Thanks for joining me on another Prescott Walk through the Lens Artist Photo Challenge.
“For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #136, we’re circling back to the alphabet. This time, we’re going to focus on the letter S. What images can you find that feature a subject that begins with the letter S?”
Vince and I wanted a bigger challenge that we walked the first few times we went around Willow Lake. The sign tells you how difficult/scary the trail is and we decided to try something substantially technical.
All we had to do was to follow the white spots on the rocks. Usually they were very visible even in the shadows. Sometimes there were slippery rocks and my feet aren’t super stable. I was somewhat nervous about climbing a technical trail.
Vince, on the other hand, smiled serenely at my fear, spread his arms to assure me that I would be secure on that slippery trail.
Vince was right. I slowly scaled the rocks to his surveillance point at the top. What a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside! Willow Lake is on a substantially busy Prescott street, but you scarcely notice it from the trail. Scrambling up the rocks, you could see it in the distance.
Willow Creek, which feeds Willow Lake had come alive after the snow and snaked its way across the weeds. In 1935 the Civilian Conservation Corps built the Willow Creek Dam as a public works project.
Vince’s shadow blends in with the stripes on the rock as he spots a superior snapshot.
Back on solid ground again, we searched strategically for specific items that might scratch us -like cactus stickers. They looked spectacular as sunlight shone through them.
We spied other spectators on the Willow Lake trail. These strangers let us snap their pictures as they staggered up the slope.
Someone surpassed us on a side path and surveyed it by staking pencils ever few inches until they ran out of pencils. Vince named it the Lápiz Trail.
As you may or may not know, the blogging community has a big heart. When Charli Mills of Carrot Ranch learned that Sue Vincent, a beloved friend and writer, had cancer, she and her friends went to work creating a way to help.
One of the first challenges was the River of Consciousness. My mind went numb, and I did not participate in this one, but several, like Colleen Chesebro, did. To read all of them, click here.
by Colleen M. Chesebro
dawn reflections shimmer
a blood-red birthing
the new journey meanders in small ripples
searching for a known truth
testing the waters
a small stream traverses
the land, growth is key
consciousness actuates a forward passage
as water rushes fast,
over stones ahead
From the sun’s dying light
the darkness succumbs
to the passage of time, the river still flows
in the celebration
of a life well lived
The Everyday Physics of Dreams
by Jeff Gard
Like matter, dreams cannot be destroyed. Unlike matter, they are created by scattered dandelion seeds, extinguished birthday candles, teeth hidden under pillows, and wishes cast upon twinkling stars. They are first kisses, graduations, weddings, anniversaries, and promotions. Desires are our bones and blood. One day we will exhale our aspirations. They will rise on thermals, waver within a red and green Aurora Borealis. They will race into space, outpacing radio waves and light. They will dance in the Milky Way and body surf Saturn’s rings. In spiraling clouds of gas and dust, our dreams will condense into newborn stars.
Sue Vincent had lived dreams -bad and good, and turned them into a beautiful star-studded, Milky Way, Aurora Borealis quilt of life.
I had the fortune of spending several hours of the week getting to know this writing icon, Sue Vincent. Most recently we chatted about her son because his story, as well as hers of terminal cancer, left me weak with sympathy and sorrow, but hopeless in what little I could do to ease her pain.
Ten, nearly eleven years ago, her son was stabbed through his temple with a screwdriver. That should have killed him, and would have killed most, but somehow Nick survived with the help of his mom and friends. Listen as she describes her thoughts and feelings when they heard the news. Click on her name to read the entire story.
Four words changed the lives of everyone in our little family and that of many of our friends. My son, over a hundred miles away in Bournemouth, was in hospital… and we were advised to come at once. He had not regained consciousness since he had been brought in and, at that point, they did not seem to understand why. They thought he had suffered a brain haemorrhage.
They were almost right. Nick had been stabbed through the brain in a senseless attack. The puncture wound was so small it had, at first, been missed, but shards of bone were lodged in his brain and the ten inch screwdriver that had been rammed through his temple had compromised the brain stem. He was in a coma and not expected to live.
I have written, in great detail, of that time. I have told of the moment when the call came through, of the terror and despair, of the kindness and hope of those dreadful days… days that became weeks and months of fear and struggle as we all learned to adapt to a redefined future that was not only full of unknowns, but which was likely to shape the rest of our lives.
When Nick finally woke, it was to severe disability. Paralysed, unable to speak at all, his vision compromised and utterly dependent. The prognosis was grim… especially as it was clear that the bright young businessman with a razor sharp mind was still there… trapped in a broken and uncooperative body and a brain that would not allow the mind to express itself as it should.
In those early days, as soon as Nick began to awaken, my one determination was that he should believe in himself and have all the support he needed.
In a post she wrote about six years ago, she included pictures of how much he had progressed since the senseless attack. It is nothing short of miraculous.
Aim for the Moon
This morning, as I was dismantling the heavy, weighted walking frame he has hitherto needed just to cross his living room, I couldn’t help thinking about that. To be folding this thing up after several years and consigning it to the shed had me near tears. It had already been an emotional morning. It had all started with the balancemaster, a machine he had installed to help him regain that function, lost to his injuries. He had showed me the latest, quite amazing progress and I, as often happens, had ended up in tears. A screwdriver through the brain is bad enough, but while his recovery from the damage caused by that initial injury was utterly miraculous. The secondary damage from the prolonged subarachnoid bleeding and excessive pressure within the brain cavity is a different matter and affects many of his motor functions and balance. He had woken from the coma paralysed down his entire right side, and though hemiplegia had fairly soon given way to hemiparesis, with the spasticity and the lack of coordination and control, the outlook wasn’t good. His chances of recovering , we were given to understand, were about zero. I could bore you with the details, but Nick suggested I show you instead.
We, of course, we simply overjoyed to still have him with us and his personality definitely ‘all there’. I had told the surgeon that if Nick came back, he would come back fighting and I was right. There was the first time he was able to move at all.. the first words.. the first time he sat alone and stood… There was also the hidden damage, the emotional rollercoaster and the dark times. It has not been plain sailing. Nor is recovery from such an injury merely a case of waiting for time to heal and perhaps a little physiotherapy to get things underway.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the Sue Vincent Rodeo Classic serves as a special challenge. Riders will have to condense the following photo into a story of 99 words (or, if you prefer, a poem of 99 syllables). Writing 99 words has never seemed TUFFer!
Head over to Carrot Ranch to Donate to Sue Vincent and enter your 99-word story or Double Ennead.
The pictures of Sue Vincent, which I used without Sue’s express permission, came from her Facebook Page, Sue Vincent Writer. Just so you know, I did warn her that I was going to do a post/reblog of some of the links she shared with me. If you click on photos, you can see some of her gorgeous paintings. They will take your breath away.
Thank you Sue for inspiring me this week. I wish you the best and hope you do as Nick has done and beat the odds.
Welcome back to Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays Writing Challenge.
It’s simple to join in! Find quotes (as many or as few as you want), your choice of response. If you want to participate, write a post, create a pingback to link your post. Not sure how to do that? See how to create pingbacks here.
Flex your creative muscles and share what you think about the topic of the week using a quote from a favorite author.
The Topic This Week
This week’s topic for #WQWWC is trustworthiness, trustworthy or trust.
Trust seems to be in high demand and low supply in some arenas of life today. But how valuable is trustworthiness?
“The glue that holds all relationships together … is trust, and trust is based on integrity.”
Integrity means the quality or practice of being honest.
In my mother’s preschool class a little boy took another toddler’s sunglasses and paraded around the room with them on. When Mom caught him, he cried and blamed a little girl across the room as he maintained tight possession of the sunglasses.
Blame creates distrust.
“Our distrust is very expensive.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
How to Build a Community with Trust
“A society that relies on generalized reciprocity is more efficient than a distrustful society, for the same reason that money is more efficient than barter. Trust lubricates social life. Networks of civic engagement also facilitate coordination and communication and amplify information about the trustworthiness of other individuals.”
Robert D. Putnam
Tulare County Office of Education(TCOE) teaches character and recognizes in children across the county for qualities like trustworthiness. Our leaders supported teachers with the program Character Counts so that students would learn the Six Pillars of Character that will make them good citizens and leaders when they grow up.
Until our department at TCOE studied The Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey, I had never associated trust with economics and speed. It made sense though when I considered how easy it is to get something done when there is trust in the relationship.
One of the reasons that moving from Woodlake was so hard for me was the economics of trust that I enjoyed because I was part of a trustworthy organization. Getting things done for Kiwanis was simple. Sometimes we signed paperwork. Sometimes the city did the paperwork for us. Sometimes we paid a fee, but most of the time it was waived.
Kiwanis had built up trust with the city and it followed all of the members because of the years of honesty and follow through initiated by a few individuals.
Groups that did not have that degree of trust developed, got little done and had a hard time attracting members.
When I took an active role in Kiwanis, I felt my personal competence in trustworthiness grow. Kiwanians were known to always go the extra mile, therefore my personal level of trust with others in that community grew exponentially when I did business in their name.
How to Grow Self-Trust
“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted in important affairs.”
My parents tried to build trustworthiness in my brother and me by assigning chores. One of my chores at age seven was emptying and burning the trash in the large oil drum in the backyard. (Showing my age here!) At least I thought burning was part of my responsibility. The trash barrel was humongous and I wasn’t, so I remember it being a difficult chore, but I loved the burning part. I remember my parents taking that chore off my list when the fire got out of hand one night.
The trash was not the only thing that burned that night. My self-trustworthiness went down a notch as well. What I learned was that if I botched the job, I probably would not have to do that one again or possibly would face some kind of punishment for not completing the assignment successfully.
During my school years I developed the habit of excusing myself. Forgot my homework, Mom will bring it. Don’t want to speak in front of the class – play sick. Don’t want to do an assignment – wait till the last minute. It’s no wonder that I had very little self-esteem. I wasn’t building self-trust.
One way to build self-trust and reputation for trustworthiness is through participation in church, family, job, community service organizations, sports, local theatre, or musical groups. Being part of a group holds us responsible and develops character. But developing self-trust goes deeper than keeping good company.
“The process of building trust is an interesting one, but it begins with yourself, with what I call self trust, and with your own credibility, your own trustworthiness. If you think about it, it’s hard to establish trust with others if you can’t trust yourself.”
Trustworthiness is important at every level, as Stephen Covey points out. My husband and I vowed to walk 35,000 steps a week when we moved to Prescott. No one is checking up on us. This week we are not doing it because of the snow. It is going to be hard to make it up, it’s much easier to let it slide. If we want to increase our self-trust we will find a way to get those steps in or make it up later. If we do it, we will feel good about ourselves. And we will get in shape – a side benefit.
Being trustworthy is hard work for me. I have a post that I have to get out for Wednesday, January 27th. You are going to hold me accountable because the name of the challenge has the weekday built in it.
So what is trustworthiness to you?
Here are some other quotes I found that I wanted to share. There are hundreds of others that may inspire you.
“When we feel unsafe with someone and still stay with him (or her), we damage our ability to discern trustworthiness in those we will meet in the future.”
“Women in my focus groups, they say a bald man is trustworthy. He has nothing to hide. “
“Your faithfulness makes you trustworthy to God.”
Edwin Louis Cole
“People crave trustworthy information about the world we live in. Some people want it because it is essential to the way they make a living. Some want it because they regard being well-informed as a condition of good citizenship. Some want it because they want something to exchange over dinner tables and water coolers.”
I look forward to reading what you have to say on the subject. Talk to me!
Cindy tells a funny story and draws some great lessons from it that you can apply if you are getting together with friends and family over the holidays – even by Zoom or drive-by. What funny stories, memories, or traditions tickle your funny bones today?
My favorite grandma like to control things in her little kitchen. Fortunately her mother had a sense of humor about it when Grandma grabbed the butter out of Great-grandma’s hands and wrangled a place for it in the stuffed refrigerator.
Great-grandma laughed her infectious laugh, and said, “I guess I don’t know how to put butter away properly.”
Mom and I stayed out of Grandma’s kitchen on holidays until given a simple/approved chore – something easier than putting away the butter.
As we celebrate the holidays and roast and toast; each in our own Covid bubbles this year, I am reminded of an old classic story that many of you will remember. If it’s new to you, I hope you enjoy it. I always love the sentiments and truths the story provides.
As the story goes;
One day after school a young girl noticed that her mom was cutting off the ends of a pot roast before putting it in the oven to cook for dinner. The young girl asked her mother, “Mom, why do you cut the ends off the pot roast?” Her mother replied, “Because grandma always did, but I’m not really sure, why don’t you ask her”. So the young girl called her grandmother on the phone and said, “Grandma why do you cut the ends off the pot roast before cooking it?” Her grandmother replied, “I…
Nutter Butter, our two-year-old cat recently started balking at the enforcement of the governor’s stay at home orders. He has a cat cage that is the envy of all the cats in the neighborhood. But he has tired of sheltering at home in his well-equipped, if multi-purpose, cat cage.
Typically the cats come and go into their cage all day long. At night they are locked in.
Nutter Butter says, “I’m done with that.”
As the weather gets warmer and the rains have stopped, Nutter Butter has been venturing out for hours. He’s the pied piper of the feral cat community in our neighborhood. Herds of cats follow him like he is their cat god.
They head through the back fence toward Cottonwood Creek, which is flowing about an inch deep and four feet wide behind our back yard.
Usually, Nutter Butter comes home for a snack and nap around eleven in the morning with mud on his paws and burs in his fur. His cat friends take turns sneaking into the cage behind the other cats’ backs for a bite to eat as well.
Nutter Butter hunts.
Yesterday he brought home a field mouse, tossed it in the air on our front lawn so that we could watch him play with it during our dinner. The other cats crouched in a circle around him anxious to pounce when their moment came.
They discovered that mice were not as tasty as the gopher served the night before.
Normally, Nutter B. comes home about 5:00 looking for dinner. It’s still light, so we don’t feed him now until 7:00 or 7:30. Our mistake!
Tonight he did not come back at dusk for food. We clanged bowls and called his name. Usually, he sits across the field and perks up his head when he hears his name. Eventually, he meets us half-way across the field and we pick him up and carry him back to his cage to speed up the process.
Tonight when the yellow plastic bowls clapped together in a third attempt to entice Nutter Butter to come home, we thought he was gone for good.
At about 8:00 we found two neighbor or feral cats lounging under the oak trees in the vacant lot, their reflective colloids glowing in the flashlight.
But Nutter Butter was not in the field with them.
He wasn’t on the garden walk where he likes to preen.
No perking. No Nutter B. anywhere.
Finally about an hour after dark, Nutter Butter ambled across the street into our yard. But he wasn’t interested in us. He headed for the empty lot next door where the families of gophers live. He stood like the Lion King awaiting his followers.
No one came out to follow him. His cat buddies had already bedded down for the night in the field. They sensed that he was in trouble.
They watched from a distance as I picked him up and carried him into the house, picking burs out of his tummy fur as I went.
“Sheltering at home is safer for you Nutters. Mama knows best.”
Instead of hanging limply like he usually does when we carry him, he twisted and tried to go back to his evening adventure.
“No, you are going to stay home.”
Nutter B. did not agree with my edict and narrowed his green eyes at me.
I generously took him inside the house to feed him so that his roomies would not eat his food. I overestimated the appeal of food. He refused to eat more than a couple of cursory licks of canned cat food sauce and then went to sulk by the back door.
“I’m not hungry. I want to go back outside,” Nutter Butter said.
I tired of his whining. What did he know about how dangerous life could be without sheltering at home? He had never suffered near-death catfights on the roof above our bedroom or had to run away from coyotes or large dogs out roaming at night. He’d never been bitten by a rattlesnake.
“You are going to bed and that’s that.”
Who knows where he will go tomorrow. Maybe to the beach. He’s a rebel.