Sunday, June 25, 2017

The First Day Of Summer

As the sun sets the stage is prepared
Sage on the right will be used for each person to carry around the stone clock that marks the path of the sun on this day. You are to examine your year coming up or previous year and look at your life.
Children play on a circle of stone, a clock used to tell the seasons change. Archeologists had determined a clock had been here 3-5000 years previous, used by woodland tribes. This was rebuilt after being disturbed with a excavation. Mike tells how all the stones were set while we each sat on one.
Flags represent the four directions, and each has a significant animal to identify with. Each person chose their side to help hold the banner with others.

I chose the east flag with Cecil, our animal was the hawk.
A mother grabs the inner flags with her daughter. The daughter becomes the mother of starting our fire by her choosing this flag.
As the sun slowly sets, stories and song are shared.

A fire is started using a friction from a bow
Blowing on the ember creates a flame

I drop my sage upon the blaze.
Our lives and thoughts are carried with the winds.
Ray leads us in the Coyote song, a story of the coyote saving a tribe from hunger. He is Lakota and shares his culture with many. All songs were sang in his dialect.
As the day ends we walk through the prairie and down along a river to look at the fireflies assembled. It gave all a time to share their lives with others. We came back up and set a telescope up watching for the first stars to appear and called out constellations. We could see the rings of Saturn and four moons around Jupiter with the telescope. When someone mentioned the time I laughed since I was to meet my youngest for a day of fishing in about 6 hours. It was too fun to leave, but I headed home, only living 12 miles from here. Hello summer, I hope to have lots of fun with you.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Do You Know What I Herd?

This was awesome to be close to, the Elk with velvet covered antlers were a sight to behold.

Showy Milkweed

This bull seemed to be one of the largest.

Plover or Killdeer
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Morning Dove
A male turkey was spreading his tail feathers, but not for the camera. 

Scurf Pea
White Pelicans
Painted Turtle

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Little Late

Which you were here, in Lone Tree, Nebraska. I camped and trout fished for 4  days and never saw a soul unless I went to town to get an ice cream. I had a friend who did her first teaching assignment here 50 years ago, and she claims it sounded about the same. Tiny, with one store, one gas station and one everything store. The closest big town is 60 miles away called, Valentine. One can send their Valentines there to get that special postmark for the holiday. This is a remote area of north central Nebraska called the Sand Hills. At the ice cream shop you get a Sandstorm instead of a Blizzard. I always stop in Valentine for the national Nebraska meal, Chicken Fried Steak. The beauty grabs me every time I go. It is almost a needed journey to relive many visits and fun. Many ranches in the area are over 10,000 acres.

I worked in a Nature Conservancy area for a few years doing a study of plants making sure they were rotating their buffalo herd good on the 27,000 acres they owned. Living at a biological station is fun. Many  studies have been done here especially with doctoral studies, so your roommates  rotate in the  dorms. I had thought of trying to live here, but always want to be closer to a town that has good shopping. One year a friend leading our group was a bit glum having to be away Father's Day, something he had never done in eleven years of fatherhood. I drew a picture of a Spiderwort for his Father's Day card, opting not to drive 45 miles to get one,  and assembled signatures from everyone to cheer him up. Later I had to laugh, my oldest was 15, I was the only other father in the group of ten. I didn't get to be home either, but stayed quiet. It was a special day for me also.

Each year I relive being a father seeing my children still as children. They have grown and sometimes squirm a little when I still want to treat them that way, all being parents also. It is a treasure to keep, and a pleasure to be part of on Father's Day. I hope all who have assumed that role feel great for the deed that they preformed. After a day with grandkids, I sometimes wonder how I did it.

Little did I think of no phone or Wi-Fi connection, so upon my return I am posting what I had written Friday. No electronics since Thursday morning  was tough at first, then it just faded away. I have been gone for over a week.

Some real show stoppers for me. First this is a Bobolink.My ultimate  bird to see each year.
Next is a giant twin slide. I always have wax paper to ride down on when I visit this, you really go fast. This also makes you a  hit with any children playing there passing it out.

This water flows outside into a courtyard and into a sanctuary area.
This is the Holy Family Shrine, a unique all glass sanctuary with a living water stream sculpture sending a stream of water to the alter.