Pavlov’s Dog

Photo courtesy of Molly Lindsey

             

Who Is Pavlov’s Dog?

For starters, do you know about Pavlov?  Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (1849 – 1936) was a Russian born physiologist known for his work in classical conditioning. His work has greatly influenced our understanding of human behavior and learning processes, and he continues to influence the formation of modern behavior therapy.

His contributions have influenced a broad spectrum of fields, from psychology and physiology, to medicine and philosophy, but in popular culture he is well known for his “conditioned reflex” experiments with dogs. Various stimuli would be presented as an antecedent to feeding time, and the dogs would then become conditioned to salivate upon the stimuli presented before food was actually presented.

Hence, the image (above) of my Australian Shepherd, Molly, licking her chops. All we have to do is mention “treat, snack, breakfast, lunch, or supper,” and she begins licking her lips. The other day it made me wonder who Pavlov’s dog was, but then I discovered, he had many dogs! Duh!

Oh well . . . Pavlov and Molly conspired to make me think about who Pavlov’s dog was, which inspired a poem. I hope you enjoy “Pavlov’s Dog.”

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Falling In Love with Selene

“Going through life without seeing a total eclipse of the sun would be like going through life without ever falling in love.”Rick Fienberg

I thought about this guy’s quote (off and on) all morning. I heard the story on NPR. Fineberg is a press officer who works for the American Astronomical Society. His quote is also published in a story titled Be Smart: A Partial Eclipse Can Fry Your Naked Eyes.

Really? I guess it depends on what type of love into which you’re falling. I can confess to a fascination of natural cosmic anomalieseven a passing obsession. But I get it: Fienberg is comparing his love for nature with agape love. Or at least I’d like to think so. One thing for certain: I admire Fienberg’s passion. And don’t get me wrong: I relished the notion of getting to see today’s solar eclipse. I missed it but I’m not broken-hearted or disappointed in the least.   

I know I’ll never fall in love with an object of nature, but what if I did? What if I fell in love with supernovae and black holes and eclipses of every kind? This is the notion (and passion) that drives this poem: Falling In Love.   Continue reading

Things My Mother Taught Me

My mother is on a personal journey, out of this realm. Eternity is merely days away. “Mitzie” is medicated. She is comfortable, surrounded by beloved family members. Last night she was calling out my sister-in-law’s name: “Diane. . . Diane.” I spoke to Diane today and she has spent the entire day with my mom. In the near future, I will be boarding a jet which will take me to Salt Lake City, and I will travel to my mom’s house in North Ogden, Utah, where I will say good-bye to her for the last time.

As for man, his days are like grass;
    he flourishes like a flower of the field;
     for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
    and its place knows it no more.
     But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
    and his righteousness to children’s children,
     to those who keep his covenant
    and remember to do his commandments.
     The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
    and his kingdom rules over all (Psalm 103: 15 – 19). 

I have drafted a few lines and titled it “Things My Mother Taught Me.” Currently she is teaching me the value of entering immortality with grace.

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The Monarch’s Last Flight

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Photo by Donald Lindsey (September 2015)

Does anyone not appreciate a spectacular butterfly? I have been unsettled by the lack of monarch butterflies this late summer in my gardens. Last summer they swarmed my yard. Alas, I have seen only one this season.

So why the decrease in numbers? From my studies, I’ve learned that monarch butterflies are facing a 90 percent decline in numbers. Several organizations are clamoring for monarchs to be designated as a threatened species.

To learn more about the plight of monarch butterflies, read my poem and follow the links to learn of the problems they face and what you can do to help them bounce back.

If you have a monarch butterfly report for your area of the US, feel free to comment and let me know what you are seeing in your back yard.

To the monarch’s success!

-dbl

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Silver Lining

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In “A Prayer of Moses, A Man of God,” we learn that “… the years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty,” and if you read 5 lines down, he sends out a plea to God: “So teach us to number our days / that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90). In Psalm 139, the psalmist explains how the Lord has formed our days and written them in his book, “… when as yet there was none of them.”

Whether you have given your assent to biblical truths and trust in them is beside the point. We’re all destined for bodily (and/or mental) decay, and eventually a terrestrial death.

I’ve been thinking about quality of life issues in my elder years (I’m not quite there yet), but also thinking about how joyful life is at age sixty. How long will I continue to to experience this great peace and joy? I hope to have it up until my final (most glorious) day, which will definitely be eternal.

These are the thoughts that inspired this poem, “Silver Lining.” Enjoy! Continue reading