Friday, September 22, 2017

 

I Write My Daily Posts Because...

By: Donovan Baldwin

There wasn't going to be any musings and mutterings from me this morning.

There's a lot going on in my  life that's sapping my creative juices, and, I "just didn't feel like it".

At least that's how the day started, but, being the being I am, I began musing about that, seeing if I could squeeze out some thoughts.

I write my morning thoughts because, despite still being half asleep, and fuzzy brained, it is at this time of day that I feel most able to BE genuinely and originally creative.

As my day wears on, everything, good and bad, becomes a pile of tangled thoughts and issues, leaving me tired and not too forward looking at end of day.

In fact, I tend to get downright pessimistic in the evening.

But, even when I don't feel "good" in the morning, I always feel as if I'm starting with somewhat of a clean slate. If I have learned anything in 72+ years of life, it's that almost nothing remains the same.

Good times, fun things, come to an end, but, so do most bad things.

Sooner or later, we usually get a chance to start over, with something resembling a clean slate. No analogy is perfect, no aphorism sums up all wisdom in a few words, no internet graphic is going to contain all the factors that make up a miracle, but, time can heal, and can provide new opportunities.

The trick is not just to take advantage of them, but to expect them.

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

 

Are People Good Or Bad/

By: Donovan Baldwin

From time to time, I read articles, essays, and op eds, about whether humans are inherently "good" or "bad".

Like most people who think, or comment, about these sorts of things, I guess I would have to admit that I don't really KNOW, I just have my thoughts and opinions.

One major difficulty is that the concepts of good and bad vary from culture to culture, and from person to person.

One person's "good" might be another's "bad", or on a different point on some "sliding scale" between the two extremes.

I think we DO try to achieve survival, at a personal level, and at a genus/species level.

People not only want to do things to survive, but, want the human race to survive (most of us).

All of this has to do with the reason I am so often nonjudgmental about personal choices.

Oh, I want to survive too, and, if your choices seem to threaten my survival (person or progeny), I am apt to make another choice...which you won't like, probably. However, realizing that the "other guy" is just trying to survive, in a way that meets his or her beliefs, gives me some latitude in the realm of forgiveness, and, allows me to feel better about my decisions and choices as well...even when OUR choices and decisions seem to be at odds with each other.

I feel, thinking out loud, that it's the inability to accept the other's desire for survival, and, see theirs and ours as opinions, not fact, that causes a lot of the dissention between people in this world.

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Monday, September 18, 2017

 

Examining Unbrewed Thought

By Donovan Baldwin

I hope no one who reads my often early morning ramblings, coded as "BC", expects deep thought.

After all the "BC" could stand for "Before Cogitation" despite actually meaning "Before Coffee".

Honestly, my intention is to, in most early morning cases, examine my thoughts while they are still, like the coffee, "unbrewed", as it were.

Normally, our thoughts get massaged, and messaged, as we move through our days. They get layered over with "facts", real and unreal, information, opinion, and our own thinking process.

It's not that I consider these morning musings to be somehow "more pure" in some way, as I am curious, about what the brain is really chewing on before it gets served its daily dose of caffeine and variouls meals and snacks.

I have to honestly say, that, sometimes, there ain't much meat there.

On the other hand, sometimes I find jewels in the residue of my night's sleep or yesterday's leftover cogitation.

I am one who enjoys the hunt, the creation, the creative process. That's why I have a notebook, and several index cards, which I carry around in my shirt pocket, that are filled with notes and ideas about things I would like to say, on the table beside me.

I think one of the lessons I have learned from writing these morning musings, and others throughout the day, is that THIS is where a lot of my ideas come from.

I stir up the pot of thought-grounds, pour a little typing-water over them and "Voila!", richer, fuller thoughts, and poems, that come later in the day.

Caution, writer brewing thoughts...

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Saturday, September 16, 2017

 

Pleasure Of The Great Outdoors

By Donovan Baldwin

Mother Nature put on a bit of a show in the Fort Worth area between 4 and 6 AM.

Big thunderstorm, or, as I have heard them called in this part of Texas, "thunder boomer".

I grew up in Florida, on Pensacola Bay along the Florida Gulf Coast, so, thunderstorms are not new to me.

However, in this part of Texas, dreaded "water from the sky" is not as common as it was down on the coast.

Over the decades, I have worked many jobs that took me outside a lot. Mama Nature and I are old friends, if not always good friends, in my boyhood, on beaches, in woods, and as a working man. Even my "fun" activities often occurred outside.

(Side note: If you are not from the coast and love on the beach sounds romantic to you, ditch that idea. Sand gets into everything....everything.)

Anyway, I have gotten away from Lady Nature, what with advancing age and other responsibilities.

Pity.

It's always (Except when it's Summer in Texas...) a pleasure to reconnect with the Great Outdoors.

Most days, these days, it's through my sitting room window. However, today, I am taking the trailer to nearby Benbrook Lake, and am going to renew my friendship with Ol' Ms. Nature for a week.

Comments may not be as often as normal, but, expect the pleasure meter to be near the top of the scale. Nothing like a little quality time with Mother Nature to make you feel you're home, and whole, again.

NOTE: The above comment was written several weeks prior to being posted here, and I have been back from that pleasurable outing for several weeks.

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Friday, September 15, 2017

 

It Sounds Like Poetry To Me

By Donovan Baldwin

I write poetry.

Surprised?

Well, I mean, I intentionally sit down and write what I intend to be recognized and evaluated as poetry. In communications with others, I often read, "I wish I could write poetry..."

Also often, in those same communications, I read lines, honest lines of romantic thought, personal dreams, experiences, which sound like poetry to me.

In fact, I have come to believe that many people in this world, many more than those who believe they are poets, have poetry in their souls.

Go to a place where there are majestic sunsets, or sunrises, where there are awesome rivers, grand forests, or canyons which take your breath away. You will find people there, individuals and entire families, just looking, absorbing, being in that place at that time.

They are writing poetry in their minds and on their hearts.

Look at a mother nursing a new born baby, or a father teaching his son to ride a bike for the first time. There is poetry in the hearts and souls of those persons also at those times. It will probably be a long and well remembered poem, even though the words may never be completely formed into a formal poem, or even recalled in the same way.

I claim to be a poet and try to write poetry, but, so many of you, who wish you could be a poet, already are.

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

 

My Father And Father Keating

By Donovan Baldwin

Most mornings are almost ritualistic for me. There are certain steps I take after falling out of bed, usually in the same sequence

Eventually, I wind up wondering what I am going to write about today.

Sometimes, I actually have an idea! Maybe I made notes to remind me the day before, but, often, when I begin typing the first words each morning, my mind is a blank as far as topics go.

Usually, something appears.

Father Jules Keating "appeared" this morning.

A kind and gentle priest, loving and caring, he forever was locking himself out of the rectory at Saint Thomas More parish in Warrington, Florida, or locking his keys in his car.

In his youth, my father had spent some time as a locksmith, and, since we lived only a block away, when Father Keating knocked at our door, we knew that Daddy had to go break into the rectory, or his car.

Not a whole lot of lesson there, but, for me at least, a good memory.

A boy watching his father emulate a cat burglar.

Actually, it was "neat" knowing my dad, to the right, could do such things.

Most people never knew that about him. He was quiet and reserved and most people didn't realize the range of his skills.

He had been a concert violinist, had fenced, knew shorthand, and taught himself a myriad of other skills. A secret man the world never knew.

I bet there are neighbors on this street with interesting skills. I bet some of you could surprise us. Really.

Morning, just musing about good times and good people.

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

 

We All Have Stories

By Donovan Baldwin

Read a quote from Henry David Thoreau this morning: "I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well."

I often (at least twice a day) write about myself.

Even when referencing other people and events, I am, at the least, presenting MY thoughts, just as I am now.

Most of us will never be famous, although, in today's world, we will leave a much more defined "trail" than most of our ancestors.

I do genealogy, and, before the mid-1800's, at least here in the U.S., it's hard to find out much about people unless they did something extraordinary, or, were lucky enough to get their existence recorded.

We all have stories.

In talking to people over the last 72 years, and reading their descriptions of their lives, I have found most people to be very interesting. Even so, I was a bit surprised to find how many people were interested in, or amused by, events in what I considered my mundane existence.

I write, they read...and some seem to like.

Each of you has a story.

Why not write it up?

Even if your children and grandchildren are the only ones who read it, at some point it will be valuable, interesting, informative, and, perhaps, even instructional to them.

I repeat, we all have stories, and most of us are as important as the most famous, but, are not going to have our stories told, so, let's tell our stories ourselves.

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Trust In A Small Texas Town

By Donovan Baldwin

A few years ago, around 2006, in Gatesville, a small Texas town, I was looking for an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) at a local Wells Fargo Bank. Not seeing one I went inside the bank and asked the bank manager if they had one. He, greeted me kindly, and, unlocking the teller's cage, led me behind the tellers, past the opened vault, unlocked a door overlooking the drive-up banking area and showed me where their one ATM was located.

This little display of trust reminded me the first time, about 1972, I was asked to give a piece of identification for a check/cheque at a local grocery store.

Until then, I had written a check, handed it to the clerk, took my groceries and left...as did every other patron.

However, hot checks had become such an issue, people writing worthless paper, and businesses were losing so much money, they had to begin requesting identification.

In bigger cities this had been a practice even before I encountered it in my small southern city of Pensacola, Florida.

Over the years, we've lost trust.

At least a lot of it.

You know, years ago, before identity theft became such a big issue you could find people's social security numbers on lots of things. Many organizations, such as the U.S. military services figured out that, instead of issuing individual service numbers to each soldier, sailor, or Marine, they could just use social security numbers for identification numbers instead.

Well, because of identity theft, the military has gone back to issuing individual identification that does not use social security numbers as have many other businesses and government agencies.

I believe most of us still WANT to trust one another, but, every day, we are reminded of bad people doing bad things, and, because of those bad things we have to surrender more of our personal data, and freedoms.

Still, trust is one of the most powerful components of freedom.

I'll keep on trusting until I just cannot anymore.

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