I saw a Robin today

February 27, 2006

The Robins are Back

JoAnn mentioned last week that she saw Robins inspecting the nest in the front yard tree. Yesterday I saw a number of Robins as I was driving around and this afternoon I heard several different song birds. All of this is a sure sign of spring.

Last week on Saturday I saw several thousand geese in the flyway heading north. Once again a sure sign that spring is coming. Even the crocuses are starting to come up. I’ve noticed a couple who peaked a little soon and got caught by a few cold days.

There is a tiredness near the end of winter and an anxiousness by nature to get on with spring. The same is true for me. March is just around the corner and while we won’t see green trees for another 6 to 8 weeks, it is the anticipation of buds, early flowers, and as my barber said, “Time to get in the early lettuce” that encourages us for spring.

It is the brown and gray of winter that often gets to us. When you live in a climate where white is infrequent and brown and gray is common – at least in the winter – you become anxious for spring. It is the seemingly continuous explosion of color – those first flowers, beautiful sunsets that have been there all winter but are more appreciated now, the sounds of song birds, the site of those first blades of green grass, buds that have been dormant all winter ready to pop. This all represents spring.

And yes, people have a change of heart. Motorcycles abound, students on campus are down to shorts, t-shirts, and sandal. Tops come down on convertibles, the first smells of barbecue are in the air, children playing outdoors, and for those who can’t wait, the lawnmowers start up – just to make sure they still work and can still move over the ground – even though there is nothing to mow.

I think it is the lengthening of the days that has the most positive impact on people. It is almost like coming out of hibernation and while we may not be bears, we do hunker down for the winter to endure rather than embrace. Moods change, smiles appear, work is not so burdensome, and life is better.

Spring does breed hope and hope is eternal. We are fortunate to live on a planet and in a country where we can enjoy the beauty of spring and embrace a reawakening of life.

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I really enjoy my moleskine. In fact I have several. I use them as journals, note takers, and project organizers. I keep almost all of them to pocket size rather than the larger size. I enjoy writing and have collected some 20 written journals over the last 30 years. Recently I have moved to MacJournal as a tool and for the last couple of years have moved back and forth between wholly writing on MacJournal and using my Moleskine. I have finally decided that the best approach is for me to combine the two. Plus add in my new blog sites and I am moving in the directions i think are important.

Items I keep in my journals and off the blog site are a little more personal. A friend of mine once said he was writing his journal for his grandchildren since his children would not care. I don’t fully believe that. I think the children care. In fact I wish my mother had written in a journal. My dad has provided a short history and I wish I had more!

My goal is to appropriately mix between what goes in my Moleskine, MacJournal, and on my 3 blog sites.

Knowledge and Understanding

February 25, 2006

I’m just going to start this posting and add to it a bit later on. I’ve got a busy schedule today, having gotten up at 4:15 am to get my wife to the airport. The importance of visiting grandchildren cannot be underestimated. But that’s not the purpose of this post.

Some couple of years ago a colleague and I wrote an article on the urban forest and developed a model of how knowledge and understanding influence the urban forest. We showed that knowledge was a precursor to understanding, but in the case of public administrators, we also discovered that knowledge and understanding were not essential to making decisions that impact the urban forest. While that was not a surprise to us, we had not bothered to document it before.

Taking the same line of reasoning I was pondering this morning while driving to the airport – of course that was 7 hours ago and I’m not sure where the whole thing fits, but as I have gone back and reconstructed my thoughts I’ve decided that just maybe what I was thinking about was blogging. If anything in the short time I’ve been blogging (and I do have other blogs – just look at those in the menu bar to the right) I’ve learned a lot. I stated with a knowledge of what others were doing and saying. I observed many different structures and approaches to blogging. Some are wholly sales pitches, such as Tom Peters, while others are primarily focused on providing knowledge – 43 folders. Yet others focus on opinion (Confessions of a Real Estate Loser) and others are a mix. I’ve watched some go from clear simplicity to very complex – or more appropriately cluttered. I was struck by that directly when my daughter-in-law started her web page and moved directly to simplicity. I had already been moving in that direction, but was encourage by how clean and simple her blog was. I’m not sure this blog meets that criteria, but I was moved by her approach and created a new web page titled Dan’s Musings. Since it is in a site where I will not blog, but will link to this blog you can see why I titled it Dan’s Musings: the blog.

So yes, life is about gaining knowledge and learning. I love to do both and to share them. Of course I don’t always have the time, but I’m working at it.