Looking back

Bird Droppings August 11. 2011
Looking back
Occasionally I will check my horoscope and see what the future foretells, and or see what is in store for me for the day. I picked up my morning papers and checked my email horoscope as well; today’s was an interesting lot for me.

“You could be tuning into events from the past today, FRANK, and trying to put these memories into some order. Sometimes it can be a good thing to write events down in a journal so that you can get some perspective on them. You can even do this on your computer instead of taking out pen and paper. You have had many interesting characters pass through your life, and writing down some incidents with them could make for interesting story telling.” Yahoo Daily astrological reading

Nearly every morning when I get up around 3:00 or so, I take our Westie the wonder dog out for her morning constitution and walk. Most mornings it is the Westie who wakes me and then Charlie our granddaughter wakes up and I will go say hello. As I walked out today a clear beautiful sky, crickets still keeping their chorus going though a few more degrees warmer and silence will be the tune, this has been one of the warmest nights in a while. As I looked into the sky and saw numerous constellations and a nearly full moon surrounding me, the big dipper, Orion, and many more. One really stuck out for it was directly in my line of sight Cassiopeia, the W. What is funny is I remembered who showed me this constellation which made the Horoscope have some meaning.
Usually I delete without a glance but today’s horoscope caught my attention, combined with my own star gazing of the morning. Many years ago when I lived in Pennsylvania on Fisherville Road outside Coatesville one of my near neighbors was Harold Sweetman. Back in the day as my son will say often, “tell me dad about back in the day “. Harold was my nature counselor for Camp Ringtail, a day camp for kids 8-12. We did this in my parent’s back yard which was about 10 acres. We would have 100 little campers and about 15 of us high school and college age folks having a blast in summer camp.
Anyhow as the story goes we were playing capture the flag one night in the fields behind our house in the neighborhood and Harold pointed out this constellation his Dad had shown him, Cassiopeia. As life goes that nature counselor went on to bigger and better things, he graduated from Coatesville High School and went to the University of Boston and a few degrees later was Dr. Harold Sweetman, biologist. I went back to Pa. a number of years ago for a reunion and stayed with Dr. Sweetman and family at their Devon Pa. home, situated in one of the largest collections of azaleas and rhododendron in the country. It seems Harold is the curator for this beautiful arboretum.

“Jenkins Arboretum is a carefully planned botanical garden established in 1968 through a bequest from H. Lawrence Jenkins and is committed to conserving its 46 acres of the once bountiful Pennsylvania woodland and nurtures one of the state’s major horticultural showcases of native trees, shrubs, rhododendrons, azaleas, laurel, blueberries, ferns and wildflowers. The Arboretum’s preservation of natural habitats and watershed presents a compelling model for others to follow. Jenkins Arboretum is located at 631 Berwyn Baptist Road in Devon, PA 19333 and features several native habitats that support native wildlife, open vistas and 1.2 miles of easy paved walking paths through hilly terrain. Plant collections are clearly marked for a self-guided botanical tour. The Arboretum is open from dawn to dusk every day, and admission is free.” Jenkins Arboretum website http://www.jenkinsarbortum.org/index.shtml

Any nature lovers nearby go take a look it is well worth the visit and say hello to Dr. Sweetman for me and thank him for showing me Cassiopeia nearly forty years ago. I will try and stop in on my return this fall for my fortieth high school reunion.

“To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it the more fit for its prime function of looking forward.” Margaret Fairless Barber

It is the experiences of life that provide us with tools to build a future. John Dewey ideas have been promoting this since the early 1900’s progressive then as it is now.

“A feeling of sadness and longing that is not akin to pain, and resembles sorrow only as the mist resembles the rain.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I ventured away from my normal wanderings today but eventually we drift back to where we are here and now. A new group site on facebook from Coatesville has been inspiring me lately. But as I thought to those days “back in the day” fond memories and memories I have built on and have retold many times it is for us now here in this time to be providing the basis for stories of the future. It is to be sharing ideas and thoughts, wisdom, and experiences. A few nights back I showed my youngest son Cassiopeia soon he can show my granddaughter. Who knows maybe one day he won’t have to end his emails with please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts.