I was in a Native American Art gallery when I came across an interesting carving.   I turned to the elderly and dignified looking American Indian gentleman behind the counter and asked, “What’s the story behind this?”  He took it reverently in his hands.  His voice was deep and calm… soothing.  “This… is in honor of a great woman.”  The music in the store played quietly as he told his story.  “She was married to the chief of our Cherokee tribe.  When her husband was killed in battle she picked up his weapon and led the Cherokee charge against the Creek.  From that day forward she was known as the “Warwoman.”  He gently set the piece back in its place.  “Later in life she became a “Beloved Woman”, and a member of the Cherokee council.  She was a woman of great courage and wisdom.”  Continue reading

Pieces of April

Springtime in Southwest Florida is subtle and beautiful.  It is a time of rebirth and change.  The new, fluorescent green leaves on the cypress trees are the first to announce its arrival, followed by the persimmon and mulberry trees, which seemingly transform overnight from dead brown sticks to lush bright green foliage.  The fragrant scent of orange blossoms fills the air as one crop of Citrus ends and another begins with the appearance of beautiful and delicate flowers.

Despite the lack of rain, everything (well… except the grass on the side of the road) seems to magically come back to life.  In Southwest Florida, the “April showers” that would bring “May flowers” elsewhere, are typically non-existent.  But the wildflowers arrive just the same.  Some of them are small, delicate and found in areas that normally go untraveled or unnoticed.  But they are beautiful.  You just have to look in the right place.    Continue reading

Just Outside Your Window

dove smudgeIt’s not much fun having a bad cold.  Besides feeling like you’ve been run over by a truck, if you’re made to stay home and rest it can be really boring.  And when it came my turn to be sick this season, I spent the day sitting there pouting, staring out our back window at Leitner Creek with my head propped up in my hands.  But soon, because I had to sit still for more than five seconds, I began to notice details outside that I’ve rarely paid much attention to.

It was a busy day in the thick green foliage surrounding the creek.  There were doves hanging out on the bird feeder, bobbing their heads and picking at the seed and as you might expect, a couple of squirrels were scurrying around on their daily commute, jumping from tree to tree.  Just past them in an Oak tree, I noticed an unusual looking “green flycatcher”.   When it quickly flew off I leaned forward and started searching the trees, because it was really getting busy outside.  There on a cypress tree was a large Pileated Woodpecker, working its way around the trunk, searching for bugs and on a feeder right in front of me, a pair of beautiful Painted Buntings, apparently having just arrived for the winter, were comically burying their heads deep into the feeder.   A flash of bright red caught my eye and there, further down the creek, was a pair of Cardinals flitting around on a cocoa plum bush. Continue reading

Kayak Anyone?

“So what do you want to do today?”  That’s how my wife and I start out many a Sunday morning conversation over the top of our reading glasses, the paper and a cup of coffee.   On a beautiful morning like today, going Kayaking is one of our favorite pastimes.  We load up the truck and Molly, our Jack Russell Terrier, and head down to the Imperial River or Leitner Creek behind our house.  Most of the time we team up with a group of friends, but every once in a while we like to go without a schedule or any agenda and just quietly paddle along the dark waters of the River while Molly, perched precariously on the front of my kayak, with her butt up in the air, bites at the water. Continue reading

Balance in the Middle

Over the Holidays my two sons and daughter came over to the house for dinner.  As usual we ended up on the porch laughing and talking about the good old days when they were young children and I was a hard working and thoroughly baffled parent.  As we reminisced into the wee hours they began to share stories about the “joys” of sibling rivalry.  The pranks, arguments and competition all seemed to be hilarious now, but back then… it was serious business.   Continue reading

Letting Go

Hurricane season.  We all have different reactions to its arrival.  Fear, anxiety, ambivalence and if you work for the Weather Channel, what seems to be unbridled excitement.  I know they don’t mean anyone any harm, but it is really difficult not to hear the excitement in the voice of a reporter as they explain the level of devastation your community is about to experience from a storm that has the same name as that aunt of yours who always smelled a little funny.

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Philosophy of the Closed Mouth

There is no more valuable or more humbling art, than the art of knowing when to say nothing.  Unfortunately this is not a skill that seems to be embraced by our society.  I understand that we all have the right to express ourselves but I think most everyone would agree, that there is just too much talking going on in the world right now and not a whole lot being said.  News commentators, analysts, political pundits, weathermen and yes… politicians, seem to go on and on, like we’re being paid by the word and not for the content. Continue reading

The Consensus

“So… where do you guys want to go to dinner tonight?”  This innocent sounding question can be the beginning of a brutal foray into consensus building.  It only takes two individuals to participate in this tango, but to get the full flavor of how difficult making a simple decision can be, it really takes 3 couples… preferably friends. Continue reading

Well Ventilated Fourth of July

The Fourth of July Parade has always been special in Bonita Springs.  When it comes to community get-togethers, it has been part of us for as long as I can remember.  You know it must be a special event, because despite it being about 90 degrees by 10:00am, there are always people lining both sides of the street, anxiously waiting, fanning themselves and sweating.  But, Bonitians are made of tough stuff and if you pick the right side of the street (guess!) and are lucky enough to catch some shade or smart enough to bring some with you, your head won’t melt and you’ll see a great show. Continue reading

Mr. Taylor’s Unremarkable Resurrection

I was at the Bonita Springs YMCA yesterday, thinking about how different it was growing up in the “old days”.  As kids, it wasn’t uncommon for us to play outside without any adults around the entire day.  The only thing that could bring me inside was the faint sound of my mothers voice in the dusk calling me to dinner.   Well… except that one time. Continue reading