Observers

“Waiting for the bus.”

It’s a rather apt description for the demeanor of these zoo animals. They often stand in one position, move only their head, as if watching the world go by.

Are they taking mental notes? Making up silly stories about the people that come to visit? Saying prayers for someone to toss a fish their direction?

Extra lights and figures come out of the boxes at holiday time. This charming fellow (in blue) is definitely inspired by the real life gentleman (or lady) in black.

Am I being watched?

Holiday Hike?

Walking, and hiking, are good for the body. Depending on the place and route, they can be good for the spirit also.

Fresh air. Sunshine. Pleasing visuals — trees, hills, and perhaps an animal or two.

Tramp, tramp, tramp — you leave a trail across the snow.

Old-fashioned snow shoes form the base for this wall/door decoration.

A hike among the trees gives the heroine of Starr Tree Farm more excitement than she imagined.

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Shiny Holiday Coat

Deer hunting season ended in this state recently. For some, this is the most important time of the year — often finishing within a few days of Thanksgiving.

Yum, yum — venison roast. (No, like beef, venison is best aged. Consider it for Christmas dinner — not Thanksgiving.)

Not all deer were in danger. Take this oversized fellow, for example.

Deer hunting season for this shiny fellow is spent indoors — my guess would be in warehouse storage. He’s a holiday special. Gets a person to slow down and take a look as they drive past on the street. Hey — look here! This motel and restaurant is in the holiday spirit.

I’ll give him the highest marks possible for gaining attention.

Finding Holiday Spirit

The music is playing in public spaces.  Decorations of green and red with more twinkling lights than a person can count adorn trees and doors, and walls, lawns. Every retail outlet, large and small, urges you to buy, buy, buy.

Are you feeling overwhelmed?

I bring you bad news.  It is twenty-two days to Christmas.

If you are hunting for a quiet, yet pretty space, to decompress from all the noise and advertising I may have found one.

This is from the Missouri Botanical Garden in 2017. The displays complimenting the trains change each year. Do a little research and find a public display you can enjoy at leisure.

Arriving in Style

The Thanksgiving Feast is leftovers. Prepare for sandwiches (hot or cold) plus casseroles and new combinations as the side dishes shrink in their plastic containers.

For many — today is a shopping day. Retailers want our attention to turn from “Thankful for all that we have” to “I want to buy more” in the blink of an eye.

Today is also the day of an anticipated arrival at our local shopping mall.  So if you happen to be in the neighborhood — stop in at noon.

Santa upgraded to a chartered helicopter.

Holiday Blooms

In a few short days, citizens of the United States will pause and celebrate Thanksgiving.

How will you mark the day? Family? Feasting? Worship? Football? Walk in the park? Shopping?

During the seasons of my life, I’ve done most of the above. My parents often hosted friends and/or family for a feast after a worship service. Other years we were guests in another home. (Bring a side dish — hostess prepared the main course.) I’ve watched football games either before or after the feast. The walk in the park (or through the neighborhood) works off a few calories to make room for a second round of dessert.)

This year? Well, in recent years I’ve obtained videos and binge-watched mini-series or television shows. This does not mean I omit the feast. And working on a shopping list for early the next week is a necessary task. And give thanks for the many blessings — my home, the food in the cupboard, transportation in the parking spot, family scattered across the country, and a spot of color from a holiday plant.

My “Holiday Cactus” blooms on its own schedule.

 

Priceless Work

Times were difficult and jobs were scarce.  Owners of farms and homes became renters when bank payments fell behind.  The country, the entire world, was in the middle of a difficult transition.

Young men moved to the city — seeking work. Some ended up in bread lines, sleeping in hobo jungles, or drifting from one place to another.

The lucky ones found a government job — especially the Civilian Conservation Corps.

The work was difficult – pick and shovel, bucket and wheelbarrow — as they cleared roads and build bridges and shelters and retaining walls on public land. They built to last. They learned discipline and teamwork along with new skills. A few years later, many of these young men would use these skills as they fought to preserve our freedom.

Honoring the CCC worker at Babler State Park near St. Louis, MO

You will see their work in many state and national parks in the bridges, roads, trails, and stone buildings.

Greeters

They never miss a day. Every visitor who enters the St. Louis Zoo via the south entrance catches at least a glimpse of them. Many stop to admire, snap a photo, or designate as a meeting place.

Welcome. See how sleek we are. Want to see our living, breathing, swimming, playful relatives? We’re on the map. We love to put on a seasonal show. Prepare to be splashed.

Live or sculpture — in or out of water — seal or sea lion — these greeters take their job as good-will ambassadors seriously.

Colorful View

Vibrant colors in motion.

What does the above phrase bring to mind?

Flowers swaying in the breeze? Clothes drying on the line? Sports teams moving on the field?

Today I ask you to think slower motion — and a wetter environment.

This charming, relaxing view is brought to you via the Georgia Aquarium.

A window to a “change of pace” world. This was one of the exhibits I enjoyed early in the day. It’s easy to lose track of time. Pick a fish — follow them as they dip and dive among their tank mates. Marvel at the variety. And let your stress level drift toward the bottom of the container.

By the Sea

Sometimes all it takes is a clever paint job to make an ordinary object extraordinary.

Fire hydrants in the hands of an artist look like dogs, cartoon characters, or patriotic figures.

Electrical transformers and switch boxes can sport scenes as humorous as a giant light switch or as inspirational as wide mountain vistas.

My most recent vacation took me near the sea. And I thought this character — and his four friends along the boardwalk — were charming.

Oscar? Or Octavia?