Retreat to the Natural

My good night’s sleep wasn’t so good when being awakened more than once during the raging thunderstorm which started somewhere around 3:00 a.m. and continued on and off for several hours more. We were even getting pelted by hail, but likely not large enough to do any damage, and thank goodness it didn’t last long. I wouldn’t be surprised if we did get over an inch because it was really coming down for a while. I could have sworn we weren’t supposed to get any rain as I did check our weather forecast just yesterday which spoke nothing about it. Oh well, nothing’s predictable it these times.

When I arrived at the office, I noticed the Downtown got drenched as well when seeing large puddles of water standing. Since my day was already planned, the first thing I did was to get my Sunday spiritual session taken care of so I wouldn’t be worrying about finding the time once I got busied with my projects.

It was another fulfilling contemplative experience, and what kept coming to mind, was being reminded how much hatreds and jealousies can affect the health and over-all personal well-being of those who harbor such negativities. Just yesterday I happened to see someone who’s been filled with such thoughts for a number of years, and I almost didn’t recognized him due to how old and wrinkled-up he’s grown to where he looks ten or fifteen years older than he is. I learned some years ago that you can’t possibly change such mindsets because it’s all theirs and theirs alone to change. Unfortunately there are those who carry their negative baggage with them their entire lives, and seeing how fast they hold on to those handles, you’d think they’re hanging onto suitcases full of cash.

After finishing up my prayer exercises, I changed my clothes and headed off to another morning filled with tedious and time consuming work. I truly enjoyed the beauty of the weather, but for some reason, my heart wasn’t in it today to where I almost had to force myself to keep at it. Perhaps the vivid thoughts of sitting at the edge of a meandering stream with a good book in hand kept me mentally occupied while toiling away. It worked better than I’d expected because when I looked at the hour, I found my time spent was an hour longer, which was my queue to call it quits.

When I returned to my office, I had a light lunch and took about a 45 minute break before heading out to do some indoor work which has to get finished before the end of this week. Thank goodness that place had air conditioning in it because as the afternoon wore on, it was getting pretty hot and humid outdoors and working its way inward.

For some reason, today was one of those rare days where I had to force myself to get started on something, and thank goodness I did manage to find my internal “Force On” button and managed to get a much as I’d expected done when the time to call it quits arrived. Every time I have to clean up after someone else who’s insisted they cleaned, I can’t help wondering if they were never taught or learned the techniques of real cleaning from their parents. I’d wager 75% of our population have no idea how much time and effort it takes to make a space truly presentable. For years I’ve been a real stickler regarding the cleanliness of kitchens and bathrooms and you can be sure I mention the need for homes being near spotless whenever visiting with sellers. I usually say something like, “Even if the buyers live like pigs, they’ll still not want to buy a home containing the dirt of others.” Sounds kinda crazy, but it’s true because I’ve personally seen many such cases.

One of my dear ones called last week and asked if I’d like some apples from the trees she has in her yard. I agreed to go and get some, but not being sure I’d make it over there until later today, so after my second project was finished, I called to tell her I’d be right over. When I got there, I could see she had more than plenty, so I asked how many she cared I pick. Her knee-jerk response was, “Take all you want or your friends the deer will have them.” That was enough of a green light for me, so I picked a good heaping bushel which I’ll convert to either applesauce or juice due to my still having sliced apples in my freezer. I ate one while there and for sure they’re quite tasty, and far more so than what I usually end up buying at the store. I was happy to hear she didn’t spray them this year because I’d rather have them organic, and especially when converting them to sauce or juice. There were some wormy ones, but not a problem for me. After I finished picking, we sat on her back porch and had a good chat about this and that.

I did share with her a few thoughts I’ve been having after reading a recent online article which was about how people are getting back to the basics. It seems when life becomes wrenchingly uncertain, history tells us, human instinct is to retreat to the natural world, and myself becoming a firm believer in it when seeing what acreages here in North Iowa have been selling for. That article also went on to say how high the percentages of failures there are for people who think they’re going to go near-totally self sufficient, which is why I always forewarn some of my young acreage buyers about the added work and personal sacrifices they’ll have to make when living in the country.

In these recent years, I sold such an acreage to a young working couple, and as much as I spoke about all the extra work needed, they pushed forward with their purchase. Well, about four years later, they listed and sold it and are now back in their mode of City living. It’s not that they were stinking-lazy people, but rather more their not having any real interest in acreage life other than the privacy it afforded. Their loves when not at work were eating, partying and vacationing which never leaves much time for doing extra work at home.

Just yesterday I mentioned to a gentleman how convinced I am that if you have a real love/gift for something, you are more likely to become very good at it which prompted me to say, “Have you ever heard of a stellar cook who hated cooking?

Tonight’s one-liner is: Weakness on both sides is, as we know, the motto of all quarrels.

Joe Chodur

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