Hope or Fear

What’s on the other side of the door?

Will the events or items inside feed your inner optimist? Or will they feed the downward spiral of your thoughts and turn you into at least a temporary pessimist?

Can you tell by the door’s appearance?

These mid-20th century doors could do both. They happen to be the main entrance to the campus science hall. The building was almost a second home — right behind my dorm room in hours spent within the walls.

Some days, at at least a class or two, were delightful. My attitude and abilities fit with my major. Other days– not so much. How did I do on that quiz? Why doesn’t the sugar crystalize? Do I care which direction the electrons flow?

Do you have similar doors in your life? Does your experience run more to unexpected pleasure or disappointment?



Everyone I know has played it at least once. Inside with beanbags or groceries or toys. Outside or in large stadiums, people are played for using footballs and baseballs.

It’s simple. And complicated.

I have it. I’ll toss it to you through the air. You reach out and catch (capture). Sounds simple. But..how large is it? How heavy? How much force will it hit my hands with?

In the present day, not only people play catch.

Gives a whole new meaning to “catch the phone call”


A Super Highway

Coal. Grain. Scrap metal. Fuel.

Do you have tons and tons of heavy material to ship?

You’re in luck if your route is between Minnesota and the Gulf of Mexico. You can ship north or south by barge. The modern barge business on the Mississippi River is great for bulky, heavy manufactured or raw materials.

Thanks to the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Upper Mississippi is controlled and kept to a depth of nine feet or greater by a series of locks and dams. The locks are busy areas allowing barge tows as well as smaller commercial and private pleasure watercraft to transit from one level to another.

St. Louis, located at the southern end of the lock and dam system, sees lots of activity in the formation of the tows. Below you see a pair of barges being moved, it can go into a group of fifteen going north (upbound). Tows going south (downbound) in the lock and dam free portion of the river can be larger.

Ignore a school lesson for a moment. Barge tows are pushed.


Bouncing Experts

Hop right to it! Quick, like a bunny!

Have you given (or received) orders like this?

Depending on context — and energy level — this command generated a literal hop, jump, clowning around as I went off to fetch the item or do the task.

Bunnies, rabbits, hares — I admit they are expert. I’ve seen them bounce across a yard ahead of either a real or imagined threat.

But the real experts — the animal which defines “bounce” — is the kangaroo.

My introduction was in cartoons. More serious nature shows and films followed. The first time I recall seeing real ones — in a zoo — they were a little of a disappointment. They were scattered around in their habitat with all the energy of college students the morning after a party.

During subsequent zoo visits, the kangaroos have been more active. Once I could have easily believed that one of them had gotten into a stash of energy drinks as he bounced laps around his more sedate companions.

Snack time.


Breakfast Visitor

He arrived twice within a week. Haven’t seen him since.

It’s a bit of a surprise to glance up from my cereal to see a still, watchful creature in the pine tree. Will he stay long enough to get my camera?

And then he moved closer — tried out the grip on my plastic fence.

Guess who I don’t see when this proud fellow visits?

No chipmunks dashing across the patio. Are they avoiding the menu?


All Done!

The year 2019 is rushing to an end.

Has it gone past in a flash for you?

Or did it drag on forever — with one problem barely solved before the next arrived?

Like most years — I’ll have to give 2019 mixed reviews. Some fun times were contained within it’s boundaries. And also some problems — some I caused for myself, others got an assist from either Mother Nature or others.

But they’re done!  As soon as the clock sweeps past midnight! Welcome 2020. May you stay shiny and bright and full of promise — for more than one minute.

Final 2019 vacation photo.

I hope my luggage gets to the right place.


Changing Appearance

Humans have been changing their appearance for millennia.

Common methods are cutting or styling the hair. Different materials or cut to the clothes. Dying the skin — either temporary or more permanent.

Many changes are make in attempts to improve appearance — attract a mate. Others are to promote ease of movement. Some of the extreme towering wigs and wide skirts of the noble class did not stay in style for long. I know I would have a difficult time getting into a carriage or walking a narrow garden path in some of the highest fashions.

Humans are not the only creatures which change appearance. In addition to many examples of camouflage in the animal kingdom, some creatures undergo a radical change.

If Mom could only see me now!!!


Fleeting Beauty

Life’s Temporary.

A timely reminder from a fictional character. You’ve heard it in other words before.

Tomorrow’s not promised.  Eat dessert first.

Today I urge you to open your senses to the world around you. Pause for a moment to note a child’s laugh, a bird’s song, or the wind passing in the trees. The sky will never be the same again. Or the river. Or the people around you — every day we change in either tiny or giant steps.

Our morning wake — at full speed

Our cruise ship created this beautiful, very temporary, sight.


Lift Up Your Eyes

Not literally. Well, sort of. Tip your head back and look at the sky. (But leave your eyeballs in their sockets and connected to the optic nerve.) Please!

Lift up your eyes — is advice from centuries ago. It’s used in the Bible to remind people to look to the hills and the heavens when they pray.

Depending on location and walking conditions — I like to “lift my eyes” during my morning walk. You see some amazing clouds. Depending on how early this walk happens — a person can see the remnants of the sunrise colors. Or narrow rays breaking through.

You can also see man-made structures.

Lift up your eyes!

See where your 9-1-1 call for help flies.