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Sue Spitulnik

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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Nature

Where is Springtime

Spring starts on the Vernal Equinox and National Proposal Day is observed on both the Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes. It is an opportunity to let the loved one in your life know you are open to a marriage proposal. Where subtle hints have not worked, a more direct approach may be required.

I know sometimes I don’t understand things the way they are meant to be, but the previous paragraph seems to give permission to either member of a couple to pop the question, “Want to get married?” I think that’s pretty cool and I had no idea there is a special day that makes it all right to do that. What will they think of next. Continue reading “Where is Springtime”

Trees in My Life – memoir

Irene Waters asked writers to share memoir about trees. Following is the link if you want to join the fun. She asks for our generation and location so we can compare differences.

Trees: Times Past

Baby Boomer from rural western New York State.
Currently I look out our family room window and delight at the action of many different kinds of birds that visit the feeders. The Niger seeds and suet hang from a crabapple tree. There is a “fake tree” everyone perches on made from large branches stuck into the hole in a patio table (where the umbrella would go) and a large cedar that wiggles constantly because there are so many sparrows and other birds perched in/on it. Keeping the feeders full is a daily job, but the entertainment is worth every penny the seed costs.
In the 1950’s and 60’s my parents owned an acre of pine trees that my grandfather had planted to sell for Christmas trees. As the youngest of four girls I can remember going “out to the woods” to cut our Christmas tree. They were not trimmed like today so looked a bit scraggly and were soon to big to be used. Then the trees became the play area for the town children. Both boys and girls had separate forts. Our mother’s would scold us for getting pine pitch on our clothes.
From my sister Paula… “I think Tilley (our cat) would spy on me when I climbed trees and checked on bird nests. Then they would get robbed!!
Joanne and I played, for hours, out in the back left corner. There was a pussy willow tree there we cut branches from each year.
I knew the whole area very well and ventured farther out back, across fields (don’t know who owned them) and on into Uncle Louie’s woods where he had an old sugar shack. On one of my walks I saw a beautiful Snowy Owl. Dee (Our dachshund) would go with me and dig up baby mice and voles, and eat them!
One warm afternoon, Joanne came looking for me and asked, ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING OUT HERE?’ I was lying on the ground, watching the clouds float by and listening to birds and bugs singing…… near a pile of fence row trees that had been bulldozed up to make more space for growing crops. Dee loved snooping all through the brush and would chase rabbits, howling as they scooted away, because she couldn’t keep up.”
Trees have always been an important part of my life, like good friends.
Thank you Irene for the walk down memory lane.

Be a Tree Hugger

Today is National Love a Tree day. Trees provide more than just beautiful landscapes and a shady canopy on a sunny day.  They play a significant role in reducing erosion and moderating the climate as well as give us oxygen. Large quantities of carbon are stored in their tissues as trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

That’s the adult version of why we should love trees. I think my grandson’s idea is better. He has a maple tree in his back yard that is the perfect climbing tree. The large branches are close enough to the ground that he and his friends can ascend easily. There are enough large branches that three or four boys can be in the tree at the same time and they each have their own spot to sit. When it gets quiet in the yard, I have learned to look up. They haven’t run off to one of the other boys yards, they are usually up in the tree. It always makes me smile.

I lived in Washington state when the tree huggers and ornithologists shut down logging for a time in order to save the habitat of the spotted owl. I’m a big animal lover but they almost killed the economy of the town and livelihood of the people where the logging companies had their headquarters. Personally I think people and jobs are more important than animals, but we don’t want to start an argument.

Think a second about the Christmas tree. Our winter would sure be drab without the holiday lights adorning pine trees; and in the south and west, palm trees.

It is the week of the Lilac Festival in Rochester, NY, and the Dogwood Festival in Dansville, NY. I know, lilacs are bushes, but I can drive down almost any street in my area right now and see the flowering trees and bushes in bloom. It is a beautiful energizing sight and smells good too. We also have to thank trees for their yummy fruit, tasty nuts, and how they are the homes to so many animals.

When you get around to thinking about all the reasons trees are important, it really is fitting they have a special day for some extra love.

 

Let’s Go “Mudding”

Note: This is not a paid advertisement for Jeep. 

Have you ever been “mudding”? If you like communing with nature, driving (or riding) over rough trails, don’t  mind getting dirty, and have a sense of adventure, I recommend “mudding” in a 4 X 4. Yes, you need that four-wheel drive to get over or through some of the terrain in the mountains. Hills work if you don’t have mountains near by.

In my younger days, I lived in Tacoma, Washington. I worked mornings, so had the afternoons to drive up into the mountains, to downtown Seattle or to the coast.  All were just an hour away, in different directions. I had a Chevy-Luv pick-up myself and loved to drive the relatively flat, but steep, logging roads near Mt. Rainier. I would find a place to get my baby truck off the road, so a logging truck could get by if necessary, then just sit on my tailgate and let the wilderness view calm my inner self. Nothing like it.

Sometimes I went with a friend that had a larger pick-up. He knew where the trails were and he would drive carefully over tree roots, across small streams, and even over boulders. It was a very bumpy, but breathtakingly beautiful ride. I didn’t treat my truck like he did his, but then, he could fix his if something happened.

A new guy started working where I did that had a Jeep 4 X 4 . I wasn’t shy then, or afraid of much. I asked him if he went “mudding” and could I go too. He gave me an odd look, as he was quite a bit younger, but said, “Yeah. When do you want to go?” I don’t remember the timing, but I sure remember the experience. We went the day after a good rain, and instead of avoiding the water filled ruts on the logging roads, he drove straight into them, as fast as he dared. Then he looked for some rougher terrain to prove his jeep could make it through the mud without getting stuck. The thought process was like a child stomping in mud puddles to see how high the water will fly. And of course, the jeep was left dirty as a sign of a successful “mud run”. I must say, it was exhilarating. I didn’t pay as much attention to the scenery, but I could describe the moment of fear when the windshield was blackened by dirty water and you couldn’t see where you were going for a second.

Currently my old back wouldn’t be able to handle the bumpiness of a good “mudding” day, but I sure have a wonderful memory of the time I got to do it. I highly recommend doing it at least once, in a Jeep 4 X 4 if possible.

A Rainbow’s Meaning

There are people that see rainbows as an artistic masterpiece in the sky, to others it is a sign of hope and to many a sign of promise.
It can be all three; beauty, hope and promise.    (Jill Magnus)

A rainbow is actually nothing more than a phenomenon of nature created when a spectrum of light in the form of a multicolored arc, appears in the sky, caused by both reflection and refraction of light in water droplets. Rainbows always appear directly opposite of the sun.  The light is refracted (bent) when it enters a droplet of water, then is reflected inside on the back of the droplet and refracted again when leaving it, thus a masterpiece of color is seen in the sky. Or, you can create one with a prism wherever you would like to, if you have a prism handy.

A rainbow is mentioned six times in the King James version of the Bible, in some places as a sign of hope, and other places as a seal on a promise from God that a flood will not destroy mankind. It is also used in the Torah to mean the same thing. So a person may think of a rainbow as a religious symbol.

The fantasy that there are no troubles on the other side of the rainbow comes from the songwriter, Cole Porter. In the Wizard of Oz, Judy Garland sings the lyrics he wrote that has told us that “truth” since 1939. That song is still being sung in Jazz clubs, school auditoriums and over the airwaves all these years later, and we still believe every word.

The rainbow is now being used as an identifying symbol by the gay community and that’s all right with me too, if my opinion matters.

Personally I use the rainbow color card when I am quilting, to understand the relationship of colors. It’s a valuable tool that I consider a friend. Since I have learned to use it, the colors in my quilts are more vibrant and at the same time more pleasing to the eye.

I’m not sure how easy it would be to go find a rainbow at will, but the peaceful feeling I associate with it can be something I hold close, live by, and demonstrate every day toward other humans just because I want to. I challenge you to do the same.

 

 

 

Backyard Birds

Looking at the picture provided by the National Day of Calendar for bird day I realize that the backyard birds I have in western New York state are not the same you might have in your backyard elsewhere. But birds are birds. I love watching them at the feeder, flying across the back yard from the shrubs that outline our property, and hearing them “talk” to each other.

I fill our feeder attached to the window daily, and the big hanging one about once a week. The blue jays, who always announce their arrival, and the quiet sleek titmouse come especially for the peanuts. Sometimes they scatter other seed on the ground, the doves and juncos clean that up so we don’t mind. We call the sparrows pigs because they eat anything, until it’s gone. I also throw scraps out for the crows; they very timidly approach the patio, pick up as much as they can carry in their big beaks, and fly off with it. When one arrives, if there are treats, they call to their friends and more crows land silently. I’ve read that crows bring presents to those that feed them, so far, nothing has been left for me. I’m still hoping.

When my granddaughter is here, she notices the bright red on the woodpeckers that visit the suet feeder. I still haven’t convinced the lady at the public market I don’t want loose chunks of suet when I buy it. They don’t stay in the feeder like a nice solid piece does. Once in a while we have a pileated woodpecker visit, they are the huge ones that look like Woody woodpecker. That’s a real treat to see them.

I guess my fascination with birds started when I was a kid and we often had a canary in our kitchen. I remember they usually sang when someone was doing dishes, and if my father whistled a tune to them. Currently, most of the rooms in my house have some sort of birds in them whether in fabric for the shower curtain, a quilt, photographs, paintings, needlepoint, on bells, and even the ceiling border. I’m fussy though, for decorating, I want my birds to be the correct size, color and shape for their breed.

Our cat, Useless, thinks it’s good we feed the birds, he catches the mice that eat the leftovers on the ground. I wish he’d chase away the squirrels that try to get in the feeders, but I guess they are too big to interest him. At least he leaves the birds alone.

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