Met·a·mor·pho·sis: a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.
I now live in a town called Elizabeth, IL. I am going through a transformation that, is at times exciting. I feel as if I am shedding a skin like a snake does as they grow and yet is painless.
At my soon to be middle age of 60, I am looking forward to the second half of my life.
I grew up in Chicago and the suburbs of. The food I ate cooked by mom was brought home in brown paper bags from the local grocery store. I would use my natural hunting skills by using my hands to skillfully tong out from a pickle barrel the best pickle at the corner grocer. (Now extinct in most of the US.)
My clothes were purchased at the big box stores of Sears Roebuck or Kmart.
I don't think anything was handmade by my parents that I wore.
I played in flat alleys or baseball fields of gravel. When not playing outside, we watched TV.
We drove a car, took a train, or a bus when we wanted to go somewhere.
For culture, I went to museums or the theater.
The hunting season for adults was the posting of signs for giant rats around the garbage.
The area I now live in has rolling hills and gravel roads. Livestock dot the landscape (even up to the edge of the road) at times. There are both the smells of clean air and manure depending on the direction of the wind. Also, there are pitch black skies full of stars being accompanied by the symphony of the night creatures such as crickets, coyotes, or even the moo of a cow.
During the day, I hear words like "crick" for "creek" along with the words of "Good Morning, Thank you, and Please', from complete strangers, words that have been added to the Metropolitan list: Endangered Species of Words.
At the 2017 Midwest GarlicFest, a boy of about ten years of age, walked up to me the second day and held out his hand for me to shake and said, "Good Morning Sir."
I promptly told his parents, who by the way are God-fearing people and homeschool their children...they have done a wonderful job at raising their children.
I listened to a young man talk about microbes in the dirt and about the rebuilding of the soil using all sorts of leftovers from food to animal dung. His goal is to help his mom save the farm they are losing so that he can do organic dairy and other organic products.
Many women can their own food whether it is the produce they grow or the meat obtained from animals their husband hunted.
The other night, I had dinner with a friend that told me she made the noodles in the soup using eggs laid by chickens on her farm (the one she is losing). The carrots and celery came from her garden. The chicken (can't remember the actual name of the chicken, which there seem to be about 70 different kinds) meat was hatched, raised, slaughtered, and prepared by her own hands.
I looked at her with disbelief. I had never had a meal made like this in the city.
In town, every day at noon the siren fills the air for about ten seconds. It is followed by the sound of the church bells. I joked to a friend that it was very nice of them to let me know when to take a siesta that they need to add a second blast for a wake-up time. (City boy sarcasm)
There is ONE full-time police officer that I know of. I know him by name. He is so nice and kind. Even though he follows every law by the book, he has let me slide with my dog. I hardly ever use her leash when walking downtown and no one complains. But to show my respect to him and the law, I do not question him.
The fire department is volunteer and they also put on a great “Fireman's Pig Roast Dance.”
It is quiet and peaceful out here away from the big city. I have found towns I never knew existed, like Orangeville, Lena, Stockton, Warren, Woodbine, and so many others.
In an area where city folk could be bored out of their mind, I have found so many things to do.
My typical day is getting up, then wandering over to open the front door to let the sun and air in. Then, my dog and I share some scrambled fresh farm eggs and locally grown chemical free grass fed ground beef.
On the days I have to work, we walk to my part time job. The days I don't, we go out and take photos ALL DAY of trees, flowers, barns, rivers, antique bridges, and livestock. Also, the evenings are open for sunset photography.
The spring was not good to be outside. The gnats were so aggressive, I could barely stay out. I had to cover my face with a paper towel because they were going in my mouth, my nose, my ears, and hair. It was terrible.
Now, though after the wet season was over...my typical late night is sitting behind my apartment in a lawn chair with a relaxing cold drink of sun brewed iced tea watching the stars.
I also have been able to have a clear mind to dedicate for my writing for Lanterns, and my upcoming book: Hands from God: A Masseur's Collection of Stories Volume 1. (Follow me to stay informed on that. Plug)
Since the barber is only open two days a week for 4 hours each time, I may decide to head over and chat with him for a few hours....oh...and get a trim. By the way, his name is not Floyd.
One day last week, I headed out to photograph washed out bridges and ruined crops from the recent flooding with a friend. She pointed out to me something that I would never have noticed being a city boy, who saw that the average thing twisted was his arm by his uncle.
"See that tree?" she asked. "See how it is twisted at the broken point? That is wind damage."
She continued at another point, "See the grass up high in the trees and on the fences? That is how high the water was."
Now, since I have made some new friends, I'm being counseled to shed the crocs and opt for Cowboy boots.
The other day, I went shopping for boots with a friend. There are so many to select from. I am opting for a pair with round toes. Since this is my first pair I am going to stay under the $200 mark. Why boots? Do you know how hard it is to get cow or horse manure out of sneaker tread?
My gym shorts also have got to go if I plan to continue walking into fields of tall grasses and weeds. Apparently, there are types of weeds that if you brush up against them, they irritate your skin.
Also, gyms shorts and boots don't mix....a definite fashion faux pas. To remedy this, my shorts have to be replaced ONLY by Wranglers, the official cowboy jeans.
To complement the jeans I need not only a USA made leather belt, but also a belt buckle. Today I told the store clerk I wanted a buckle with my dogs face on it. I was punched in the shoulder by my friend and was told...Stags, Eagles, Flags, Horses, Wild Hogs, Motorcycles are the best selection. Not dogs or fish. I saw a really sweet Montana Silversmith buckle I may be snagging.
The baseball cap isn't known as a baseball cap. I haven't seen one baseball cap in two months. But, I've seen many ratty Harley, USA, or other farming equipment emblem caps on guys.
So, to bolster my new wardrobe, I've picked up a Harley cap and a USA cap at a thrift store for 25 cents a piece. My next goal is to find a John Deere and a camouflage cap. Maybe if I get lucky...I can find a seed company cap. (Preferably one that does not support GMO engineering.)
T-shirts and plaid shirts with pockets are the shirts of choice. The best color choices for dressing up are black or blue. Dago tees are not appropriate in public.
I've been told I should grow facial hair. I tried but just couldn't do that. It was like wearing a wig on my face. It was just too hot.
I had to draw the line somewhere in metamorphosificication.