SYW: On Belief, Morality, and the Order of Nature

I always look forward to Mondays, when Melanie issues a new set of questions for Share Your World. Her questions this week are quite thought-provoking, so I’d better get started!

QUESTIONS

What do you believe but cannot prove?
The existence of God. God is seen differently by people; there may be almost as many ideas of God as there are believers. For me, God is within each individual and in nature. God is a force rather than an actual being. But I do believe in the power of prayer, so I guess sometimes I believe – when it’s convenient – that God does “listen” to prayers and perhaps helps things happen (or not). It is a comfort to me, at least, and it also is a comfort to others to know that people are praying on their behalf. In fact, there have been scientific studies of the power of prayer, and what was concluded is that knowing that a community of people who care about you bolsters your will to get better (or improve whatever the situation is). People are saying that they support you and are concerned about your suffering. It can actually motivate people to fight harder against a disease like cancer.

Do animals have morals?   Exclude human beings from the equation please. 
Why exclude humans? Are we any more moral than animals? Sometimes I think not!

Anyway, I don’t believe animals have morals, not really, although some do have compassion. Having morals requires one to be able to imagine different scenarios and outcomes, and to be able to judge others’ actions. I am not convinced animals can do that. However, there is much about animals – particularly the most intelligent ones – that we don’t know. Dolphins have been observed helping people in trouble. Elephants also help each other when one is in distress. Whales use a complex system of sounds to communicate with each other. I always marvel at the natural world, because animals have developed adaptations to all kinds of environments and situations. But I don’t think that they can imagine the future or alternate situations. Possibly chimpanzees or gorillas, but only in a limited capacity.

People often pose the question of what makes humans different from other animals. It is our brain’s capacity to reason, analyze, synthesize, and imagine. Unfortunately, these capacities do not necessarily lead to better behavior than an animal might display. We make choices, often the wrong ones, which affect not only our own lives, but also the lives of others, including animals.

Is there inherent order in nature or is it all chaos and chance?
I believe there is inherent order, but we do not understand it completely. Science is constantly revising its hypotheses about the universe/natural world, as new discoveries are made. There is an order, but we have yet to really know that order. I read an article recently about scientists at Fermilab discovering erratic behavior by the tiny particles called muons. They have observed the muons deviating from whatever it is they do, which can alter scientific theories about how the universe works. It’s amazing that this tiny particle, whose existence has only been known for a few decades, can influence so much of scientific theory that was believed to be based on solid evidence.

Where is your least favorite place in the world?
Somewhere that I’ve never been. Someplace cold and desolate. I probably will never visit places such as Antarctica or Greenland; I have heard that Antarctica, at least, is well worth a trip, and I would love to see the penguins. But I cannot imagine living through months of darkness and frigid cold day after day. Alaska is beautiful but I wouldn’t want to live there. So my “least favorite place” might be different depending on whether that place is my least favorite place to visit or least favorite place to live.

There is one place that I don’t think I would even want to visit – it’s the only place in the world that I can think of – and that is North Korea.


GRATITUDE SECTION (Participation Always Optional)

Feel free to share something about the seasons that makes you smile!

I am capable of smiling during any season, but I will focus on the current season of spring. I love flowers and they make me smile. Here is a poem I wrote several years ago about my garden, which is mostly about the flowers of spring.

HAIKU: THE GARDEN
4/26/14

Snow drops rise early
to cheer the winter weary:
delicate white orbs.

Crocuses give hope
when purple flowers appear –
spring will arrive soon.

Yellow daffodils
herald the coming of spring
with their bright trumpets.

Tulip leaves unfold,
hiding their buds until May
brings colorful blooms.

The lilac bush makes
fragrantly scented flowers
in lavender clusters.

The rose bush’s thorns
keep gardeners at bay for
red blossoms in June.

Aromatic herbs
spice up the gardener’s meals;
worthy of wild growth!

Gardeners’ reward
is the harvest of summer:
Beauty, fragrance, food.


Speaking of fragrance, lilacs are in bloom everywhere here! They are beautiful and smell heavenly!

What a Nuisance!

This is the Word of the Day prompt, whose host defines this term thus:
 GABBLE-RATCHET. As well as being an old English dialect word for a noisy child, a gabble-ratchet is any nocturnal bird (particularly geese) that makes a lot of noise at night, once considered to be an ill omen.

I was attracted to this prompt today due to this unusual word!! The definition I found for gabble-ratchet is a bit different, from New Miriam-Webster Dictionary online:

Definition of gabriel ratchet
Miriam-Webster says the term derives from gabriel-ratchet, whose definition is:

dialectalthe cries of migrating wild geese flying by night which are often popularly explained as the baying of a supernatural pack of hounds and to which various superstitious significances (as forebodings of evil) are attributed.

I like the first definition better, but I am very familiar with the sound – a lot of Canada geese hang around our community’s campus when the weather is warm enough, and when they fly, they gabble-ratchet! So I am incorporating this unique word, with two other prompts from Fandango’s FOWC and The Daily Spur into my poem about

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CANADA GEESE

Canada geese everywhere
In pond and grass, and in the air
They leave their poop all over the place
When I walk, I look down, just in case
At the path where they have wandered
Poop here, poop there and over yonder
A gun is fired to scare them away
But they don’t care, they come back anyway
The swans in the ponds only chase after them
When their cygnets are young, but mostly ignore ’em
In the fall, those darned geese fly overhead
In V formation, full speed ahead
Their gabble-ratchet is music to my ears
They’re finally gone…until next year!
BUT
I wish I could say they really go away
But mild winters invite them to stay!
Call grounds crew to complain or snitch
But Canada geese have found their niche
I guess living with geese is just the price
We have to pay for a campus so nice!

RDP: Flatus

When I saw the Ragtag Daily Prompt for today, I laughed! Really? I thought. Does that mean what I think it does? Indeed it does – I looked it up, and here’s a little etymology:

Flatus comes from 17th century Latin (I imagine Chaucer made good use of it!), and literally means “blowing.” I don’t think I need to list all the synonyms, although “farting” is the word used in our house. Here’s an interesting synonym: borborygmus, its definition being “intestinal rumbling caused by moving gas.” OK, not quite the same – and although it may be embarrassing to emit the sound of a borborygmus in public, it is downright impolite to expel flatus in public, warranting a heartfelt “Excuse me!” And that inspires me to write a poem!

FLATUS

If you’re in a crowd
And it isn’t very loud,
But people start to stare,
Smile without a care!

No one needs to know
It was you that had to go
And emit (yes, you heard it!)
Flatus, or another name for it

Is farting, or more politely,
“Passing gas” whispered lightly.
Although considered rude
It’s just that I ate some food

That caused me to be so crude –
But I doubt you’re in the mood
To hear the explanation,
Of an old fart‘s gratification.

Sometimes there’s no help for it
And sometimes I just can’t quit
Whether “silent but deadly”
Or loud and like a medley

‘Cause my spouse is here beside me
We sometimes fart in harmony
So why not just have a laugh –
It’s only natural to pass gas!


Rhyme Time: The Blame Game

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie has a writing challenge called Rhyme Time. Here are the rules:
This week we are “writing away, and having a play, with rhyming words for you today” with Rhyme Time.
‘Rhyme Time’ focuses on the use of rhyme to build your writing piece. You will be given six rhyming words* and need to use all of them (but not limited to these) in your response, which should be a poetry form of your choice.
*Homophones can be used as alternatives to the challenge words.
Our rhyming words this week are:
flame
frame
game
blame
same
claim

Examples of Rhyme in Poetry
A rhyme is a repetition of similar sounding words, occurring at the end of lines in poems or songs. A rhyme is a tool utilizing repeating patterns that bring rhythm or musicality to poems. This differentiates them from prose, which is plain. A rhyme is employed for the specific purpose of rendering a pleasing effect to a poem, which makes its recital an enjoyable experience.
Classification of rhymes may be based on their positions in the poem.

I do not consider myself a poet, though I have occasionally written poetry. Most of it is either free verse or haiku. But as I looked at the list of words, a poem started to form in my head, (not great really, but it was fun), and here it is:

Men Framed Art Prints*

THE BLAME GAME

The photo in the frame
Is of my old flame.
We were too much the same
Or that’s what he’d claim
It all became a game –
We were both to blame.
What happened I cannot name
But him I could not tame.
We both, I guess, were the same
In playing the blame game!

 

*Image downloaded from Google Images and can be found here. 

 

 

Lens-Artists #79: Window With a View

The Lens-Artists Photo Challenge this week is window with a view. I have often taken photos from the inside of buses while on a tour someplace. I also have taken photos from every window of my (previous) house. I wrote haikus to go with each one. Here are two of them.

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Bedroom window
The storm rages leaving behind
one leaf
plastered to the screen.
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Porch window
Branch torn from
a wounded tree
violence of a summer storm

The photo below was taken from a window of Prairie Lakes (Des Plaines) running track window last January. Wind, followed by freeze, cause the snow to create this rippling pattern on a raised area of the athletic field.
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On our tour in Israel, we had to be on the bus at 7:30 am! This photo was taken shortly after that from the motorcoach window: sunburst over the Sea of Galilee.
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Sometimes the window with a view was on the other side of the motorcoach; in which case, I had to try to shoot between the seats and people’s heads. This rainbow was in the afternoon of January 9, on our way back to Tiberias, Israel, after sightseeing.
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I learned that one way to reduce the reflection on the window from inside the bus was to put my camera directly on the window (this works best with a cellphone). This photo is of Lake Nasser in Aswan, Egypt. After the High Dam was built, that part of the Nile became Lake Nasser. This particular area was very shallow with lots of small islands.
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In Normandy, France last June, we drove through several small villages between Caen and Arromanches. This photo was taken from the windshield of our rental car.
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This last photo was taken from the bus for our tour group when our cruise ship arrived at Nuremburg, Germany.
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FOTD: Hark, Ye Heralds of Spring!

I was definitely in the mood for spring, but then…
On Sunday – three days ago! – we had a snowstorm! About 3 inches of wet snow fell.

By yesterday, though, the snow was completely gone and the temperature rose to above 70°F! I was able to go out for a walk wearing a t-shirt!  I admired the daffodils along the route, and saw a painted lady butterfly which landed on the daffodils.
20190409_150856I made up a silly song about daffodils. I think of them as heralds of spring because they bloom early and look like trumpets. This is to the tune of the Christmas song, Hark the Herald Angels Sing. (I tried to maintain the rhythm of the song and  rhyme every two lines!)

Hark, ye heralds of the spring!
I just cannot help but sing!
Sun is out and air is warm,
Winter’s gone and spring is born!

Joyfully I walk outside
Everyone I meet says, “Hi!”
Daffodils along my way
Showing off their bright array

With their trumpets they proclaim,
“Flowers, come join our refrain!”
Butterflies and birds and bees
Color everywhere for all to see!

To see lots of spring color, go to Cee’s FOTD 4/18/19.

 

A Day of Sunshine

Nancy Merrill has a perfectly lovely prompt for this week’s A Photo A Week Challenge: Sunshine! Sunshine is what I crave most after enduring a cold winter in the Midwest, and spring begins to show its face.

There is nothing like a sunny day to warm my face, my heart and my mood! I have so many photos of sunshine because I am a sun worshipper! So here is a “day” of the sun…from its rise to when it sets.

Sunrise
Brings the new day
The sun follows us all the way
To nightfall.

7:00 a.m. – Sunrise over the Sea of Galilee – Jan.  10, 2019
(Tiberias, Israel – taken from our room at Hotel Leonardo)
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8:30 a.m. – Sun rises over the Dead Sea, Israel – Jan. 12, 2019
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10:00 a.m. – Sun peaks through a crack between mast and sail – our first morning on our cruise on the Nile River, Egypt – Dec. 29, 2018
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Noon – Sun filtering through dark clouds – over the Caribbean Sea, March 22, 2017
(Panama Canal Cruise – south of Florida)
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1:06 p.m. – almost total solar eclipse – Aug. 21, 2017
(Chicago Botanic Gardens, taken using my special viewing glasses placed over my cellphone’s camera lens)
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4:14 p.m. – Late afternoon winter sun peeks through clouds, silhouetting the trees, in Des Plaines, Illinois – March 8, 2016
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7:20 p.m. – Winter sunset over Africa – Feb. 2, 2018
(Taken from  my airplane window on the way to Tanzania)
20180202_1920219:03 p.m. – My favorite sunset photo! First evening of our first cruise, Baltic Sea, Aug. 7, 2015Sunset view from the rear of the Eurodam.
And then it is night.
We wait again for sunlight
Tomorrow.