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The Lesson of the Pear Trees

23 Sep

Years passed at Heathfield, happy years for the most part. My love for the house and everything in it grew a pace. The land and the trees and the bountiful flowering bushes, lilac and snowball and Japonica. I adored the place. That first summer I would walk around it just saying silently “This is OURS, this is MINE.” It was a dream come true. Why had I delayed moving to the country so long?
I had been afraid. Afraid of change and the unknown and having to make a whole new life for ourselves. But the very things I had been afraid of became the best things. The whole new way of life was miraculous. And we all grew and changed and became better people because of it. Because of Heathfield we had a wonderful life of healthy, fun and frolic. We raised dogs and horses and cattle and chickens and pigs and even tried quail (disaster) and bunnies and I am sure I have left some animals off the list, by accident.
Time passed, our son Charley Jr and daughters Helen and Lilla grew and more were born. Robert and then Murdoch added to our young family. We entertained a great deal. Often we had parties on the terrace overlooking the yard where a pair of pear trees dominated the view. They were charming with their wide branches and tall for fruit trees. Gorgeous in springtime covered in white blossoms, magnificent in summer laden with pears, presaging winter as their leaves changed early in the fall. And in deep winter standing naked and proud of their shape, they were the first thing the eye beheld when looking south. I loved those trees.
And then disaster struck. One morning when I looked out of the window towards the south a horrible sight greeted me. One of the pear trees lay in pieces on the ground. When I say pieces I really mean pieces. It looked as if a china figure had crashed and broken into sections which were lying on the ground. I was so sad. It was heartbreaking to see the remains of that tree. And the other one looked forlorn and alone. Charley called a tree company and they came out to look at it and they brought horrifying news. We must cut down the mate to the fallen tree. We had no choice. It was dead and brittle just like the downed tree. No telling when it, too could fall. It might happen while children were playing in the yard. The situation brought a real danger to our family and needed to be addressed immediately. So we cut her down.
I cried. And I mourned those pear trees. When ever I looked into the yard in that direction, I saw only the gap where there had once been trees.

My eyes saw no further. It was as if there were a screen between me and the further fields. And so things remained all the rest of that year. Over and over I mourned the trees. I spoke of them often. It ruined my pleasure in that yard to see the empty place where they had been.
The following spring I gave a luncheon for the Mount Vernon Chapter of the DAR, at Heathfield. I wanted to please my mother in law. And I was pretty good at throwing these parties for a whole lot of people. I did not hesitate. The day was fine. Not too hot nor was it cold. There were about 60 ladies and I had tables placed all around two sides of the house for them to sit down and eat their lunch. I believe we served them quiche and a salad and then when it came to desert I realized that the pies I had bought were frozen. They needed to cook for nearly an hour in order to be ready. it was a terrible mistake. We heated the ovens extra high and tried to speed it up other ways.
In the meantime I was outdoors trying to distract the ladies from the fact that the desert was so late. I was speaking to a couple of ladies as we gazed out, toward the south. We were looking at the yard where the pear trees used to stand.
“I am so sorry you cannot see the pear trees which once stood there,” I said. “They were so pretty and big and bloomed so wonderfully in the spring.”
And the lady said “Oh that would have been terrible. They must have spoiled your view. You would not have been able to see this lovely vista!”
And when she said that, it was as if scales were removed from my eyes. Suddenly I saw the view. The gorgeous view that had opened up immediately when the pear trees were down. A magnificent view had been there all the time, and I never noticed it. I was too busy mourning the trees that were gone. Focused on lack, I failed to see the abundance which was squarely in my view.
But once I saw it, I could not UN-see it. I was grateful. And I marveled at the human brain and how it can deceive us. All that time I spent missing something that had run its course. Those trees were old. Their time was past. And furthermore, we had acquired the land on the other side of the stone wall. It belonged to us now. And we were able to care for it and mow it and keep it trimmed to some extent while still allowing cover for the little animals which lived in thickets around the fence lines.
What I saw now was spectacular. The long view, the vista, the undulating land disappearing in the distant wood and succeeding fields carried the eye on and on. Everyone could see it, but me. I have rarely been so blindsided by something that was right in front of my face. The lesson has stayed with me. I often speak of the Lesson of the Pear Trees. I have told the story hundreds of times and gained a bit more self knowledge each time. I am so grateful to those trees for teaching me.
It is one of the most important lessons one can learn. And for some reason it seems to be a common problem. People focus on something or someone who is gone, and fail to see that a better thing or person is right in front of their nose. Why is this a pattern?
I am not sure why. It is almost universal. But I preach this over and over. Don’t overlook something wonderful because you are busy looking for something that is no longer there.
There are so many properties, so many dogs, so many choices of people who could be a mate. The possibilities are endless. But you must take the trouble to look. And sometimes that is not easy. Everyone gets tired of beating their heads against a stone wall. People lie to themselves, often. The most important thing is to know what you want, and why you want it.
I wanted the Pear trees because they had always been there. As soon as they were gone I began focusing on lack. it colored everything I looked at. It even colored my thinking about Heathfield for a time. And yet there was NO LACK. Actually there was a better view than we had ever had, and besides that, the entire yard south of the house now opened up for football and tag and what ever games the children wished to play. And when we had our 20th Wedding Anniversary Dance we were able to place the tent without worrying about those trees being in the way , the way they were for our 10th Anniversary party.
Occasionally I have discovered other situations like this, that I would never have noticed it if were not for the Lesson of the Pear Trees…

That sadness which was real, but unrealistic, taught me. I longed for something whose time was over, and almost missed something whose time had come. And there is where the lesson lies.

 

Copyright©. 2018 Bonnie B. Matheson

What Really Died at Auschwitz?

8 Oct

The bulk of what you will read here today is from an email that was sent to me recently. The actual article was written by Sebastian Vilar Rodrigez in 2011, but it is even more relevant today. Printing this is meant to be controversial, but not intended to be mean-spirited to any whose religion is mentioned here. Just think about what it says. Are we better off if women are denied education? I am working with a young woman from Afghanistan and helping her while she creates a project. It is a multi-faceted dissertation about the fear of going to school that many young girls from her country feel because of the Taliban. There have been instances of acid thrown into the face of young girls going to school. In one place over 100 girls were poisoned by a contaminated well. This is not civilization. This is not progress. I don’t care who you are, or what your reasons, keeping women in ignorance is not acceptable. The desire to suppress knowledge is not acceptable

“What really died at Auschwitz?

by Spanish writer Sebastian Vilar Rodrigez and published in a Spanish newspaper on Jan. 15 2011.

“EUROPEAN LIFE DIED IN AUSCHWITZ”
By Sebastian Vilar Rodrigez

“I walked down the street in Barcelona and suddenly discovered a terrible truth – Europe died in Auschwitz … We killed six million Jews and replaced them with 20 million Muslims. In Auschwitz we burned a culture, thought, creativity, talent. We destroyed the chosen people, truly chosen, because they produced great and wonderful people who changed the world.

The contribution of this people is felt in all areas of life: science, art, international trade, and above all, as the conscience of the world.
These are the people we burned.

And under the pretence of tolerance, and because we wanted to prove to ourselves that we were cured of the disease of racism, we opened our gates to 20 million Muslims, who brought us stupidity and ignorance, religious extremism and lack of tolerance, crime and poverty, due to an unwillingness to work and support their families with pride.

They have blown up our trains and turned our beautiful Spanish cities into the third world, drowning in filth and crime. Shut up in the apartments they receive free from the government, they plan the murder and destruction of their naive hosts.

And thus, in our misery, we have exchanged culture for fanatical hatred, creative skill for destructive skill, intelligence for backwardness and superstition. We have exchanged the pursuit of peace of the Jews of Europe and their talent for a better future for their children, their determined clinging to life because life is holy, for those who pursue death, for people consumed by the desire for death for themselves and others, for our children and theirs.

What a terrible mistake was made by miserable Europe.

A lot of Americans have become so insulated from reality that they imagine America can suffer defeat without any inconvenience to themselves. Recently, the UK debated whether to remove The Holocaust from its school curriculum because it ‘offends’ the Muslim population which claims it never occurred. It is not removed as yet. However, this is a frightening portent of the fear that is gripping the world and how easily each country is giving in to it.

It is now more than sixty years after the Second World War in Europe ended. This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the six million Jews, twenty million Russians, ten million Christians, and nineteen-hundred Catholic priests who were ‘murdered, raped, burned, starved, beaten, experimented on and humiliated.’ Now, more than ever, with Iran, among others, claiming the Holocaust to be ‘a myth,’ it is imperative to make sure the world never forgets.”

So, Now that you have read the article, do you think you would like to pass this on?

How many years will it be before the attack on the World Trade Center ‘NEVER HAPPENED’ because it offends some Muslim in the United States? When are we going to stop being so politically correct that we can no longer be ourselves? This really must stop. People who do not like our ways need not move here. I never have understood the principle of people who move to an area from some different type of place and then spend all their energies trying to modify their new home to be like the old one. Why not just stay in the old one? Or if you wish to move on to bigger and better things, don’t be afraid of change that is required by gaining knowledge. Knowledge is power. Don’t let anyone limit yours.

Thoughts on pro-Obama video

7 Oct

I think this is a good example of how Obama tries to divide the nation according to “we and they” . He is cherry picking results and leaving out any culpability on the part of Democrats. (or the Whitehouse)
Here is the video to watch for yourself:
In this little video Obama’s very first point is about how prosperity was NEVER a result of Big Business’ s success. And then he mentions (positively) Henry Ford who was one of the VERY FIRST of the owners of a big company. In fact it was Henry Ford who began paying a wage high enough so that his own workers could buy one of the cars they were making. This had NOTHING to do with a government regulation. (or unions) (But Obama uses it as an example) 
His main point seems to be that the economy has not improved even though we have had some significant tax cuts in the last decade. He is right that the economy is bad. But the tax cuts probably saved it from being a LOT WORSE. Tax cuts are for everybody, by the way. No one is saying the middle should be taxed at a higher rate, in fact the idea is to reduce rates for everyone.


Mostly Obama keeps hammering away at points that are meant to make the rich sound bad rather than something to aspire to. He continually divides the people over these made up “%” numbers and repeats over and over again about tax cuts without ever mentioning the way in which the government has figured into the current downturn. 
He did mention that people were practically ‘strong armed’ into buying houses they could not afford. That was certainly not anything “done to them” by the rich. That was a political move. Congress forced the banks to make those loans. They were trying to get everyone in a house of their own. But they were doing it without bothering to take into consideration whether the people could afford these houses. It was criminal.


In the video there are pictures of windmills and solar panels and the implication that we must get ourselves self sufficient in energy by using these things. This he tried and failed expensively at doing. These forms of energy may work eventually. They may be better than fossil fuels, though I am not sure about them because there are a lot of hidden costs and ingredients to those sorts of energy production.
However, we can become energy self sufficient right here, right now with oil and gas. The fact that Obama has stonewalled that, and refused to approve that pipeline which would provide so many jobs is amazing. He is bound and determined to be the one to change the direction of the country when it comes to energy. But we are not accustomed, nor do we wish to be, to have ONE MAN change our direction. We are a diverse nation of independent minded people. We are often wrong. But we lumber along as a collection of states all of whom are very different, and often have very different goals. We like it that way.
 No one is saying that there should be no regulations. No one.
 But many of the regulations we have already are crushing those who wish to start new businesses. Obama says in the video that it is the “strong, growing middle class” that creates jobs and he is at least mostly right about that. But in order to create them there has to be enough “give “ in the economy so that people have some feeling of stability, some certainty that things are not going to change for the worse without warning. Right now there is huge uncertainty in the business community. People are scared to scale up. They are afraid to hire more employees. Health care could make it too expensive, or taxes could suck away all the money for payroll.

Government Programs and taxes do not create jobs. And they certainly do not create prosperity. In fact they are the very thing that stifles job growth. People who are not wealth creators often do not understand this. And of course the huge percentage of people who are living off of the government “dole” or disability payments do not understand this. They are easily fooled by Obama’s rhetoric. Don’t be one of those.