Six Words or Wisdom?

Good morning friends. Welcome to another patchwork of Saturday musings from me. A good day to be inside, it’s actually raining here on the prairie, which should suppress the clouds of dust that billow up every time a vehicle passes our place. (We live on a gravel road that turns to powder when it hasn’t rained for a month.)

Because the birds seemed to have disappeared a couple of weeks ago — off to find a drink somewhere, I imagined — I took in the shallow basins of water I’ve had out in the yard for their benefit. But yesterday we saw a small flock of robins in a nearby tree and later one was sitting on the bowl of water I leave out for the cats. Since it was almost empty, poor robin would have barely gotten his beak wet! So I put out the basins again.

We had a hard frost earlier this week; thermometers said -4 C. Squelched my balsam and marigolds, but we’d brought the tubs of tenders inside for the night, so I still have colorful petunias and patience plants blooming outside –and the pansies have withstood the onslaught. Yesterday the temp got up to 30C — a one heat wave that could give us the illusion that summer’s going to stay awhile!

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is ILLUSION. While the warm weather may be convincing, when we see our maples completely yellow, and the maple leaves lying on the ground, we sigh and know more frosty nights are coming. It appears most grain fields have been combined already, and huge round bales of straw dot the golden stubble. The sandhill cranes will be along shortly to do the final harvest.

Inside our house I have a “Mexican hat plant” that must have been impressed by Jack & his Beanstalk and decided to do likewise. Bryophyllum diagramontianum, a type of kalanoche also known as “mother of thousands,” looks like this and grows STRAIGHT up:

Whole plant of Bryophyllum daigremontianum.
Image: Dave’s Garden.com
SIX-WORD Wisdom

As to the title of this post: Six Words or Wisdom…what brought that on was seeing another Six-Word Story Prompt from Shweta. The word prompt for this week is MOTIVATION. Here’s the link, if you’re interested in checking out this prompt.

I may contribute something yet, but I’m seldom motivated to do such brief story prompts for the simple reason that it’s such a challenge to say anything really meaningful so tersely. It’s not hard to string six words together, like “No motivation for even simple tasks,” but what does that tell anybody? “Even simple tasks exhausted her now,” tells you something happened to her oomph. But what?

Anyway, once my mind started in that direction, I thought of “He wanted to, but he didn’t.” Six words, but again, nothing much revealed. On the other hand, “He who hesitates is lost,” is only five words but contains a whole chapter from the Life’s Lessons book. In other words…

“Decision is a sharp knife that cuts clean and straight. Indecision is a dull one that hacks and tears and leaves ragged edges behind.” — Jan McKeithen

Consider the six-word sagacity of “A stitch in time saves nine.” The old adage, “Least said, soonest mended,” is brilliant wisdom in four words.

In the past half-dozen decades the idea was: “Out with the old-timers’ cliches ’cause they’re meaningless to this new generation. Toss out the old anchors; this ship is sailing on to new frontiers!” But the new frontiers are getting scary; so many ships have been battered and broken on new-found rocks. Maybe there’ll be a reaching back to those old anchors again, the wisdom that got Grandma and Grandpa through tough times. Hey, I’ve even seen an article in a psychology magazine promoting self-denial!

Blogger Sue over at Jibber Jabber is wishing for a return to The Golden Rule in a Not-So-Golden World. Longing to see common courtesy in comments. She writes: “After all of this rambling on, I guess what I am really trying to say is that we are overdue to go back to our roots wherein personal integrity meant something, stood for something.

When readers comment on an article they don’t like, especially when they can comment anonymously, courteous disagreement often gives way to nastiness and name-calling. Some of my biggest shocks have been in the language Americans get into when it comes to politics and individual politicians. It’s one thing to disagree with someone, but to call any person — no matter who or for what reason — degrading names degrades the critic, too, IMO.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, but I think this is enough random musing. I’ve gotten sidetracked this week; now I want to get back to my articles about Jesus and the Kingdom of God.

The SQUISH Heard Round the World

“Online Outrage”

That’s the phrase that jumped out at me as I read an article online this morning. An American couple made a family decision, posted the fact on social media, and now face a storm of outrage from all over the world.
Then I read something else online and my muse immediately started to spin and weave the two stories together, finally giving me the odd title for this post.

Fellow blogger Judy-Dykstra Brown posted this morning about the hornworms that live on her Virginia creeper vine, hornworms being the larva of the hummingbird moth. We had a hummingbird moth visit our flowers one summer and I thought it was cute. Judy decided to move them elsewhere rather than leaving them to eat her vine or squishing them. I trust she won’t get a lot of online outrage from objectors. People’s reactions are unpredictable.

I Decide to SQUISH

Let’s say I decide to plant a garden and post the story of my efforts, essentially inviting the whole world to oversee my my project. Some people think I should put my garden in the east corner of my yard, near the trees to gain the benefit of their shade; some think I should put it in the other corner where there are no trees to rob the plants of moisture.

People in Timbuktu may have their ideas about what kind of fertilizer I should use. Gnu dung works best, or maybe antelope. People in Australia think I should lay in pipes for irrigation while Ontario gardeners tell me I should put in lots of drainage because in Ontario it rains so much a garden would be flooded unless it’s well drained. (Well, not quite, but you get my point. This isn’t Timbuktu, Australia or Ontario.)

So I grow my garden, posting online pictures of the resulting lush veggies. One day I find this caterpillar and do a video of it climbing on my pepper plant. Then I SQUISH it. Will I be subjected to online outrage by environmentalists? Will save-the-planet types vilify me on Facebook? Prairie bloggers may give me the thumbs-up and say, “Good for you. I hate those things!”

Because I’ve involved them, people in far-flung lands who know zilch about prairie pests or our ecology will still feel they have an investment in my decision. My followers in Timbuktu, Ontario, Brazil and Australia may denounce me online because I squished a worm. After all, am I not guilty of decimating the number of creatures on the planet and depriving some bird of its rightful diet? Facebook pages may decry my foolish decision.

Yes, this is a silly comparison, but when we invite people all over the globe to peek into our lives, we face consequences. People all over the world have two things in common: they have opinions and they like to give advice. It’s universal.

Social Media as International Opinion Poll

When we put our lives “out there” on television, Facebook, You-tube, and invite the whole world interact, it’s like inviting the global community to be our parents and older siblings. If they spend time following us, they will want to help us along. If we have difficult decisions to make, some of our followers will understand and support our choice, while others will disapprove – maybe even be insulted that we didn’t ask their advice. Get enough people involved and you may get a storm of online outrage.

The article I read tells how, through a foreign adoption agency, a couple adopted a toddler. Three years later, after dealing with various health and behavioral issues that have overwhelmed them and their other children, they’ve made the painful decision to surrender their child over to foster care. And a lot of readers think that’s terrible. “If it were me, I would never do that.”

While this isn’t an unheard of situation and other adoptive parents have faced the same dilemma – I heard of one case here in our province where the baby’s health issues proved more than the new parents could cope with – since this couple put their whole story on YouTube, they now have thousands of people criticizing their motives and their decision.

But my heart does go out to the couple, especially when I read that they’ve actually received death threats, even vicious threats to harm their other children, because of this decision. Seeing that, I had to shake my head. How can people get so involved in the life of complete strangers that they’ll go so far as the threaten the lives of people they’ve never met?

Peace of Mind Versus Media-Generated Outrage

Years back when Nicholas Sarkozy, Prime Minister of France, married Carla Bruni, an Italian singer and former supermodel, my French penpal wrote, “I hate him. I hate both of them.” I asked her, “Have you ever met them? “No, but I hate them.” Her feelings were 100% fueled by the media.

I understand how the media works and why. Competing with an audience steep in television dramas, they need sensational news. They need to – and want to – provoke strong emotions. Getting people emotionally involved in a story is what sells news and channels public opinion in the direction they want it to go. From what I can tell, the emotion the media does best is outrage. Journalists and reporters have proven very able to orchestrate news that will stir up public outrage.

But if I allow the media – or anyone else — to influence me to hate someone, I’d better not criticize the Germans who allowed Hitler to inflame them against the Jews. We all hate the havoc this one man wreaked, but cool common sense has to guide our feelings and actions, or we’ll be ripe for another type of Hitler to come along and use our hatred as his tool.

For myself, I don’t want to hate anybody. Not Trump…or Trudeau…or whoever. I may guess, but I can’t possibly know how they think, feel, react, or what their motives are. Also my own peace of mind is precious to me. Hate and outrage are draining. I like to know what’s going on in the world, but refuse to let my peace be shattered and emotions shredded by the actions of politicians. I may be concerned about different things our Prime Minister says and does, but I don’t hate him.

I’m saddened that a couple with initial good intentions have had to go through this devastating experience, but I can offer neither support nor censure, seeing I haven’t walked a mile in their shoes.

Shoot the Things!

The Ragtag Daily Prompt for today:  ENOUGH!
The Word of the Day Challenge:  USUAL
Sue’s Jibber Jabber prompt word: HISTORY
Fandango’s One-Word ChallengeBABY
And here’s my response — an oft-beaten drum of mine:

Down with Imports!

I’d like to meet the fellow who thought we needed English sparrows here in Canada. I’d like him to know just what havoc he has wrought, how badly these aggressively invasive pests have decimated the native population. Already at risk because man has taken over their native land, our local birds also have to contend with these invasive imports. Add starlings to this list, too.

Some of my current grief is our own fault, I will admit. Last winter we thought we’d put out a feeder for chickadees, woodpeckers, nuthatches — all those cute birds that do linger here over winter. And what did we get? Oodles of English sparrows. Unlike the native birds, they have no idea of migrating, no native southern winter region.

This spring when my tree swallows returned, the sparrows were still hanging around even though we’d quit putting out feed a month before. One pair claimed one of the nest boxes we’ve set up for swallows. Another pair took over the swallow house on the north side of our house. One pair of swallows looked like they’d hang onto the south-side nest. But no. The sparrows drove them out, too. I only hope they didn’t kill the swallows as they are wont to do. I was furious when I found a dead swallow in the nest two years ago; the sparrows just built on top of their victim.

Enough! It’s too late to provide nests for the swallows and I don’t want a bunch of starving baby birds around our yard, so I’ll leave things as they are until summer’s over. But once our usual birds have left I’m inviting my grandsons over with their rifles and we can have a Sparrow Liquidation.

Invasive Species Still Coming

This is my personal grief, but others in this area have had grief because some light-bulbs thought they could import wild boars for sport hunting. The creatures thrived; with no natural enemies they soon took over woodlands. Now to get rid of them! A few years back our menfolk had a giant boar hunt and killed as many as they could. But the creatures have great instincts for survival.

History is full of examples of species brought over from “the old country” to become a horrible nuisance in a new world. Rabbits in Australia, for one. And Canada geese. Fine here, but they aren’t wanted in Australia. Anacondas in the Everglades are the product of exotic pet sales. Ditto with the piranhas dumped in the Southern lakes and rivers.

Some people have no comprehension as to what they’ll do when the reptile or fish they wanted as a “novelty pet” gets too big — or the owner has to move — or whatever. But our governments should be able to learn from history and ban the import of exotic creatures.

And they have, to some extent. But if some teenager wants a Komodo dragon because it’s “rare and unique,” somebody else will find a way to capture one and smuggle it in. And this is really sad, because how many little ones will die in risky transit methods?

I read an interesting new item one time: a woman coming in by plane was stopped at US customs and it was discovered she had fourteen rare baby lizards — illegal to import — stuffed in her blouse. Destined for sale as rare pets. Two stars for SANGFROID; five stars for INANITY.

Save the native flora and fauna from extinction!
Ban the import of exotic species.

reptile-3110174_640
Imagae by Schwoaze  —  Pixabay

One thing I’m grateful for…

This morning, after replying to the Ragtag Daily Prompt, I decided to look around and check out other writing prompts on the Internet. Which brings me to one of my peeves and its flip side, something I’m very grateful for.

The Discovery prompt for today was GRATEFUL. There are so many things for which I should be grateful, and here I am griping about one small oil slick in the sea of life.

WordPress may not thank me for this, but I dislike ads, especially those flashing ones, and even worse are the pop up ads that totally clutter up a site. Conversely, I’m so grateful for blogs with no ads.

Back to my wanderings this morning. Writing Generators, the one site I checked out had a rally good prompt generator in the center of their blog screen. You hit a button and two to four words surface. For example, I was given the words ANGUISHED and FLOWERS. Alas, there were so many pop-out ads and regular ads in the sidebars; thankfully you can click them and they’ll disappear.

Another site,  ArtJournalist, had a promising list of words a person could use for art &/or writing prompts — interspersed with various ads. At the site Become a Writer Today, you’ll find a download-able list of short-sentence prompts — and read ads tailor-made for your area. At least mine flashed ads for well known Saskatchewan auctioneers. Sigh…

I learned an interesting fact reading an online article yesterday: the person who invented the pop-up ad wishes they hadn’t. I do, too!

Perhaps you also saw this list of things the inventors thereof regret, like the atom bomb and the AK47. And coffee pods, of all things! Although that inventor seemed rather ambivalent; it’s not that he really regretted developing his idea, but wasn’t impressed in the long run with the instant-ness of coffee pods. (Sad all the way to the bank?)

Now that April is over I suppose the Discovery prompts will cease, but when I googled “one word writing prompts” dozens of pages of lists showed up. No lack, fellow writers! But I’ve wandered enough for one day.

Words. Narciso1
Image by narciso1 –Pixabay

Party’s Over

I often get inspired to write a haiku for the Troutswirl weekly feature, What’s at Hand, but I seldom get my verse ready and sent off by Saturday afternoon. So I’ll just share my ideas here.

beach party over
empty bottles settle
into the sand

beer cans
in the cave – signs of
intelligent life

Don’t you just hate garbage left lying around?
Bottle + gull

From the Heart Award

Blogger Kristian Fogarty bestowed this award on me. apparently there are NO requirements, but I’d like to pass it on, so will take this opportunity to mention some other bloggers I find interesting and you might, too.

WHAT IS IT?

This award goes to bloggers who primarily focus on personal writing. These posts are often from the writer to the world at large, or from the writer to the writer themselves and they just allow us access to their mind.

RULES:

There are no rules, no questions, no participation requirements for this award. It is given from bloggers to other bloggers. It was designed by the Haunted Wordsmith and is given to other bloggers as a gesture of thanks and appreciation for their work.

I won’t do this all in one session — I know quite a few bloggers who write really interesting posts — but will start with a few.

Alistair at dralimanonlife, tells us a bit more about himself every weekend, doing Cee’s Share Your World Writing challenge. He also likes doing Flash Fiction with a neat little twist at the end. Here’s one of his stories.

Keith at keithsramblings.net is another devotee of flash fiction with a bit of humor woven in, like this tale of a poor Cassidy missing his leg.

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields at rochellewisoff.com is the lady who hosts Friday Fictioneers and sends out the photos for writers to concoct stories about. she herself is a history buff. She likes presenting neat biographical background info about well-known people.

By now this post is full of links and my coffee’s getting cold, so I’d better quit. Wishing you all a great weekend.