@4WillsPub “Been There, Going Again” Blog Tour @StephenGeez

4 Wills “Been There, Going Again” Blog Tour, Stephen Geez

Day 1

Greetings, all! Welcome to the first stop on my 4WillsPublishing Blog Tour celebrating the re-issue of my memoir-shorts, Been There, Noted That: Essays in Tribute to Life. It has updated cover, new graphics, new book trailer, and now a first-ever jacketed hardcover edition. The book’s ruminations range from light and humorous to heartbreakingly poignant, but all spring from my own experiences. Thanks for visiting, trying this sample, and commenting!

 

How Old, Indeed

Essay by Stephen Geez

 

“I sure wish I had put some trees in my yard,” my neighbor said, watching me trim branches on the row of flowering crabapples that liked to reach over the sidestreet walkway and tickle the noggins of passersby.

Only a year into grad school and working full-time, I had just commenced one of those long-term projects called a “mortgage.”  Yes, I had bought my own place, a nice corner-lot colonial in a well-seasoned, thirty-year-old neighborhood. My house’s original owners had planted enthusiastically, blessing me with gloriously mature flora: springtime bloomers such as apple, cherry, and crabs; robust blossom-gobbed shrubbery the likes of lilac, snowball, and forsythia; plus a towering trio of magnificent hot-summer shaders—a red maple that ended every sentence with “eh?”; the mischievous elm that liked to flirt with my grapevine; and a humongous cottonwood that could target any area swimming pool with a fusillade of silky white puffs, then laugh about it for days. My neighbor’s yard, a mower-cropped crew-cut of featureless green, looked forlorn in comparison.

“Today’s as good a day as any to plant a few,” I pointed out.

He chuckled as if I’d made a joke, then shook his head and said, “Naw, it takes a good ten years or more till they’re big enough to sit under.”

I thought of him some years later when I saw an elderly woman interviewed on the news. Posing proudly in her cap and gown, she beamed over realizing her dream of going to college, four years of determined effort culminating in a bachelor’s degree. When the interviewer asked about encouragement from friends and family, the elder-grad surprised me by admitting, “They all thought I was nuts.”  She said that when she enrolled, her grandson quickly pointed out she’d be 74 by the time she graduated. Her response still resonates with me today:

“And how old will I be in four years if I don’t go to college?”

How old, indeed.

The very nature of a human lifespan presents life-plan challenges. Nearly all of us have reliable data on when our individual clocks started ticking—it’s right on the birth certificate—but except in rare instances, we have only a vague notion of now much time we’ll get to live and love, to laugh and learn. That’s why we try to cram so many accomplishments into our younger days. I mean, the sooner you achieve a goal, the more time you’ll have to enjoy the benefits.

However, this perspective is rather outcome-oriented. At the lower level in a hierarchy of ambition, we choose quick-and-simple aims, the kind where we expect lesser efforts to produce quicker results. At the middle level, we pursue the kinds of substantial rewards that require long-term, sustained effort—which in turn imbues success with greater meaning. At the highest level, we work toward goals where the benefits extend beyond our time, service to future generations, a paying forward for what our forebears accomplished for us. Imagine the old-timer who patiently plants a thousand seed-lings, knowing he’ll never live to see the forest, a form of altruism too few of us ever learn to embrace. Failing to see our world and the people who share it as bigger than one individual—as a continuum enduring beyond a single lifetime—is how it comes to seem acceptable to ignore the long-term consequences of pollution and climate change, of rapid natural-resource depletion, of amassing a massive collective debt for future generations to pay down.

Maybe we don’t always need a “result.”  The old lady didn’t say her goal was a degree, but rather “to go to college.”  If she ran out of time after a year or two or three, wouldn’t the experience, the knowledge, the mere accomplishment found in effort be worth it?  If you plant a tree, won’t watching it grow, if only for a while, offer a measure of satisfaction?  Don’t the best destinations beckon us with the promise of a meaningful journey?

And can’t the results of our best efforts prove different than we expect, maybe even better, with dividends paying in more ways than we ever imagined?  Think about the never-too-late lesson younger generations learn from the example set by that elderly college coed. Think about the circle-of-life wonder a child discovers when an old-timer nurtures seedlings that will mature long after he’s gone.

And even if nobody ever finds out what you have done, at least you can embrace the joy in knowing you’ve made yourself a better person, and you’ve left the world better for the time you got to live and love, to laugh and learn.

It’s been a long time since I lived among those springtime bloomers, blossom-gobbed shrubs, and towering trio of magnificent hot-summer shaders; but I hope my former neighbor is still right there across the street, and that he did get around to planting those trees. I like to imagine him spending some golden-years time relaxing in the shade. But if he’s gone now, I expect his son inherited the house, and I hope that on a hot summer day he can sit in that shade with his own children and share memories about helping his dad plant those trees.

How old do you have to be to understand that such a simple result is worth all that effort?

How old, indeed.

*     *     *

 

Author Bio: Writer, editor, publisher, TV producer, music composer, entrepreneur and more, Stephen Geez has long honed a keen eye for the foibles of human nature. His writing since taking undergrad and grad degrees at Michigan includes novels and short stories in various genres from literary to mystical adventure, non-fiction covering academic to how-to, commercial arts spanning corporate training to consumer advertising, and web-based content including the collections at StephenGeez.com and GeezWriter.com. Easing gingerly into his second half-century, he can’t hop, skip, or jump like the old days, but he never stops noticing and taking notes.

 

Trailer URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lw_mo5wtTMI

 

Amazon URL: https://www.amazon.com/Been-There-Noted-That-Observations/dp/1947867148/ref=sr_1_1_twi_har_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1521337201&sr=8-1&keywords=been+there%2C+noted+that

 

Barnes & Noble URL: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/been-there-noted-that-stephen-geez/1113808078?ean=9781947867147

 

Prizes up for grabs…   (Visit the 4WillsPublishing website for more details!)

*For each day: 1 hardcover edition of Been There, Note That.
*During the entire tour:
$25 Amazon card.

“This tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.”


Thank you so much for stopping by and please be sure to click here for the rest of Stephen’s tour stops.

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36 thoughts on “@4WillsPub “Been There, Going Again” Blog Tour @StephenGeez

  1. D.L Finn, Author

    I love the idea of planting for our future even if we don’t see it! Always worth the effort, I agree:) Enjoy your tour and great post.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  2. Wendy Scott

    Hi Stephen, when we first purchased our land we planted hundreds of trees. Many were no bigger than a finger, but these now tower above us in a forest canopy. My liquid ambers may be slow growing, but every autumn I rejoice in their riot of colours.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  3. Stephanie Collins

    Beautiful essay, Stephen, and such an important lesson for the children of today. Instant gratification is made so very accessible to them that they rarely have (or take) the opportunity to think and act long-term. Attempting to teach them the art of patience and planning, I suppose, is the best demonstration of practicing what we preach – planting seeds of thought and reflection for future generations. Growing conditions are increasingly less than favorable, but the reward is SO worth the effort! Oh, and I love the response of the elder-grad. Brilliant! Thanks so much for sharing, and big thanks to Shirley, too, for hosting! Take care, both of you, and have yourselves a spectacular Saturday! 🙂 ~Stephanie

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Stephen Geez

      I’m blushing! Thanks for your gracious and thoughtful post, Author Collins. “I’m tired of waiting for them to grow some patience!” Hee hee. I’m delighted to see you visiting, and for this opportunity to rub elbows with Detroit’s elite Shirley Harris-Slaughter. How can my Saturday not be spectacular? Wheee!

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
    2. Shirley Harris-Slaughter Post author

      Thank you Stephanie for sharing your thoughtful observation of Stephen’s post. I thought some of it was way over my head but I get the part about planting a tree which can be taken so many different ways.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  4. Kester James Finley

    Great read and such an inspiring essay, Stephen. I think it resonates perfectly with us authors as well, especially when pressing that publish button for the first time. Who knows how much time we have, but maybe somewhere in our future someone we will never know may find our work and reflect upon it, enjoy it, remember. Thanks for hosting, Shirley!

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    1. Stephen Geez

      What a fine notion, KJF. It can’t be the only reason we write, but it’s nice to have that in mind. Thanks for taking the time. Yeah, brava to Shirley, too!

      Liked by 3 people

      Reply
  5. Helen Borel,RN,MFA,PhD

    Stephen Geez, I love your anthropomorphized trees. I could feel them, smell them, seems like I’m sitting under them in your “alive” tree-language. Indeed, about that idea of “being too old” to pursue a dream. I said the same thing, light-years ago, when I wished to go to Medical School:
    “If I don’t go, how old will I be, anyway, at the end of those school years?”
    As long as there’s chlorophyll in those trees, as long as there’s oxygen in our pulmonary trees, as long as there’s an annual Spring breeze, Stephen Geez is the bees’ knees. Carpe diem.
    And Seize the Book.
    (I bought “Been There, Noted That: Essays in Tribute to Life” many months ago and am still enjoying meandering through its many elements of diverse descriptive experientials.)

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    1. Stephen Geez

      Wow. My cockles have been suitably warmed. I appreciate such a thoughtful observation, along with the compliment about my collection. Maybe you’ll win a new hardcover with new cover and many interior images… Thanks, Helen!

      Like

      Reply
  6. quesowhatblog

    I’ve heard this somewhere and I think it’s true: I’d rather have someone in my life who buys me a rose bush and plants it in the yard so we can watch it grow, than someone who buys me flowers so I can watch them die. Great story!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  7. beemweeks

    I have read this incredible collection some time ago. It is one of those books that remains with the reader long after putting it on a shelf. Great writers will do that. Best wishes, Stephen.

    Thanks for hosting, Shirley!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  8. karenringalls

    This book is one of my top ten favorites. Each essay had a powerful message and as Beem said, this is a book that remains with the reader.
    I LOVE trees and feel a spiritual connection to them, especially oaks. I want my ashes placed in the earth and a tree planted on top.
    Thank you, Stephen for sharing your gift of writing with us. Best of luck on the tour. Great hosting, Shirley.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Stephen Geez

      I am humbled by your comment, Karen. Thanks for the wonderful compliment. Yes, trees are one of those cool things about the world. I’ve traveled out west to hang with the sequoias (even did the walk of a thousand giants), coordinated a massive county-wide seedling sale fundraiser that distributed hundreds of thousands of what must be full trees today, and I am currently enjoying the springtime renewal of Alabama blossomers, especially this week a bazillion dogwoods gobbed with white blooms. Yeah, I’m a tree-hugger, too. Thanks for the visit and support and kind words and comment today, Karen!

      Like

      Reply
    1. Stephen Geez

      I figure I might be old someday, myself, so maybe some pointers in preparation might help. Thanks for the comment, Jan! And yep, Shirley is da bomb.

      Like

      Reply
  9. Vashti Q

    Lovely piece, Stephen. My parents planted many trees in our backyard. At the time I didn’t appreciate it much (I was a teen) but now I love it. It’s definitely worth the effort. Enjoy your tour! Thanks for hosting, Shirley! 😀 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Stephen Geez

      Great example, Vashti! See? Every now and then I stumble upon an idea that’s poignant! Thanks for the story and the visit and comment. Enjoy some shade for all of us!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  10. Shirley Harris-Slaughter Post author

    Stephen I really can appreciate your thoughts about nature and how it is entertwined in our lives and the lives of those unborn. How we are all connected by the consequences of our actions. The tree in front of my house was very small and immature. Then suddenly I noticed one day how huge it was and the shade it now provides. Nature is awesome.

    Thank you for sharing your story. It makes you think.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Stephen Geez

      Thanks, Gwen. That leaves the biggest question of all for the sequel: Where are my car keys? See, we have to smile a bit whilst pondering the biggies. Thanks for the kind sentiment. I always enjoy seeing you around!

      Like

      Reply

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