Fast Photo

In the wee hours of the mornings first light, when the world around is still, I sit on the back deck reading, journaling thoughts and insights. Taking pictures and making plans here often start my day. I thought I would share a couple of amateur tips on taking pictures for your own blog and share a couple of the mornings shots.

Bloggers: Use pictures, most of us are visual and like pictures

An easy shot. Focus and shoot.

Hummingbird shots are a challenge compared to taking a picture of a beautiful flower. Hummingbirds do not pose for long, the camera must be on and ready. My readiness included the fastest focus and shooting speed for the light available. In my case, I sometimes have the camera on a tripod with the focus already set on a certain spot where the hummingbirds often land or fly in place. My finger rests on the button and I have the camera on continuous shooting so my T3i canon with a 300mm lens can take bursts of pictures. This morning I hand held, focused and shot bursts.

Picture #2 in the burst of shots. The hummingbird is backing off.

Starting with the pictures above, my first burst ended up being my only one this morning. I felt it good enough to share both the shots and how they came about. You can take away insights for yourself, your camera(s) and lens options. One concern about fast shooting is a pinpoint focus is essential as depth of field is very minimal. Slower shooting will allow much more depth of field but your hummingbird will be all blur. save your slower depth of field shots for landscape and moon pictures.

The best shot of the burst

Shot #3 was the best of the bunch for one main reason, the eye is in focus. Always show the eye(s) on a bird or animal if possible if they are the subject of the shot.

An ok shot
another ok shot.

These are the 5 shots my camera took in one burst at 1600 speed. I then recommend a program that can tweak the lighting, color, resize and crop pictures for your blog. I purposefully over tweaked the last shot on lighting to show how much composition you lose. Don’t over tweak. make your shot look as you saw it in real life. Personally I use photoshop for my lighting and cropping. I usually use “paint” for resizing.

If you take a good picture, test it by blowing it up to 100%. From there you will find out if you can crop or blow up a picture for other uses. I obviously used slices of shots for this blog.

Early morning and evening lighting is the clearest and color is pronounced for the best photography. Patience is your friend. Leave the dog in the house for your bird and animal shots. I have never taken a good picture holding a camera and a leash at the same time.

So, plan your shot and shoot your plan. Plus, always have your camera ready. I hope this was helpful and encouraging.

Gary

BWCA Adventure Expectations

I really should leave the page blank as one should embark on a wilderness adventure with no expectations. With expectations at zero and something memorable happens, it’s always a surprise.

Being it was not my first trip, I had some expectation baggage, but being human I pretend to have no baggage. I no sooner stepped out of the vehicle and said in my best drawl “well aaawl be, there’s mosquitoes, deer flies, horse flies and black flies here.” I slapped and flailed till I found some over promoted bottled bug deterrent while picking off a wood tic.

By the time we had our packs filled and into the canoes to shove off, none of us had any pretense left in our bloodstream. It was smeared on our face and arms and clothes. We could have been models for face painting day at a kindergarten class.

I might exaggerate a bit

Once on the lake though the senses go into reverie mode with the pristine water, air, the rugged shores and constant scenic views. My camera was shaking with excitement before I got it out of the bag. The canoe even started screeching it’s excitement till I realized we had hit a Jesus rock (stand on it and it looks like you are walking on the water) and the bottom of the canoe was loosing it’s paint.

It’s natures fault! The wilderness makes a person digress and exaggerate. It’s a good thing only two fit in the canoe. Then there are the portages! you unload all your packs and anything not strapped to the canoe and carry it all over land to the next body of water. We packed two packs per canoe plus life jackets, paddles and fishing rods for one trip over most portages. One person takes the heavy pack and the other a light pack and the canoe. You die. The ones who don’t die revive you so they don’t have to carry everything plus you out. Yep, great expectations and then you get thirsty and hungry, and yes, you need more than candy corn.

Fishing, catching, rugged beauty, cooking over the fire, sleeping on rocks and roots, new species of bugs that bite, water reflections, rock formations, plant life and wonders of nature that suddenly inject joy to your very soul by surprise become an expectation fulfilled. The wonder of it all is like building blocks of insignificance while loosening my own importance. Ones pride unties like a shoestring in the reflective properties of stark honesty . Nature truly doesn’t care. Life is almost as tenacious about living as death is in dying. One way or the other the meaning of life comes to mind.

Here are some expectations fulfilled on last weeks BWCA Trip. Click on one for slide show and enlarging.

I love reflection(s). Seeing natures reflections off the water as well as letting all these things that I have seen and experienced reflect to the corners of my mind. I do not doubt that everything seen in nature reflects life in many ways shapes and forms.

As my pictures show, nature isn’t very perfect, but it sure goes after it with more hope than expectation. The seeds that fall into the smallest rock crevices can become a huge tree splitting the rock apart with its roots. The chewed off beaver birch stump grows new shoots from it’s roots and may well turn into a clump of birch trees all vying for nutrients and sunlight. The limbs of the cedar go out and out and bend upward hoping to catch a few rays of sun.

I often wonder how many expectations people around me think life owes them. I secretly have them. Secretly, because they take me by surprise. I know better in my head. Life owes us nothing. God owes us nothing, but I’m constantly reminded (especially in the wilderness in reflection) I owe Him everything.

I hope to take some of my BWCA experiences and reflections and mostly write on a deeper level using illustration, story and analogies (with pictures. I think in picture form). I’ll post some on what I call “My Spiritual Blog” (click here for a link)

I hope you have enjoyed a snippet of my favorite wilderness area. Let me know if you would like to plan a trip. I won’t set you up but I can give pointers, lists for what to take and how to plan your level of trip. It’s a good place to meet Jesus sooner than expected if you plan poorly or get in over your head.

Until then, push your canoe out into life’s currents with a paddle and a plan.

Gary

Note: All pictures taken with a very small and light kodak easy share camera

Shades of Green

How many shades of green are there? It’s a question I ponder as I gaze in wonder at the earths recovery from winter here in the northland parts of USA.

Many many shades of green

We use the word “green” in all areas of life. Mentally, physically , socially and spiritually. Looking at our present world one could think we have a bunch of greenhorns spending huge greenbacks on a mostly green planet seeking greener days beside the still waters without a shepherd. OK, greatly mixed metaphors leading to a reference to the much quoted Pasalm 23 in the Bible.

I recently helped fight a fire and came back to see what survived and what didn’t. basically the dead stuff burned. The living plants and trees with a good root system, and some substance was singed, but survived well. Green is a sign of life!

Look at the little green tree. A survivor of the fire.

This is the kind of picture that my father would point out to us as kids along with all the life applications he could think of. “I hope you kids grow up to be like this little tree. The hard times only singe you instead of burn you up! You will meet people living with a stack of lies, it’s like trying to grow in a brush pile and someone some day is going to torch it.” Yes, dad was longer winded than that but you get the gist.

I sure want to be like that little tree. I want that kind of green. I want to be like the tree in Psalm1. Green also symbolizes immortality; eternal life verses ashes.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. (Psalm 1)

A tree. Remembering dad, Knowing what it means to be a follower of Jesus

Gary

Who Woulda Thunk

The sun came up to a cloudless sky this morning and it started snowing. Totally weird. I thought it was frost coming off the trees. I guess at 20 degrees (Fahrenheit) the moisture in the air began falling out of the sky in the form of snowflakes up to 1 1/2 inches big. I tried to take a picture. Don’t judge my skills yet please…

Yea, Snowing on a clear sunny day

Sometimes the unpredictable, weird or “didn’t see that coming” happens. I talked to four other guys in the area this morning and we all got the same kind of snow.

Yep, snowing in the sunshine
Look, an animal shaped snowflake on the deck. It measures an inch and a half. looks like several flakes bonded in the air.

Something else happened today that took me totally by surprise. I received my first “like” on a blog written 10 years ago. For all I know they were the first to read it. I wrote it under the assumption that if one writes something, others will read it. 10 years later I know better. Like all “Likes” received I had to look this person up. All the way from Germany (My home country on the Fultz side) a delightful artist found my old blog. Check out Roswitha’s delightful painting-artists blog depicting a modern day Emmaus walk after Easter click here. It’s worth it. I wonder if Roswitha is related distantly to several of my Geisler friends in northern Minnesota?

Me and one big Pike. we won’t swim in that lake anymore!

Please check out my old blog. My writing is changed a bit since then but I made a decent case for taking a wilderness adventure. I caught and released the big pike (pictured above) from a canoe on a wilderness adventure trip. Check out my old blog here It will be worth it as the pictures alone will make you want to go. I have a June BWCA trip (#65) planned.

Who would have thought that Ohio and other states would have their biggest snow storm (at this point of spring according to an old college room mate) in 120 years over night? As my grandfather used to say “Who Woulda Thunk”?

So…You and I. What are we still doing writing blogs? For what? It’s a question worth answering. 10 years of writing for me and I’m working on a book. Who Woulda Thunk? Not me.

10 years of learning how to write. Learning to connect with people in writing, edit out the 90% fluff, connect with people in their comments, figure out SEO, connect with people in their blogs, listen, learn and hear. Last of all, I feel as if I’m finally becoming connectable as a person. I care and just maybe it shows. WWT (I heard that grandpa).

Gary

Raging Waters Rescue

This can’t be happening I thought

She sat above the small cliff on a bold mossy rock weeping over the angry flooded river scene below. Drenched and weak from her own capsized canoe experience she knew the big man in a back eddy current was floating toward the edge and would soon be taken by the rushing white water into a mass of trees hanging on a house sized boulder. She knew she couldn’t help.

No No No, this is not happening!

He was going to die. He knew it as he couldn’t swim, his life jacket still strapped to the canoe seat and the big pack he was hanging on to was sinking. “Tell mom I love her” he said to his two sons who were hanging on to bent over saplings in the mad waters barely able to hang on as they only partially body surfed the churning foamy water. She cried louder as one of our guys picked up a canoe to portage to the lake above us laughed, and muttered “The poor sucker,” and walked away.

Normally this was a gentle, but fast, knee deep gurgling stream winding it’s way between lakes on the Canadian Minnesota border waters. Wilderness travelers, the early voyagers and various tribes had used this route for hundreds of years. Now, the river was carving a new path straight through the woods after seven inches of rain the night before.

Someone Please Save him!

I and a couple of strong teenagers had just finished rescuing a couple of canoes, some packs and paddles from our own group getting across the river in a deeper pool before the rapids. Our plan had been to get beside the waterfall and paddle at an angle with the water flow from a back eddy on one side and hopefully catch a back eddy on the other side unscathed. The fast water was really fast and at last second two of our canoes tipped as they entered the back eddy.

Everyone wore their life jacket in our group and all we did was get really wet. We were safe. Our gear and paddles were safe. Then came a big loud mouthed man and his two college aged sons. I had urged them to put on their life jackets and directed them to the back eddy to run with the current. They refused and tried to cut straight across the river current. Their canoe was instantly rolled. The boys swam across and ended up down stream dangling in the water while pleading for dad to try. Dad grabbed a floating pack, panicked completely and began yelling for help with “I can’t swim” with mutterings of “help me Jesus” messages and then began to accept his fate.

“Let’s rescue him” I said to the strapping teen next to me. “you’re nuts” he replied. “You are going to be an Army Ranger” I said. “Let’s do it” he said. She cried “No” and wept all the more.

We cinched the life jackets and pushed into the current and heavy rolling waves. Adrenalin shot through us and I feared breaking our canoe paddles as we paddled hard to the edge of the waves on the other side, dangerously close to the down-sloped rapids edge. Approaching the dad I saw he did not recognize help had come. He had that “eyes glazed over” look. When I spoke to him to grab our canoe but not to tip us, I saw him coil as if to spring at us. I raise my paddle to put him out as I saw the danger and he raised a hand to protect himself and said “I’m Ok, just help me”.

The next big danger was to drag a huge man to shore with just two paddles against the progressively stronger current before going over the edge. I saw we were not going to make it and urged the man to drop his pack as we were not making headway to shore. He wouldn’t let go. To this day I’m surprised that we made it within 15 feet of shore before going over the edge. In the last second another group of travelers came through, formed a human chain out and extended a long canoe paddle for the next Army Ranger to grab. “Saved” is a good word. “Saved” is an unbelievable feeling being pulled from the foamy waters of death. Now she was sitting on the rock bawling. Yes, “Saved” is beyond description, just ask her. She knows. Jesus knows.

Two weeks later they say I kept a whole building of youth directors awake at three in the morning as I barked out orders and rescued drowning people in a raging river from atop my sleeping bag.

The big man that two sons called dad was never thankful or acknowledge he needed help in the waters of certain death. “Come on dad, at least say thank you” urged one of the sons after the family was reunited. “I was ok, I had it under control” was all he said. She, ranger and I debriefed with the group later, for the next six days in the campsite and are still affected to this day.

This morning I sat in an easy chair with a cup of coffee and was reading some Psalms from the bible and I read Psalm 27 starting in the middle of vs10 and 11, “Do not leave me or abandon me God of my salvation. Even if my father and mother abandon me. The Lord cares for me”. I’m immediately brought back to the raging river again. Kids trapped in a different disaster are praying these prayers right in front of us while some laugh, pick up their canoes, mutter “the poor suckers” and walk away.

Now, I am the one on the riverbank of life crying. I’m weeping at pictures of all the abandoned children in buildings hundreds percent over capacity at Americas other border and I am helpless to rescue from here. They can die in a myriad of ways. I know how helpless I am from my rock. They are drifting toward the edge while we all watch and are told “It’s OK, everything is under control”

So, who is in position to save some kids? Honestly I have no idea what it will take or where to start. I have no solutions but I’m willing to bet someone out there does! I’m just here on the riverbank crying and someday hoping for joyful tears. Jesus please send someone, you know all about rescues!

Gary

Some debriefing notes: True story. Picture above was a different group with a different adventure. I’ve both rescued and lost people in my nightmares over the years. I spent a few minutes lecturing our rescued dad in an adrenaline driven raging mad state for putting our group in that position. The kids told me I said other things as well that Jesus might not have mentioned. I cannot help but think how precious being rescued is for one person and unrecognizable by another. It makes me beyond sad to think that Jesus Christ rescued us all from the death penalty of sin before a Holy God and He died for us. Some will believe and follow Jesus into an eternal life in heaven. Many are like the dad. How sad for eternity. I pray for the illegal immigrant kids abandoned by everyone. Breaks my heart the shape this world is in. We all need Jesus, He has solutions. I wish it was as easy as mine and rangers rescue.

Really Living

I saw the bear coming in the almost dark wilderness campsite. My small band of teenagers I was leading through a long canoe route in the BWCA Wilderness had spotted him and booked it for camp a few seconds ago. I ran and grabbed the camera turning on the strobe flash hoping for a good closeup picture as I positioned myself between bear and food pack. I stopped him about 15 feet away with the flash temporarily blinding him while yelling for the teens to quick get the pack up in the air. The rope was draped over a high limb and the food pack was ready to pull up higher than a bear could reach, all they had to do was grab the rope and pull hard and fasten it off to a nearby tree.

Too late, the teens were in the lake trying to get away from the bear. The general consensus was “let the bear eat Gary.” The bear had run behind a big sloping rock shaking his head while trying to see. I ran up the rock a few feet higher than the bear, when he looked up at me I flashed the strobe again to further blind him. Agitated he ran back to where he was before and I once again ran between bear and food pack. The 3rd strobe flash in the bears eyes was the closest but something snapped in his bear brain that said “I’m out of here” and he turned around and ran straight into a tree with an umph. Bouncing off he broke brush and made all kinds of noise including snapping his teeth to show his displeasure as he ran into the dark forest. The teenagers became suddenly very brave as they raced past me yelling and whooping after the bear and disappeared into the brush. I heard them stop as it was quite dark in those woods, so I yelled after them “He’s coming back!” A few seconds later the teens were in the lake again.

I have at times in my life been accused of “Poor Risk Assessment Skills” and I suspect there was more that could have been said with another dozen stories similar in nature. There are actually a couple stories that were on the line whereas this one was more normal. I am, in my defense, quick to point out that I, and those who have gone with me, are still very much alive. This proves that my risk assessments are actually very accurate. So far.

One of my life skills is helping people “Really Live”

So when I got the call that a northern border river had cleared of ice in most spots, I was ready to go this past Monday with two other guys who have living life qualities similar to mine. I mean, raise your hand if you want to go fishing. Don’t put it down because it’s cold and the winds are, well, brutal. That’s why we put on warm clothes.

Ya, it’s a big one.

After a two hour drive we fished all day. The water temperature was 39 degrees Fahrenheit, the wind chills at zero and the walleye were not abundant. After 8 hours in the boat we agreed it was time to get off the water. Sigh…it was so good to be out there in the wind and cold with the fish sometimes barely hitting. I really don’t know what drives us to call this “really living.” We cannot wait to get out there again. Three men who are so different, but in the boat we have a fellowship of brothers (including the disagreements).

“Really Living” may find one chasing bear and living on the edge. “Really living” to another may be dirty hands and knees in the garden. “Really living” may be in the work shop full of sawdust or metal flakes. “Really living” sometimes forms words, phrases and paragraphs. Sometimes “Really living” is creating special life experiences to communicate, influence and even mentor others.

I get T-shirts and mugs with catchy sayings like “I Fish Therefore I am”, “Fishing Is Life”, “Born to Fish Forced to Work” and a host of other phrases that depict my passions in life. I have, however discovered a passion that works well with my passions. Bringing groups of teens and adults far into the wilderness both in summer and winter forces real life gifts and problems to the surface. On the fear spectrum, I am not afraid of much. I would rather face a bear (risk) than tip a canoe in a storm (high risk) or rescue a drowning man in white water (high high risk). My cliff diving days are over. I think. I probably will do mild weather winter camping from now on. Bringing Teen groups into the wilderness is possibly past, but, I still find myself living on or over the edge as a recent post depicted (Ya, laugh at my expense!!)

50 foot cliff diving
Minus 38 below weather outside, above zero inside..Yea

The truth of the matter on fearless risk taking is that my ball of twine in life will someday run out of string. I know that. We all die once and then face God while He asks us “why should I let you into my heaven?” The worst answer we could give is “Because I am a good person”. If you cling to your good you also keep all your sin and are thus disqualified to be accepted by God. Risky risky risky!!! don’t go there.

This is My own Easter message to you

Instead, accept that Jesus died for our sin and gives us his goodness to present before God. That is “Really Living

Meanwhile, I am a follower of Jesus. I do not follow from afar or slide from tree to tree hoping to not be seen (you know the type) I am really alive when I am in tune with God and his ways….Who would turn down having Love, Joy, Peace and a host of other very real things in ones inner life?


“A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10 (Jesus)

Gary

PS the bear pictures did not turn out. I’m sure glad the strobe worked.

Picturesque Spring Easter Walk

Spring, with the excitement of warmer weather and a fresh new growth coming, is a season of revealing what once was. The squirrels are out finding their lost seeds and acorns. Animals that didn’t make it through the winter feed the crows, bald eagles, mice and bear awaking from hibernation.

I was looking for old antique machinery in the woods while being watched from above by this friendly red squirrel

Yesterdays woods walk reminded me of this. I have been looking for signs of the old doe (a much loved deer from an earlier blog). She has been missing for a month now. I may never find her as nature is quite efficient at the end game of all things including us. Dirt. Given time even the rocks will be dirt.

For those of you who like old machinery from generations ago, spring is the time to find stuff. I took some piece pictures (like…what is this?) for the imagination. Also piece meaning “what is not hidden by weeds and fallen trees“.

Everything is old and mostly dead in appearance. Grass, weeds and even the lake ice (which is not very safe to walk on in spots). I couldn’t help but notice numerous golden rod bulbs that housed the gall fly larva (a whole story by itself of intricate and complex design).

Goldenrod bulbs
house’s for the gall fly larva

Soon all these magnificent weeds and grasses will be fertilizer for the new growth. The same cycle is happening in the lake. As the shore ice thaws and freezes the old weeds, cattails and clutter blown in to the lake is revealed. Soon the lake clutter will be sediment that is ever so gradually turning the lake into a pond. For now it’s still a great fishing lake as well as nesting grounds for all kinds of birds and animals. I ended my nature walk with a few more pictures before running out of battery. Enjoy.

Edge of the still frozen lake
The beavers await spring as well
A spring melts the ice first
shoreline ice texture
Shoreline weeds
Shoreline weeds under the ice
cattail remnants above and below the textured ice
Melted snow pond in an opening mirrored a nearby tree

I enjoy spring but I cannot miss the symbolism within the realness of death and life. Death happens in the fall and winter for new life to begin in the spring. We die to live in so many ways. Being retirement age many aspirations have died to make way for others. Old habits have died for better ones. Free time died for a job. The old machinery died to make way for the new. You and I cannot escape our bodies going the way of the old doe. A seed dies to sprout life.

The final question of life is “how do we live?” really! Because the follow up question when our bodies are dirt and fertilizer for the next springs foliage is the same “How do we live?” How do we pull an Easter Jesus Miracle and not stay dead after we die? My own life long faith journey has found both gold and fools gold. Walking through the beautiful but dead goldenrod symbolizes nature in so many ways. Everything alive eventually dies. Only one didn’t stay dead.

So, after every winter I venture off the beaten paths, deep in thought, absorbing natures stories of life, beauty, perseverance, struggle and death. This year I wanted to share some private moments in my Picturesque Spring Easter Walk with you. To share my faith in a risen Jesus who says there’s more to life then dying and more to living than being alive.

Gary

*** Looking for more thought provoking content? Check out a sample of my other blog

Stunt Double

Yester-year

One of my dad’s sayings when I was young (the first 18 years of my life) was “If you pull another stunt like that…” and some type of age appropriate consequence was named. The bad part was he often didn’t mention which stunt he was talking about. “Don’t look at me like you don’t know what I am talking about! Usually he was thinking of only one of the three or four potential stunts possible (I think).

Throughout my life, my risk/reward analysis system of decision making has been lopsided toward the reward side. I now have a grandson like that, I sigh and cringe while watching. The little guys hands and feet are quite a ways ahead of his thought process. May he live to see his grandkids, bless his crazy heart. I wrote about him in “Cold Cold Hands” possibly my best writing piece when I had less readers.

Last Week

One would think I have learned to play on the safe side of life. NOoooo. Being side lined with a neck injury for a couple weeks made me looking for a crack in the door to get outside and go fishing. Never mind that it was -40 F for 4 nights in a row with minimal warming in the day. Never mind the wind chill factors that might freeze ones face off in less than a minute riding on an ATV from the shop to my fishing spot on the lake. Never mind all my equipment was sitting outside in my fishing sled and froze solid. I went fishing

When my life is replayed for me on judgement day I’ve asked the Lord if he couldn’t delete this part. I actually didn’t do anything wrong but everything went wrong. Murphy showed up. You have had those times right??

I dressed in my extreme cold weather gear. The ATV started. I hooked up the fishing sled. I made it to the fishing spot. All is well! It’s -25F with wind chill -50. I’m still warm, life is good on the lake. I drink in the frozen beauty through frosted eyelashes. I am 100% giddy . I should have gone home.

The ice auger started but the throttle was stuck on idle. I found the little lever that the throttle spring was suppose to control and put it forcibly on full throttle with a pliers I found in the ATV (amazed myself at being so prepared) and started the auger again. At full throttle the auger didn’t want to drill a hole anywhere, instead it wanted to drill everywhere and tried to catch my heavy coveralls on the sides. I had visions of the auger getting away from me and going down the lake on it’s side and taking out other peoples fish houses. I finally found the other handle with the hand that pulled on the starter rope and managed to contain my wild auger by drilling a hole in the ice. As I am drilling the thought occurred to me that I couldn’t slow down the auger as it punched a hole in the lake. My thought came to fruition as the powerful auger pulled the lake water up the hole and over my coveralls and boots. I lifted up the auger out of the hole bringing the water with it over knee high and started drilling another hole immediately while cradling the motor with one arm to free up a hand to hit the “off” button. Whew, close call. I am now only 75% giddy but ready to fish.

I pitched the ice fishing shelter, pulled out my propane tank and tried to hook up my heater, The coupler was froze, it wouldn’t turn so I took out a match and heated the brass with a match. a quarter turn and it was froze again. I tried and tried but it was a no-go fishing without heat situation. Something caught my eye as I was putting the heater away, the coupler O ring seal was broken. It would have leaked propane gas if I had connected it and upon lighting a match the fish house could have burst into flames and burned down. Whew…close one. I stowed my potential flame thrower in the sled. I am now 50 % giddy.

I fished for an hour in the fish house with no heat, no fish, the wind picking up and my ice fishing hole as well as my fishing line freezing up. I pack up to go home. The ATV grinds over but will not start. I try again and again. I pause and switch it on and off. It’s colder. Finally as the battery is dying and it’s on it’s last juices it actually starts and I can drive home. I arrive home with face frozen, parts of me cold and no fish. I am now 0% giddy.

I parked the ATV and sled in the shop and walked on our icy drive to the house. I spotted my wife bringing our dog around the bend from a short walk and decided to hunch low and take a couple of skips sideways to get a reaction out of the dog (you know, growl at me or something and then wag his tail in pure admiration). I had my new extreme boots on, which are not made or recommended for anything but walking or sitting in extreme weather, they caught on each other and I fell awkwardly. I landed wrong and cracked a rib. -25% on giddy-ness now. I wish it were not a familiar feeling. My wife knew where to look for the elastic band used for broken ribs.

Today

So, here I sit looking out the window again drinking coffee and other hot beverages with the camera handy, lots of reading, thinking time in these much warmer drab days. There has not been much to shoot but the evening moons and a stray owl. I would laugh at my comedy of errors but it hurts to laugh.

No one one gets a stunt double in living out this physical life. Sometimes I sure could use one. I live mostly fearless even in these troubled times. Why? God has his finger on my life’s buttons, not a virus, not the governments decisions and not what’s not in the bank account. I realized in all my recent mishaps that I actually have a stunt double for my appropriate consequence with God, who is the central part of my life. All so I could know Him and have a relationship with Jesus Christ who died and then beat death, a stunt I know I cannot do. I have chosen to accept that stunt double in my place. 100% giddy over that!

Getting fishing again? A cautious 15% giddy and gaining. Meanwhile there’s moon watching and the owl poses nearby.

Gary

Lines cut from scenes:

“Am I in heaven?” “No, you are in whoville” OK wrong line in wrong movie.

Daughter: “You are too hurt to go fishing!” Me: “hold my coffee”

Nature Walkabout with Coffee

View from our front picture window. You can’t see the cold.

I take a sip of coffee and look out the front window.

I am at the bottom of the hot chocolate can and the coffee bean bag indicator is sitting on E. Nursing a painful neck injury has made me participate in the winter sport of drinking a hot beverage while watching the outside world through our windows. Even though nature’s winter has been -15 to -35 below zero Fahrenheit for the last week and the wind chills have reached -70 I want to participate, kind of. The smart people on TV say this will continue another few days. Then spring, yea!

A young fawn often walks the perimeter.

For now I am relegated to peering out windows and thinking strange, or at least new thoughts. Being I have the camera handy I put my coffee down and capture the local fawn of the bunch of deer gathered by the back deck

I take a couple more sips of coffee while deer watching. I didn’t think the old doe would make it this long into winter. These temperatures must be tough on her

I drink some more coffee and ponder the trees. Sigh…I never tire of tree watching

Fascinating is the architecture of trees. How the limbs on a white oak tree can hang straight out for 50+ years is wild. Gravity and fatigue defying cellular structure.

I take another sip, put the cup down for a bird picture

Our Christmas tree bird feeder

I did not take down our outside Christmas tree. The chickadee’s think the string popcorn is their bird feeder. Maybe next year every ornament will be edible for the birds. There’s a business idea for someone…how about an edible outdoor Christmas tree. If you make it…someone will buy it! I would buy it, especially if it came with a big bag of coffee beans.

I watch the sky blush slowly, winter a little embarrassed? More like “There’s more to me than cold” Coffee is getting cold “You are a bad influence ole winter”

I take my last sip of lukewarm coffee. I’m thankful.

I take a look at the camera heart stirring. Lord willing I will mend to fish again!! I begin stirring the last of the hot coco. ARGH

Gary

Invasive Maneuvers

Yesterday I wanted to invade another world.

I meticulously planned it out (that means I finally found my go pro camera) and gathered my ice fishing stuff together for the invasion. I needed drilling equipment (ice auger) to penetrate the barrier to the underworld. I needed a stick(I cut a thick willow stick), line (very strong) a hook and bait to plunder said underworld (our frozen over lake). I needed an ATV and sled to safely drive onto the barrier (20 inches of ice will hold my truck).

Have a look. I invaded. I came, I saw, I plundered and ate the spoils!

I’m like that 4th fish. I like to think I ignore most things, especially media, out there

Aside from the temps dropping with a very cold breeze I looked into a world that none of us could survive for more than a couple of minutes without scuba gear and a very warm suit. We would then last long enough to run out of air unless we found an exit from this world and into ours again.

Have you ever had dreams like this? I haven’t (not true). My brother and I put a pickup (dads brand new 4×4) through the ice one time. I do not recommend this as it generates dreams, bad ones, for the rest of your life.

I can think of all kinds of ways we invade each others world and all kinds of ways the rest of the world tries. Advertisers, sales, every kind of media and now drones (I had to throw that one in). I can think of how God invaded our world and then became like us for a reason (Christmas and Easter, John 3:16, do you know about this?)

To the fish and underwater world I am an invasive marauder (in my defense that‘s natures way (eat or be eaten). I willingly admit I love fishing and fish fries.

To my fellow human beings; let’s learn how to love one another and just overlap in each others worlds gently with generosity and good will. Kindness on social media would be a great start. Me, I take all kinds of people fishing. We talk and break bread together over a meal of fresh fish FILLETED BONELESS

By the way, look closely at that fish. some of it is fresh fried fish eggs, the roe sac in a northern pike is extremely good (Ok, it’s not for everyone but there’s no bones).

Go ahead, name some basic invasion maneuvers where you are gifted in other worlds. Me, I’m on a learning curve with the go pro (and a few people), I wonder if they make underwater drones?

Gary