Friday, March 31, 2017


Photos by Bill Slavin
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Spring and we hear the cry of a hawk in our neighborhood again. A hawk used to nest in the tree in our front yard, but crows chased that hawk away. Now the strong, high-pitched shriek of this new hawk thrills us as we spot him in the branches of the trees.

One morning we watched two doves lay down twigs and leaves in the roof gutter near our dining room window. Last year they successfully produced eggs, sat attentively on the nest till the eggs hatched, fed the babies repeatedly, helped the babies learn to fly and to feed themselves until, the parents' work done, the fledglings flew away. We watched the complete cycle for the first time. In previous years, because the nest is completely exposed, a hawk had gotten everything -- parents and eggs.

Now when we hear the scree of the hawk, we wince and hope the doves will be secure once more. On the one hand, we glory in the beauty and strength of the hawk; but on the other, we watch with kindness as the two doves build a nest and a hoped-for future.

The hawks and dove made me think how often we are faced with challenges that are not black and white. We may have reasons for favoring part of one side and the other. In one of my online classes several years ago, the instructor gave us a list of words and asked the question, "What is valuable to you?" I cut the list of words out and rearranged them in the order of importance to me. I tried the list among friends and discovered surprising differences and similarities in our lists.

Here is the list. Make a copy, cut the words out and place them in the order that is important to you. Cutting them out and re-assembling them in your order is an important part of the process. You may find yourself reorganizing the list after your first try. What would your friends choose? What would someone who doesn't agree with you choose?

Beauty and Creativity                                          Love and Compassion

Joy and Laughter                                                 Health and Well-Being

Respect for the Environment                               Knowledge and Truth

Appreciation and Contentment                            Justice and Morality

One step further:  would you agree with this list of basic American values?  What would you add? What order would you put these words in?

Freedom                                Individualism                    Pragmatism

Volunteerism                         Mobility                            Patriotism

Progress                                American Dream               Efficiency

Equality                                Achievement                      National Security

I found the American values list along with a detailed posting about what these values mean at GoldenLine, the LinkedIn website for Poland. Everyone in the world wants to understand us, don't they?


  1. What beautiful photos your have of the doves. They're one of my favorite birds.

    I've seen that exercise with the words and reordering them before, in a class I took some where along the line. They do make you think. That's really interesting about where you found the lists.

    1. I've tried to find out where I got the list. Do you remember? I would like to give the person credit, but I don't have that info anymore. I will pass on your comments about the photos to Bill. They are beautiful, aren't they? And fun to see them nesting.

  2. Just like a teacher...assigning homework to make me think. But it's the weekend. Yet it seems like an interesting task...
    If I do it I will share with you. TGIF!

  3. yes, I like to see your list! Yeah, I can't stop being a teacher either.


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