Tag Archives: old

Letter from a Mother to a Daughter

“My dear girl, the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through. If when we talk, I repeat the same thing a thousand times, don’t interrupt to say:

“You said the same thing a minute ago”… Just listen, please.

Try to remember the times when you were little and I would read the same story night after night until you would fall asleep. When I don’t want to take a bath, don’t be mad and don’t embarrass me. Remember when I had to run after you making excuses and trying to get you to take a shower when you were just a girl?

When you see how ignorant I am when it comes to new technology, give me the time to learn and don’t look at me that way… remember, honey, I patiently taught you how to do many things like eating appropriately, getting dressed, combing your hair and dealing with life’s issues every day… the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through.

If I occasionally lose track of what we’re talking about, give me the time to remember, and if I can’t, don’t be nervous, impatient or arrogant. Just know in your heart that the most important thing for me is to be with you. And when my old, tired legs don’t let me move as quickly as before, give me your hand the same way that I offered mine to you when you first walked.

When those days come, don’t feel sad… just be with me, and understand me while I get to the end of my life with love. I’ll cherish and thank you for the gift of time and joy we shared. With a big smile and the huge love I’ve always had for you, I just want to say, I love you… my darling daughter.”

 

// From – Spring in the Air

A lesson on patience

A NYC Taxi driver wrote:

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I honked again. Since this was going to be my last ride of my shift I thought about just driving away, but instead I put the car in park and walked up to the door and knocked.. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90′s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940′s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard
box filled with photos and glassware.

‘Would you carry my bag out to the car?’ she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. ‘It’s nothing’, I told her.. ‘I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.’

‘Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, ‘Could you drive
through downtown?’

‘It’s not the shortest way,’ I answered quickly…

‘Oh, I don’t mind,’ she said. ‘I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. ‘I don’t have any family left,’ she continued in a soft voice..’The doctor says I don’t have very long.’ I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

‘What route would you like me to take?’ I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, ‘I’m tired.Let’s go now’.

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.

Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move.
They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

‘How much do I owe you?’ She asked, reaching into her purse.

‘Nothing,’ I said

‘You have to make a living,’ she answered.

‘There are other passengers,’ I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

‘You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,’ she said. ‘Thank you.’

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.. Behind me, a door shut.It was the sound of the closing of a life..

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day,I could hardly talk.What if that woman had gotten an angry driver,or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?

On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.

But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

 

// Thx – Kristoffer Sorensen

Surfing the mouth of Newport Harbor, 1938

Here is some rare footage from 1938 of a few big swells coming into Newport Harbor (Newport Beach, CA). The long jetties at the mouth of the harbor providing smooth seas haven’t been built yet, and the waves are looking really good!

The area was known as the “Waikiki of the west coast”. The Balboa side jetty was built using a railroad to bring in rocks from inland, and is under construction when this film was made. The CDM side jetty was constructed a few years later using rocks barged over from Catalina Island.

Here are a few screenshots from the footage showing the harbor mouth without the jetties you see there today.

 

Thx to Ghetto Juice

Amsterdam's famous canals are frozen – time to lace up those ice skates!

For the second time in three years, Amsterdam’s famous canals have frozen. You know what that means? It’s time to lace up the ice skates.

After temperatures dropped to 14 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 10 degrees Celsius) this past weekend, Dutch young and old flocked to the city’s famous waterways, gliding across the frozen surfaces on ice skates. The canals also froze in 2010, which was the first time it happened in more than a decade.

Amsterdam’s frozen canals are the latest European waterway to freeze this winter. Earlier this month, Venice’s famous canals froze, a rare feat. Europe’s second-longest river, the Danube, has also frozen.

Keeping Europe frozen is a climate pattern called a “Russian Winter.” In this pattern, a strong Siberian anticyclone hovers over northern Russia and triggers intense cold and snow, according to a NASA statement.

via Our Amazing Planet

Amsterdam’s famous canals are frozen – time to lace up those ice skates!

For the second time in three years, Amsterdam’s famous canals have frozen. You know what that means? It’s time to lace up the ice skates.

After temperatures dropped to 14 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 10 degrees Celsius) this past weekend, Dutch young and old flocked to the city’s famous waterways, gliding across the frozen surfaces on ice skates. The canals also froze in 2010, which was the first time it happened in more than a decade.

Amsterdam’s frozen canals are the latest European waterway to freeze this winter. Earlier this month, Venice’s famous canals froze, a rare feat. Europe’s second-longest river, the Danube, has also frozen.

Keeping Europe frozen is a climate pattern called a “Russian Winter.” In this pattern, a strong Siberian anticyclone hovers over northern Russia and triggers intense cold and snow, according to a NASA statement.

via Our Amazing Planet

Among the Ancients

Of all the literary themes out there trees happen to be one of my favorite. One of the best authors in this genre is, surprisingly, fantasy giant J.R.R. Tolkein. In his series of novels, The Lord of The Rings, he goes on endlessly about trees giving them an entire culture and personifying them with eyes, mouths, legs, wives, and even a flock (of trees) to shepherd. He is fascinatingly descriptive and beautiful, and, unfortunately, none of that made it into the the movie versions.

In some ways Tolkein was a vanguard, ahead of his time, as modern science is revealing just how important trees are to the environment. In his book Collapse, Jared Diamond discusses how entire societies failed due to mismanagement of trees (cutting too many down). He digs into the research uncovering how trees and tree roots tie together entire ecosystems and without them catastrophic events happen like wildfires, species extinction, desertification, and more.

If you dig into the tree world you quickly realize that one particular group is the CEO of the forests. The boss, the elder, and the strongest. Trees that in every way dominate the ecosystem. They are the old trees, well old in terms of human beings. In their world they are simply several hundred years old and considered middle age.

A grouping of these trees together is called an Old-Growth Forest. Among the characteristics of these groupings are an incredible resistance to forest fires, copious amounts of wildlife (including rare and threatened species), and even an ability to affect weather patterns. It is quite common for developments to pave into these old forests only to find that fires suddenly become a problem or see the land turn dry and become a desert.

If this fascinates you or if you just want to visit an Old-Growth Forest than I have the book for you, Among the Ancients, Adventures in the Eastern Old-Growth Forests.

The author, Joan Maloof, has personally visited each one and brought back meticulous detail about how to get there and what to look for. I want to call it a field guide but it is more than that. She provides narration and descriptions in the middle of the “turn-left here” moments.

Take this description:

“The webs I saw were a few inches across and not the type strung between branches; instead they were like webby sheets attached to ridges in the bark. As I looked closer I noticed, somewhere on each of these webs, a circular hole receding from the surface down toward the trunk like a funnel. This was the work of a funnel-web spider”

“The sheet of web isn’t sticky like a most other webs; it functions more like the head of a drum. When a small insect causes the web to vibrate, the spider senses it an zooms out of its funnel hole. He captures the insects, bites it, wraps it in silk, and drags it down the hole. Some types of spiders spin a new web every evening, but the funnel-web keeps the same one all year, making repairs as necessary.”

It’s a beautiful description of the funnel-web spider and it instantly brought me back to my own adventures in nature. I can picture that strong white funnel web and the spider sneaking around behind it. It offers such a tantalizing view into the abundant wildlife in old-growth forests. Places where you can find creatures beyond your wildest imagination.

The book covers the entire east coast (South, North, Mid) and I have read through all the adventures in my native Mid-Atlantic neighborhood, and I can’t wait to go through the other regions. A few brief glances at them have offered delightful glimpses of exotic creatures and forests.

If you are a nature lover or if any of this has grabbed your attention then the book is definitely worth checking out.

More information about the book can be found at Ruka Press, a local Washington D.C. based publishing company committed to environmental principles in book publishing.