Friday, August 21, 2009

Burned Up With Beauty

"It is better to be happy for a moment and be burned up with beauty than to live a long time and be bored all the while." ~ Don Marquis ~

I took another impromptu trip .... this
time to Mackinac Island (pronounced Mackinaw) in Michigan. The island forbid motor vehicles in 1898, so getting around requires good walking shoes, bikes, renting a horse or taking a carriage ride. Ah! Good old fashioned fresh air free of car exhaust and fragrant with horse manure. ;) Not that I mind because I love horses and leaving a bit of modern life behind. They do an excellent job of cleaning up and I found the pace of life there remarkably tranquil.

It's a nice bike ride around the island. The path is 8.8 miles long (also walkable if you want to make a day of it). Better yet, hire a saddle horse and make the ride around. Horse drawn carriages are also fun to view the flora and fauna from. Arch Rock, the butterfly museum, the Grand Hotel, the Fort, tons of restaurants. shops and hotels to dally in.... yes, you can actually experience what it's like to dally (an antiquated concept in our fast-paced world).

It makes me wonder about our recent ancestors before this explosion of technology. Driving horse-drawn buggies, socializing on the veranda, playing games together, just walking and talking and allowing the moment to grow. Very nice!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Rite of Passage

"Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional." ~ Roger Crawford ~

I guess you could call it a rite of passage to have worn out your first pair of leather work gloves. To tell the truth, I never really appreciated their value until this project came along. But, they've been invaluable and have saved me alot of misery as I've found that when I'm without them I end up with blisters, slivers or metal shards causing discomfort. Just carrying a bucket of dirt (and I never knew how heavy dirt is either) is more comfortable with them on. My brother is the one to point out this questionable achievement and since I am still painting the woodwork on my windows I'll indulge my thoughts on my relationship with him...

"The measure of a man is not, 'How did he die?' but 'How did he live?' not 'What did he gain?' but 'What did he give?'" ~ Unknown ~

I'm ten and a half years older than he so I've always taken him under my wing and tried to spend time with him. His nickname as a kid was "Pinwheel" as he was always moving and would just as soon climb up your arm and over you than to go around you (not exactly an endearing feature, but he was a great kid nonetheless :) So, even when I went to college I would try to make it home at least once a month for a weekend with him and who wouldn't for the excitement and obvious affection I appreciated from him. I'd take him bowling or to a movie or a drive, or just spend time with him on his go-cart and later on, his motorcycle. I'm happy to say I was the first to let him drive on the freeway. I took him places with me like to St. Louis and Wisconsin Dells although we never made it to Alaska to fly over the North Pole as we'd been planning. Instead of trading in my old car (very old car), I gave it to him when he was sixteen. That was a no-brainer as the amount my loan would be reduced was next to nothing and he was overjoyed just to have "wheels". So, we've had alot of great memories together. None of which were made with the intention of payback but just because he's such a great guy and fun to be around.

"A great man is he who does not lose his child's heart." ~ Menicus ~

As we are working on the house, we relax and joke around just as if we were kids again. So, we smile and tease each other and do "stupid" things that only siblings have an instinct for. I don't care how old and sophisticated you are... if you let your hair down with family it's as if time stood still. You still can go "back there". And, there's no better remedy for those aches in your soul than a good laugh with a good friend. Create the situations where they can happen and you'll be alot better off for it.