Sand

During this time of Covid-19, I have had my down times just like many of you. But, what I find helps more than anything else is to create purpose in my life. Being isolated gives me much time for creativity. It lifts my spirit and brings me joy. This past year I have self-published a hundred page book of poems I have written for my daily blog on Word Press. I also wrote and illustrated a children’s book about Rocky the Owl, and passed it out to friends who have little ones. Now that the days are warmer, I have been painting again. There is not time to sit and wait for the grim reaper. There are things to do that take my mind of the sand in the hour glass!

The sand in the hour glass runs faster at the end

I feel it shifting and settling into that narrow space

People for centuries tried to flip the glass to no avail

In the span of time and antiquity

our few minutes goes quickly

So make them count // those last few grains

settling into the final drop // becoming sand once more

Tell your stories // write your poems // sing your songs

Fill your days with creativity // joy // and wonder

For the sand in the hour glass runs faster at the end

This is a painting I finished last week of the City View Dairy Farms in the community where I grew up in Pennsylvania. I posted it on the community Facebook page where it was appreciated with hundreds of likes and comments and memories from people who no longer live there, but have great memories of getting milk there. It gave me great joy to see so many find it meaningful.

A Smile For You

Creativity and imagination always make me smile. When I pulled into my parking space at the mall, I saw this sweet little beauty smiling back at me. I tried to imagine the person who puts eyelashes on their car headlights. What a unique idea! Do you give names to your car?

Batting eyelashes

Smiling across the parking lot

A sweet set of wheels!

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Covid Creativity – A Chair Seat Bass

A few weeks ago, I was volunteering at our local Habitat For Humanity Restore fixing some chairs that had been donated. I used one damaged chair to repair two others for resale. When I was done, I had this nice solid wood chair seat that was about to hit the dumpster. I thought to myself, “This would make a great electric bass guitar.” So I brought it home with me.

I drew a curved body on the chair seat and cut out one side with my jig saw. I used the piece I cut out for the opposite side. That got rid of all but two of the holes along the edges.

It fit nicely across my leg, but the point on the top side caught my armpit so I cut it off. That worked very well. My belts to my belt sander separated so I did most of the sanding on the edges by hand.

When I got it smooth, I hung it up and spray painted it black and then began working on the neck. I needed a strong piece of wood that would be very hard so I used a piece from a hickory tree in my back yard. I cut it the year before and it had dried out nicely. With my table saw I cut off the bark and shaped the neck. Again I had to sand it by hand so it was a little rough, but smooth.

I found some old paint that I used to touch up a car I used to have and decided to paint it all burgundy red. It turned out very well. I then put several coats of clear coat over it.

When I bolted the neck to the body I found I had it too long and would not be strong enough to keep from bending, so I cut six inches off and reset the neck to a 34″ scale. In doing so got the end that bolt to the body too thin. So I had to find something to serve as a truss rod or the neck would bow forward.

In my collection of junk I found a clothes line tightener and by flattening an L bracket I was able to attach it to the bolt on the guitar and the neck, so when turned the middle it drew or loosened the neck. That worked and brought the neck down to about a quarter of an inch action height.

I forgot to mention I only had room for three strings on the neck, so I decided that would work. I ordered parts from amazon and found they had a three string cigar box pick up as well. When it came I discovered the four string bridge was too wide to line up with the magnets on the pick-up, so I had to redrill the string holes. By plugging in the jack and holding it over the strings I found where I was getting the best sound. That is were I mounted it onto the body. The pick-up had a very fragile wood frame so I used a couple of wooden toy wheels to shim it up. It ended up being the exact height I needed.

I drilled through the body and ran the pick up wire through to the back. I trenched out a space for the wire to lay in and used electrical caps to cover it. I bent the end one on and angle and used it to mount the the re-soldered jack.

When I hooked it to my amp it worked great. I could only turn the volume to a 3 or it would rattle the windows! I was thrilled.

I mounted the tuning knobs in the head piece of the neck and used wide head screws to keep the string tension in the grooves.

I used my guitar tuner to set my scale on the neck where frets would usually go. I wrote the chord roots on the neck so I could see where to put my fingers. Then I drilled holes in the neck to mark where they were also. It works great seems to hold tuning well. It tend to have a little feedback buzz if I pick to hard with my thumb.

Building this was the most fun I have had in a long time. Now I have to learn how to play it! I tried to load a face book clip of me playing it but it would not let me use it. You will have to use your imagination!

“A creative mind never sleeps! – Dwight L. Roth

I finally found I had to put the FB video on public to get it to load on here! We did a simple version of I’ll Fly Away, so you could hear a little of how it sounds.

Pallet Drums

Pallet Drum

When the economy was in a down turn and business bottomed out, the sales at the siding warehouse where I worked slowed down as well. During the down times I passed the time taking apart pallets and using the wood to make a variety of things from porch swings to drums.  It was a fun challenge to see what could come up with. I made a set of two bongo type drums and then a set of three for a friend. I got cowhide from a local saddle shop for my tops.

Repurposed oak pallets filled with life
Vibrations echo from tiny caverns
Each one unique
Pallets cleaned and strips cut;
all with a slight bevel
Glued together into cylinders
Cowhide stretched across the top
Stapled and tacked for durability
Rhythms echo for years to come

 

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Photos: Dwight L. Roth

Today at d’Verse, Mish shared here experience with Native American drum making. She asked us to use the word drum for our Quadrille of exactly 44 words.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

Dutch Ingenuity

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We were told trees are not planted on the dikes at Kinderjik. The reason is because if storms come through and blows them over it would tear up the dikes. There are a few willow trees that grow close to the windmills. They are used to grow saplings year after year for the Miller to use in various situations. The fence you see above is made of woven willow saplings. Reeds grow all along the dikes and are also harvested and dried. They are use for weaving baskets. Reed roots also help stabilize the dikes. They are places for ducks and birds to live and nest.

Reeds and willow sticks

Harvested every summer

Stacked and dried in sun

Builds fences, gates, and baskets

Dutch ingenuity shows

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Reeds grow all along the dikes at Kinderjik and are dried for use

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Willow sticks and reeds are stacked to dry for future use

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Goat pen gate and feeding trough made from willow saplings

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You can see how the saplings are trimmed off this willow stump

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One of very few trees seen on the dikes of Kinderjik.

Photos from Kinderjik, Netherlands: Dwight L. Roth

There was a time…

Dwight's student as B'water Elem 001 (2)

There was a time when learning was fun
When learning went beyond books and tests
Actually using their mind to solve real life situations

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Observing creatures in their natural settings
Watching bugs and frogs and a preying mantis
Creating an egg sac that later produced hundreds
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When our children are all made out of ticky-tacky
And they all learn just the same // every child scoring
Higher and higher // or the teacher we will fire
What will happen when they face real world problems?
Perhaps Siri, Cortina, or Alexa will have the answers!

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Photos of may students in my early years of teaching. Since then times have changed and our focus seems to be on test results rather than well rounded students. Perhaps this will change as the cycle goes round and round.

For a wonderful example of what real learning can be, check out Forest Kids Learning. It is a fabulous program that does a wonderful job of hand-on learning!

https://www.facebook.com/ForestKidsCanada/

The World in Black or White

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I want life to be black or white
Everything easy and I am right
But it really doesn’t work that way
Life is full of contradictions they say
Why can’t life be black or white
Perhaps I wouldn’t be so uptight
But grays are part of every life
I’ve known pain that cuts like a knife
The world wants things in black or white
Good or bad we have to fight
To protect our perfect way of life
Seems it causes bitter strife
To always think in black or white
Fills me with fear and causes me fright
Extremes affect the way we think
And leaves our nations on the brink
Why can’t we realizes we need the grays
Shadows bring accents in many ways
Creativity and paradigm shifts
Would not be possible without the mix
Must we think only in black or white
Judging our brothers when “they don’t do right”
Or can we simply love their flaws
The grays and shades are part of us all
Black or white makes everyone halt
Shutter and cringe at every fault
Blends are the creations we all need
To love our brothers, and not to bleed
But I guess as long as there are two
Black or white will judge them too
Love the differences don’t get up tight
Live in peace and let’s not fight
Recognize that if we want to survive
Black and white will not keep us alive
Thinking we are always right
Life will surely be a fright

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Photo: Dwight L. Roth

Winter Creativity

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Snow brings out the best in children

Celebrating days off from school

Sliding down the hill with friends

Snowball fights

And…

Snowmen (or women)

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Those soft white flakes

Powder the ground with welcome

Bringing out amazing creativity

No technology needed

To have a wonderful time

In the snow

 

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Snowman Photos: Dwight L. Roth

Snowman creation made by my granddaughter!

 

 

Paradigm Shift

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Co-dependence can be very destructive to relationships. In marriage, when one partner expects their partner to fit into their plans and their schedule, it isn’t long before tension and conflicts develop. For the co-dependent partner it is a major paradigm shift to learn to live with, but somewhat independent of the other person. Today at d’Verse, Amaya is asking us to write a Pentimento poem, which derives from the Italian meaning  for repentance. It is to show how one can change their way of thinking in a way that makes life more positive for all. This is my story.

Paradigm Shift

Committed for life// together we stood

Taking our vows that day

Smiles on our face // stars in our eyes

When opposites commit,  fire sometimes flies.

One holds on the other wants space

A head on collision in the race

Trains not always riding on the same tracks

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Co-dependence can be overwhelming

I thought togetherness meant doing everything together

I learned independence is sometimes better

Struggling // I pushed off on my own

Not always expecting reciprocation.

Creativity emerged I had not expected

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Life is much better now that I’ve reflected

Togetherness may mean riding parallel tracks

Commitment may mean traveling in the same direction…

Leaving co-dependence behind…

Maintaining each ones identity and self-worth

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Photos: Dwight L. Roth

Come join us at:  https://dversepoets.com/