Serengeti in the Midwest

The scenery in every part of the world varies greatly.  I live in an area that is mostly described as flat and treeless.  Some people might think it is boring.  It doesn’t have the grand and majestic steep angles of the Swiss Alps.  There is not a sandy beach with clear blue waters.  That doesn’t mean it’s not beautiful.

When I see the sweeping plains in the pale yellow  contrasting with the wide open sky, it is calming and clears my mind.  But as I drive to work, I often look at what is along those plains.   There is one moment that takes my breath away.

There is a view where the storm clouds descend.  Western Nebraska has changing weather that can turn on a dime.  It is a common joke, but creates a great sky.  Even after living here, I can look at the clouds and predict the weather.  I hardly need a weather report.  The smell and view of the mist and buildup above works better.

The grey of an impending thunderstorm and  darkens the bluffs, obscuring the view of the top.  It casts a shadow on the pale sandstone and turns them a deep purple.  The cold air blasting down causes steam to rise from the ground.

The mist begins to rise off the newly green grass of spring and I look into the valley where the river runs.  The train with it’s beat up cargo cars snakes along the side of the slowly flowing waters.  The trees are a stark contrast against the light mist of the sky.  Their black branches with barely visible leaves starkly stand out against the changing sky.

This visual transports me to another place and possibly another time.  I’ve traveled around the world, but never to Africa.  My Western Nebraska life is temporarily time warped.  It looks like what I would imagine the Serengeti might be like.

I don’t necessarily have a desire to travel there, but I always have a desire for new places and experiences.  The every changing landscape is a delight to me.  No matter where you live, there are pluses and minuses.  It is definitely a blessing that things change quickly here and if I can be transported to another place on my way to work, it’s a moment I wouldn’t change. Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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The Body

Hewitt Bruce, Betty FischI’m a nurse in a nursing home.  Most people think that nursing home’s are just for “old” people, or the geriatrics.  That’s not true, but admittedly a majority of my patients are over seventy.  I am not only their nurse, but I watch them and learn.It’s changed my mind about age.

Seventy seems young to me now.  I have realized that there is so much life after you retire, even after you enter a nursing home.  Life still goes on  I’ve noticed that some of my oldest patients take the least amount of medication.  I see light in their eyes and spunk even when others think life has gone, as in having a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.  I see love and friendships begin with their peers.

I find it amazing that most of them do some sort of physical activity everyday.  They may be in the “sunset” of their life, but they aren’t living like that.  They live for everyday.  They try to preserve what they have.

Today I heard a song on the radio, “Talking Body” by Tove Lo.  I have heard it before and slightly listened to the lyrics.  I wasn’t impressed and today when I heard it I was probably appalled or angry.  It’s hard to say.

The song is about having the perfect body.  It talks about using our bodies just for fun and until every piece is gone.  I don’t think our bodies are to be used.  While having fun is great, that’s not all that our bodies are about.

I see people fighting to keep what body they have.  People going to therapy just to regain and improve what their bodies can do.  I think even I wish I could use my body just for fun.

You’re body isn’t meant to be used until everything is gone.  It’s the term “use” that I object to.  Don’t use your body.  Cherish it.  Keep it healthy.  Once you lose something, it really is gone.  That’s what the song doesn’t talk about.  If you lose the ability to walk, you rarely get to walk again.  You get a walker or a cane, maybe a wheelchair.  I think many of my residents would like to not use a walker.

In an age where I see more advertisements for healthy food and people talking about “green” eating, society is perhaps thinking about making good choices for their bodies.  It could be because they want to feel better, but in the long run it saves them.

The song perfectly maps out society’s thoughts about youth.  It reminds me of college and learning that in your teens you think you are invincible.  You’re not.  Make your body work for you and make good choices.  It won’t be around forever.  The song promotes just using your body to make you feel good.  Sometimes your body doesn’t make you feel good.

Instead of using it, preserve it.  I’m not saying to clamp down on the fun in your life.  Just look ahead to what you might be doing when you’re eighty years old.  There is life and you want to be able to have fun at that age, too.

I know one thing, I see people fight everyday for independence and their choices.  That generation has perseverance and spunk.  The biggest thing I know is that you don’t get to be 104 years old without some vinegar in your blood.

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