All I Need

These photos do not even begin to do justice to the environment surrounding the new house, but they will have to do until I find the time and inclination to take and organize and post more photos.

Photos that show the inside of the house will have to wait until the process of unpacking and organizing has been completed. Perhaps shortly after Christmas 2023.


But, back to these photos. The image with the red dot was an attempt to capture a photo of a summer tanager (the red dot). The bright red bird is a male; the female is colorful, too, but less flamboyant. Her coloring includes muted orange and green, coupled with a bit of red. The pair (and several of their friends, it seems) live for the moment in the forest directly behind our back deck. Watching them flit back and forth is relaxing. Listening to their songs and their calls is equally pleasant. The image looking out my office window (in the front of the house) captured a small ground squirrel attempting to get access to the bird seed in the feeder. The feeder has since been moved, replaced by a much larger one that attracts cedar waxwings, among other birds. The photo showing long, straight pine tree trunks is one view off the back deck; look in another direction and the view is full of the lush greenery of mixed hardwoods. Finally, the photo of the deck was taken from the seat I tend to occupy when I sit outside on the back deck. A panoramic view from that spot would reveal a mixture of dense hardwood forest and thinner piney woods above a thick layer of brown leaves on the forest floor.


As I’ve told myself many times of late, we (most Americans and many others) are far too enamored of “stuff.” We attempt to fill the emptiness in our lives with tangible evidence that our lives have meaning. We collect sofas and televisions and electronic gadgetry in the hope that ownership will convince the world around us—and ourselves—that our efforts mean something; we try to equate material wealth with both happiness and relevance. In reality, simple comfort (and not material wealth) seems to be more closely associated with happiness than does wealth. As for relevance, that is an open question…I suppose that perpetual question of context may be at play…

Sitting on the back deck with a glass of wine or a gin & tonic, listening to the music of the forest, argues against the importance of material wealth. Of course, in today’s world at least moderate material wealth is necessary to provide simple comfort and to afford access to the setting in which I find myself. But sitting outside in this gentle setting reinforces what I already know: that “things” can be anchors and distractions from the actual beauty of life all around us. I know this, but too often I permit myself to be swayed by misplaced and very temporary desire. I “want” a new sports jacket or a new television or something else shiny and attractive but, ultimately, unnecessary. I quickly learn that that shiny something is no more capable of bringing me happiness than I am capable of emptying the ocean with a single swallow of water.


Yesterday afternoon I wrote what I now consider a wholly inadequate response to an extremely generous comment left by an occasional follower of my blog; she left her comment on the post I wrote yesterday morning. She expressed hope that I will continue writing my blog; I will, though I may take a little break sometime soon. After reading her comments, I felt like calling her to tell her how good it felt to read her complimentary words. But I don’t have her number. And she might have been shocked to have received my call, anyway, in that we have not spoken with one another since about 1979, when we worked together. We’ve had the rare interaction online in the last year or two, but no voice communication. I was intrigued by the exceptional language skills that her comment revealed.  And her talent for boosting a person’s spirits with words is enviable. I doubt she will read these flattering words and the content of my comments in response to hers. I think she visits the blog rarely; but I hope she will someday see them and that my appreciation for her compliments will give her some pleasure.


My expectations about the completion of the sale of my house have been repeatedly dashed or delayed, so I will refrain from announcing any such expectations this morning. Suffice it to say the process still has not come to an end. I have signed papers, but that is where is stands. The aphorism about counting chickens and eggs in baskets is apropos; for now, I simply will continue to learn about the torture of real estate transactions by observing them as coolly and as calmly as I can.


Three hours hence I will take my Subaru to an automotive service shop a few miles from the Village for its somewhat late 90,000 mile service. I opted to go local, rather than to the dealer an hour away, for various reasons, including both time and money savings. The local service shop gets high praise from a friend, which is reason enough for me to trust the place to do good work.


It is light enough now that I can walk outside without fearing I will stumble into a tree or a raccoon or my parked car. My computer tells me the temperature outside is 73°F; that is comfortable, though my computer also tells me the pollen count is high. So, I may walk outside, bask in the cool comfort of the still quite dim morning light, and sneeze as I feel my eyes itch and water. Still, this time of morning is lovely. It fills my melancholy soul with promise that today will be enough; it will be all I need.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to All I Need

  1. John says:

    Yes, Meg..

  2. Meg+Koziar says:

    Thanks for the photos. Lovely big back porch, but you do have some large insects! That dragonfly is humongous!

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