1st Hike of 2013



For several months, I followed the invitations and hiking locations of the Tri-State Hiking Club in the Cincinnati area. I finally decided to join them, and ventured off for my first hike in 2013.


Gardens in the Spring

There must be farmer or gardener DNA in my genes. I am always calmed in the presence of Spring as new growth emerges from the ground.


Take for example, the hardy hostas. They sprout up through the ground every year in dazzling greens and variations. Some are solid colored. Some have white edges with green in the middle of the leaf, and some are just the opposite, white with green edges. Such variety. They are just like people. We come in such a variety of colors and backgrounds, and when nurtured and allowed to grow, we flower for the benefit of others, for the community.

In the mornings, when the weather permits, I like to take my coffee outside to the edge of the garden. I listen to the birds, watch the sun rise, and revel in the growth of the garden. It is a peaceful place to start the day, and a reminder of the diversity of our world.

See you on the highway.


The Hiking Trail

Just north of the hamlet of Oregonia, Ohio, along the Little Miami River, there is a nature preserve and a parking lot that accommodates maybe a dozen vehicles. The entrance to Little Miami Caesar Creek State Nature Area is on Corwin Road, and also sits next to Caesar Creek, fed by the Corps of Engineers reservoir project, Caesar Creek Lake.

At the other end of the parking area is a groomed path that follows the creek, winding eastward back up through the gorge to the tail water area of the dam, and another park area with access from the state park. It is a wonderful hike through hardwood forest along a pristine creek, deep enough for good sized fish. Peek over the bank at the right spot and you will see the fish swimming about in the water, waiting for food to wash down the creek into their waiting jaws.

The hike to the dam seems to take forever, even though it’s probably less than a mile. Maybe it’s the wonderment of nature and the stopping to smell the flowers that makes it seem like a farther distance and a longer hike, but I don’t mind.


A lesson in patience at the grocery store

Only 17 days until Christmas, and the pace is picking up. People seem to be in more of a hurry than ever, and I’m trying to maintain my own pace. It was tested today at the grocery store as I waited in the checkout line.

A woman customer, maybe thirty-ish, was in the only lane with the checkout light turned on. My usual Express Lane was closed. I saw another customer back out of the lane and head to another soon-to-be opened lane. So, I walked to the lane with my carry-basket of about eight items and proceeded to wait my turn. Another gentleman pulled in behind me with his cart. There I was, trapped in line with a woman checking out with a cart full of groceries and about 8-10 food stamp vouchers.

Of course, each one of those vouchers were good for only so much food, so each voucher had to be treated as a separate purchase. The clerk patiently and efficiently scanned each voucher and then four or five items of food as a transaction. She would hand over the receipt and then start the process again for the next voucher and the next four or five items. The two trays of baby food counted as two separate transactions.

Yes, I could see this was going to take some time. I looked around, as shoppers seemed to come out of the woodwork and fill other lanes, and of course, there was the gentleman behind me … just smiling and waiting patiently, too, and now a couple of other customers behind him.

I wondered if I could go to another lane? Should I? I glanced at the woman ahead of me, and she seemed pleasant and dignified, even though she was using food stamp vouchers. She never once glanced at me or the line she had created. Likewise, she never apologized for taking so long. Why should she?

At that moment, it dawned on me, that it was not about her. It was about me. My attitude was the only thing I could have any control over in that moment. Sure, I could have been like many others and verbalized impatience or even disgust. I chose not to. I could have bolted to another lane, speaking with non-verbal actions that I am too important and not going to wait. I chose not to. After all, this woman has all the same rights as me, and she was in line first.

I thought about all the impatience of humans with a “Me First” attitude, and I decided in that moment, I would be different. I would be patient and pleasant and wait my turn. I was somewhat surprised at the clerk who apologized for me having to wait. I was somewhat miffed at the bag boy who handed me my filled reusable grocery bag, and when I opened it to put my receipt in the bag, he said, “Don’t worry. It’s all in there.”

And to the woman customer who was in front of me, who disappeared out the door and into the parking lot, “God Bless you.” May you have a joyous holiday season, for you have given me a little gift of patience this season.