Preserving the past with a projection towards the future   2 comments

1873 yr. old farmhouse, Loveland, Co.

The Milner- Schwarz House – 1873 yr. old farmhouse, Loveland, Co.

 

It is impossible to imagine what life was like well over a hundred years ago when we did not live in that time. This small 1873 yr. old farm-house was the first built, in this town and housed a family of farmers who made their living by what they grew. This historic home was nearly washed away in our 2013 flood here like so much else. But, fortunately it survived and is once again in the hands and care of people restoring it to its original state to be open for tours with newly added features like a miniature railroad, train like the big one that passes through town on tracks behind it, and community gardens typical of those grown with produce sold at the farmers market. It will also house antiques on display that tell their own story and history.

In preserving what once was we are reminded of things important to our community back then when farming and the sugar beet industry were paramount to living on what the land could return back in produce. Today as a thriving, growing city with its many museums and fine arts galleries hosting sculpture shows and companies with a long history like Hewlett-Packard and Woodward it continues to thrive, grow and prosper with the times. Still, the nurturing of the land with its community gardens, nearby farms, and the restoration of old homes, churches and structures like the feed and grain building that processed local crops grown, the sugar mill, the Burlington Northern railroad and depot, the old Loveland House Hotel, the Elks Lodge and others gives us a window to its past, with a hopeful glance towards its future even though we haven’t yet arrived there. We have only the present. And sometimes, even that is too unsettling or precarious to hold on to in today’s world with so many catastrophic events of nature that can so quickly, easily wipe out homes, towns or communities. So, we savor this moment in time and are thankful for what we have now.

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Joyce E. Johnson © 2015

Riding the Poudre (Part 2, conclusion)   2 comments

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Pam leaned over the raft trying to pull the oar loose, caught beneath the rocks.

“Let it go. Leave it!” the guide yelled, trying to stabilize the raft. But it spun around in a whirlwind of churning white water.

She was jerked from the raft, pitched into the rapids. Her scream was drowned out by the force and strength of a river gone wild.

As she floundered about trying to swim back, the guide and others in the raft tried working the raft back towards her. But, as they came dangerously close to the ‘Big Drop’ the current was too strong. The raft went over and disappeared from view.

“No! Please! Don’t leave me.” She screamed, but they were gone.

Her only thought now was survival. Getting out of the river, climbing to safety and finding help.

Grabbing at rocks, anything she could hold on to, Pam fought the current, working herself across the river to the south side where it ran parallel to the road. A rooted tree limb sticking out from the shore beckoned her.

She managed to pull herself up, out of the freezing water. As she climbed the steep slope towards the road she thought about her friends in the raft, and Mike, their guide. Did they make it?  Are they safe?

She shook from the cold, soaked clothes clinging to her body. When she got to the road she saw emergency vehicles and rescue crews with Katy, their guide and the rest in their group.

“Pam! Thank God, you’re safe. We were all so worried. We tried to get to you but the water was…”

“I know. I’m sorry, Katy. It was my fault…” Like a dam opened the tears spilled over as she could no longer hold it back. Shivering, dizzy and barely able to stand she welcomed the warm blanket and supportive arms about her shoulders as the emergency crew made her comfortable in the back of their vehicle for the ride back down.

“Pam. We’re all safe. It’s OK.  The bus is here to take the rest back.” Katy hugged her. “I’m coming with you.”

The guide walked over to Pam and smiled, “What are you going to do next time I say, ‘Let go of the oar?’

“Do as you say.” She said, smiling.

He laughed. “Sometimes Pam, a lesson is best learned when taught by experience alone. We don’t always see the danger up ahead, until it happens to us. It is the way I learned.”

“You?”

“Yes. I know from experience what the river is capable of at flood stage, but this is the beginning of our summer tourist season. The trip was scheduled in advance, and I didn’t want to cancel or disappoint. So, I take full responsibility for what happened to you, putting you at risk. I’m sorry. Your next one is on me, if you care to try this again, sometime.”

“We’ll see.”

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Joyce E. Johnson © 2015

This is a work of fiction, part 2 and the conclusion. Part 1 was posted on Monday, May 18th. My story is not related to, or in reference to any real person or event. Whitewater rafting is a popular summer sport (among others like hiking, camping and climbing ‘fourteeners’) in Colorado. The Cache La Poudre River is one of several that offers it. You can find more information on whitewater rafting on the Cache La Poudre River here. I hope everyone’s summer season is off to a great start. Stay safe and have fun over Memorial Day weekend.

 

Riding the Poudre   Leave a comment

Rafters on the Cache La Poudre River, northwest of Fort Collins, Colorado, May 15th, 2015 We drove up to see what the river looked like after getting so much rain and got there just as these rafters were ready for their trip down. This section of the river is just a few miles south of our mountain property in Glacier View Meadows, so we are always checking on water levels and conditions after experiencing the big flood in Sept., 2013

Rafters on the Cache La Poudre River, northwest of Fort Collins, Colorado, May 15th, 2015

 

The skies opened up, and the rain fell, picking up with earnest intent as if to emphasize the weather report, “cloudy with chance of more rain”. The river was rising with water levels looking dangerously high in places. Pam was not an experienced swimmer. If something went wrong and…

Why did I ever consent to go on this trip? Well, I just won’t think those thoughts.

“Everything will be fine. Don’t worry.” Katy said. “The guides would not bring up a group if they did not feel confident they could guide it safely back down.”

Pam smiled at her friend, nervously adjusting the straps on her life jacket. “That is easy for you to say. You’ve done this before. This is my first.” And I hope, not my last. She thought.

They climbed into the rafts, each grasping their oars and began to make their way down the river.

OK. I can do this.

“We should navigate over and between the boulders easily with all the recent rains.” Katy said, loudly.

The foaming white water swirling about their raft promised a cold, wet and wild ride. It seemed to pick up speed rushing at them from behind.

They were getting closer to the ‘drop-off’ ahead where the rapids cascaded over a ridge of rocks. The settling of boulders fallen from the mountainside during a massive rock slide after the big flood had changed the dynamics of the river. What was easy navigating before now became more challenging and the “Big Drop” as they called it, steeper. The guide had instructed them when to pull in their oars.

Pam’s eyes got as big as the lens on her camera as she now saw what was coming. But, this was like nothing she’d captured before on her camera. Because it was happening to her.

“Now! Pull up your oars.” the guide yelled.

Pam’s oar was caught. She pulled, trying to free it.

“Now.” he yelled again. At her.

“I can’t! It’s stuck.”

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To be continued…

This is a work of fiction. Part 2, the conclusion will be posted in a few days. Information on whitewater rafting the Poudre can be found here.

Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

 


Swollen and rising rivers, again   2 comments

 

 

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Once again, we are getting a lot of rain here and our rivers are swelling and overflowing in places. The city often has to close sections of the recreational walking/biking trails in places where the water overflows its river banks. The washed out places from the big Sept., 2013 flood that caused so much destruction here were recently repaired or rebuilt, but will now again cause the already saturated ground to become too soft or flooded in parts to allow good runoff. This part along the Big Thompson River in Loveland, Co. is one of our favorite walking trails, just a quarter-mile from where the water was at eye level behind a wall of the underpass. We also have a great deal of snow melt that comes down from the mountains in areas adding to the rivers’ water levels.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

“…her children rise up and call her blessed…”   3 comments

She embraces each day

ready, whatever may come

watching over all

entrusted into her care

She blesses all she touches

~~~~

With her hands she makes

designer clothes; she creates

and feeds her children

that which grows from her garden.

She manages her household

~~~~

She makes decisions

with the carefulness and thought

of one who is wise

governing business ventures

with prayer, confidence and grace

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Footnotes: This poem is my perspective of the woman portrayed in Proverbs, Chapter 31, Old Testament bible. She is a mother, a wife, a business woman, and a governess who is blessed because all that she does she does with God’s help, with the wisdom gained throughout her life. I chose to use this passage of scripture in Proverbs as an inspiration for these three verses of Tanka poetry to honor a Proverbs 31 woman and mother on Mother’s Day. My own mother was a woman and mother who exemplified the Proverbs 31 woman with these characteristics, and though she is now deceased I hope that I can be one of such character. To all mothers out there, I wish you a happy Mother’s Day.

Joyce E. Johnson © 2015


The right word at the right time   8 comments

As a writer our words can be profound, even memorable, but it is our life lived before others that will have the greatest impact. If what we write is not remembered, saved or shared by the reader then maybe how we respond and communicate back to that one might. We may never know what the reader is getting from anything we write if they do not leave a comment, but just to know that what we write, share and post can be of a positive, encouraging word to one at just the right time is something worth striving for; the right word and message to the one who needs or needed it at just that opportune time. And what about those who never comment, give feedback, ‘follow’ or ‘like’ what we’ve written? It doesn’t really matter if what we write or wrote was just the right word or post for that time. A word posted or written for a particular time or season delivered the right way does matter. It is something I care about as a writer.

Writing can also entertain just for the sake of the reader’s enjoyment. I love to entertain that way with whimsical poems or stories and have fun with them while writing them. Then there are just times when I want to incorporate a message of faith, encouragement, hope or support in something I write and send out. If I have asked God to help me know what to write, and ask Him to bless it and to bless the reader receiving it I am confident that it has gone to that one who needed it that day. That is worth it all.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

 

Posted May 3, 2015 by Joyce in blogging, Faith, my musings, My Writings, Writing

Tagged with , ,

After the storms God gives us rainbows

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An arch of color

spreads across a twilight sky

too soon it is gone

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Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

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