Springtime Walk

Back to the Park

For various reasons, some more important than others, I have not been to the Parklands to walk for a long time. Mostly it’s just that during the winter months I’m a wimp about the cold temperatures and it seems that spring has been a long time coming here in Kentucky. Finally this past weekend the temperature was just right and I returned to Pope Lick Park, my favorite along Floyd’s Fork. Other areas of the Parklands are more elaborate and have very interesting features, but Pope Lick is more wild in places and more intimate, except for the soccer fields, but the walk around them illustrates kids and adults interacting in the most positive ways. Whether a team or family event, the atmosphere is competition at its best. 

The Walk

As I began my walk I eagerly looked forward to the signs of spring, but they were not as abundant as expected. Most trees had tiny tender leaves springing forth. There were signs of wildlife, but I saw only a few birds. I did document the extensive work of the resident woodpecker population.  The grass was mostly green, but there were dried grasses all along the trails. 

The further I ventured, the more interesting finds, including some of my favorites. There were cattails shedding like cats, mushrooms living well on dead trees and a sure sign of springtime, May apples. 

The 1.5 mile walk revealed very few wild flowers, or perhaps they are weeds, but they bloomed nevertheless. I wasn’t disappointed, but a little letdown that springtime was not waiting there for me as I had anticipated. 

The Encounter

Then I spotted a tree that was apparently very glad to see me!

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Another Milestone!

As of yesterday Crooked Creek has 150 followers. This is the point at which I had planned to update the blog to a new look. But, I couldn’t wait, so that was completed a few days ago.

Thank you to all readers and followers. I appreciate each of you. I also appreciate other bloggers who I follow.  Some have been recommended here and I will continue to do that from time to time as well as perhaps reblog with the writer’s permission. 

Please continue to let me know what you like, make suggestions for topics and tell me when I’m out of line! I appreciate each of you. 

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FOR YOU! 

 

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Milestones

Followers/Readers

Today Crooked Creek has 148 followers. That makes me very happy. What would be even better is if most of those signed up as “followers” are real readers. It stands to reason that some percentage “follow” and forget, but if some of my posts are read and cause people to think more deeply (or widely) on any subject then I feel the time spent blogging is worth it. When we look at life’s challenges and even day-to-day issues from an before unexplored angle I believe it often changes our way of doing, of living, of giving. 

Blogging

fullsizeoutput_1644Blogging is a chore, I will not lie! It is not easy, even after attending a class for new bloggers. It turned out that the instructor was learning as she went along and that was very frustrating.  I must admit that it has continued to be frustrating after almost 100 posts. Some things don’t work as they should. Some things just don’t work at all. It takes me several hours for each post, but I’m sure that many bloggers have less difficulty and perhaps some worry less about small errors. I’m saying all this to say that that it is worth the effort. The internet affords us the opportunity to share our stories and I am grateful for that. If you think you’d like to blog, I encourage you to jump in.

I started out on the WordPress platform with a free domain. I quickly learned that it was not going to be very attractive, so after a while, I bought the “Personal” plan. I’ve never been satisfied with its bland look, so today I upgraded to a “Premium” plan and have to admit that it looks more like what I envisioned. I had planned to make the changes when Crooked Creek got to 150 followers, but today I was in the mood to move forward. So, SURPRISE! I hope you like the new look. 

Writing notepad-3316995_1280

Writing is not a chore. It takes time and effort and sometimes it turns out better than others, but I enjoy writing tremendously and blogging is about the next best thing to writing that book we all have inside us (or think we do). Thank you, readers, for following, reading and commenting from time to time. 

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Soul 7

I Believe

I believe my Mother’s essence is in many objects that I have in my home. Not so much in the antique dishes or her personal jewelry, but in the things she infused with her love. I believe that her soul speaks to me through the stitches she loving put into place over the years of her life. I feel her love in the baby quilt she embroidered for her children, the ring pillow she made for my wedding, in the yarn she transformed into beautiful pieces of art and the scraps of material from the clothes she made for her granddaughters and their dolls, later quilted together.

I believe that my Aunt Thelma’s essence is strong in items she left behind and that she must be happy we find both uses and joy in them today. They are things that were dear to her and I have the privilege now of calling them mine. I love them not for themselves but because I loved her so much and I feel her presence when I see them.

She was taught by her church that it was a duty to bear children and it was probably her greatest disappointment in life that she did not conceive. She loved me and other nieces and nephews, she loved my daughters, too. How sweet her smile must be as she watches my granddaughter, who Aunt Thelma never met, sew pieces of lace from her 91 year old wedding dress into the wedding dress that Kate will wear next month. I know her soul is happy today. 

I believe my husband’s essence is the flowers that grow in our courtyard where he planted them. In caring for them, I continue to learn from him about the effort it takes to give beauty its fullest potential. His soul lives on nourishing the plants, keeping me company and giving me purpose. 

I believe that my maternal Grandparents’ essences are present when I pick up one of their Bibles. I know how important these books were to them and not just as a place to record family records of births, marriages, and deaths. They also recorded other important information such as their Social Security Numbers and the date of their last tetanus shots!

Seriously, the Bible was holy to them. They each read from it daily and they carried it with them to their little country church, Mt. Vernon Baptist, twice each Sunday and usually at least once in the middle of the week. Their souls are close by those worn and precious books. 

 

Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye… it also includes the inner pictures of the soul.” Evard Munch

Part 7 of 7

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SOUL 6

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THE ESSENCE OF EACH PERSON 

I believe the soul is the essence of a person. It is who they are at their core. This is not original, we’ve seen this word used by others in this series.

Since “soul” is such a difficult concept for me to imagine and since that word has connotations of both good and bad from my religious upbringing, I needed a different, more neutral word and “essence” works for me. It means a person’s intrinsic nature and immutable character. It is real, everlasting and never changing. Even after the person has died it is as recognizable as their face or their voice. 

My Recent Experiences

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My husband, who died in December of 2014, was a nature lover. He was wise in the ways of animals and birds. He was a master at growing beautiful things. He imparted his reverence for creatures and his appreciation for all living things to each of us who knew and loved him during his eighty-five years of life.  

When my two daughters and I visited their father’s gravesite for the first time we were driving along a country road on our return home. Suddenly, we all three, at the same time, saw a large group of cranes ahead of us flying in a V formation. In my entire life, I do not recall seeing more than one crane at a time and rarely in flight. I pulled my car to the side of the road and we watched this magnificent sight approach and then fly over our car in direct view of the sunroof and then behind us and off into the distance. 

We did not need to discuss or compare thoughts. Each of us knew that we had experienced our loved one communicating with us. Those strong birds in flight represented his essence.

We rarely go the thirty-plus miles to that quiet old cemetery without seeing a deer, a beautiful blue bird, or some other unexpected creature. One time there was even a box turtle on the road to be rescued and repositioned in the grass. It happens at other times, too. Just days ago I opened the front door to see a beautiful squirrel in front of my porch, sitting there to remind me of my husband’s nature and his love. This was the very first squirrel at our home in five years of living here and it was a gift. Let me be clear, I am not saying that any of these creatures are my deceased husband nor his soul. I’m saying they represent his essence. I believe they are there at his beckoning.

These instances happen less often now than in the first year or so after his death. I believe he knows we need them less now than early on. I believe he knows somehow that our family continues to think of him and cherish his memory, but that we have been comforted and are more at peace now with his absence. 

 

For more information I recommended this book: images

 

“Some cognitive scientists believe human response to music provides evidence that we are more than flesh and blood—— that we also have souls. “ Judy Picoult

Post 6 of 7

 

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Soul 5

 

Questions? Questions!

More questions than answers, perhaps nowhere is this more the case than in discussing the soul. We speculate, imagine, believe, or believe in, a certain idea but we have no facts to back up that concept. One may have had experiences that reinforce personal beliefs, but is that proof? No.

Or perhaps you do not believe there is a soul at all? Many do not. Although said in jest, the statement made by a friend sums up that philosophy. She once referred to death as the “long dirt sleep.” Believing there is no soul, is no fun! How boring that would be. I would much rather speculate, study and discuss possibilities. As one reader/follower commented earlier, that means being “not a doubter, but a questioner.”

So, for the sake of discussion, we will go with the thought that there is a soul. I hope you are not offended as I sometimes refer to “it.” We all know that soul is the subject.  

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When does the soul begin? At conception? At birth? At death? 
Does it come as a vacuum or filled with wisdom to dispense? 
Does it belong to us or us to it?
Can it travel? Can it be in one location while one’s body is somewhere else?
How does the soul communicate?
Is it a generic template or are all souls individualized?
Does it direct? Correct? Control? Comfort?
Does it stay with the body after death, i.e. in the crematoria, in the grave or tomb?
Does it make choices or is it programmed?
Do only humans have souls? What about pets? Other animals?
Can a tree or body of water have a soul?

OK! OK! 

I’ll stop with the questions because we could go on forever. Also, many of you have previously shared some personal thoughts and beliefs about what a soul is like, including the following characteristics: spirit, eternal, underlying part, essence, oneness with others, capable of regeneration. 

Essence

For several years “essence” has been the word I use or think of in relation to the soul. When we meet people and form a close relationship we get to know them on a deep level and develop a sense of who they are at the very core. We get to know them well enough to evaluate their fundamental qualities and we remember that essence long after they have left us whether in distance or death. I also believe this “knowing” lives on in many ways in our hearts and minds, consciously and subconsciously as we continue to live life without that person, that relationship physically present. 

Approaching my seventy-fifth birthday, I have by this time, naturally lost many persons in my life who I loved and who I continue to miss. That’s life, it includes death. If we have one we have the other. I’ve recently come to the conclusion that people do live on in many, many different ways and in the next blog I will explain further, but in the meantime here are a few hints in photos.

 

“The true nature of soul is right knowledge, right faith and right conduct. The Soul, so long as it is subject to transmigration, is undergoing evolution and involution.”                      Virchand Gandhi

Part 5 of 7

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Soul 4

Oprah’s Guests

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Oprah – Photo by Google

Those referenced in Soul 2 who were interviewed by Oprah https://crookedcreek.live/2018/04/07/soul-2/  are often called upon for their opinions in spiritual matters. Her guests include many who are well prepared via their education and experience and perhaps some who are self-proclaimed experts on the topic of the soul. Let’s look at some of the characteristics they used to describe the human soul to see how they agree or differ.

 

Authors

The one distinction the following group has in common is that they are all published. 

NAME

BACKGROUND

SOME WORDS USED

Dyer, Wayne Motivational Speaker birthless, deathless, changeless
Franklin, Devon Spiritual Success Coach where the Holy Spirit resides, connection with God
Pink, Daniel Behavioral Scientist purpose
Singer, Michael Founder of The Temple of the Universe indwelling consciousness, center of being
Vanzant, Lyania Spiritual Life Coach fingerprint of God that becomes the body
Vaughan-Lee, Llewellyn Sufi Mystic our divine nature, belongs to God
Williamson, Marrianne Spiritual Teacher truth of who we are

Eternal?

These interviewees have been grouped together because they each indicate that the soul has no beginning nor end. It surprises me that of the thirteen interviewed only three indicated that the soul is eternal and two of them did not use that word but did indicate that was their belief.

NAME

WORK / BACKGROUND

WORDS USED

Chopra, Deepak Medical Professor, New Age Movement, Alternative Medicine Eternal, core, internal reference point
Ford, Debbie Self Help Coach Core, never dies, contains all lessons learned
Zukav, Gary Seat of the Soul Institute Present before and after birth

Essence

This last group is made up of those who used the word I repeatedly come back to when trying to describe the soul. That word is “essence” and in our next post of this series, I will try to explain why.

NAME

WORK / BACKGROUND

WORDS USED

Breathnach, Sarah Ban Philanthropist Essence
Houston, Jean Human Potential Movement Essence, innermost being, beyond form or consciousness
Tolle, Eckhart Wrote “A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose” Essence, transcends our leaving this mortal coil

How do these all of these professional descriptions agree with what you have always thought or now think about the soul?

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“You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul.” George Bernard Shaw

 

Part 4 of 7

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Soul 3

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David

Born one year ago to spend a few brief moments in the arms of his parents and then forever in our hearts.

He never smiled, never smelled the spring air, nor felt sunshine on his face.
He will never blow out birthday candles nor ride a trike, but he is loved, and
He never cried, never lived in earth’s pollution.
He never heard the word “no,” nor felt the sting of discipline.
He will never be sick, break an arm, nor scrape a knee.

David was, without reason or plan, transported from his mother’s safe, loving body to the arms of Jesus, who weeps for our sorrow. We hurt for our loss, but are comforted by the assurance of heaven.

 

David Tyler Clay Puckett Born April 9, 1987. Parents: Allison & Stan Puckett. Poem written by Grandmother 4/9/88                                              

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Part 3 of 7

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Soul 2

Soul Discussion

Not surprisingly this subject struck a chord with readers. We will not answer the questions posed in the last post. That is not the purpose of this series, but regardless it would be impossible. There is no way that we can know what the soul is or where it resides if it does exist. We can believe, but like the experience of death, there is no proof. We will surely die and if there is a soul, then we will know. This fact does not dissuade us from our beliefs or our interest in the opinion of others. https://crookedcreek.live/2017/03/27/what-i-know-for-sure/

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Oprah Winfrey – Photo from Google

Even our friend Oprah wonders, asks questions and broadcasts about this subject. In 2012 on her series “Super Soul Sunday” she discussed this very question with over a dozen of her guests. HuffPost published this information and you may read the responses or watch excerpts from the interviews in a short video at https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/25/what-is-the-soul-eckhart-tolle-wayne-dyer_n_2333335.html

Soul Opinions

The group Oprah assembled is made up of individuals from interesting and varied backgrounds. A few were religious but more perhaps were spiritual. Some work as life coaches, do public speaking and/or found institutions offering self-improvement programs. One, a medical professor with extensive name recognition in the US is Deepak Chopra who is known for his New Age and alternative medicine beliefs. Of the baker’s dozen personalities, at least twelve are authors. 

We’ll look at their comments and opinions in the next posts, but Chopra’s soul description is a good start for today.  He calls the soul an “internal reference point” and I wonder how that differs from having a conscious. He also refers to the “core” of an individual that is “eternal”. Two others in the group also intimated that the soul is eternal without using that word. 

 

What is a soul? It’s like electricity – we don’t really know what it is, but it’s a force that can light a room. Ray Charles

Part 2 of 7

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Soul?

Soul Food, Soul Music, Soul Mate

Since we often reference souls we must know what a soul is, correct? Is it a soul or the soul? Do we have one? Does every person have one? Can you sell it? Can you bare it? Can you bless it, as in “Well, bless my soul!”?

I used to believe I had the full answer to these and more profound questions from my faith tradition. As I have lived longer, had more experiences and opportunities for learning, I have less confidence in what I used to believe with little question. 

This is not intended to be a religious discussion nor debate. On this blog, I eschew that subject with almost as much determination as to the subject of politics.  https://crookedcreek.live/2016/09/03/declaration/

That being said it is worth mentioning that the word soul appears in most holy books. For example “soul” can be counted 55 times in the Christian *New Testament, 224 times in the Quo’ran and a whopping 443 times in the Hebrew *Old Testament.      

*King James Version


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What is Soul? 

I feel that each of us has a theory and of course, we can easily check the dictionary for a formal definition but I am more interested in your personal beliefs. At the least, I hope to stimulate thought on this subject. I will be sharing my thoughts and those of some of our contemporaries in the next several posts.

The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.”   Harriet Ann Jacobs

 

Part 1 of 7

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Nancy

Marilyn, Helen and Janet – Friends of Mine

I have a lovely neighbor who I’ve known for five years. Her name is Nancy. For some reason each time I think of her I think her name is “Marilyn.” She doesn’t look like a Marilyn and I have no idea why this thought comes to me. 

Several years ago I met a very nice friend of my daughter’s and her name is also Nancy. I immediately started calling her “Helen.” She does look like a Helen, I think, but it is not the name her parents chose for her.

Last year a met a friend of a friend whose name is . . . you guessed it, Nancy. Guess what I thought her name was? “Janet,” I called her Janet in emails about our meeting. I still think of her as Janet. Since she is a Viet Nam vet I’m very glad that she is so pleasant and understanding.

Nancy

After much thought, I believe I have figured out what is wrong with me concerning this name. As I shared in a post on October 26th of last year, once I was Nancy. 

https://crookedcreek.live/2017/10/26/halloween-then/

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