Monday, September 17, 2012

Hiding Places in Old Spaces

I went round the yard today with the intent of trying to capture on camera a bright yellow butterfly that kept drinking the nectar from my bright red hibiscus blooms.  He was also flitting around the last of the summer lilies.  In the process, I saw interesting little oddities that I call "hiding places".  Old homeplaces seem to have lots of hiding places and spaces.  I'll take you on a picture tour:

This rusty old hand water pump has been hidden itself until we recently cleaned out some old shrubs that had taken over.  The pump was once a hiding place too - it hid our spare house key - but now it only hides a rogue spider or two.
 This mushroom that's a product of our recent wet weather hides bugs from the chickens and could also be a hiding place for little fairies that live in the moss.  Don't fairies live under mushrooms?
 This old knot hole in the tree is a hiding place for little squirrels.  I've seen them scamper in and out.

 This red bloom is the hiding place of the pretty yellow butterfly that's perched upon it. It's interesting how the color of the leaves camouflage the butterfly.
 This was once a majestic black walnut tree.  It finally died and we haven't cut it down because we promised someone the wood to make beautiful things with.  I hope they cut it down soon as it is near our house.  It hides insects that the woodpeckers love to devour.
 Another old tree that we recently lost is ready for the ax but meanwhile it's nooks and crannies hide Theo sometimes as he's stalking the birds.
The last of the summer garden!  The vines hide one of the last tomatoes.
 This old tiling normally hides the bottom of my summer flower baskets filled with wave petunias which spill over it's sides.  This time of year the baskets begin to die away - but it's waiting to hold next years flowers.
 These century old bricks that we've dug up around the place camouflage this old metal duck decoy quite well, don't you think.  Look how the colors blend.
 This old flower pot was hiding many, many ants when I turned it over this afternoon.  Now, they'll have to hide elsewhere.
 This old ivy covered fence hides our neighbors house.
 This overgrown ivy hides an old rusty lantern.
 This "secret garden" has hidden cardinals, brown thrush and best of all the grandchildren as we've played games over the years.  This is the place that prompted me to write "The Secret Garden" that you can find at this older post.
 The fork in the tree hides whatever finds it way there.
 The mossy ground hides old bricks that over time find their way to the surface. We've dug hundreds of them up as we've cultivated new flower beds and gardens.  The brick factory in town must have given the whole neighborhood free bricks back in its heyday. 
 This very, very old tree hides many squirrel nests that are only obvious in the winter months when the leaves are gone.  It also hides the sky and provides a beautiful shelter from the sun.
 The old remnants of a flower pot hid a seedling until it burst forth looking for the sun.
 We call this the "whale" house.  It hides the well pump that once generated the water for the house until the county ran water lines through our area.  When our granddaughter Chloe was a tiny thing, she had heard us call it the well house.  One day she asked if I could open it up so she could see the whale that lived inside.  I suppose she thought a baby whale lived in the little one.  I really don't know what the little one hides since I have never opened it up to look.  Maybe spiders and snakes?  That's why I haven't opened it.
 Another hole in a tree hides lizards and squirrels I suppose.
This birdbath is not frequented very often by birds as it's Theo's favorite hiding place to wait for them.  He also likes to drink from it.
 This weedy patch hides a watermelon that sprouted from a half eaten watermelon this summer.  A huge vine grew and there's four large melons almost ready to eat. 
This old building hides the garden tools inside and sports some oldies on the outside.
This old bird cage hides a hummingbird plant that grows through it and a stray lizard or two.
It's amazing what you see when you get the camera out.  And just think - all these were hiding from me until I went looking. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

My Summer of 1965

In the Spring of 1965, based on a letter I had submitted during a contest telling why I would like to be a Summer youth delegate to the United Nations, I was informed that  my entry had been selected.   As luck would have it, a friend from church had applied and her entry was also selected .   We were the only delegates selected who knew each other prior to trip.  Early on the morning of June 7th,, we were picked up in Charlotte by the bus that had picked up youth in all major cities from the South.   Kids continued boarding the bus as we traveled towards New York City.  There were 26 of us plus chaperones when we checked into Times Square Hotel that evening.  We were one excited group of kids.  When all the others got in from other parts of the United States there were a total of sixty-one.  We all ranged between the ages of sixteen and nineteen.  I was not quite seventeen.  In addition to our UN involvement, we also had the prospect of visiting the 1965 New York City World’s Fair.  This little farm girl was on cloud nine.

Over the next few days we attended the summer peacekeeping sessions.  I wish I could tell you that the meetings we attended were full of excitement  and that we learned a lot, but truthfully the trip was not as well organized as it should have been - and most of the meetings were rather long and boring.  We could sit in on the sessions, but there was very little acknowledgement that we were there and there was not much in the way of explanation at the end of the day by the coordinators.  In only one of the sessions – the last one - were we encouraged to ask questions and comment - and I was, and still am proud of the sincerity and interest that we expressed that day.  We were having our say - and we were saying it loud and clear.

Later that year, a Resolution was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.  It was Resolution number 2037 (XX) – “ Declaration on the Promotion Among Youth of the Ideals of Peace, Mutual Respect and Understanding Between Peoples”.  I've often wondered if our little peacekeeping pilot program was instrumental in the making of that resolution.
You can see the resolution at this link.    Excerpts of this resolution include the following paragraphs:

Young people shall be brought up in the spirit of peace, justice, freedom, mutual respect and understanding in order to promote equal rights for all human beings and all nations, economic and social progress, disarmament and the maintenance of international peace and security.

 Young people shall be brought up in the knowledge of the dignity and equality of all men, without distinction as to race, colour, ethnic origins or beliefs, and in respect for fundamental human rights and for the right of peoples to self-determination. 
Young people must become conscious of their responsibilities in the world they will be called upon to manage and should be inspired with confidence in a future of happiness for mankind.”

This resolution seems to have been seen through a crystal ball.  The young people of 1965 are now those of us approaching our retirement years.    We have lived up to the words of the resolution.   We have been and still  are instrumental in promoting equal rights for all human beings and all nations.  We have seen much economic and social progress and have always been concerned about international peace and security.  We have fought for the equality of all men.  No other young people throughout history have been more conscious of our responsibilities in the world and we have been called upon and met the challenge of managing and inspiring confidence in a future of happiness for mankind.

The summer of 1965 will be etched in my mind as long as I live.  We were typical teenagers and did what typical teenagers do – we roamed the streets of New York City after our chaperones were asleep – even taking the subway to Coney Island in the middle of the night.  I’m not overly proud of breaking the rules, but would break them again just to experience all that we experienced that summer. 

Our New York City trip was followed by a few days in Washington, DC where we saw the sights and also were allowed to sit in on some congressional meetings.  Roaming the halls of Congress - we were a spunky lot.   We were teens during the tumultuous years of the 1960's.  I'm sure our parents did have their moments when they wondered if we would ever grow up.  I, like others of that time period,  had just enough rebel in me to create a little havoc, but enough self respect to not let it carry me away.  Sometimes I think it takes that kind of spunky mixture to fuel the flames of the future.

 I don’t think I fully realized until later in life how much of an impression this trip made on me.  It fueled my interest in peacekeeping and social justice and instilled in me a confidence that we can make a difference.  Seeds were planted that week and I've often wondered what the others in our group brought back home with them.  Are any of our group of kids in the Capitol Building now as lawmakers?  If they are, I'm hoping they're using the same fire and imagination that we had that Summer - the Summer of '65.