Got up this morning with the usual knee pain. Lately sleeping seems to hurt it as much as walking.

Been over a 50 year pain as I injured it severely when I was about 15 years old. Spent two weeks in the hospital but worked hard at recovery and eventually was able to even run track at a community college when I was 18 years old.

Two more operations later, and about additional 80 pounds, it gets kinda weary after awhile. So, I like to start the day with some time in the hot tub to get things moving a bit.

As I started to get in the hot tub, I noticed all the birds that were flittering around some sunflowers that were drying up. Now, you know, this gets me probably far more excited than it should but here we got to enjoy, for two months, the beautiful colors of the sunflowers and now the little birds get to eat the seeds. I am declaring that dang right cool, awesome, far out and other descriptors. I went and got my camera and tried to catch a shot or two.

see them both?

I have a strong affinity for the theology of Saint Francis.

After getting my knee up and going, we headed to one of my favorite little lakes with 8 kayaks and 1 paddle board. (For one reader: the lake is about 20 minutes from Truckee, CA)

Above this lake is a place called Cisco Grove and on top of Cisco Grove is a Microwave Station. My father was a radio engineer and he worked on a mountain top in Grass Valley, California at a microwave station. Microwave requires a direct line of sight for the signal to reach the next station and since the curvature of the earth often limits this to 40 miles in distance, the stations are placed on mountain tops. In Grass Valley it is on top of Wolf Mountain, a place I used to climb about during my summer afternoons as a kid. The next station to the east is on top of Cisco Grove in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. My father often would have to drive a snowcat up the mountain in the winter to reach the station. The snow gets really deep up there. You can kind of see the facility in this next photo. It is the white spot on the mountain.

I sat there, relaxing in my kayak, watching two of my father’s grandchildren and three of his great grandchildren kayaking on the lake beneath the mountain where he often would work and I felt joyful. It would make my father so happy to know that his family continues to rejoice in the nature that he loved.

Now getting in and out of a kayak, for me, is not easy and being a prideful man, kind of embarrassing. Getting in, with some help, I just flop into it, letting gravity be my friend. Still hard on the knee. Getting out is much harder and I almost quit kayaking because of it, but then thought, “To hell with it. I don’t care if I tip the thing over. It is not going to stop me from enjoying kayaking.” My left leg has atrophied some and I don’t have enough strength in it it get up from a full sitting position. With help of family, this time my daughter, I got out and as I did I looked down by my legs and I saw something I have never seen before…a snake with a fish (little blue gill) half way down the snake’s mouth.

Check his eyes out. talk about biting off more than you can chew.

Here is a short video.

I betcha didn’t think this is how this post would end?

How does one go from a morning of cute little birdies among the sunflowers to a snake stuffing a fish down its throat in the afternoon and all this anchored to a feeling of great love for your father and his family and friends?

Tell me this isn’t a crazy, sad, joyful, loving world.

I heard the country singer Tanya Tucker on the radio the other day quote someone. She said, “Get off your ass and celebrate life while you still can.” Makes sense to me. GOYAACLWYSC