Thinking About Life – Mine…


DSC_2686

Peaceful

I got to thinking the other day
about my life and the way
I spend my days as I live alone
since my last wife did our marriage dethrone
It’s been 25 years since she walked out the door
and the bachelor life is easy to endure
no one telling me how to live my life
that’s the beauty of not having a wife
so I quickly did adjust my ways
to living alone as I spend my days
pottering around out in the yard
working away with disregard
for time has no real meaning to me
unless something special is on the TV
but then if there is I usually record
and watch at my leisure until I get bored
and then I find something else to do
like write a blog so that a few
of my writing friends can read all about
how I spend my day even without
any special plans although sometimes I do
when I want to go hiking I do pursue
some degree of a plan so that others may know
that they are welcome to join me and I’m not alone
other times I go for a drive
with an Audiobook the characters alive
in my head as I listen to figure the plot
I get it wrong more often than not
and I marvel at how the writer does think
as it twists and turns and finally links
and the good guy wins and gets the girl
and a happy ending as the story unfurls
you never can tell which way it will go
until the end of the story as the writer shows
I wish that I could write that way
instead I spend my literary day
writing bad poetry to keep me amused
until I can find the next thing to do
It’s already time to go to bed
the day has flown by and so instead
of doing what I usually do
tomorrow something different I will pursue
and have corn flakes for breakfast instead of the toast
and take the dogs for walk before I’m engrossed
in writing more stories in the form of a verse
to amuse myself how can it be worse
than doing what I normally do
which I can’t remember as I haven’t a clue
my brain is forgetful to say the least
as I spend my days in a happy release.

Written 6/23/2018

 

Life is so fickle…


DSC_5518-3

Rodney and Keith

Once again the side of life that we all try to ignore has raised its ugly head. Yet, it should not come as a real surprise as eventually, it happens to every one of us. Unfortunately, human life has not yet reached the point of immortality no matter how hard we try to convince ourselves otherwise. It is no shock that someone dies as we will all die eventually. No, what is the shock is the why’s and the when’s, reasons that are for the most part, still a mystery even to the greatest Minds of the World.

Would we be better off if we knew beforehand the exact moment of our deaths and maybe even the reason for it? Could we spend a lifetime preparing for such an eventuality and be mentally prepared to accept it when it comes? I seriously doubt that any of us could be that strong knowing that at such and such time today or tomorrow, next week or next year, we will draw our last breath on this Earth especially if the reason for our death is anything less than genteel.

The reason for these morbid thoughts is the news of the death of Rodney Lewis, a former Board Member of our local Pond Society. Rodney passed on July 4, a little over six months after the death of his partner Keith Neuse, whose demise in December of last year caught us all by surprise. Rodney had held up well following Keith’s death and last month had opened up his pond as a part of the Members Only Pond Tour. Rodney was at the last meeting on June 18 and appeared to be in good health and good spirits.

Rodney’s passing is a real shock to us all because of the unexpectedness of it. We were not prepared for this news because as far as we knew, Rodney was in good health for a seventy something man. He wasn’t sick at least that we knew of so how could he die without us having some warning?

For those of you who would like to believe in such things, Rodney has now joined up with Keith to spend the rest of their very existence together and we wish them much happiness. For the cynics among us, who is going to be next on the list. Whoever it may be, I hope they will not be so inconsiderate as to pass on without letting us know beforehand to lessen the shock. It brings home to us all that life is so fickle. Here today and gone tomorrow.

Preparedness is everything. Few have that opportunity…

To read the original blog for Keith, use this link

Written 7/6/2018

Texas Heat


DSC_2756

I went outside to work today
having things to do in my own way
I had big plans for all to share
that needed all my tender care
I walked around and took a look
checking things off in my minds book
looking to work on important stuff
leaving till last anything tough
for I was not really in the mood
on this first day of Summer that I construed
would be another really hot day
and working hard is not how I play.

I started with filters on the ponds
changing them out as each corresponds
to the degree of clean water surrounding the fish
who like to stir up the dirt as is their wish
as they eat the algae on the sides of the pond
and grow big and fat and hopefully strong
enough to lay eggs when it comes the time
and hatch baby Koi to continue the line
the water must be clear to keep up their health
and for my pleasure as I watch their stealth
in avoiding the big fish who would them eat
and consider it to be a tasty treat.

From the ponds my attention turned
to cutting the plants for I was concerned
as over the walkways and paths they had grown
making it hard that even alone
it was difficult to walk without pushing through
lots of foliage and branches who hadn’t a clue
on how I expected them to grow
as Nature as usual was with her own flow
I trimmed them back so I could walk
between them in comfort without their stalks
whacking me in the face each time I passed
as I cut them back making it their last.

By now sweat was pouring off my face
and down my back and in every place
that the human body can find
to make it uncomfortable in body and mind
so I finished the work as far as I could
I decided to quit while I still felt good
pleased that I had done what I thought was enough
though the work I had done was a little tough
I made plans to work on the other chores
with an early start for working outdoors.

Written 6/21/2018

Austin Pond Society Meeting June 6-18-2018


DSC_2733-Pano

The third Monday of the month rolled around just as it is supposed to and with it, the Austin Pond Society held their monthly meeting at the usual place, Zilker Botanical Gardens. This meeting was just a little different as instead of a Speaker, we opted to take a Tour of the beautiful facilities that we call home.

DSC_2729-Pano

We met as we usually do in the Zilker Meeting Room and were treated to Fried Chicken with all of the fixin’s accompanied with sides and deserts supplied by the members which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. Following the meal, Barb Reinhardt,  who was filling in for Jeannie Ferrier, the President who was away on personal business, introduced four new members and then held a brief Q and A prior to everyone joining the three Docents who had so very kindly volunteered to show us around.

DSC_2724-Pano

There were around 30 members in attendance including the 4 new ones and we split into three groups each accompanied by a Docent and started on the walking tour of this wonderful place. Austin is so lucky to have these beautiful gardens for all to see.  Having visited many times before, I took off on my own so that I could take as many pictures as possible which I have turned into a video set to music.  Many of our Members have not visited the Gardens before and I am quite sure that it was an eye opener for them.

The Business section of the meeting on video.

APS Business Meeting June 2018 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The video of Zilker Botanical Gardens.

Zilker Botanical Gardens 6-18-2018 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

The next meeting of the Austin Pond Society is on July 16 and will be held off site at Mayfield Park. Check the Website and Facebook for further details.

Written 6/20/2018

Independence Day 2018…


Blackband_design_fourth_of_july_festivities

Today is July 4th, Independence Day here in America with visions of parades and barbecues and people getting together with friends and neighbors up and down the entire country. I remember my first July 4th barbecue way back in 1967. We had only been in the country for four months and so many of the American traditions and celebrated holidays were still new to us with the Independence Day celebration no exception. Actually, it was the first of the American Holidays that we celebrated.

My Mother, and her American Husband, Hermie who had sponsored us over, decided that they were going to put on an American July 4th picnic for the family with a few of the Neighbors thrown into the mix. We all drove to one of the local lakes and staked ourselves a spot that came complete with a barbecue pit and a couple of picnic tables. We were surrounded by other groups all duty bound to celebrate July 4th in the Good Old American Traditional way of the Barbecue. We were no different and although all this merrymaking was a bit strange to us stalwart British types, we vowed to join in and enjoy ourselves. As much as I can recall from an event that happened more than fifty one years ago, we had a good time and quickly learned the ropes of how to consume barbecued hot dogs covered in mustard and relish and in my case, drinking lots of beer. We even learned the good old standbye game of volleyball and the rudimentals of baseball as people from all different groups mixed together for the occasion and played pick up games for which we joined in with much enthusiasm and very little skill or knowledge of what we were doing.

Since that first July 4th celebration, many Independence Days have come and gone. Some have been celebrated with a different cast of players much as in the same way as the first one. My Mother and Stepfather are both gone and the children all grown with families of their own and far flung in this country. My wife at the time, you may well ask, a different story. Many Independence Days have been ignored either because there was nothing to celebrate at that particular time of my life or other circumstances that age by itself produces. I no longer eat hot dogs in any form or variety  having decided that they are not the healthiest of food and due to an unfortunate run in with a local judge several years ago, no longer drink beer or any form of alcoholic beverage. To me, July 4th, Independence Day to this Great Nation, is just another day on the Calendar as are so many days as I age. Now, every day is something to celebrate.

Looking back to that very first celebration all of those years ago, I was pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm shown by the many revellers at the picnic site we were at. We too were young then comparatively speaking with a whole new life ahead of us and it seemed very apt to be celebrating it the way we did on July 4th. Now, I am more than a little sad thinking of those events that happened half a century ago. Too bad that things didn’t work out as planned but that is a different story.

Written July 4, 2018

 

Like’s and Comments


DSC_2687

Blogging. I wonder where the word came from? What does it conjure up in your mind? Whatever it is, what compels us to sit down in front of our computers and turn those thoughts into a blog and even worse, share that blog with whoever wants to take the time and trouble to read it. Some of the more prolific bloggers turn out several pieces a day, posting them one after the other in a vain attempt to get their word out. Those are the ones that I unsubscribe from as I just don’t have the time and energy to read all of that stuff. Nothing personal but I do not want to spend my days in front of my computer reading other people’s blogs. I have things to do, places to go and people to see.

I blog for the fun of it. I have things that I do in my life that I like to write about and share with whoever is inclined to read my stuff. I don’t make any money writing although everyone, me included would like to. In truth, I am not a true writer as I don’t dream up plots and have shady characters living out their roles until the good guys come along and save the day. Heaven forbid, I have tried but I just don’t have the sort of intricate mind to do it. I’m no good at love stories having made a mess of that in real life. I do have an autobiography that I have been working on for a few years but I don’t suppose that I will ever finish it.

No, I am more of a reporter than a writer. I can write about things that I am a part of or something I am witnessing or an event I am attending, things of that nature. Generally speaking, I have to have a subject in which I am physically involved and then I can transform those events into words for other to read. It helps that I like to take pictures which can add to the story especially if I turn it into a video which can tell a lot more of the story than I can. My words just help to move things along.

Being a member of the blogging community has brought me in touch with some truly wonderful writers and bloggers from all over the world and my in box is filled every day with a couple of hundred blogs awaiting my attention. My problem is I do not have the time to read every one and I generally do a quick scan to see if it is interesting enough (to me) to actually read and digest the content and then add a “Like” if I find it deserves one (in my eyes).

I presume that most other bloggers treat their inbox the same way that I do and even though in the process, we may click the “Like” button without reading any part of the content, we do it to be nice and of course, in the hope that the beneficiary of my “Like” will reciprocate and give me a “Like” for my stuff.

The reality is that we are just playing a big game. I am retired and have lots of time but I don’t want to spend all day reading other peoples blogs some of which really do not appeal to me at all. I have yet to understand how any of the bloggers who claim to have hundreds of “Likes” on a daily basis have anytime to do anything else other than to scan through the hundreds of blogs that they surely receive if they even do that. It is easy to push the “Like” button and then quickly turn off that blog when the screen comes up meaning that you have registered a “Like” without reading any part of the blog. My blog stats say that I have 2530 followers which I find absolutely incredible. Where did they all come from and am I reading their stuff?

Don’t get me wrong as there are a lot of the blogs that come into my inbox that I find truly interesting and take the time to read. I have a few favorites and like them to know that I really like their work by adding a comment or two. They probably do not amount to more than a couple of dozen of the couple of hundred that land in my inbox.

I have been giving this some serious thought and have almost decided that I am going to take the “Like” button off my blogs from here on out. If somebody wants to comment, then at least I know that they have read my work and have something to say be it good or bad. This way, my fellow bloggers will not feel obligated to give me a “Like” deserved or otherwise and in turn, we can express our appreciation of each others work by leaving comments.

So, my fellow bloggers, there you have it. All of this long winded writing just to tell you that I am taking the “Like” button off my blogs. I will wait for this blog to get posted and then it will happen. By the way, many thanks to those of you who have “Liked” my work in the past and truly meant it. I am pleased that you took the time.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that in the future, I am only going to “Like” blogs that really appeal to me. You could say that I am out of the “Like” game. Nothing personal but I have got to get control over my inbox somehow.

Written 6/15/2018

McKinney Roughs Hike – 6-8-2018


DSC_2686 The view from Riverside going down towards the river

As I hadn’t been out for a while, I asked my friend BJ if she wanted to take a walk over in her neighborhood, McKinney Roughs in Bastrop. She was game and we agreed to meet at 9:30 am at the main entrance.

We both showed up on time and after paying our $2:00 each for the luxury of spending quality time on the trail, set off along the trail leading to the river, aptly named Riverside. We stopped at the new bird watching shed that has recently been erected and chatted to a couple of people already there. The water to the water feature was turned off for some reason and that was one reason there were not many birds to watch.

We pushed on and LCRA has done such a good job of trimming the vegetation around the trails that it was difficult to recognize that in fact, we were on the right trail. We eventually came to a more recognizable part and headed down towards the river. I have either gotten a lot slower or BJ is walking faster. Whatever it was, it took us a while to adjust our paces. I tend to think that I have gotten a lot slower…

We passed a young family with a young child that were on their way back and chatted to them for a bit. Later on, we passed a couple of others all out enjoying the early morning sun and getting their exercise. The walk by the river was beautiful and I took some nice shots of the trails. Actually, the only shots I took were of the trails as we didn’t see anything else.

We made the turn back up Coyote which would bring us out to where we started in the Parking Lot. Altogether, we covered a little over four miles of very pleasant walking although the trail was a little rough underfoot at times.

Below is a short video of some of the trails.

Trails at McKinney Roughs 6-8-2018 from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Written 6-8-2018