‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 
Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024
Good morning to you!

Staring at the sky, laying on my back, flat on the grass. Or the leaves. Or the snow. Or whatever covered the dirt that time of year. This is where I found peace as a child. By myself. With nature.

I thought about heaven, and the angels and God. I thought about what I did right and what I did wrong. I thought about my grandparents and others who died too young. I simply thought. A lot.

While doing so, through the moonlight, I would watch the branches from the old trees dancing slowly in the air. I would listen to the wind whistle its way around the neighborhood homes. And I would smell the recognizable scents of each season.

Wintertime was especially memorable. I would bundle up in my snowsuit, hat, mittens and boots and plop down on the snow in our neighbor’s large backyard. It was close enough to home to hear my mother’s call but far enough to feel like I got away. I enjoyed the cold snowflakes colliding on my face, the brisk air freezing in my nostrils, and, most of all, my mind wandering aimlessly. I didn’t feel the need to be with other people. I appreciated the solitude.

Years later, I hesitantly shared this experience with my friend, Tommy. It was awkward, as most things are with newly teenage boys. He didn’t seem to connect with it like I did. At least I didn’t think so. A few years later, when struggling with some issues, Tommy showed up unannounced at my home and said, “Let’s go lay in the grass.” And we did, mostly to complete silence.

Not too many years later, Tommy died. I struggled greatly in dealing with his death. I couldn’t find peace with it, until I remembered staring at the sky with him. So, as a young man in my twenties, I walked out to the open grass by the apartment where I lived, and I lay on the grass. Flat on my back. Staring at the sky. And, after some time, I smiled.

Today, my joints hurt. My bones ache. I don’t appreciate the cold weather like I used to. As a result, I don’t lie on the ground much anymore. But I do enjoy soaking in the hot tub. When I do, I turn off the jets and stare at the open sky, remembering those peaceful moments of my youth and searching for new ones today.

It’s a humbling experience for me, as it helps me realize how small one person is in this vast world and how today’s problems, however troubling they may be, are miniscule in the big picture. The branches still dance. The wind still whistles. Each season still brings its scent. And my mind still wanders. Aimlessly.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, and thanks for reading.

Shane Goodman
President and Publisher
Big Green Umbrella Media
515-953-4822, ext. 305

See Shane Goodman's previous columns here.

CITYVIEW's Best Of Des Moines®
The polls have closed and a record number of readers have cast their votes in the latest CITYVIEW'S Best Of Des Moines readers' poll — the metro's original and largest poll of its kind.
Winners will be announced in the February 2024 issue of CITYVIEW!

Your Clear Mortgage forecast

Dry weather and highs in the 30s this week. A slight show chance this weekend. A better snow chance at the beginning of next week.

For help with pre-approvals or refinancing, get in touch with Originating Branch Manager Carrie Hansen at carrie.mortgage.

Featured home for sale
Attention, Realtors, post your listings here for $50. Contact jolene@iowalivingmagazines.com for details.
1008 Ninth Ave. S.E.
Altoona, IA 50009
Four-bedroom two-story with finished lower level and covered front porch. Step into the spacious entry foyer with beautiful and durable luxury vinyl plank flooring that runs throughout the main level. Main living area has spacious living room, open dining area, perfect kitchen. Living room boasts a beautiful gas fireplace with built-ins.
See More Homes For Sale

Why does healthy food keep getting more expensive while junk food does not? University of Warwick released a major study that found U.S. food production steady over 20 years while its imports increased 129% for fruits and to 155% for vegetables. The longer the supply chain, the more expensive. “The data very clearly says, there is this fixed high cost for fresh fruit and vegetable, which is not there for other products,” Thijs Van Rens, one of the authors of the Warwick study told CNBC.  In contrast, Van Rens argued, ultra-processed food items — which aren’t perishable like fresh produce — are becoming cheaper. “Junk food is cheap because you can keep it forever. You can buy it in bulk, you can produce it in bulk, you can deliver it when it’s cheap to deliver it,” he said.

Thursday brings sausage grinder specials to Paula's (524 Elm St., Valley Junction).

— Jim Duncan, jd91446@aol.com


FROM KCCI: Deep Dive: Why a US District Judge blocked Iowa's law banning certain books in schools

DES MOINES, Iowa — When U.S. District Judge Stephen Locher handed down his ruling on Friday, it blocked two of the three provisions of an Iowa law that bans some books from school libraries and forbids teachers from raising LGBTQ+ issues....READ MORE FROM KCCI

FROM WHO-TV: Iowa Wild teams up with LifeServe for special blood drive

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa Wild teamed up with LifeServe Blood Center to help people start the New Year off on the right foot. On Tuesday LifeServe held a special blood drive where donors received a t-shirt and a ticket voucher to the Iowa Wild’s game on Friday, Jan. 5. ..READ MORE FROM WHO-TV

FROM WOI-DT Local 5: December 2023 was 2nd-warmest on record for Des Moines

It was also the third least snowy December on record, with just 0.2" of snow measured at Des Moines International Airport. ...READ MORE FROM WOI-DT Local 5

From the Iowa Living magazines

Meet Jake Bartels
Supporting students and staff in his role as principal.

By T.K. West

Jake Bartels graduated from Southeast Polk High School in 1996 before attending the University of Northern Iowa where he majored in social studies education. He began teaching in 2002 at Van Meter. After three years there, he accepted a position teaching social studies at Southeast Polk High School.

“I love the support that our community provides to our schools. I also love working in the same district as my wife, Christy (she is a teacher librarian at Delaware, Four Mile and Altoona elementaries), as well as the district that my children attend,” Bartels says. “There is something special about living and working in the community that you live in.”

Read more in the Altoona Living magazine.

Birthdays and notables

These celebrities were born on this date: Florence Pugh, Raegan Revord, Brianni Walker, Greta Thunberg, Mel Gibson, Eli Manning, Michael Schumacher, Katie McGrath, Lloyd Polite, Georgia Stanway, Danica McKellar, John Paul Jones

SUBMIT: Send your birthday greetings and congratulatory notes to: tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com

Morning chuckle

The answer to yesterday's riddle:

What do you call a man who drinks too much Chardonnay and falls off his horse? A WINE-STONED COWBOY! - Gail Tomlinson. Answers also received from William Snyder

Today's riddle

What was wrong with the broken skunk?

Have a guess? Email tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com


To advertise in this daily newsletter, contact Jolene Goodman at jolene@iowalivingmagazines.com, or call 515-953-4822 ext. 319.

©Big Green Umbrella Media, Inc., all rights reserved.
www.biggreenumbrellamedia.com. Add webmaster@dmcityview.com to your address book to ensure delivery. Did someone forward you this newsletter? Click here to get it delivered to your inbox for FREE!


This email was sent to: email@example.com

Big Green Umbrella Media, Inc.
8101 Birchwood Ct Suite D
Johnston, Iowa 50131