Saturdays Are…

Saturdays are for meditation.

Here are a few facts on the history of meditation:   Meditation is believed to have been practiced in India and China over 5000 years ago.  Meditation is a part of many religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism.  The etymology of meditation comes from the Latin word meditatum, which means “to ponder.”

Here are a few health benefits of practicing meditation:  Meditation lowers blood pressure by increasing the compound nitric oxide that helps open blood vessels.  Meditation changes gray matter in our brains that can help with learning, memory and perspective.  Meditation helps us remain focused and improve attention spans.

Just pick up your phone:  There are meditation apps galore.  If you have no experience with meditation at all, but are curious about beginning a meditation practice, you could try one of these apps.  They are free for the first few lessons and will give you a feel for what kind of meditation may be most comfortable for you.  Mindfulness, body scan, walking and lovingkindness are types of meditation you will find on these apps.  Here are 3 well-known meditation apps:  Headspace, Calm and 10% Happier.

My personal experience:  Just like running and writing, you need to make a commitment to find the time to meditate.  Luckily, just 15-20 minutes a day will be all that is needed when beginning a meditation practice.  When I began meditation, I was always seated, always had my eyes closed, always in my house and always focused on my breath.  I love to be outside (even in the cold or gloom), which is part of the reason I like to run (I’m not much for a treadmill), so I tried taking my meditation outside.  There is a park in my neighborhood with a walking path that my husband tells me is 2/10th of a mile long.  The first loop I do a body scan.  How do my feet, legs, torso, shoulders, neck feel…you get the idea.  The second loop I listen to the birds.  Bird songs fill me with a sense of wonder at the diversity in nature even in my little neighborhood park.  The third loop I focus on my breath.  I practice walking meditation about twice a week.  The biggest surprise for me has been the benefit meditation has had on my running.  Unfortunately it has not made me any faster!  However, my concentration/focus and breathing have improved.  I have been able to find a rhythm between my legs and lungs that allows me to focus on my posture/core or enjoy the scenery.

The path in the park in my neighborhood.
Snowy morning at the park.



Thursday’s Doors

Pleasant Plains Baptist Church, Jackson, TN

Endangered Label

A little box.
A little handle (remember when it was string?)
For little hands.

The circus is closing.
Will there still be animal crackers?

The lion and polar bear are listed as vulnerable.
The gorilla and elephant are listed as endangered.
Will there still be animals?


Saturdays Are…

Many of the state parks in Tennessee were having free guided hikes today.  I chose to attend the hike at Big Cypress Tree State Park, because I had never been there before.


Big Cypress Tree State Park was named after a giant cypress that grew in a remote swamp on a farm in Weakley County.  Unfortunately the tree was struck by lightning and burned in 1976.

Saturdays are…for imagining a cypress tree over 39 feet in diameter.  Bill McCall, park manager, told us that the tree was thought to be the oldest and largest tree east of the Rocky Mountains.

Saturdays are…for spotted and marbled salamanders and one jumpy little leopard frog who almost managed to land in the shirt pocket of a lady from Memphis.  Dr. Thomas Blanchard, who teaches herpetology at UT Martin, spent his morning mucking about the swamp finding salamanders and frisky leopard frogs to show us.

Saturdays are…for learning about blue birds and barred owls.  First, we watched 2 male bluebirds competing for the approval of a female bluebird.  They were also bringing twigs to a bird box for nesting material.  While these bluebirds were seemingly going to nest in a bird box, bluebirds will also use old woodpecker holes.  Blue birds are secondary cavity nesters.  Also, bluebirds are good to have around, because they eat lots of insects.
Dr. Dawn Wilkins, who teaches ornithology at UT Martin, tried to call in barred owls.  Dr. Wilkins explained barred owls are named for the vertical  brown stripes on their chests.  The barred owl’s call sounds like “who cooks for you/who cooks for you all.”  Now, if you are sensitive, do not read the next sentence.  The barred owl will eat those aforementioned salamanders.

Saturdays are…for thanking Mr. Bill McCall, Dr. Blanchard and Dr. Wilkins for their time and knowledge.  While he was sloshing around, Dr. Blanchard picked up a soda can and bag of chips out of the water.  Don’t litter.  We are all connected.  Whether we are spotted, barred, blue or marbled, we are living in the same park.  Whether we fly, jump or slither, we look up at the same sky.  Whether we hoot, chirp or croak, we breathe the same air.  Everywhere we are connected, even when it is just some rural, swampy plot in West Tennessee.




Acrostic: Nervous/Northern Cardinals


I was going to try to take a really awesome shot of the cardinals that come to my deck to feed, but, hey, you know, what, this is way more what my life is actually like.

Nests of twigs hold a clutch of
Eggs, speckled brown
Residents, year round
Vibrant red males mean a healthy mate
Often territorial
Unique two-parted song that both will sing
Sunflower seeds are their favorite thing

Northern Cardinals
Edgy and excitable
Represent a
Very many state bird
Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky and Virginia to name a few
United State’s sports teams also include the bird
St. Louis Cardinals for baseball and Arizona Cardinals for football




Center Ice

Zamboni cleaning center ice




No Rhythm on Flight 6210

Having “earned” miles, I was upgraded to “comfort class.”


The older man in 6A was lulled to sleep by the engine’s drone.

The infant, in mother’s lap, was not.

The preschooler, as we sped down the runway for take-off, screamed, “I hate this part!”

Me, too.





Ooo…glitter…a fun word!  I’m excited…

Glitter in verb form:  reflect light with a brilliant, sparkling luster
Glitter in noun form:  showy splendor

Possible origin:  German, gleissen


Beaufort, SC

Glitter on the Bay





Buffalo Botanic Garden

Glitter at the Garden

Discovery Park of America, Union City, TN




Glitter for a car



Sunset on I-90







Outglitterunly:  Waaay more glitter than all the others.