A Moment of Peace

Peaceful night
Peaceful night

Greetings,

I received a wonderful gift tonight and I would like to share it with you. I stepped outside a while ago just to ponder as I sometimes do. The air was crisp and clean; the night, calm and peaceful. I listened to the nighttime critters chirping in the trees; in the distance the river chattered cheerfully as it flowed upon its way.

I stood overlooking the hollow and felt the warm glow that shone from the windows of my neighbors’ homes. The silvery sphere of the moon in full bloom floated behind gauzy clouds in the eastern sky, and tiny points of starlight peered through the darkness to shine upon me.

I crossed my arms over my chest, leaned back my head, closed my eyes, breathed deep, and set my mind adrift on the night. There was a moment of hesitation, like a puppy who suddenly realizes he has slipped his leash, and then my mind ran free.

I let it go. I didn’t try to call it back and for a moment, perhaps only an instant, all the stresses of the past week faded away and all the worries for the future disappeared. And, during that moment I felt peace.

True peace, like true joy, is a fleeting thing. It can not be captured, or conjured, or contrived. It often happens so quickly that we can only appreciate it as a memory, and when it’s gone its absence is indescribable.

This moment, this instant in time, was my gift from the Universe. Perhaps I earned it; perhaps I needed it; perhaps I merely accepted it. Whatever the reason I received this precious gift I wish for you the same.

Life is full of worry and doubt. We all carry bushel baskets full of need-to’s and have-to’s and ought-to’s, but sometimes what we really need is to stop, take a deep breath, and allow ourselves a moment of peace.

Cordially yours,

Tim Couch

Celebrate the day but watch your step

wind-generatorsGreetings,

The CowChows is on the road this weekend for a long overdue visit with family. Time with family is like an ice cream cone; there’s never enough and it’s always gone too soon.

I stepped outside this morning to watch the day arrive, and as the darkness gave way to the light I beheld a strange sight. In the distance, on a northern ridge of the Wichita Mountains, a staggered row of wind generators stood overlooking the valley. They stood tall and straight, and spanned the horizon from east to west. As the dawn grew brighter and the morning breeze picked up their great wings began to slowly turn. It was as if they were sentinels heralding the birth of a new day.

I stood mesmerized as these giants slowly came to life in turn from east to west. I marveled at the modern technology placed here in the most ancient mountain range in North America. I wondered at the progress we made in the past century, and that which we will make in the next. And I was moved, also, to celebrate the birth of this new day.

I raised my arms to the rising sun and let its life-giving rays warm me. I listened to the music of the songbirds as they joined in the celebration. I closed my eyes and found a rhythm in their song, and I began to dance a welcoming dance to the day. I felt the morning dew splash up on my ankles, and I became childlike and exuberant as I joyfully skipped through the freshly mown grass.

I whirled and I twirled in the growing light of day. The sun smiled warmly at my offering; the wind generators seemed to applaud my performance, and the birds cheered me on. And then, I stepped in a pile of dog crap.

So, it’s going to be one of those days. I knew I should’ve stayed in bed.

Cordially yours,

Tim Couch

Nature’s Plan

wasp-and-spiderAs daylight crept in through the western windows of the CowChows this morning I found myself in the midst of a life and death struggle. I stood at the window watching night slip away when sudden and frenzied activity caught my eye. A wasp was entangled in a spider’s web just outside the window pane.

I watched for a while as the wasp struggled with all his might to escape the silken threads; his wings beat the air; he twisted and grasped for purchase but could reach nothing solid. The spider crept close but stayed safely away. He reached out one slender arm, tentatively touched the struggling wasp, and then retreated to safety. The wasp was several times the size of the spider but he had no defense against the sticky strands that bound him, and the spider had only to wait.

What should I do? Should I leave the wasp to his fate, or interfere and rescue him? The laws of nature would have me leave him to the spider. After all, spider’s have to eat, too. But, my own nature called for me to spare his life. What chain of events might I set off if I were to interfere with nature’s plan, or was there no real plan but only a careless wasp and a lucky spider?

I watched as the wasp grew tired, and finally still. The spider, too, watched and waited. Finally, I could deny my own nature no longer and I slipped out onto the porch. I took a stick and reached it out to the exhausted wasp. He grasped it and clung to it as I pulled him from certain death. I lowered him onto the porch rail where he staggered to his feet. Remnants of the web clung to him and dragged him down, and he collapsed there on the porch rail unable to go on.

I stepped close, and gently and carefully began to pull the tangled strands from his motionless body. Perhaps after some rest he would revive and fly away. As I pulled the last of the spider’s web from his tiny feet, the little bastard stung me!

I guess nature had a plan after all.

Best Regards,

Tim Couch

A Butterfly Flaps Its Wings

Whatever
Whatever

Greetings,

I hope the recent storms have been kind to you. We’ve had some minor tree damage here at the CowChows but nothing serious. I was out back a while ago cleaning up some of the broken limbs when I felt a little tickle on my forearm. I looked down to see a beautiful yellow butterfly sitting there. I raised my arm to get a better look, and as I brought him close he looked up sheepishly and said, “Sorry about your trees.”

“Excuse me,” I said.

He blinked and said, “Just wanted to say sorry about your trees. I was in South America a while back and well, I flapped my wings.”

I shook my head but it didn’t help. “What does that mean,” I asked, “you flapped your wings?”

He shrugged his tiny shoulders and said, “I landed on this flower and when I saw all the nectar was gone I flew away in a huff, and I probably flapped my wings harder than I should have. When I got back here I heard about this storm and thought I should apologize. So again, sorry about your trees.”

Still struggling to understand I said, “So, you think that when you flapped your wings in South America you somehow caused the storm half way around the world that broke my trees?”

“Haven’t you heard?” he said. “It’s all connected. Every breath we take, every move we make causes ripples in the fabric of all that is. Every thought and every deed has its own cause and effect that impacts everything and everybody. It’s all connected, man.”

“But,” I said, “you can’t possibly believe that you’re somehow responsible for everything that happens because everything is connected, can you?”

“Whatever,” he said in disgust. “You are so out of it.” He flicked his proboscis at me and gave his lacy wings a mighty flap. I stood and watched him fly away and as he grew too small to see I heard far off behind me, the distant roll of thunder.

Cordially yours,

Tim Couch

Live Free

baby-flagI stepped outside a while ago just to drink in the day, and what a beautiful day it is. The neighbors to one side, a young recently married couple, chatted intimately while grilling their supper. Beyond them, another neighbor meandered about with a garden sprayer tending his lawn. To the other side neighborhood children played and laughed and squealed with joy or excitement or surprise; their lilting laughter wafted across the valley like birdsong.

I looked down the hill to another neighbors home. With one arm he was loading construction tools into the back of his truck in preparation for the coming workday. In the other he cradled his infant son not willing to put him down even long enough to load his truck.

Kids wandered between houses; neighbors stood in their yards and conversed; tires sang on the far-off highway as more-distant neighbors went to and fro. And, as I stood and watched the world evolve around me I was overwhelmed with gratitude.

This country we live in is the freest the world has ever known. The time in which we live is among the most productive, prosperous and progressive in the history of mankind. Few of us have known what it means to go hungry. Most of us have never known mortal fear. All of us have the freedom to pursue that which we believe will fulfill us.

The freedoms that we take so much for granted may be given by God, but they can be taken by man. I wonder what it must be like to live only at the will of another, to live without hope, to live and yet not live. Freedom is a precious thing, even more precious than life itself. It must be earned everyday, guarded with diligence, protected with ferocity, and endowed with generosity.

The freedoms that we have, and have enjoyed for only the last two hundred and thirty three years, are the one thing our descendants can not live without. Live Free.

Cordially yours,

Tim Couch

Hey, You’re a Honeybee

Hobo Honeybee
Hobo Honeybee

I was outside earlier slinging paint on the front porch of the CowChows when I got a pleasant surprise. You know how the aroma of fresh paint seems to attract every bug for miles around; well I heard a buzz and looked down to find a honeybee had landed on the handle of my paintbrush. I raised the brush to get a better look and saw that he had a tiny bundle wrapped in a tiny red handkerchief tied to the end of a tiny stick that was propped over his shoulder. I said, “Hey, you’re a honeybee.”

“So what,” he said.

“I haven’t seen any of you guys around for a couple of years,” I said. “Where you been?”

“It’s not where we’ve been,” he said. “It’s where we’re going.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“We’ve just had enough, is all. You work hard all day long, try to do the right thing, fulfill your obligations to the hive, and the harder you work the more they take. Eventually, you start to feel like nothing but a drone. There’s still plenty of bees around but they’re the fatcats and the layabouts that never leave the hive. Most of the worker-bees are gone. I’m one of the last to leave.”

“But, what about the others, the ones left behind?” I asked.

“Hey, we talked until we were buzzed out. All the fatcats want to do is strut around making rules and giving orders, and all the layabouts do is sit on their stingers and say, ‘That’s not my job.’ Hopefully, they’ll wake up before it’s too late.”

“But, what about making honey?” I asked.

“Everything it takes to make honey is still here,” he said. Make it yourself, or get the bees to go to work.”

“How do we do that? I asked.”

He shrugged and said, “Do a little jig, they’ll like that. Hey, you missed a spot.”

I turned to look where he was pointing and when I looked back, he was gone. “Wait,” I called, “Where are you going?”

A tiny little voice from high and away came back to me, “Yeah right, like I’m going to tell you.”

Cordially yours,

Tim Couch

Happy Feet!

Do the Happy Feet dance!
Do the Happy Feet dance!

Want to have some fun?

I attended a Rose Croix funeral service this evening for one of our dearly departed Brethren, Illustrious Brother Jobie Goslee. It’s a beautiful ceremony and I feel honored to participate in it. As a participant it is also an opportunity to get all gussied up in my tuxedo, which is why I wound up having fun on my way home, at Wal-Mart.

I stopped in to get a few groceries. Apparently, wearing a tuxedo in Wal-Mart is similar to a hooker going to church; everyone wonders where you’ve been, what you’ve been doing, and why you’re here.

Most people played it cool; they just glanced at me and then looked away as if to say, “Oh my God, the imaginary guy in the tuxedo is back.”
Some people were friendly and nodded to me approvingly.
One lady was especially friendly as she welcomed me to Wal-Mart.
And, one young lady actually greeted me and told me I looked nice, and then beamed when I thanked her and responded that she looked nice, too.

Then, of course, there were the others. Like the guy who waited until I was around the corner, and he thought out of earshot, before he turned to his wife and said, “Bond, James Bond.”
Or, the kid who was trying too hard to impress his friends when he called from the far end of the aisle, “Excuse me sir, have you any Grey Poupon?”
My favorite, though, was the young girl who asked me to do the Happy Feet dance, and when I explained that I hadn’t seen the movie she broke into dance and showed me how it was done.

I still don’t think I can do the Happy Feet dance, but now I’m thinking maybe I’ll just wear my tux sometimes for the fun of it.

Cordially,

Tim Couch

Tomato Snake Early Warning System

Dreaded Tomato Snake
Dreaded Tomato Snake

Greetings,

I hope you are enjoying these lazy, hazy days of summer.

You may recall that a couple of years ago we had a real problem here at the CowChows with tomato snakes. Basically, the tomato worms were growing to such an enormous size that they thought they were snakes. When you pulled one off the plant they would wriggle around and try to bite you. Some would even spit at you. They were scary. The whole ordeal was so traumatic that we didn’t even have tomatoes last year. I think they upset the entire CowChows eco-system.

Well, I’m proud to announce that this year we have a solution to this menace and are once again enjoying our very own delicious homegrown tomatoes. After years of research, upon which no expense was spared, I have devised the Tomato Snake Early Warning System. What, you may ask, is this ingenious solution? It’s simple really. I have learned to recognize their droppings.

What makes the tomato worm such a formidable foe is his camouflage. He is of the same color, shape and markings as the plant. When you get close to the plant he stops moving and virtually disappears. But, his poop is dark brown, in the shape of a tiny little barrel, and it stands out against the bright green of the plant leaf. So, all you have to do is search the plant for these tiny barrel shaped gifts and when you find one you know there is a tomato worm lurking somewhere below. Of course, you still have to find him but at least you’re not wasting time searching for something that may not be there.

The one danger with this system is that you incur the risk of your neighbors thinking you have gone mad. So please, if you’re out around the CowChows and you see a grizzled old man in a floppy hat bent over at the waist and staring at a plant, don’t call the Sheriff. He made off with half my crop the last time.

Cordially yours,

Tim Couch

Where’s apology from Letterman Show joke writer?

Who is the puppet master?
Who is the puppet master?

As far as I’m concerned the Letterman apology is too little too late. If he truly regretted telling the joke he wouldn’t have gone around telling it over and over during the days following. He only decided to make a serious effort at apology when he realized he had gone too far publicly and it was likely going to hurt him professionally. But, this post isn’t about Letterman. It’s about the person who has, so far, been overlooked in all this hoohaw.

This post is about the person who actually wrote the joke. Letterman is just a mouthpiece. He doesn’t write his own material. This became evident during the writer’s strike of 2007-2008. Sure it was poor judgement on his part to deliver the joke and late night T.V. would be better without him. But, somewhere out there is a comic writer, or team of writers, who actually thought the implication of statutory rape of a fourteen year old girl was funny. This is the person, or people, who really need to be fired.

Anybody that clueless about what constitutes humor has absolutley no business getting paid for their drivel. I say fire the writers. Maybe if they don’t have to spend their time coming up with stupid jokes they can go back to school and choose a career path that actually suits their talents. Something like, oh I don’t know, boat anchor.

Or, if they’re really determined to make it as a comic writer I think a little homeless time is just what they need. Some of the funniest and wisest people I’ve ever known honed their wisdom and education while domiciliary challenged.

So yeah, flush Letterman. He’s been floating for years. But let’s not forget, while we’re at it, the people who put those words in his mouth, and those who downplayed it in the media, and those who promote such bad behavior. The puppet may appear to sing and dance, but forget not who pulls the strings.

Sincerely,

Tim Couch