I have thousands of LP’s, CD’s and cassettes but always return to this one.  My nerves are ragged and when this happens I “pull out” this 60’s album “Clouds” by Joni Mitchell.  I did put it on cassette years ago.

The music is soothing and I will play it over and over and also search for other quiet music until this phase of mine passes.  I can’t listen to uptempo music right now.  I don’t think my episode will last too long.  I am still sleeping whole nights so I am not overly concerned.  I will play it by ear.  The more I can soothe my nerves the quicker I will return to normal.

Somehow I need to talk less.  I need to give my wife more empty spaces.  I forget this all too often.  I do not have to repeat myself unless it is evident she did not hear me or understand me.  All this is very hard for me.  I know I have to work on it.

Less is always more.  It is too easy to fill up the blank spaces with words.  I have to give my “other” a chance to reflect on my words.  All this takes time.  Communication is not immediate.  This age of cell phones and other technology gives this illusion that communication is instant.  It is the hardest thing in the whole world.  It is work.

When I believe I am being perfectly clear in my communication with my wife, I find out I wasn’t.

I want to count my blessings.  It is so easy to center on what I call my “lack”.  I am so blessed–materially and all kinds of ways that have nothing to do with things.  I have a wife who loves me.  And all kinds of other people who are glad to see me.  And I have a history with them.  My four dogs and even my cats who really do not pay much attention to me but I appreciate them nevertheless.  My life is not perfect but then, again, whose is?  Of course, this is a short and incomplete list.  I can go on and on but I won’t.  I am just glad to be home.

We have been home (from the Jersey Shore) less than 24 hours and what I most appreciate is the quiet here.  All I hear here is the ?crickets or is it the ?cicadas.  And the occasional “whoosh” of a car passing nearby.

The bed and breakfast we stayed at for three nights was on a busy road.  It was very difficult to make a left hand turn.  It was only a block away from the ocean.  New Jersey just had too many people.

For some reason I become very unsettled in crowded areas.  It is not my fault.  I just do.  I will appreciate my house better.  It is not on a main fare.  I watch the birds come to and fro my feeders all day.  Especially the hummingbirds who never fail to delight me.

There is a reason mental hospitals always were situated in the country.  They used to be called rest homes.  Many years ago the array of medications to treat mental illness did not exist.

People who had nervous breakdowns were sent to hospitals in the countryside to recuperate and recover.  There is nothing like the calm found in nature to do so.

I will appreciate my home better.  It is just a relief to be here.  My trip to the Jersey shore reminded me how fortunate I am to be on the edge of country.

The beach In Bay Head, NJ was much nicer than I thought it would be.  It stretched for miles and there were not many people on it.  I had this idea there would be some kind of barrier at the border of each town on the beach but that was not the case.

We even saw dolphins in the ocean.  I was thrilled.  They were huge and I never expected to see them.  They “made” this trip really memorable.  I have not thought about my dogs who I boarded until now and now I miss them.  Absence makes the heart fonder.

The Atlantic Ocean is really far from us so I will appreciate it now.  The Inn we are staying at is really nice although the beds were really hard.  I am off to the Ocean again.

The Carolina wrens who have a nest less than ten feet from our front door are flying back and forth usually with a worm in their mouth.  My wife for the first time stood underneath their nest and could hear the babies.  We are going away five days.  By then the babies might be grown and have flown away.  Baby birds grow so quickly.  It seems as if every year a bird has a nest somewhere near us.

The Carolina wren hopped on the fence and sang so sweetly.  This was unusual behavior by this bird but there was a nest they planted ten feet away in a wandering Jew plant hanging from the middle of the garage.  Now I knew what they sounded like.  More than once we saw the birds fly from the nest.  Several times we saw one with a worm in his/her mouth.  I could not hear any babies.  It appeared as two birds were flying back and forth from the nest.  The nest was facing the door and my wife was careful not to disturb the birds when she watered the plant.  Now I know what they sound like.  It seems as if every year some bird nests nearby our front door.

I went deep into the woods for blackberries, fighting briars every step and finally gave up.  There just weren’t enough ripe berries to make it worthwhile.  I had discovered this patch at least a year ago.  It is difficult to get to.  I am afraid I might miss this crop.  We are going away in less than a week.  I will check the blackberry patches once more just before we go.  I gobbled up the few berries I picked.  I might not get that pie I was hoping my wife would make.  Oh well.

It does not matter I don’t make money I still have to do things that matter to me.  Every person has a need for purposeful activity.  The worst situation is when you prostitute yourself–do a job solely for the money.  If your whole heart and soul is not in it, you will burn out.

You can get trapped by money.  You want to go in a different direction and it will initially mean less money but you are used to having a certain life style and you can’t stand your job any more.  Your heart and soul is no longer in it.  You just dream for the weekend when you are off from your job.

It is hard.  You have to make a living and support your family.  The most fortunate people are the ones who can’t wait to get back to work.  Thoreau in “Walden” says, ‘Make living thy sport’.  It is easier said than done.

Sometimes some accept their whole heart and soul will not be on the job.  It is a a shame it is not on the job and find you have to find satisfaction elsewhere.  It is always a balancing act.

Do what you love with all your heart and soul.  An example of this is a lady in our town.  She has a sign on the front of her house, “Sew plain and fancy.”  Usually we take our clothes to her for her mending (and so do a lot of other people).  She is quite reasonable and usually we pay her more than she asks.  We do appreciate her.  She has a steady stream of customers.  What she does is no small thing.  It is done joyously and willingly.  I don’t care what your gifts and talents are–do unto the Lord and with a gracious heart.  Do your labor honestly and quietly.  That is all that counts.  Whatever it is.  Like this lady in town.  You will be rewarded.  Every time.

Are we our brothers’ keeper?  There is a struggle in Washington DC:  the President wants to raise the ceiling of the National debt we are allowed legally to have.  Our country may default on our interest payments for the first time.  And who knows what international effect that would have on our economy if that happens.

Our economy is really on shaky grounds.  Many people are suffering in this country, have lost their homes, are unemployed and struggling just to put food on the table for their families.  And the rich seem to get richer.

One party wants the President to cut programs like Medicare and others.  The struggles between the major parties are very acrimonious.  The Republicans have not forgotten how the President “rammed” through his bill to provide health coverage to millions of other Americans when he had control of both houses.  I am not going to debate the merits of that bill.

One little fact came to the ”surface”:  the US is near the bottom of developed countries as far as the tax rate its citizens pay.  Taxes need to go up and services to the most unfortunate, the ill, the handicapped need to be maintained.  Again, I have to ask:  Are we our brothers’ keeper?

I was amazed how high the percentage is of Americans who do not pay any federal income tax.  It is very high but the rich ought to pay more–a greater percentage than they do.  Those companies with “deep pockets” do not want that to happen and also want to erase laws that prevent them from polluting the water, air, etc.

Raising taxes now in this economic climate is not very popular.  And frankly there is much I do not understand when it comes to the economy but I have to ask again:  Are we our brothers’ keeper?  I do not like the Republicans’ stance.  I am not sure I like the Democrats much better.  Too much of government is run by big business.

Each of us are commanded to help the less fortunate.  I don’t care what your circumstances are.  There is someone around you that needs your help.

You don’t need big government necessarily to help fellow men but one function of government is to protect you and taking money away (and support) from the poorest and making sure the rich get richer does not seem right.  Again I ask the question:  Are we our brothers’ keeper?

I just got a glimpse of the hawk, which was to the left of me soaring over the Juanita River as I crossed the bridge.  I suspected it might have been a red-tailed hawk.  I did not see much of it.  I just know it was not the common turkey vulture.  It disappeared from view too quickly to make a positive identification.  I love watching hawks float in the currents above.  They are so regal and every once in awhile I spot a bald eagle.  It is always a treat.