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Skipper’s Tall Tale: An Adventure in Persistence

Skipper

The early morning clouds were scattering a sprinkle of rain from the sky. Things are being prepared for a Memorial Day visit with family in another state. I am Piper’s dog Skipper and things are getting hectic. Everything is packed and in the car waiting to begin our trip.

I am determined to drive on this trip. The back seat is boring with just my blanket and toy. Now if there had been a nice steak bone in the back we would not be having this conversation. Piper has put me in the back seat with the air conditioner running and gone to make sure the front door to the apartment is locked. That woman is obsessive sometimes.

I am determined to drive at least for the first part of the trip. While her back is turned I jumped into the front seat and have locked the doors. When she noticed the doors were locked she went into panic mode. It was so funny watching her face turn red and start running toward the locked front door. She even dropped her purse on the wet sidewalk.

I decided to honk the horn as she ran to the manager’s office to get an extra key to the apartment. The neighbors came to their doors and there was much laughter as she came back with the manager. The rain is coming down harder now and I turn on the windshield wipers. Back and forth they go spreading the rain from the windshield on Piper as the manager gives her the extra key to use for the apartment.

Normally there is a fee for this service of an extra key.  I honk the horn again and the manager is laughing so hard that she waives the fee and thanks Piper for the entertainment for the day.

Piper gave in to my desire to drive. She exclaimed that taking a nap while riding in the rain would be a great idea. I bark and we begin our trip for the holiday weekend. It is now pouring down rain and the roads are slippery as we drive down the interstate. People are staring at us as if they had never seen a dog drive a car before.

I see a highway patrol car and remember how fun it is to play a game of chase. Quickly I step on the accelerator and am now going one hundred miles an hour. The patrol car quickly enters into a chase which goes on for about ten miles. This is so much fun.

Piper wakes up from her nap and tells me to pull over. The officer is dripping wet as he approaches the car. His expression was priceless as he sees a dog driving the car. I tell him that he is dreaming and that dogs do not drive cars. Angry at first but then laughing he tells me to either slow down or let Piper drive. I agree to slow down and not cause anymore issues. It would be a shame for Piper to spend the weekend in jail.

We arrive at our destination and everyone is excited to see us. I am thrilled to see everyone and explore all the exciting new scents in the yard. We relax for the rest of the day and I am excited for the picnic tomorrow at the local park.

The next morning the sun is out and the rain has left a fresh scent in the air. The clouds in the sky are beautiful as they move slowly in the wind. Piper has decided that we will  walk in the park this morning. I see a bank on the river where some ducks have decided to rest. This is going to be fun.

red headed duck strawberry patch park april 24

I jerk the leash and make Piper fall on the ground and let go. The ducks are so close that I almost catch one before he dives into the water. Missing the duck does not phase me as I plunge into the cold water and begin to swim. There is a turtle on a drifting log in the way but I attempt to jump over the log and splash into the water on the other side.

turtle sunning strawberry patch park april 24

The duck escapes and I return to the shore to check on Piper. She is fine but a little annoyed at me. I wonder why because my adventure was fun.

I decide to give Piper a break until meal time. There is an apple pie on the table and it has my name on it. Someday soon there will be another installment in this adventure. You will have to wait to see if I survive???????????

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

 

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camping culture daily prompt grand canyon hiking inspiration intentional living life lifestyles nature preservation story telling

Soul Searching in the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Survive

The Grand Canyon National Park is filled with beautiful open spaces between the canyons. It is one of God’s great blessings to be able to observe the natural beauty of this place. The blue, orange, pink, and brown hues grow deeper as the sun moves throughout the canyon during the day. It provides a canvas to explore and discover new things within our souls.

It is difficult to imagine that the Colorado River carved this canyon. The river appears so small in the vastness of the crevices of the canyon. There are many places in the Grand Canyon to park or hike that are quiet and serene. It is easy to listen to God and search within your soul for answers to some of life’s questions.

It was a curious time in my life. I had a job that provided a comfortable income but no real challenges. Each day it was a chore to get out of bed and go to work with a positive attitude. I felt like a trapped animal unable to move on.

The relationships in my life were also a drama. Everything was always in turmoil as the people around me were content to argue and perpetuate bitterness and hatred. It was taxing just to get out of bed and deal with life.

The people surrounding me were miserable. They had substance abuse issues and were unwilling to seek help. Manipulation ruled their lives and had a profound effect on mine. It was not a joyous time in my life.

Change is a difficult thing. When we are familiar with everything in our lives there is a strange sense of contentment. We believe that everyone in our lives is essential to survival no matter what the cost.

One morning while visiting the canyon we parked the truck and walked out onto one of the canyons to observe the surrounding area. After a few minutes I decided to sit and absorb all of the beauty surrounding me. It had been a difficult year filled with decisions and this seemed the appropriate place to sort out my feelings about life.

I slowly relaxed as the sun and the morning coolness surrounded me. Taking deep breaths it felt like I was becoming a part of the canyon. The sounds of nature were clear and in harmony. There were a few birds rustling the bushes in searching for food. A whistling sound in the wind was harmonic as it cascaded across the canyon.

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The issues that had been bothering me melted away and seemed small in comparison to the world now surrounding me. For a brief moment it was just me sitting on this canyon. Living in that moment was a freeing experience.

I meditated on this canyon for a while praying to God for answers on how to go forward in life. In the silence I had a revelation and now the answer was clear. It was time to move on.

Standing up I took one last look at the vastness of the canyon. The blue, orange, red, and purple hues appeared to be sparkling in the reflection of the afternoon sun. Walking back to the truck I felt more alive than I had in a long time.

It was now time to return home and put into action the revelations that I had on the overlook of that canyon. Change was still frightening but now there was a renewed sense of purpose in my life.

I had decided that the best course of action was to leave the world which had been my home for many years. It took some research but I found a new city filled with nature and all the things that I enjoyed. It was time to move on and create some new dreams.

Finding a job in a new city was not as difficult as I had imagined. There is an abundance of opportunity if you are willing to search for it. The new job promised to be challenging and provided opportunities for advancement.

I moved to a new apartment and began the process of searching for a new group of friends. Talking to all the people I came into contact with provided a network of people with similar interests. It was not long before this network became like a family to me.

Many years have passed since that day on top of the canyon. Leaving all the friends that I had ever known was difficult but worth the journey. There have been many adventures and life is joyful. My soul is nourished daily with the love and companionship of my husband and friends. I have no regrets and each day thank God for his guidance and blessings. I survived that season of my life.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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Geysers: A Life Lesson from Nature

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It was a cool summer morning in the mountains of Wyoming. We gathered our things and headed to the car. This day we were going to be catapulted into the adventures of Yellowstone National Park.

We were staying in Cody, Wyoming which is a small town that is about forty-five minutes from the park entrance. It is a beautiful town with old buildings that feature a wild west type of architecture.

Driving along the highway there are large rocks surrounding us absorbing the early morning sun. The rocks are covered in orange, pink and dark purple hues that are reflecting in the sunlight. God has provided us these beautiful canvases to observe on our way to the park.

After entering the park we stopped at the visitor’s center and planned our day. The visitor’s center is surrounded by huge dark green trees and some wildflowers. The brilliant yellow and white colors of the flowers are vibrant. There is a small breeze blowing through the trees reflecting rays of sunshine from above.

The first stop this morning is the geyser region. Old Faithful is a geyser that has been erupting at a fairly consistent time for many years. We approach the visitor’s center at the geyser region and check the schedule. There is about ten minutes before the anticipated eruption so we find a seat along the wooded path to observe.

People are gathering to watch the geyser erupt. The stands are full as the geyser begins to erupt. It is a fascinating sight to watch the hot water being catapulted into the air. Beginning with a small ripple of water anticipation grows as the water continues to build into the air. Hot water is hurled approximately twenty feet into the air for a few minutes and then slowing sinks back into the ground. It is a wonderful site to observe. Nature is beautiful in its displays of drama.

After the eruption ends the crowd scatters to explore the geyser area and other parts of the park. We gather our things and begin to walk the wooded paths around the remaining geysers. I am in awe of the natural beauty of this national park and begin to wonder the lesson that these geysers teach us about life.

Geysers are unpredictable in their eruptions. The same principle applies in life. We never know when the next crisis will occur. Our lives will be calm and all will seem to be going as planned.

Then a crisis will occur and we will have to deal with an issue. The issue may seem small in the beginning. If the issue is dealt with then life can proceed without drama. However there are times when the small issues of life begin to build. We allow them to heat up within us and stretch into all parts of our lives.

Like geysers these small issues continue to build up inside of us until we can no longer hold all of our emotions inside. Then there is a huge eruption. Our emotions explode and come to the surface in a grand fashion.

There may be anger associated with these emotions and cause violence in our lives. Some people express these emotions by causing  harm to other people.  This may take on the form of mental or physical abuse. The eruption is dangerous and there are no easy answers to its resolution.

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After the eruption there is a time of calm again as we resume our lives. The eruption may have only been temporary like a tantrum from a small child. When the issue is resolved life will return to normal. We learn to head off the next eruption by learning how to cope with life’s issues.

Other eruptions occur on fairly regular schedule like Old Faithful. They consume us and  our emotions erupt each time something does not go our way in life. These are challenges for us to find a permanent resolution in life.

Such challenges may take the form of homelessness or consistent unemployment throughout life. These are difficult issues and are not easily resolved. They may require the help of trained professionals to guide those affected to resolution.

It is time to leave the geyser area and explore other parts of the park. We watch Old Faithful erupt one last time before moving on. It is inspiring to watch the geyser send the water up into the sky. The water recedes back into the ground the same as our issues in life. I am grateful that we have the opportunity to solve life’s issues and can learn from the beauty of nature.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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culture daily prompt inspiration life lifestyles Mississippi nature preservation

Descend: Life of a Mississippi Magnolia Tree

magnolia tree april 21

The magnolia tree is a large majestic tree. The large white blooms are beautiful and decorate the Mississippi landscape. The magnolia tree has a long life span that may extend to 120 years. This is a possible life of a suburban magnolia tree.

The magnolia tree was born in a field in central Mississippi. At that time the field was filled with different types of trees. The young magnolia tree thrived in the ecosystem and grew to a large and healthy tree. There were few people in the area to disturb the ecosystem.

As the years past the magnolia tree began to put on beautiful white blooms. These blooms were numerous and an occasional person would happen on the tree and admire their beauty. The magnolia tree was happy and content in the ecosystem that nature provided.

magnolia group blooms april 21

Slowly over time the ecosystem became disturbed as people began moving closer to the field. There were rumblings of houses, businesses, and golf courses being built and getting closer to the field.

The pollution from all the building began to change the ecosystem. The environment was descending into a period of deep decline. There were fewer resources for the magnolia tree to draw from for survival. All around were plants and trees dying. This was frightening to the young tree.

As more time passed the magnolia tree began to see more human activity. There were more people passing by on a daily basis. This was a time of great change in the world and the tree observed young men in uniform carrying guns. The world was at war and the magnolia tree hoped that the field would be spared from the violence.

More years past and the world was again at peace. The magnolia tree noticed there was an expansion of young children surrounding the field. The tree watched as the plant life and other trees were cut down. It prayed its life would be spared from the death surrounding it.

The magnolia tree was spared and a local park was built around it. There began to be a large number of families coming to the park. A creek was created to supply water to the surrounding area and the ecosystem began to flourish once again.

The years passed and the magnolia tree was happy and content once again. There were many trees with squirrels and birds to commune with the tree. The families took care of the park and everything was in harmony.

squirrel eating grass in park march

One day there was a storm producing many inches of rain. The land was devastated by the sudden influx of water and debris. The people left their homes and the park was abandoned. The next generation of people moved in and had no interest in the park.

The magnolia tree survived the flood and was saddened by the changes. Now the abandoned park was filled with trash and drug dealers. All the surrounding trees and wildlife were dying around it due to neglect. The magnolia tree was frightened since its survival was threatened.

More years passed and a new generation of people moved into the neighborhood. They were a generation that believed in change and renewal. There were new homes built and old homes renovated and given a new life. The park was cleaned up and the ecosystem restored. There were sprinklers installed and the creek was restored to give the ecosystem the water it needed to regenerate.

Slowly the ecosystem began to recover. The magnolia tree was relieved and began producing beautiful blossoms once again. The squirrels and the birds returned singing their songs of joy.

The magnolia tree continued to observe these changes with great joy. Perhaps the people now occupying the neighborhood and park would remain. This thought gave the magnolia tree great hope for the future.

The years past and the magnolia tree grew to be extremely old. The park and the neighborhood continued to change but this time the trend of preservation continued. It was with great hope that the magnolia tree put on its last blossoms. Time for the magnolia tree to live in this physical world was growing short.

magnolia bloom april 21

One of these great magnolia blossoms deposited a seed on the ground. This seed was nourished by the nutrients in the ecosystem. Soon the seed grew to be a young magnolia tree growing in a healthy ecosystem. The cycle of life began again in the park healthy and happy.

The old magnolia tree passed away and the shell of the tree returned to the ecosystem to help the renewal of life. There is gratitude for the privilege of living a long life and the ability to observe the changes in the ecosystem. The spirit of the magnolia tree now resides in Heaven and is resting in the knowledge of a life well lived.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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daily prompt inspiration life lifestyles Mississippi nature spiritual squirrel

Bitter: How a Family of Squirrels Won the Bird Feeder War

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/bitter/”>Bitter</a&gt;

There is a family of squirrels at the bird feeder this morning. It is difficult if not impossible to keep the squirrels out of the bird feeder. Each day there is a constant war going on between me and those squirrels. I have become bitter toward this rodent.

Such is the way that events affect us in life. The battle with the squirrels eats away at my soul. It has become an illness in my life weakening me each time I get after them with the broom. To the observers in the house watching me chase the squirrels with the broom it is quite funny and they are entertained each day.

In an effort to make peace with the squirrels and repair the damage to my soul, I have decided to understand the life of this animal. In many ways it is a cute little rodent that is fun to watch.

Squirrels are small rodents that live in the woods. They come in a variety of gray and brown colors. The ones in my yard are light gray with big fluffy tails. The squirrel normally lives in a wooded area where there is protection from predators. The wooded area provides a place to burrow and make a warm pleasant home.

The squirrel likes to eat a variety of nuts, plants, and meat if it is available. A rodent with a well-balanced diet is healthy and playful. Bird seed is an easy food to obtain and apparently extremely tasty to a squirrel.

The war with the squirrels continues as I write this piece. We are at the critical point in the morning where the bird seed is gone from the ground. The time for the acrobatics has begun. Watching a squirrel scale the poles of the feeders is entertaining to watch. Climbing and sliding down the pole several times is the game of the day until the edge of the feeder is reached. The squirrel grabs some seed and shakes the feeder. This small amount of bird seed sustains him until the next round.

The second act is now upon us as the other squirrels attempt to jump on the feeder from the retaining wall. It is a bit of a distance but these persistent little rodents are successful in landing on the side of the feeder. The bird seed scatters to the ground and the squirrels on the bottom of the feeder delight in the prize. It is reminiscent of a pinata being broken and the candy spilling to the ground.

By this time the game is old and I decide to allow the squirrels to have the remainder of the bird feed. It would be nice if a hawk would come and scare these rodents away from the yard. Ah there is the bitterness creeping back into my soul.

My husband suggests that instead of feeling bitter each morning that I find a compromise that ends the war. Since negotiation with the squirrels is not possible due to communication issues I decide to take action that will be acceptable to both parties.

The first action will be to scatter a certain portion of the bird seed on the ground for the squirrels. There will be some seed near the feeder and other seed a little distance away. This will ensure that there is seed for them and the birds.

The second action is to observe what time the squirrels appear in the feeder. By changing the refill times on the bird feeder the seed will last for a longer time. The birds will have a chance to enjoy the feeder.

My last course of action is to watch and enjoy the antics of these rodents. They are entertaining to observe running from each feeder trying to win the prize of bird seed. If left alone to eat the squirrels appear to pose for photographs. We both win on this one since photography is a hobby of mine.

With this course of action the war will end. Bitterness will be replaced with joy and all will be right in the world again. The squirrels will have their food and be happy with the cornucopia put before them each day.

My soul is nourished and renewed as I ponder the possibilities of a day without bitterness for these rodents. It will be nice not to be running outside every ten minutes with a broom. My family will miss their entertainment each morning but there will be peace within my soul.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Bitter

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Panicked : A Personal Tale of the Damage Done By a Mississippi Tornado

pine tree in bloom april 1<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/panicked/”>Panicked</a&gt;

Mississippi has a large number of thunderstorms and tornadoes each year. These storms are part of the adventure of living in this state. Most storms pass through the state with only downing trees and power lines. Occasionally there is a storm that will destroy houses and communities. Sometimes people will die from being struck by debris. This is my experience of the damage caused by one tornado.

It was late afternoon on a day in March when the thunderstorm began to move across the sky. The thunder and lightning were deafening as we prepared the patient’s rooms for the tornado warning. There were sounds of the warning sirens going off around us. Everything went smoothly and no one was injured at the hospital.

We were listening to the news when a coworker came to me and said that there had been major damage in my neighborhood from the storm. I began to panic as the thoughts of where were my loved ones. This was a difficult time in life for me as the pain of divorce was still lingering.

The panic continued on the way home. Phone calls had been made before leaving work assuring me that my loved ones were safe. No one knew the condition of my home. As I pulled into the driveway there were trees down in the yard and one tree had been speared into my home. The rain was still coming down into the opening of the roof as I opened the door. Standing at the door for a moment it looked like a pretty waterfall coming over the tree now in the living room.

When the shock of what was happening wore off I thanked God that the damage was only in the material things and then the panic set in. Where was I going live? How would my house be repaired? Is there ever a safe time in life?

The response from friends and neighbors was immediate. There were offers of a place to stay while the house was being repaired. Food was brought and assurances made that I was not alone. People in Mississippi are wonderful and quick to offer a helping hand when needed. There were kind strangers that brought chain saws and began to help me clean up the damage. I will be forever grateful to all of these people.

Recovery from a tornado is a long slow process. In addition to the material damage done there is a sense of loss in terms of security. The illusion that we live in a relatively safe environment is gone. Panic struck as I attempted to put my life back together again.

It took three months before the contractors could begin to repair the house. There was a waiting list due to the number of homes damaged or destroyed by the tornado. Each day I would come to the house and clean up a few more things. Finances were tough at the time and I worked as much overtime as possible. The home insurance would repair my home but not provide for the other needs in life. Food, shelter, and transportation are required elements of life regardless of the damage done during a storm.

The contractors finally were able to begin repairs on the house and it took three months for the work to be completed. Finally after six months I was able to move back into my home. It was a relief to begin setting material items back up in the house. The panic from the storm began to subside and things seemed to be getting back to a new normal.

The tornado damage was a wake up call for me. During this time I began to reevaluate what was important in life. Blessings of friends, family, and the kindness of strangers caused me to realize how important our communities are to all of us. We need each other to survive in this life. Kindness and cooperation are essential to all people to succeed in this world.

Nine years have passed since the tornado and I am a changed person. Material things are no longer important to me. Volunteering has become a part of my life. Contributing to world instead of taking from it gives me great pleasure. I no longer take life for granted and have a healthy respect for nature.

There was a round of spring thunderstorms that came through my community last week. Sirens sounded again to warn of a tornado in the area. As I sat in the closet with my husband and dog there was a brief moment of panic. Then I remembered that God protects me and that all is well within my soul.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

 

via Daily Prompt: Panicked

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fragrance gardens inspiration life Mississippi nature

Mississippi Perfume : A Spring Adventure

Perfume
Fragrances are the essence of spring for me. Every spring the perfumes of the flowers and trees remind me of the wonderful life that I have been given. The fragrances are a call to the outdoors. They are the essence of the past, present, and future. Everyday holds a new beginning in the cycle of life.

The spring adventure starts in mid March with the blooming of the daffodils. These beautiful bulbs begin the show with their brilliant yellow and white colors. The promise is fulfilled that there is new life and renewal in the ecosystem. In Mississippi bulbs are popular and can be seen in gardens and on the roadways. The presence of these spring blooms speaks to the beauty of this state.

As spring continues to emerge the trees begin to bud and the wonderful sweet perfume in the flowers attracts the bees. It is a wonderful site to watch the dance of the bees and the flowers. The bees will fly from each bloom and with the wind blowing there will be harmony in the creation of new life. Soon the pollen spread by these bees will produce new fruit on the trees. The young fruit is the renewal of the life cycle in these trees.

bee closeup on clover april 7

The sweet fragrance of the spring will also bring the birds to the landscape. The birds will seek nesting places to begin a family. The renewal of life in the trees is an inviting place for birds to begin a new life. The new life on the trees provide an abundance of food for the birds.

Pine trees are abundant in Mississippi in the forest and in the suburban landscape. These trees send a yellow coat of pollen into the landscape. The fragrance of these trees is sweet and are the cause of many allergy issues in people. The yellow pollen show will continue for many weeks as the new pine cones emerge to continue the life of the trees.

pine tree in bloom april 1

Magnolia trees have beautiful large white blooms that appear in the spring. These fragrant flowers are large and shine brightly in the morning sun. They coat the landscape in many parks and yards. This wonderful flower is the Mississippi state flower.

magnolia group blooms april 21

Flower gardens are popular in the spring landscape. The bright colors and fragrances of the flower gardens are pleasing to the senses. Many people find peace and relaxation while working on these gardens. The fragrant flowers are nourishment for the soul.

Rose gardens are popular in Mississippi. Many people plant roses of various colors in the gardens. The sweet fragrance of these flowers attract bees, humming birds, and a variety of butterflies. The gardens are fun to take care of and to reap the reward of freshly cut flowers. The fragrance fills the house with calming scents.

mom rose garden april 1

The Mississippi Museum of Art has beautiful garden areas that are visited often in the spring. There is a section that has flower gardens planted in memory of loved ones  by museum patrons. These gardens have beautiful yellow flowers, roses, foxgloves, and grasses. The perfume of these flowers is a loving memory of those who have passed and the renewal of life.

There is a community nature park that has sections of flowers in the spring. These flowers appear on bushes that bloom in the spring. The vibrant colors and fragrance of the flowers attract bees and humming birds. This is a fun and relaxing thing to observe.

The spring attracts people to the outdoors. The sweet fragrance in the air is a call to people to renew their relationship with nature. Spring is the time of year when outdoor activities begin anew.

As the days begin to warm the people begin to reappear in the landscape. There are baseball games and races with walkers and runners. The barbecue grills return as people experience the appealing fragrances of food being cooked outside. This is the time for families to reconnect after the long separation of the winter months.

June soon appears and the spring fragrances begin to fade. Summer is on the horizon and there will be new perfumes in the air. The spring flowers will fade and give rise to the summer landscape. The temperatures in Mississippi are hot in the summer and people will begin to spend more time inside to escape the heat.

The fruit on the trees is maturing now and the bees have gone to more inviting landscapes. It has been a wonderful spring in Mississippi and the sweet fragrances of the spring flowers is now a wonderful memory. The future looks bright and all is well with the world.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

via Daily Prompt: Perfume

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art history inspiration life Mississippi

The Blanket Comfort of Mississippi

Blankets are coverings that comfort us. As a native Mississippian I am blanketed by the traditions and culture of the state. Mississippi is often considered one of the poorest states. I believe that poor is relative and that there are many things that give Mississippi wealth. There are seven areas that are explored in this blog.

The first part of Mississippi wealth is her people. They are a diverse group coming from around the world. We have a blanket of family and friends. The small town culture of people loving and caring for each other is abundant here. Through tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and fires there will always be neighbors to blanket us. In all disasters in this state the call for aid is answered immediately.

The second part of Mississippi wealth is her land. The landscape is green and lush in the northern and central part of the state. There is forest that blanket the state with vast trees and wildlife. There are  fields filled with crops containing food to feed us. The cotton that is grown to provide clothing for us.

In the southern most part of the state is the Gulf Coast. The vast Gulf of Mexico provides food and a beach for vacationers to enjoy. The barrier islands provide protection from storms and host an old fort that offered military protection in an earlier time. There are sculptures from trees damaged in hurricanes and a beautiful lighthouse to guide our boats home. This is truly a blanket of art and culture for Mississippi.

The third part of Mississippi wealth is the entertainment industry. This state is known for the blues and a variety of other music genres. Musicians young and old receive inspiration from the rich history of Mississippi. There have been aspiring musicians that have national competitions.

Writers have found inspiration in the tales of the people and the landscape. Many famous authors have called Mississippi home and speak of our culture. Many small Mississippi towns have been the settings for a wealth of stories. It is exciting to visit the towns that the stories told are based.

The film industry has taken an interest in Mississippi. Several small towns have been used as a background or set for a movie. Along with the famous actors several Mississippians have served as extras or have had parts in these movies. Our beautiful landscape enhances the story the movie is attempting to tell.

The fourth part of Mississippi wealth is the festivals that are held in small towns and communities. The delta has blues festivals featuring artists that are well-known and those that just beginning their careers. In another small town there will be a festival featuring tomatoes or crawfish. The crops provide income to the community and are celebrated.

One of the most entertaining festivals takes place in Neshoba County. Every year in August people come to this festival that features music, food, and politics. . This is a wonderful festival that brings in diverse groups of people. There are cabins that have front porches where people gather to enjoy conversation and food. In an election year many politicians gather to give elaborate speeches to encourage people to vote for them or their cause.

The fifth part of Mississippi wealth is the vast reservoirs and rivers. These venues provide entertainment and serve the water needs of the people. They provide ecosystems for birds, animals, and other wildlife. Mississippi protects these environments.

On a typical Mississippi weekend there will be fishermen, boaters, and people skiing in the calm waters. The parks surrounding these water venues have picnic tables and campsites for families. There are trails for bicycles and people walking. We are blanketed with the wealth of the outdoors.

The sixth part of Mississippi wealth is her spirituality. We are blanketed with a deep belief in God. Our culture is deeply rooted in this belief and is expressed in the way we live.

The final part of Mississippi wealth is the history of the state. Strength and resilience is blanketed from our rich heritage. We learn from our past and go forward into the modern world. There have been dark times where our culture has needed a correction. The people of this great state have risen to each occasion and moved forward to a more inclusive state.

I am proud to call Mississippi my home. It is a wonderful place to live and grow. This state is a good place to start and raise a family. Mississippi is blanketed in love.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

via Daily Prompt: Blanket

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inspiration life Mississippi nature park personal

The Community of Strawberry Patch Park

Strawberry Patch Park is located in Ridgeland, Mississippi at an intersection with a school on one side of the street and residential housing on the other street side. This local park has been in existence for over thirty years. I spent many days as a young woman walking the trail in this park.

It is a warm spring morning and I am visiting my mother. She lives in a neighborhood not far from the park. We decide to take a morning stroll and take pictures along the trail. The trail is a mile long and circles around the entire park.

I am amazed at how little Strawberry Patch Park has changed over the years. The areas surrounding the park have exploded with new subdivisions, roads, and additions to the school across the street. The park seems to be thriving with only new playground equipment added a few years ago.

The trail path begins with an arbor inviting people into the park. My mother and I begin walking and the park becomes alive with life. The new playground is in front of us and is filled with children. The swings and slides are filled with running and laughter as parents sit nearby having conversations and drinking coffee. All is well in the world of childhood.

After passing the restrooms I spot some ducks and geese near some picnic tables. As an amateur photographer with a love for nature this is a wonderful spot for adventure. Slowly approaching the sleeping birds with my camera to get a picture I manage to take a few photos before the birds sense my presence. They awake and sensing no danger from me pose for a few more photos. I whisper a word of thanks to the birds and move on.

ducks in strawberry patch park april 23

The next stop on the agenda this morning is a small memorial dedicated to the military in the area. Mississippi has a lot of military families and this memorial to the soldiers has been placed by a local garden club. It is surrounded by a metal fence, lovely green bushes, and a bench upon which to reflect life. The memorial is beautiful and fits in with the life of the park.

strawberry patch park memorial april 24

My mother and I keep walking and see a family of geese. The parents are taking the goslings to the pond surrounding part of the walking trail. They pause for a moment at a puddle of water to drink before proceeding. I take a few pictures before the adult geese decide that this is too close for comfort. I quickly move on as they make noise and attempt to show me how big they are. These geese are protective of the young goslings.

geese drinking water in strawberry park april 24

In the pond is a duck enjoying the sunshine. The duck allows me to get close enough to take a picture of him swimming. These birds are beautiful and swim with precision and elegance.

red headed duck strawberry patch park april 24

We continue our journey enjoying the coolness of the morning. At the back edge of the pond is a small chapel. This chapel has stain glass windows with bushes, trees, and a metal fence surrounding it. The short brick pathway to the entrance is inviting. In front of the chapel is a large white bell. The peace and serenity of the chapel is welcoming to anyone who cares to enter the doors.

chapel in strawberry patch park april 24

There is a group of turtles on a tree stump beside the pond in front of the church. I tried to take pictures of the group but got too close and off they jumped into the water. It is a funny scene as the turtles scurried into the deeper part of the pond.

Mom and I continue our journey and greet people as they pass us on the path. We are slow walkers observing scenery along the path. This part of the trail contains large trees that have been here for many years. Pecan trees are along the trail and will yield a large number of pecans in a fruitful year. These nuts are fun to collect in the fall.

The ecosystem of this park remains intact and continues to grow. There are new gardens of daffodils that have been blooming. The yellow color of these daffodils are beautiful and act as an enhancement to the landscape.

Strawberry Patch Park is home to many squirrels. These creatures playfully run from tree to tree in search of food. There is an abundant supply of food for them in the ecosystem. We also observe a variety of small birds in the trees. There are blue jays, robins, and other small song birds in the park.

squirrel eating grass in park march

Mom and I are now at the end of the trail. Before leaving I spot a turtle sunning itself on a tree root above the pond. I decide to try for a photograph one last time. Ever so slowly walking toward the tree I finally get the picture. This photograph feels like the prize from a contest.

turtle sunning strawberry patch park april 24

We exit the park and head to the car. It has been a wonderful and relaxing morning. Exercise is great for the body but nature is nurturing for the soul. Mom and I ride away and look forward to the next day in Strawberry Patch Park.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce

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Reflections for Earth Day

Immortality is an idea that most people contemplate in a lifetime. This idea is expressed in religion, culture, and nature. This is an exploration of immortality in nature.

The forest is an interesting ecosystem in the life it supports. There are birds and insects that have abundant lives on the food and water provided by nature. The trees and various plants thrive on the soil which provides nutrients. There is a continuance of the life cycle throughout this symbiotic relationship.

petrified forest water path 2 april 14

The trees have found an interesting way to immortality. Petrified wood is trees which have been transformed into stone through a process called permineralization. Using the ingredients essential for life the ecosystem is the way to immortality. Once transformed the tree is preserved for eternity.

In the mist of the living is the immortality of the preserved. Throughout the continuance of life these petrified trees witness the renewal of the forest. Every season brings rains, snow, scorching heat, and other changes in the earth that change the ecosystem. Yet the petrified trees remain the same.

The process of permineralization is a slow one which takes millions of years. During this time the journey of life continues and the forest changes. Through the years if the forest is allowed to progress naturally then the petrified tree will observe the changes from its original home. If the forest is destroyed by fire or other means, then the petrified tree is alone or moved from the ecosystem.

petrified wood april 14

What does this say about immortality in nature? Is life in stone renewal or is it just another journey into death? The answers to these questions lie in every person’s definition of life. I believe that life and death are a journey that must continue. Nature continues to change in life and every death contributes to renewal.

When the tree becomes stone it stagnates and does not participate in the renewal of life. Watching from a stone does not lead it to continue the journey that nature encourages. Therefore, true immortality cannot be achieved through permineralization. There is a loss of meaning and true death. There is no life for the tree beyond this stone state.

copyright 2017 Debbie Pierce