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IMG_3034The temperatures were cool.  My morning weather check made several decisions for me.  I would wear my riding jacket.  My fingered gloves were the choice of the day.

It was not cold enough for me to wear long pants.  My riding shorts would do fine.  Once I was out on the road and pumping my legs up to my cruising speed, enough body heat would keep me comfortable.

The rains from the last two days soaked up the ground.  Scattered puddles on the road made an agility ride essential.  Dodging pockets of water was a lot better on bicycle than splashing through them, causing a rooster tail behind me and giving myself a muddy shower and a skunk stripe down my back.

Yep, past experience can be seen all over my previous description.  It takes a longIMG_3038 time to wipe down my bicycle after a wet ride.  If I can avoid it I will.

Down our artery thoroughfare I peddled.  My destination was our Buffalo Bayou culvert.  After the large amount of rain in this past week, I was curious to see what kind of water run-off was represented in our flood control outlets.

Forward thinking engineers made sure that the flooding from thunder bursts in our Texas region would be channeled away from the homes of its residents.  The weather reports noted a warning for flash floods.  A lot of water had fallen over our city of Houston.

IMG_3040The bridge over the Buffalo Bayou spans a creek that is usually 8 or 10 feet across.  However, the expanse is very large.  This visit over the flood plain surprised me.

Now, a muddy river taking up nearly the entire width of the Bayou was steadily pushing tons of water to the East.  It was clear that the rains that fell did leave a massive impact in our region.  Our drought in Texas needed this turn around.  We were getting used to the “moderate drought” conditions signs.  Most likely someone will start taking those advisory signs down.

I watched as the massive amounts of water moved undeterred to the lowest point on the temporary river banks.  Fish, snakes, alligators and turtles were no doubt exploring new territory lazily allowing the flood waters take them on a new journey.

The parched land was getting a good long drink.  Our Creator was taking care of the land.  His personal touch was amazing to watch.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

IMG_2929Our radio interview was completed.  We exchanged greetings with our on-air hostess.  She is a consummate professional in her world of broadcasting.

Even though the total time at the station is relatively brief, the intensity of the interview is taxing.  Concentration is high. Messaging is concentrated.

We record two different spots to be aired in the next two weeks.  Trying to sound spontaneous, animated and fresh is mentally challenging.   At the same time we keep our subject matters focused so that there is very little duplication.  We need to sound like we are a week apart even though the recordings are back to back.

Everyone was happy with the final product. We smiled, exchanged our pleasantries and concluded with our farewells.  When we left the studio we knew that we were hungry.  I let my staff member choose the lunch destination.  We were heading for Middle Eastern cuisine.

During my travels I have enjoyed walking the lands of Israel.  Feasting on the table fare of that ancient land was always an adventure.  I was looking forward to scanning the menu from lands on the other side of the planet.

When we arrived, the little eatery was filled with people from that part of the world.  The aromas that wafted throughout the establishment were wonderful.  I could see the roasting meats on slowly spinning carousels behind the counter.

Slowly the line of customers melted and soon it was our turn to order.  I tried to steal glances at what the other patrons were eating as we passed their tables.  Then, a fast glance down the overhead menu made me smile.

There in featured position was the meal of choice: LAMB!  I love lamb.  Since I was a youth this has always been a favorite.

We sat down to wait for our order.  It came in a timely fashion with the an aroma that made me salivate.  Roasted to perfection the lamb was waiting eagerly for me to dive in.  I did not let it cool down much before wrapping it in bread and enjoying the wonderful flavors satisfy my palate.

The procedure is part of the experience.  There are a lot of fingers and few utensils.  Just tear a part of the bread that meets your approval.  Tuck in a few pinches of greens, chunk of grilled tomato and finally include several delicious pieces of lamb.  Eat away and enjoy the company and conversation with your table friends.  Social interaction with good people just add to the delectable table fare.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

IMG_2977Long memories of wheel barrels, shovels, hoes, tillers and rakes come to mind.  Back breaking work moving loads of gravel, sand, top soil and bark dust still make me grimace.  Tons of reading on how grow a lawn.  Weary moments of organizing and reorganizing the growing supplies, tools and library to do gardening right.

I drew and redrew master plans for our yard.  Endless trips to the DIY store filled up my one precious day-off a week.  Experiments with clever borders, creative materials to make the yard look customized, fencing to help contain everything occupied my mind.

Spending time in the earth was spiritual. It reminded me that for a man to toil in the ground is part of the consequences of original sin.  Labor for man is part of our existence, we cannot escape it, we must align ourselves with this as inevitable for us all.  Rats!

There is some redemption if I may so selectively use this term in the results of gardening.  When soil is freshly tilled, it has a fragrance that is spirit-stirring.  After hours and days of preparation, to plant a lawn by seed and to watch it germinate is deeply satisfying.

Organizing flowering bushes and mixing in annuals to accent color, height and depth is very rewarding when God does His creative work with the palate of colors and textures popping out just as each plant is genetically responding to water and sun.  A full garden with amazing colors that form a wall of a living lush display pulls a smile from my spirit.  But, I am older now.

I still appreciate the orchestration of a Master Gardener who plants, waters and nurtures the flora to make their planned appearances.  When my bride and I take a stroll through a city park and the flower gardens are in full bloom, I appreciate the effort and artistry that is there.  Not infrequently we will enter a large greenhouse with plants from around the world and our cameras are snapping away, logging scores of pictures.

The biggest difference is that I do not like the work any more.  I have given away most of my garden tools in the various moves from one state the next.  Our vagabond days have drained my dreams of sitting among my plants with a pleasant ice-cold glass of tea.  These days, I keep my values of a beautiful garden but cast my ovation to others who do the work and earn the praise.

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography