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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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Totem Poles: An Adventure in Culture and Remberance

AlaskaI got off the cruise ship and admired the landscape surrounding the dock. This was one of the last stops on this Alaskan adventure. Everything is so beautiful here and different from Mississippi.

The small town was directly off the dock and had a unique architecture to the buildings. They were two stories and made of wood with brightly colored exteriors. Each shop had its own unique goods to sell. The buildings fit in perfectly with the mountains in the backdrop.

I adjusted my coat and hat as we entered the small boat for the tour. It is cold in Alaska this May morning with a bit of a biting wind. The boat is going to take us on a tour of an old fish factory, a rain forest, and a totem pole village. This was going to be an exciting day.

The fishing factory had provided employment and food to the people of this Alaskan island for many years. I was impressed how the people of this cold land took advantage of the natural resources surrounding them. The factory had been closed for many years and now it was a museum. The history and resilience of the people in Alaska is fascinating.

The last stop on this tour is a totem pole village. It is a wonderful site to behold. In a circle are very large totem poles. They are extremely colorful and are beautiful in their tall structure.

The native Alaskans believe that everything comes from Mother Earth. They do not tear any structure down but allow Mother Earth to retake it. There are many old abandoned buildings falling down on this island. They will continue to deteriorate until Mother Earth completely recycles them back into the soil.

This deterioration is a wonderful example of the symbiotic relationship the people have with the land. Each thing taken from the land is returned and nourishes the environment. The same principle is true of the totem poles.

The native Alaskans used the totem poles as an impression of their culture. The totem poles are constructed out of wood and have elaborate carvings in the wood. The colorful carvings represent different parts of the belief system of the people.

There are times when a deceased person’s remains are inserted into the totem pole. The pole serves as a representation of that person’s life. Each event in that person’s life is represented by a carving. It is an interesting testament to life.

While viewing some of the totem poles I pondered at how our lives would be depicted if this was a common practice. Would our lives be depicted as a positive influence filled with love and joy or would the totem poles reflect our negatives influences such as hatred and bitterness? It is an interesting question for each of us to answer.

Each totem pole has a series of carvings on them that represent parts of the culture. The Alaskan totem poles have carvings of animals in them. Many believe that these animals will guide their deceased loved ones to the spiritual world.

Other totem poles have carvings that represent a certain part of a family’s heritage. Each impression is used to express what is important to be passed on to future generations. This is a wonderful legacy.

The totem poles remain until Mother Earth reclaims them. The totem pole deteriorates and returns to the soil where it provides nourishment. This is a continuance of the cycle of life.

Before leaving the totem pole village we visit the gift shop. I find a small totem pole that has been carved by the native Alaskan people. It is small and has beautiful vibrant colors. There is a small card attached that indicates the artist. I wonder what the artist had wanted to express about his life in this small carving.

We return to the tour bus and proceed back to town. We are instructed to look out the windows of  the bus while passing over a bridge. There is a bear gathering and eating salmon from the creek. This is a common occurrence as people and animals live in harmony in this community.

While standing in the cold biting wind waiting to get back on the cruise ship I look at my small totem pole and reflect on the impression the tour has made on me. From this time forward I will try to fill my life with positive influences. Perhaps if a totem pole was erected as my grave marker it would reflect a life of service to others.

Finally we enter the cruise ship and it is warm again. I am blessed to have been on this tour and my soul is nourished. The totem poles have made a wonderful impression on me.

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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