Cirsium Vulgare

It came as a bit of a surprise we had rain in the night, which was a welcome event for everyone trying to keep their flowers and veggies growing. As long as we can get enough to get our crops fully matured, that’s all that matters. But, we must hope for some good moisture before hard winter hits, because perennials need enough moisture in the ground to keep them alive during their time of rest.

I happened to drive over a bridge spanning the Shell Rock River several days ago, and without a doubt, I’ve never seen that river so low. Since Albert Lea Lake is where it begins, they must not have received as much rain as we did this summer. I seriously doubt a person in a canoe could even navigate it right now. Yes, it’s that low. It does sadden me to see it like that, because as I’ve mentioned before, it’s my all-time favorite river running thru North Iowa. I know some who enjoy the Little Cedar River over in Mitchell County, but my preferred continues to remain the Shell Rock.

When I arrived at office, my first duty was to spend some quiet time alone while conducting my spiritual exercise. About a week ago, a dear one mentioned some serious health issues she’s been dealing with, so I asked her if she wanted me to pray for her, and she did, and since that phone conversation, I’ve been including her in my prayer chain.  Irregardless of what others say, I’m a great believer in the power of self-less prayer.

As chance would have it, later this morning a friend of mine mentioned something about an acquaintance of his, working all the harder at trying to get him to attend the church they frequent. I couldn’t help laughing when he said that because I’ve also been approached by others over the years who were attempting to pull me into their flocks. I also added, “It seems they work harder at getting others to join their congregations, than they do when in comes to cleaning up their one spiritual acts.” It reminds me of that old kick-back being, “Don’t do as I do, but do as I say.”

Another little job I had this morning, was to get a problem file prepared for an attorney’s review tomorrow morning, as I’ve done everything I can with it, so hopefully he’ll be able to finish fixing it. I shall consider myself lucky thus far this year, as I’ve not had as many files with title problems as in past years. Thank goodness we caught it early enough which will allow us more time to get it fixed before closing day arrives.

Having a free Sunday afternoon available, I changed my clothes and went back to work on my extended project. The hours seemed to fly by, and likely because I had myself on auto-pilot with what I was doing, which enabled me to get some good deep thinking done, and glad for it, because I’ve now got some issues that were troubling me, fully resolved in my mind.

Many years ago, a dear college professor mentioned while in a private conversation with me, her always saving the most complex problems for the long drive she’d take to see her daughter who lived in a Chicago suburb. When talking about it, I could tell she was earnest in her belief, so the first opportunity I had to spend that much time alone in deep thought, I tried it, and wouldn’t you know, it worked. To this day, I’m ever-thankful for taking her words to heart and placing them into practice.

I was not only doing inside work, but outside as well, and while out, I happened upon a flowering thistle which compelled me to take the above photo. Yes, they can be pricky devils, along with being hard to get rid of, but their flowers continue to be beautiful in my book.

Too many hours and days of my mis-spent youth were contributed to the on-going battle of getting rid of them. Their root systems are remarkably spider-webbed, and if you don’t get every one dug out, up will pop all the many more. Yes, I’ve been pricked many a time by them, and as much as I’d be careful, I’d still get poked. The greatest annoyance, was when they’d be found in our baled hay, and after they’re dried, they’re even more biting.

You do know that the thistle, or “Cirsium vulgare”, is Scotland’s national flower, and the reason for it, according to legend, was back in the 14th Century, a war party of Norsemen secretly came ashore one night, and under the cover of darkness, they proceeded to remove their shoes and quietly make their way towards a camp of sleeping Scotsmen. Well, according to legend, one of the invading soldiers stepped barefoot on a thistle which sent him screaming in pain. Of course the Scots were awakened, and shortly thereafter, managed to drive that invading army back to their boats.

From that single incident, grew a great reverence of the Scots for those life-saving thistles. To this day, you will find a flowering thistle in many of their government emblems, so if you should have even a wee drop of Scottish blood in you, you’d better pay a little more homage to the lowly thistle, even if it is a bit prickish. The next time any you see something Scottish, look for the thistle flower.

After giving myself a good workout, I went back to office and changed my clothes, and then headed over to a groceteria before calling it a day. I was pleasantly surprised to find more people wearing face masks today, and hopefully they’ll continue to be diligent with their precautionary measures. Whether you want to believe it or not, the cases of the Delta variant are spiking here in North Iowa, so be careful.

Tonight’s One-liner is: Nothing has done more to separate and divide us one from another, than exclusivist organized religion.

Joe Chodur

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