I cannot believe the low temperatures brought into the Flint Hills by the so-called “Summer Polar Vortex” or the “Summer Polar Incursion.” This week of July is usually one of the hottest, and yet, here I am, waking up to low temperatures in the 50s and enjoying highs in the 70s. All in all, I appreciate this short little phase of global warming.
Getting on in years definitely has its disadvantages, but it has advantages, too. Two advantages that I seldom miss is: One is taking a worry-free nap every afternoon after lunch. The second is never missing an opportunity to sit on the deck with some iced tea and listen in appreciation to the occasional summer rain shower patter down on the thirsty Earth.
Well, today the nap cancelled out my opportunity to listen to a three-tenths-of-an-inch summer shower. I slept right through it. Dang it!
Have I ever mentioned my philosophy on retirement? If not, here it is: If at all possible, never let work interfere with play, amusement or relaxation.
In my dotage, I’m increasingly skeptical of new scientific “findings.” However, kindly Colorado readers sent me an e-mail about a new scientific finding that I find compelling ... and I’m gonna believe it becuz I want to:
The study “discovered” the brains of older people only appear to be less speedy because they have so much information to access, much like a full-up hard drive, scientists believe.
Elderly people have so much information in their brain that it takes longer for them to access it, scientific studies show.
Older people do not decline mentally with age. It just takes them longer to recall facts because they have more information in their brains, research suggests.
Much like a computer takes longer as the hard drive gets full up, so to do older humans take longer to access information.
Researchers are convinced this slowing down it is not the same as cognitive decline. “The human brain appears to work slower in old age,” said Dr. Michael Ramscar, “but only because so much information has been stored over time. Older people simply know more, so selecting a correct choice from the treasure trove of stored data just takes a bit longer.”
That sounds like sound research to me.
My brother-in-law, ol’ Ponder Lyfe, has an on-again, off-again habit of writing a “Monday Musing” on his Facebook page. Although a few years younger than me, Ponder, too, is retired, and has time for reflection on the mysteries of the universe and to enjoy the simple things in it as they cross his path.
I think his most recent “Monday Musing” is worth sharing — if for no other reason than old folks will enjoy it and it helps fill up this week’s column. Here it is:
“Now for ‘something completely different’ as Monty Python used to say. We have had a hummingbird feeder of one sort or another on our rear deck for years, but have not had any luck attracting these delicate little creatures until this spring.
“I read a posting from a high school mate who said she had seven of them at her feeder and I was instantly jealous. She went on to add that a four to one mix of water to sugar brought to a boil and then left to cool was just the right mix to satisfy their little taste buds.
“Well, I had always been filling my feeder with that store bought mix that looks like powdered strawberry Kool-aid, so I brewed up a batch of the sugar water and had almost instant results. My recommendation is to toss that boxed stuff in the trash. You’ll be happy you did!
“Now that I smoke only outside on the deck, watching the aerial acrobatics of these little feathered guys has given me tons of pleasure, so much so that I ‘splurged’ for a hummingbird swing to hang in close proximity to the feeder. I was in a farm and ranch store to leave my weed-whacker for some repairs when I noticed a display for ‘Pop’s Hummingbird Swings.’
“I had a good chuckle to myself wondering what fool would part with his money for such a hair-brained novelty. NOT ME! But then, I just could not shake the thought out of my head that I NEEDED one of them, so when I returned several days later to pick up the weed-whacker, one of the swings crept its way onto my account. I even laughed at myself as I added a little chain to make it just the right height in relation to the feeder. Upon returning home and hanging the swing, I sat and waited, and waited, and waited and was convinced that my first reaction upon see those cute swings was the right one. UNTIL, the first timid little sucker (cue the angelic music) took a swing !
“Now it’s a common occurrence for them to eat, swing, eat, swing ... but that first time. That was special! Oh, the simple joys of life, and the simpletons who enjoy them!”
Ol Ponder’s last line describes me to a T.
Since retirement is the major theme in this column, I just have to close it off with a few wise words about retirement. Sebastian Vette, race driver, said, “I don’t care what other people think, as long as I’m happy.” And, Saint Francis de Sales said, “Retire at various times into the solitude of your own heart.”
Amen, to that. Have a good ’un. ❖
Retire at various times into the solitude of your own heart.”