Jumat, 24 Juni 2011

Another month vanished but there are more weeds than ever; cicadas and rain kept me buried in books, inside, rather than taming the yard. Oh, well - these past couple of days have more than made up for it as the coolness and slightly overcast (it's all relative) sky have been wonderful.

Seeing the word "sky" brings back a conversation memory created one day while we were traveling, probably driving westward. When does one say "sky" and when does one say "skies"? Is it "The sky is blue." but "Fly the friendly skies..."? How does one tell where one sky ends and another starts? Just wondering. But then, retired people wonder about a lot of things.

Just last weekend my friend N and I did the weekly dog/cat transport and she had unearthed an opportunity for us to go on a tour which started near our destination and ended 20 miles closer to home. It was as if the stars in the sky/skies were in alignment! We went! What a delightful day it turned out to be for we visited two estates, one belonging to a late VP/Supreme Court Judge/Lincoln campaign manager and one belonging to an esteemed, highly successful, reknowned Central Illinois business family. Different as they were, in dwellings and lifestyles, the reflection on the past gave us opportunities to consider not just how far we've come as a country but what we've left behind.

Ingenuity. Yes, we create a great deal which takes advantage of "e", such as email and e-games. There's much to be said for Internet technology, I admit. I'm often smitten by it.

But around the house or with friends/family do we fiddle with trinkets and gadgets and look at a problem with an eye for solving it? Do we brainstorm about getting something resolved or completed? Do we look at the path less taken anymore? The prairie folks were industrious and ingenious, making do and making something out of unlikely materials. Often it stuck. At the very least it led to more fiddling, till they got it right. Then it stuck. I was amazed, as I always am, at how much time I waste doing non-fiddling things.

I'm not sure we even teach problem-solving anymore. It's right there with "thinking"...a couple of difficult and challenging concepts. Plus they are not perceived as fun and we do want fun-loving young people. Let's not worry about whether they know when to use there, their, or they're, or it's and its. Really? NO. See the tongue in my cheek?

Maybe it's a pie in the sky attitude I've developed but I'd love to see us put away all the electronic toys we have and get back to creating, inventing, fiddlin' and messin' with stuff. There's something to be said for seeing a person light up when an idea becomes an object, when a kid runs up with an item and declares "Look what I MADE!"

We should do more encouraging - after all the sky's the limit. Those who walked the earth before us knew that. I'm convinced there are days when some people never look up at the sky. It's just always there. It's pretty darned spectacular when you take the time to observe it. Then you start to wonder about it. Then you think about the awesome world we live in and how nature works. Then you appreciate it more. Then you're thankful for life, your surroundings, all we've been given. Then you figure out a way to make something happen and you get to fiddlin'.

What color is YOUR sky?

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