Thursday, August 28, 2014

Challenge yourself

With or without ice


I have to admit, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has got me on the fence. When the philanthropic social media explosion rolled to the forefront of my newsfeed, all I thought was ‘Hey, this is annoying and it seems silly and pointless.’ I did not understand how dumping ice water over your head was going to help anyone. I mean, yeah, it’s sort of funny to see your friends get hosed with a blast of cold water, but outside pranks between pals, how did this become such a huge thing?

If you’re unfamiliar with it, let me fill you in. The basic concept is you take a video or photo of yourself dumping ice water on your head and post to social media. When you post, you’re supposed to challenge up to two friends to do the same. If they do not comply within 24 hours they’re asked to donate money to The ALS Association, which raises funds to combat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Pretty simple right? Well, why not just donate money to the organization and skip the silly sideshow? I mean, the association accepts donations as little as $5, who could say no to that? In fact, some employers will even match a donation made by their employees…now that’s pretty cool...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dangling feet

The listless habits of a stranger


There is a boy by the house that sits on a dock by the river. I see him sometimes on walks. He sits, often cross-legged, staring out across the lazy current, pondering, I suppose, some big questions.

Other times I have witnessed, he is laying face up upon the floating wooden planks. He appears at those times to be staring into the sky. I’ve observed he wears sunglasses in these instances.

Some days the sun is out, other days it’s cloudy and cool. He is not sunbathing, though, dressed casually in shorts and T-shirt. I cannot tell if he has ear buds plugged into an MP3 player or not, but I suspect this is commonly the case as I have noticed a toe tap or head bob on occasion.

I believe he is of college age, but I do not recognize him. I wonder if he is from out of town, only visiting for a while this summer. Perhaps that means he is away from his friends, and so he sits alone on a dock on the river...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

August birthdays

Happy birthday Jed and Mom

A pair of memories


August is something special to me. True, it’s unique for many reasons - fog over dew-covered grass in the morning, hot, punchy afternoon sun, and the sound of crickets on cool evenings - but there’s more to it than that.

In my family, August is the month we have two birthdays to celebrate: my mom’s on the seventh and my brother Jed’s on the 19th. That’s only 12 days apart…talk about a cake marathon.

This year my mom is a sprite 39 years of age (that’s what we’re still going with, right ma?). My brother Jed has reached the surprisingly (not) important age of 22. Only a few more years until your car insurance goes down, brother. That’s something to look forward too, right?

In the case of my mom, I have one particular birthday party memory that stands out. It was Flambeau Rama weekend some years ago and all of my friends and their friends and her friends were home. Everyone was always invited to stay at the house - whether that meant camping in the yard or on a couch - and get brunch the next morning.

Well, one particular year mom decided since Rama fell only a few days before her birthday, and so many people she loved were already gathered at one place, that it was a perfect time to celebrate...

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Fog on the meadow

Being part of the change


As the sun rises through the fog and mist
I get caught up thinking about a lot of things.
For some reason, this time of year always catches me looking backwards. I think it has a lot to do with all the change in sunlight and weather - which mostly translates to less and cooler - but I can't be certain. I try not to let that be a sad thing, but sometimes it has that feeling.

Sometimes I catch myself staring at the fog in a certain grassy meadow during the early morning sunlight as though I know what's about to happen. It makes me think of how short summer is in the north and sometimes I wonder where it went.

Did I take full advantage of the warm weather? Did I get outside in the sunlight enough times or could I have been out there more? How long do I have before the lake and river are too cold to swim in?

I ask myself these questions as though some year I'll have an answer for them. Perhaps if I keep staring at the fog in the meadow something will come out of it.

The thing is, year after year, my conclusion is usually the same. See the truth is summer is not quite over yet. It's changing, sure, but there's a buffer zone now until full fledge autumn sets in, so we've got (hopefully) a few more chances to enjoy the blessed strength of the sun.

That's me looking forward, not backward. The sun will come out tomorrow, you can bet your bottom dollar on it.