The First Snowfall

First Snowfall

Right around this time of year, something profound happens. Like clockwork, Mother Nature shifts her calendar and treats us to the majesty of the season’s first snowfall. With it, comes a change in our thinking, giving insight into one’s personality.

Some of my friends will wail and bemoan the arrival of yet another snow season, five to six months of shoveling, scraping, slipping and sliding. Others will jolt with eager anticipation of snowmobiling across the countryside. And others will reach for their credit cards, as another holiday shopping season is here.

As I watch the faint mist of flakes slowly fall to the ground, barely enough to cover a blade of grass, I grow nostalgic. I vividly recall childhood excitement of the wondrous holiday season just ahead, of sleds and snowmen, and grabbing a handful of snow to shove into my mouth – even when my mother said not to.

I am reminded of the passing of time and of people no longer with us, sad that they are gone, but glad that they will never be forgotten.

The first snowfall is an emotional time for me, a strange cloudy mix of memories. But most of all, it is a reminder of how beautiful the world can be if I look at it with innocent eyes, and how lucky I am to be here to observe it.

#snow #snowfall #first_snowfall #winter #seasons #memories #nostalgia

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Buddies

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Rain Forest

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Soft Afternoon

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The warm glow of the afternoon sun lit the trees with a soothing softness.

Surf’s Down

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Surfer’s at Waikiki Beach in Hawaii take time out to enjoy the sunset.

Perspective

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This photo doesn’t seem very special until you look at it closely to get the proper perspective.  See if you can figure out why I felt this shot was amazing.

Tropical Fragrance

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Hawaiian flower of unknown species.  There were many.

Hike

IMG_4160View from half-way up on our hike up Diamond Head on the island of Oahu.

Mixed Moods

IMG_4562Waikiki Beach at sunset

Searching

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And the Winner Is…

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Here’s some shocking news: I am old.

I say this as a matter of fact.  It has been scientifically proven that if you orbit the sun enough times, you will be classified as old.  I do not look at this as a bad thing, despite what the makers of all those anti-aging products would have you believe.  I look at it as an achievement. Life is not easy, and I have survived this far.  I deserve an award.

Speaking of awards (see how I cleverly worked that in), the Academy Awards are about to be given out again.  I used to look forward to this event; but over the years, my feelings about it have changed. I think it’s worth looking into why.

I can remember when Johnny Carson used to emcee the event. I was a boy, and it took a bit of persuading to get my parents to allow me to stay up that late.  That is one of the reasons why I saved up to buy my own little black and white set for my bedroom.  I could sneak watching TV if I kept the volume low. (The cat is out of the bag.)

Back then, the show seemed more exciting and the stars bigger.  Maybe it’s because we didn’t hear about them every day in tabloids, entertainment shows, news programs and social media.  There is something to be said about mystery.  There is a certain aura about it.  Over-familiarity often brings with it boredom.

There are other reasons why (to me) the show has lost its panache. If you like the word panache, I will try to use others like it to keep you excited. Here is a brief list of why I don’t want to watch the Oscars being handed out anymore:

TOP 10 REASONS WHY I DON’T CARE TO WATCH THE OSCARS

  1. Everyone is a genius. Over the course of the evening, the words “genius” will be tossed about like a Frisbee in a tornado. This director is a genius. That actress is a genius. The guy who delivered cronuts to the set was a genius. For me, a genius is somebody like DaVinci or Edison. In entertainment, geniuses don’t come along that often.  Charlie Chaplin was a genius.
  2. The beauty hypocrisy. Be prepared to watch as the actresses who complain about being judged solely by their looks, will vigorously compete for the honor of being named the most beautiful woman at the event. Some will strip down to barely-legal outfits in order to “rule the red carpet.” It’s too bad that they feel like they have to do this. We should stop judging them by how they look. They were right in the first place.
  3. Déjà vu all over again. Producers will pat each other on the backs for coming up with brilliant ideas for movie plots, when often we are fed nothing more than sequels and movies made from old TV shows. The Flintstones, The Beverly Hillbillies, George of the Jungle, Scooby Doo, and many others have made it to the big screen to join such classics as Rocky 6 and Fast and Furious 9. Personally, I am waiting for Dude, Where’s My Car 12 to come out. An instant classic, for sure!
  4. Irony and confusion: How come they give the lifetime achievement award to someone who is still alive? Their life isn’t over yet. They still have time to mess up. Maybe they should call this the “life so far” achievement award. But then again, I may just be a stickler for accuracy, and the world is an inaccurate place.
  5. Hunger: I always run out of popcorn about 3 hours into the show and am too lazy to pop some more. (Yes, I am old school and make kettle corn in a huge pot.)
  6. Boredom: I start drifting into a boredom-induced stupor after 90 minutes because they feel compelled to list every award given out – and give the recipients air time to make their acceptance speech. As a result, we get to hear an 8-minute speech from the guy from Poland who won the award for “Best Foreign Short Documentary” about the history of cheese. Later on, they cut short the Best Director speech because the Chia Pet infomercial is due to air.
  7. Empathy: Stars show up in chauffeur-driven limos wearing half a million dollars’ worth of designer clothes and jewelry to later lecture us about how tough life is.
  8. Length. I fall into a deep sleep a half hour before the end where they cram the top 5 awards into the last 30 minutes of the show.
  9. Excitement: Nobody ever has a wardrobe malfunction anymore.
  10. Nostalgia: I miss Billy Crystal!

Are You Looking at ME!?

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The paranoia that comes with the start of a new year has already set in. It has left my stomach with the same kind of uneasy feeling I get every time that TV announcer says I will save more money if I spend more money and I nod my head in confused agreement. I dig into my pocket to see how much cash is handy, thinking I better get busy shopping else wind up a pauper for sure.

I can feel the walls creeping in on me, and that can only mean one of these three things: either the world is suffocating me, I am gaining weight or both. This is what happens when an illness befalls you and you are forced to “take it slow.” You have time on your hands and on your mind, and as we all know, an idol mind is the devil’s Tinkertoy kit or something to that effect.

You take to the couch and the television set, and that is a recipe for disaster. I don’t have the ability to watch television without thinking about what I am watching.  The next think you know, patterns start to be discerned, ideas spring forth, and trouble sets in.

I noticed that for weeks on end I have been told to indulge, to party, to eat and drink up, and to spend all my cash because that is the only way to be happy.  Cheery, colorful songs play, and everyone is smiling. They must know something I don’t know. I wonder if I should follow.

Then, all of a sudden someone announces that last year was a really bad one, but that there is a way to fix that if we follow some sage advice. They illuminate a large glass sphere and drop it off a tall building while millions of shivering people grope each other on the streets below this glass god. Then everyone departs to look for a restroom, more adult beverages, and a way to keep the smile of the past year still on their faces.

The people arrive home and switch on their televisions, only to find that the cheery voices have turned to scolding ones. Although you spent every cent you had (and more) you didn’t get what you wanted.  If you want to get that smile back, the only solution is to spend more. And look at you; you over-indulged and know you have to sign up for a weight loss program or else you won’t be able to fit into your swimsuit when the snow melts and the beaches reopen. You better dig deeper into that pocket.

The television shows have switched from bright and bouncy to dark and chillingly dreary. An Alfred Hitchcock marathon gives way to a three-day Twilight Zone binge.  If you opt for a news channel, you get a rundown of lists: everything from a list of all the famous people who have died in the past year, to a video montage of all the nightclub shootings, to a musically-scored mini-documentary on all the weather disasters that recently hit the planet.

I reach for my bag of Fritos and am frozen in place.

“Wait,” I tell myself. “Was I supposed to keep eating or what?”

That is when I realize that, once again I am confused. Where can I turn for the truth?  Is there another place where I can find it, besides the places I have always found it in the past? Can I turn to social media, and all the happy people with smiling faces and delicious food and fancy vacations? Everyone there seems to have a better life — until the complaints start. What about television? No, I never trust the people there. They just sell their products.

I turn off all my technology but one: my music. I place my noise-canceling headphones upon my head and blast David Bowie into my ears until my heart again feels the pain of his death.  I close my eyes and feel him come to life once again.

And I feel better.

Not because problems have been solved. Not because the world has changed. But because I feel and think once again.  I am myself once again.

My love is back, and that is all I need.