cold snap


I am hemorrhaging money these days buying propane to heat my home. The weather has been windy, cold, and gray. Because the solar panels are producing less power, I am running the generator more than usual. The only saving grace is that gasoline prices are the lowest they’ve been in years. Even though I know this time will end, right now it feels like it will go on forever. This is always the most difficult time of the year. Past experience says it will be at least another month before the weather and the spending begin to moderate. Patient endurance is the name of the game.

I can see that the sun has already begun its annual northward journey; on the Winter Solstice—the shortest day of the year—the sun rises against a point on the horizon where the mountains form something that looks like a ledge. Now the sunrise has barely moved off the ledge. The days are becoming longer, but only slightly. It is enough, though, to assure me that my patience will one day be rewarded… but not yet.

Patience is a very hard thing to learn. With hindsight, I know that as a younger person patience was far more difficult for me than it is now. If I were isolated from the cues that nature provides each day beginning with the rising sun, I think patience would be a much harder thing for me, even now.

I cannot help but think about our incarcerated youth who are cut off from nature by the unchanging walls of their institutions. They need nature and its lesson of patience more than most, yet it is withheld from them.

I cannot help but be reminded by something that Derek King told me, that there was this one tree that he could see from his prison dorm that somehow gave him hope. When Derek was here at Estrella Vista, he spent hours each day surrounded by nature and its healing powers. Alex, on the other hand, barely ventured outside except to speak on the phone. Of the two brothers, Derek is experiencing the more successful recovery.

I know that it is unwise to base universal conclusions on a comparison of just two people. But my own experience endorses the positive benefits of being surrounded by nature and what it has to teach.


Groove of the Day

Listen to Fleetwood Mac performing “Bare Trees”


4 Responses to “cold snap”

  1. January 14, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    I think you are right. Great photo.
    Nothing lifts my spirits more than walking along a cliff with a strong wind churning the sea into crashing waves. My wife wants to live in New York and I want to live at Cape Finistere. So we compromise.

  2. 2 pam
    January 14, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    My friend who heats with propane is also struggling. Why hasn’t the price of propane followed that of gasoline, I wonder? Stay warm and keep writing your wonderful posts! –Pam in CO

  3. 3 Simmi
    January 14, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Look at this !

    “The Fort Lauderdale Police Department is honoring a juvenile offender who helped to save the life of the officer who was booking him into jail.

    Jamal Rutledge, 17, and three officers will be recognized Jan. 21 at a city commission meeting for their actions to assist Officer Franklin Foulks.

    The Sun-Sentinel reports that this past Sept. 10, Rutledge was at the police booking facility. He had just been arrested and accused of violating his probation by committing burglary and other violations of imposed conditions.

    Suddenly, booking officer Foulks, 49, collapsed to the floor. Sitting nearby, Rutledge began kicking the security fence and yelling to alert other officers that their colleague was in distress. The effort worked. The Sun-Sentinel reported that Sgt. Todd Bunin removed Foulkes’ police gear and cut off his shirt, while Officer Robert Norvis performed CPR and Officer Raymond Ketchmark used a defibrillator in an effort to restart Foulks’ heart.”


  4. 4 Gloria
    January 15, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    These kids were not as lucky as Alex and Derek. She has spent almos 20 years in prison and his brother will still bein prison 2 years more for an attempt scape. They are from Florida. 12 and 13 years old. It happened 2 years before Alex and Derek. they got life sentences.

    Young killer nears prison release, seeks fresh start

    The majority of Catherine Jones’ 29 years have been spent in prison. Before that, they were spent languishing in the hell of sexual abuse at the hands of a family member.

    Catherine was only 13 when she plotted — with her 12-year-old brother Curtis — to kill their abuser as well as their father and his girlfriend, Nicole Speights, whom they thought were allowing it to continue.

    They became the youngest children in the country’s history to be charged as adults for first-degree murder.


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