Daily Prompt: Great? Greater? Greatest?

Kind of reminds me of the old talkin’ blues — “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like!”

I don’t know — or care — if the blogs I follow are great, greater or greatest. It’s entirely subjective. Great for who? Me? You? Everybody on the world-wide web? I doubt there is any such blog. If there were, we’d never agree on it, so the real question is what do I like and why?

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I like humor. If you make me laugh, you own me. I am perhaps overly invested in word play and wit. I like photography, so if you post astounding pictures–or just pretty ones–I’m in for that too. I appreciate thoughtful posts on subjects ranging from ancient history to the meaning of life. If you combine them all, even better.

I adore authors and try to support them, even if what they write isn’t my favorite stuff. I’m a gadget freak and faithfully follow blogs that delve into hardware and software. I read movie reviews, book reviews, product reviews. I trust my fellow bloggers. From your blogs I’ve discovered books, authors, movies, cameras, lenses, software and accessories. I don’t know where I got information before I found you all!

I follow many blogs for many reasons. All great. Some are written better than others. Some photographers are more skilled than others, but I don’t count typos or ignore less than perfect pictures. Many people lack technical finesse, yet have true vision and thoughts worth hearing. I’m egalitarian by principle and inclination.

I love animals. Dogs, cats, horses, birds and everything else. Wild animals and pets. But not insects. Sorry bugs, I just can’t love you. I’ve tried. Maybe in my next incarnation.

I hate hate and haters. I admire kindness and generosity especially because I’m not as good as I want to be. I don’t think cruelty is funny. Even when deserved, suffering makes me wince, not laugh.

I’m interested in God, religion and faith — but can’t stomach being bullied to believe a particular dogma. One size never fits all, not in philosophy, religion, political system, technology or clothing. I read blogs by ministers and other religious people. I want to know what they think and why, how they made their “leap of faith.” Seeking is good.

Then there’s information, ideas, useful hints, suggestions on how to do things differently. I love learning new stuff. Don’t we all?

I don’t read everyone everyday. Not enough time but I try to peek at everyone, even if I’m a couple of days late getting to it. But in my humble (well, maybe not so humble) opinion? You are all great. We are great. Great because we care about something not ourselves. We share. Whether to change the world or make someone smile, help with a problem, teach something, offer a new way to see the world, we don’t just talk. We do.

Greatness is in the eye of the beholder. I behold you all and thank you. You’re the greatest.

 

A Place of Peace

Despite all the blogs and bloggers who have posted articles on the etiquette of commenting, too many people still don’t get it. Maybe they just don’t want to understand, because it isn’t so complicated.

I got a really nasty note yesterday from an individual who took issue with something I wrote. I think she didn’t even understand how rude she was. Another — even nastier comment — expressed displeasure with my failure to address his comment — 3 months ago. The original comment was insulting (which is why I didn’t respond). Today’s follow-up was much worse.

In both cases, the result was identical. Bye bye. You’re out of here. Don’t come back.

This is not a forum, public or otherwise. This is my personal blog, my website. My little piece of peace in a nutty, wacko cyber world. In this place, we discuss, but we don’t fight. If I don’t like your comment — for whatever reason — I can choose to not publish it, delete it, edit it … or call it spam and make it so you trouble me no more.

It doesn’t mean you aren’t free to disagree. You are welcome to disagree. Politely. Reasonably. Friendly. But if you feel like sniping, insulting me, calling names, think this is an opportunity to show how smart you are at my (or anyone else’s) expense? Bye bye.

If you do not appreciate what I have to say or how I say it, no one is forcing you to read it. You don’t have to look at my pictures, read my opinions, like me or follow me. Cyber space is infinite and you are welcome to be virtually elsewhere.

I do not have to take crap from you. Not here. In the rest of my life, I deal with all the stuff I don’t like. In this place, this tiny corner of the huge universe, I hold fast to an illusion of control. I don’t think it’s too much to ask.

In this place, this space, we dwell in peace and harmony, even when we differ.

I cannot remember a time when I did not live in or close to woods. I grew up in a house surrounded by giant white oaks, the last of the white oaks in the New York city area. So rare the city took care of them for us, though they were on our property. All the other white oaks had long ago been cut to use as masts for tall ships.

Two red lawn chairs are bright in a wintry woods.

Even when I lived in a city or suburbs, we spent vacations, weekends, most of our off-time in the country and often, very far out in the country. Places you could only get to by dirt roads. Awed? No, not so much awed, though often impressed. Except on the ocean where I am constantly aware how quickly Mother Nature can change from benevolent to terrifying.

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I have sailed — in a tiny wooden sailboat — through thunder squalls. Not of my own choice, I should add. I had an insane husband who liked to pit himself against the seas. It gave him great stories to tell when friends dropped by. I thought him mad, but there I was, with him and the baby, so maybe madness is contagious.

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Today, we live in a not-so-little house in the woods. I love the trees, hate the pollen and have really gotten totally sick and tired of the bugs, tons of leaves to clean up every year, not to mention a fascinating collection of critters who think our heated house is the spot for a winter retreat. Our endless battle against mice, rats and chipmunks never ends.

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Then there are the bobcats who haven’t read the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries bulletins about being shy of humans and take up residence under the deck or in some other building next to the house, ignoring us and going out of their way to aggravate the dogs. Or the fishers who think the back lawn is the ideal place to sun bathe, snarling at anyone who tries to use the yard. The birds who nest on the deck, screaming at us and attacking should we dare attempt to use our back door. They leave when they are good and ready. They didn’t read the bulletins either.

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For all that, I can’t imagine living in a concrete world again. I need contact with the earth, with all the challenges of living in a forest with wild things. Which reminds me, I really must remove the mouse nest from my car’s transmission compartment ASAP … I have no idea how they keep getting in there.

Being connected to nature is as necessary as the pollen-filled air we breathe and the inhalers I keep nearby to control the asthma.

Daily Prompt: The Natural World — Living There

We met in college. 1964. I was 17, he was 22 and recently out of the Marines. The college radio station was a great place to make friends, a great place to form relationships.

Photo: Debbie Stone

Photo: Debbie Stone

We worked together, played together, dreamed together, drank together. And then many of us married each other and though not every marriage lasted forever, the underlying friendships never ended. It is the only group I know where even the couples who divorced remained friends. Perhaps, in the end, friendship is a better platform for marriage than love alone.

Photo: Debbie Stone

Photo: Debbie Stone

Lovers come and go, but a true friend is forever. When your lover is your friend, that’s the total package.

I married my friend. My lover. My confidante. With whom I argue, laugh, cry and share a life. We got lucky: we won the lottery — the whole package. It’s 49 years later and here we are. Together.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Companionable – Like Bookends