Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day 2010

Veterans Day
Thursday, November 11, 2010

22.5° here on the mountain this morning. The light blue sky is a welcome sight as the sun pushes through the fir balsams and brings sparkles to the frost laden goldenrods, grasses and weeds. Last week's 2 blue jay visitors became four and now nine birds are doing a "pecking order dance" pushing each other away from the feeder when really there is plenty of seed to go around. Two chickadees and one white breasted nuthatch offer miniature air shows but lack necessary courage to land and compete with the big guys. Across the road, the trout pond shines in a new coat of ice, the first complete coat of the season, and a flock of snow geese surprise me with early conversation from Peacham Pond. Life is good on the mountain.

Today is Veterans Day in America. Many people are working while some have the day off, but everyone should stop for a minute and reflect on the freedoms we enjoy. We don't have to look too far-- radio, TV, newspaper, street corner-- to find negative comments about how things are going. Much of those discussions are referenced to money. Freedom costs money and lives but unlike shopping for a treasure, freedom doesn't have a tangible price tag. It has been very expensive and it will continue to be expensive for lifetimes to come.

Up top is an image of a large boulder I noticed at the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden this fall. Someone with a good eye spotted the rock some place and moved and placed the two pieces as you see. A geologist could explain the apparent intrusion between the main igneous body but that matters not. This is a split rock and it's kind of like the world of 2010. There are splits that have divided us and attempts to restore universal peace is not easy. America has set an example of democracy and as difficult as it is for us, we must continue to set a good example. As a nation we will continue to make mistakes but we must continue on.

I love my gardens because they provide a peacefulness that helps me sort through difficult times. They give me time to think about successes and those things that still need work. Yesterday the news covered a Muslim country without terrorists and a poverty level of under 4%. I cannot vouch for the numbers but they deserve consideration. The people in that country have jobs and educational opportunities and whether you respect the example or dislike it, this is an example unknown in much of the world.

Poverty does not make anyone happy. After a career of almost 41 years in social service I have confirmed that education is the key to ending war, poverty, addiction and hatred. America should not be ranked 26th in the world but it is. We have to do better. It is a difficult task because things that built America have been lost. There is nothing wrong with flying the American flag, saying the Pledge of Allegiance in school or at home, wearing clean clothes to school, saying please and thank you, and showing respect for others. There's nothing wrong with a Christmas tree at work or saying "no" to a child or an adult when it should be said. There should be consequences for good and poor behavior and if there are, the democracy we cultivated over +200 years will be stronger.

I'm heading out in a few minutes to plant some acorns. As I travel around to different states, I collect acorns and find new homes for them. Some will grow into tall, powerful trees while others will grow in out of the way swamps or river banks and serve a different purpose. They all have a part.

Today is a day to think about veterans and how they have served our country. If you meet a veteran today, say thanks for something that has no price tag--your freedom.

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where a lone red squirrel has taken over the platform bird feeder to the distress of the larger blue jays. Courage comes in different sized packages!

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
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1 comment:

Nancy J. Bond said...

Excellent post -- I enjoyed this so much and agree with your sentiment completely.