about the bad stuff that’s happened in the past. I think about how things used to be, what my life was like at particular points in time. I think everyone goes through these self-reflective moods where we ponder on the wins and losses, the births and deaths, the joy and pain. In some respect, there’s that temptation to want to go back to those times to do things over in an effort to fix that of which we made a mess.

I understand that. I do. I think it’s a natural process in our makeup as humans that as we age, the inevitable reality reveals itself that we’re only on this earth for a certain time and we should make the most of what we’re given.

Maybe that last part didn’t make much sense. I don’t know. Maybe I’m talking gibberish again.

When I look back, I measure my life’s journey by the movies I’ve watched, the music I’ve listened to, and the people I’ve met. Whenever I think of having watched Titanic in the theater in 1998, I remember how I had long hair, a bit of an attitude, and I wasn’t about to let anyone tell me what I will do, should do, or have to do. At the same time, I remember this magical time when a spotlight shined on Celtic music. Since my wife is from Nova Scotia, I felt rather proud too that it was Ireland’s time.

Storm brewing over our neighborhood (June 14, 2005)
Storm brewing over our neighborhood (June 14, 2005)

The little things also are what get me. I’ll be standing in line at the grocery store and an Eighties song would play in the background shooting me back to my teens when I had my whole life ahead of me with no cares in the world except maybe not having a date for Friday night and the homework assignment due on Monday.

What else was there? I’m certain it was not that acne blowout three minutes before going on stage for my student council acceptance speech.

During these summer months, I have a very strange ritual. It’s a strange ritual because I don’t think anyone else does this. Maybe they do, but I haven’t found anyone who does. If you’re one of those people, let me know. We can be strange together. When it rains, I walk outside in my bare feet and shorts, sit under the front canopy to my house and stretch my legs. I allow the water to pour on my feet. The more powerful the storm, the happier I get. And if lightening should crack in the sky, I’m in my element, grinning from ear to ear.

Didn’t I say it was a strange ritual? I’m not sure why something like a storm would bring such happiness. Maybe it goes with the nostalgia I feel in the rain.

Or maybe, I’m strange. Either way, I’m learning something new every day.

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Do you ever get nostalgic? What is it that you think about?