February 19, 2017

The World It Seems

The World It Seems
By John R. Greenwood

The world it seems has lost it's mind
Spewing words of hate it can't take back

People once friends turn ugly and unfamiliar
Their ears poisoned by what they hear

Alternative facts and refurbished lies 
Ricochet untethered causing fear to swell

I recoil into the dense undergrowth 
Waiting for the traffic to slow to a crawl

Once hopeful for the building of diversity
I feel the ceiling crashing from the weight of evil

Mistrust runs free for the taking
Strewn out like lawn sale leftovers

Somewhere along the way we lost the map

The World it seems can't read the signs

January 07, 2017

Today I'm The Producer

Today I'm The Producer 
By John R. Greenwood

Here is a voice recording of the essay below: Today I'm The Producer

Mrs. G and I finally finished packing up the Christmas decorations and getting them nestled into their eleven month home in the attic. Every year the process becomes less festive and more business like. By the time the de-decoration process is complete I become unfriendly. We were a few days into the New Year and I needed a nature fix. My wife sensed my itchy britches and suggested a walk might be the answer. Not being one to argue (the author smiles), I grabbed my camera, a bottle of water, and headed to my favorite mind healer, Doctor Moreau. 

It was cold but, not too cold—windy, but not too windy—sunny but sunny in a way that emphasized the cold and the wind. I’ll take it. I was surprised to see the parking lot lined with pickup trucks wearing caps and Subaru’s topped with racks. Moments later the mystery was cleared up when I broke through the trees and saw all the ice fishermen on the lake. I was glad I was just there for a walk. Ice fishing in the wind has the same enjoyment factor as putting away Christmas decorations.

I had my snowshoes on although I really didn't need them. The snow wasn’t that deep, even in the woods, but the cleats on the bottoms provided a catlike grip as I crunched across the lake with icy crispness. 

There were dabs of fishermen in various spots on the small lake. A young couple with a energetic child could be heard laughing on the playground equipment usually draped with a bus load of giggling children. Today, despite the cold, they were able to enjoy each other as a solitary group of three. Those precious moments are cherished and rare. I kept enough distance to share their joy by ear, the smiles of happiness vividly clear in my head. 

My hike today was less about stretching my legs and more about exercising my spirit. Whenever I find myself in need of a tow, I always default to Mother Nature. She never lets me down. The quiet of the lake and the mountain that ran its edge, sprinkled with men in wool hats and tip-ups, slowly brought me back to center. I shed my pack and sat on a bench strategically placed at one end of the lake. I pulled out a bottle of water, a Fig Newton two-pack, and my camera. I had the best seat in the county and I was grateful. The sun and walking had neutralized the cold. I was warmed from the outside in. 

When I have a chance to watch CBS Sunday Morning I especially enjoy the end where they share a short clip of nature. There is no commentary, only the voices of red-winged black birds or trumpeting elk. I always wish they'd share more. 

Today I'm the producer. 

I just sat there. 

December 31, 2016

Hey Dad

Hey Dad
By John R. Greenwood

Tell mom to take her time, we're okay.

There’s something special about a son’s tug on your pant leg or arm. It’s a variation of hug that makes a father feel good inside. It creates a bond that can’t be described or explained. Daughters use “that look” or “that voice” to soften a father’s heart. With sons it’s not that simple. Real deal father/son moments are fleeting and rare. Capturing the simple father/son moment above was a genuine grandfather/son/grandson moment for me. These occasions only come around a few times in our lives. They have a different feel than a posed photo at a family function or holiday. Those little tugs are unspoken snippets of love that son’s seldom share openly with their fathers. Admiration and adoration from son to father and from father to son is not something you frequently see. It’s most touching when it’s unscripted and spontaneous. Father’s today are much better about sharing intimacy with their sons. They aren't as afraid of saying, “I love you” to them as they used to be. I’m not sure my father ever said,”I love you,” to me. I knew he loved me by the food he put on the table and the fish he taught me to catch. Just because he felt he didn’t need to say it doesn't mean he shouldn't have said it. Sometimes you want to see that vulnerability in a man. To me it shows his strength. To not give your son the gift of those three words is unfair. They deserve to hear it not just understand it to be so. When I hear my sons say it to their sons it makes up for any I missed.

To you fathers and sons reading this, go tug on one another’s sleeve and say, "I love you." 

You’ll feel better.

I guarantee it.