What is wrong with us, why do we grow so bloody old?

Sunset in Texas

Sunset in Texas

I look at all the old people and say how the hell did we get this way
all wrinkled and bent and shuffling along barely able to walk a straight line
with cane’s and walkers and all kinds of aids just to help us get through the day
with memories short or hardly at all trying to think of what was just said
as conversing about any subject so small is hard when you can’t think of the words you need
they are somewhere on the tip of your tongue but just out of reach again, every one
and as for names, forget they exist as they have this habit of slipping away
the minute you meet someone new and they tell you their name
you hope you will keep it at least for a while
but usually no more than a word or two and you are left without a clue
“Who was that”, someone asks and your mind draws a blank
and you have to admit that again and once more
your memory has failed to log in the name so that you could repeat it again.

One thing for sure there is no doubt we are the best outfitted of them all
with hearing aids and implanted teeth and replaced knees when they grew weak
and don’t forget a hip or two or maybe a pacemaker to make the heart beat
and if that doesn’t work replace the heart with one donated by someone else
who was not so lucky and was not saved by the miracles of modern medicine’s techniques
for all we do is buy more time and all of the money we may spend
for all the new parts, our body to mend
but in the end there is no escape and death will come our souls to take.

A word of advice to you young people out there who physically think you haven’t a care
just look around you and you will see that youth will not last for eternity
and in the space of a few short years you will look like us with just the same fears
make the most of the time you spend on this earth for it is so short with not much mirth
Enjoy it, kick ass and never lose track for “It’s hell growing old” is my final comeback.

You are born and then you die…

Rest in Peace whoever you may be...

Rest in Peace whoever you may be…

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Another Hike at McKinney

George and Gloria, my hiking buddies and good friends along with the two dogs, Bobby and Nina went for a hike at McKinney which is one of our favorite places. I, for one, never tire of these walks at this place. It is normally very quiet and peaceful and we usually have the place pretty much to ourselves.

This time was a little different. I arrived first and discovered that the parking lot was full of horse trailers with countless horses and riders milling around all in various states of preparedness. Some were getting ready to ride and others were watering their horses and tending to them prior to loading them back into their trailers. I wandered around as I waited for my friends and took a few pictures and chatted to several of the riders. One lady told me that she and her friend had hauled their trailer  down from Dallas to ride in the park. This was the busiest that I had ever seen the parking lot in the many times that I have hiked here and it was great to see so many people availing themselves of this beautiful park.

My friends arrived and they too commented on how busy it was as we prepared to hike off into the woods. We decided to take the same trail that I had walked the last time I was here a week or so ago. So, with Bobby leading the way and Nina bringing up the rear, off we went on our hike. In a weeks time, nearly all of the flowers were gone and the only plant that really was putting on a show was the American Beauty Berry bush. There were many of them all covered with their purple berries and we passed many of them the entire length of the walk.

Along the way, as could be expected, we crossed trails with many of the horses and riders as they availed themselves to the beauties of nature and this park. Rules of etiquette called for us to give way to the horses which was a bit of a no-brainer considering how much bigger they are than us. I took this opportunity to take pictures of horses and riders and they were all more than willing to pose for me. Even the horses appeared to perk up when I pointed the camera at them.

We were seated by the 200 year old Pecan tree taking a rest as a couple young guys on their horses came along. They stopped and chatted to us and as usual, I took their pictures. One of them said that he was from Colorado and had horses back there. He gave us a quick demonstration of how he could back his horse which impressed us with both the horses and riders skills. They trotted off and it was very obvious that they and horses were no strangers to each other.

At one point, we came across a giant tree that had either been struck by lightning or was so old that the core of the tree had rotted out causing the tree to come down in one of the mini storms we recently had. The Park maintenance staff had cleared it from the trail and I was able to take a picture showing the inside of the tree. Judging from the size, I imagine it too was well over a hundred years old. Even giant  trees have a life limit.

We continued with our hike and we also passed several lone hikers going in the opposite direction. I guess as the weather begins to cool down, more people are availing themselves of the great outdoors. When we arrived back in the parking lot, it had emptied considerably as many of the horse trailers had pulled out. There were still a couple left and the horse and riders appeared as we were standing around and talking. We exchanged comments as they evoked surprise that we were still there. We in turn, good naturedly remarked that we had actually hiked five miles on our own feet, all in good fun.

My friends left along with Bobby and Nina and true to form, I headed into Bastrop to the local Starbucks, my usual way to end the hike at McKinney Roughs.

That Durn Heron…he keeps adding to my Heroin problem

Heron perched in treesI was making my rounds after being away for several hours and as I usually do, was feeding the fish. This is a good way to see if there had been any visits from the Heron while I was away as the fish go deep and won’t come back up for several days. Well, this is exactly what happened in the goldfish pond as the fish were nowhere to be seen.

I went back inside and sat down at the computer with the memory card from the surveillance system and started going through it. I knew that I was looking on cameras 1 and 3 as they focused on the goldfish pond. The thing to remember here is that the maximum length of each video is not much more than two minutes and not knowing when this might have happened, I had to start from just after I left the house which was about 1:00 pm. It was not until I reached videos taken around 4:00 pm did I get to see the Heron. He strolled up to the pond as he normally did and jumped the fence and spent a lot of time trying to fish from the wall that divides the goldfish pond from the Koi pond. He soon got tired of that and before my eyes, it jumped into the water. I had always believed that they would walk into the water and not literally jump into it. I don’t know how it knew how deep it was as it is a little cloudy and I can’t see the bottom. That Heron must have x-Ray vision as it didn’t seem to have any trouble.

It fished around for a bit but it is not possible to tell if it caught anything as it spent time behind the Thalia plant out of sight. I should explain that both the Goldfish and Koi ponds have wire fences around them that are powered by a doggy shocker that gives quite a jolt. I know as I am always running into it as I work around the ponds. There is also an intricate system of crisscrossed wires that span the top of the Goldfish pond with the exception of one small triangle that the Heron used to fly away. At least I thought it had flown away but as I was looking at other videos, it suddenly appeared in one trying to land on top of a fish fountain in the Koi pond. Giving up on this idea, it landed on the bog area and started to look for the fish. The big Koi spotted it and moved away but one of the 4 smaller ones got too close and became dinner. What is interesting as it stood there waiting so patiently is that the big Koi moved back in directly beneath it but it made no move to attack them, probably because they are so big.

It eventually flew  off as it probably heard the dogs barking indoors as I arrived home. All told, the Heron was around the ponds from 4:00 pm through 6:00 pm a total of two hours but I have edited the video down to fifteen minutes. It is very interesting to watch as it shows how patient these big birds are and also just how much on the look out they are for their own safety. They are very nervous when they are on the ground or standing in the water.

After watching the videos, I went back to the ponds and added cross-wiring to the Koi pond plus eliminated the triangle on the Goldfish pond. I also noticed that the unit for the doggie shocker was not working so I changed it out for a new one. Hopefully, this will deter it but I thought that before. This is really a game of wits between me and the Heron and so far, the Heron is winning.

And I thought that us humans were the smart ones….

Heron on 10-16-2014 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Helping Hand

Helping handI was sitting in my car after having made a purchase in one of my favorite stores, The Home Depot, when I noticed a young mother pushing a cart that had three large bags of mulch. She was also carrying a very young baby as she made her way back to her car. I could not see any Home Depot employees around so being the nice guy that I am and seeing a young and good-looking mother that might need a hand, I switched off my car and walked over to her inquiring if she needed help to load out the mulch.

She looked at me and must have decided that I was harmless and looked strong enough to help her as she said, “Wait a minute and I will put the baby in the car.” which she proceeded to do. She came back and unlocked the trunk which was already pretty full of stuff as I grabbed a hold of the first bag. I must mention that she had the biggest bags she could find and they each weighed forty pounds and they were in a regular shopping cart and not one of the flat dolly’s which did not help the situation.

I struggled to get the first bag out as my hands kept slipping on the plastic so I dug my fingers in and gave a heave and caught my arm on the baby seat of the cart putting a small gash in it which immediately started bleeding. I turned around to place the bag in the trunk and not being used to cars with trunks, wasn’t watching very carefully and the next thing I know, I had banged my head against the upraised trunk lid. I managed to hang on to the bag and carefully put it in the trunk and at the same time, I felt my fingers go through the plastic and the bag split. She hadn’t noticed and I wasn’t about to ‘fess up considering how foolish I must have looked so far.

I turned back to the cart and in the meantime, she gracefully lifted the second bag out of the cart with absolutely no effort and carefully placed it into the trunk. Not to be outdone by some slip of a woman who probably only weighed ninety pounds soaking wet, I turned my attention to the last bag in the cart. This one was even worse as I struggled to get a purchase on the plastic and when I finally did get it out of the cart, I dropped the bloody thing on the ground. Luckily, it didn’t break so I said in a brave and loud voice, “That’s better, now I can get a hold of it”, which I proceeded to do so, struggling but trying not to show it and eventually placed it in the trunk.

I could see her breathe a sigh of relief that the worst was over and that I hadn’t keeled over with a heart attack as that was probably next considering of how much of an ass I had made of the job so far. She thanked me and wanted to know if my head was OK and I made some lame joke like, “Thank goodness it was my head and not my hand or arm or I might have felt it”. She didn’t get the joke so I quickly jumped in my car before I could embarrass myself even more. I watched her pull away and she was giving me the most oddest of look as though to say, “I wonder if he is OK” or maybe “What a loser”.

One thing is for sure that when she gets home to her husband, she will have a tale to tell and I bet she thinks twice about taking help from the next old geezer that offers.
So much for being a good Samaritan…and oh yeah, I don’t plan on helping anyone else in the future, doesn’t matter how good-looking they are or how many babies they may be carrying.

Reminiscing or for real?

Datura

Datura

The man sat on his porch looking out into the dark
his eyes did not see anything as he was far away and deep in thought
of how his life had shaped out and what happened along the way
and he would have given anything to be able to change it
but, as with everything connected to life, there is no changing
no going back, no second chance only thoughts of what might have been.

With a sigh, he brought himself out of his reverie and back to the present
as his current wife and lover pulled into the driveway
he watched her walk with that faintly erotic swing of her hips up on the porch
as she disappeared through the door he wondered if she had seen him sitting there
and was ignoring him for the umpteenth time
he sighed again and heaved himself from his chair
and disappeared into the house.

In truth,there was no wife, there was no lover
she had died a year earlier from cancer
he had nursed her through her sickness and suffered her pain
and had been with her when she died and had wept over her grave
and all he had now were his memories strong enough to bring her back
at least in his mind as she walked to meet him
and even though he knew it wasn’t real but just his imagination
he gladly welcomed her back with open arms.

With a jolt he awoke and could remember the dream he just had
but, was it a dream or had she really come to him in his sleep
as he lay there, he could recall every part of the moments
as she was in his arms, warm to his touch and very alive
and he could see the depression in the pillow where her head had been
and could still feel the warmth of her body and her lips as she had kissed him
as she walked through the door he knew that he was not dreaming
and realized that the body in the bed was his and that it was very still
and that he was with his beloved wife in spirit as that was all he had
as his body had died and he knew now they were together forever.

What to Write About?

Thalia blown oveI sat in front of the computer staring at a blank screen wondering just what I was going to write about. Nothing was coming to mind as I stared. It was as though I was waiting for the words to magically appear on the page. As that sort of stuff only happens in the movies and never in real life, I was beginning to think I was wasting my time and just spinning my wheels.
My mind wandered to all of the other things that I needed or wanted to do mostly out in the garden. There, the list is long and today’s wind has added to it as it blew over one of the tall Thalia’s in the middle pond. I am going to have to get back into that pond to try to do something with that plant and it will probably mean putting it in a bigger container and weighing it down with rocks. This is what I had to do with the Thalia’s in the other two ponds.

Notice the big turtle sitting on the roots to the left. She is probably 12 inches long. I haven’t seen her in a while so it’s nice to know she is still around. The water is getting a little on the chilly side so I should probably put on my waders. Only trouble is they leak so maybe I should go and buy a new pair. Then again, leaky waders are no worse than getting into the pond in shorts. What to do?

I am staring at the screen again still waiting for a burst of ideas but nothing is happening. Oh well, guess I’ll go and dig out those leaky waders…

Another view of the Thalia

How does the Mind work?

Yesterday, I was torn between
going hiking or going to the gym
both will give me a good workout
but are different in how it comes about.
the thing I like about the gym
is that it has A/C to keep me cool
and in comfort I can listen to Audiobooks
which totally engrossed do not notice the pain
as I work out on the different machines
pushing muscles to the limit they can gain

Yet when I go out on a hike
closer to nature I do feel
with fresh air and freedom as I walk along
listening to the birds as they sing their song
checking things out and pause here and there
to take pictures of flowers and trees I find here
and to work up a sweat that  feels healthy and good
as I stride along trails that many feet have withstood

So I chose to go hiking and piled the gear in my car
my camera pack and water and fruit for a snack
I went back to McKinney, my favorite place
and hiked along Coyote, Sandy Bottom and more
of those trails with wonderful sounding names
and passed horses and riders all with a smile
as we spent our day doing things that we like
whether riding or walking it all is the same
as we spend time with Nature the more to gain.

I covered six miles in my walk yesterday
and was totally soaked when I walked back to my car
it was a wonderful day for a hike
as all of the others out there besides me
did agree that it was a great place to spend time
and I chose right in opting for the walk
and as tired as I felt and my muscles were sore
but my mind was refreshed and ready for more.