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Autumn teaches us a valuable lesson. During summer, all the green trees are beautiful. But there is no time of the year when the trees are more beautiful than when they are different colors. Diversity adds beauty to our world.
– Donald H. Hicks, "Look into the stillnes"  
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  Volume No. 17 Issue No. 9 September 2020  

None Book Review   None Community Calendar   None Community Photos   None Did You Know?  
None Editorial   None FFPD News   None From the Publisher   None Marks Meanderings  
None Monkey Business   None News From D 49   None People on the Plains   None Pet Adoption Corner  
None Pet Care   None Phun Photos   None Prairie Life   None Wildlife Matters  
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  By Mark Stoller

   Mark Stoller moved to Falcon in 2007. He and his wife, Andra, both U.S. Air Force veterans, enjoy life with their daughters, extended family and adopted rescue dogs in Latigo. Mark savors the privilege of his wife and daughters being his muse for topics, people to meet and places to investigate.
   First, a big “thank you” to Ava for writing this column in April and May! It’s great to have quality coverage when I am away.
   Boy! Are we living in some pretty unprecedented times? “COVID, pandemic, invisible threat, new normal, mask, hand-washing, re-open” is all we have on a repetitive news cycle. Admittedly, it has been entertaining to see the creative memes and funny videos produced during lockdown.
   That said, we seem to be in a temporary lull of fear based on the fewer numbers of masked people I see in the stores. These moments are perfect for self-reflection.  
   In the military, after we finish an operation, we complete an after-action report. How did we do? What went right? Where did we fall short? What didn’t we think of?
   I encourage you to review the last three months — see how you did physically, emotionally, socially, and to what level were you prepared to sustain lockdown with the resources inside your home.
   Physical fitness is essential to keep yourself moving on any given day, but even more important when you’re locked up at home and the gyms/recreation centers are closed. 
   I searched for fitness programs online that met two primary requirements: no financial obligation and no need for weights. I found programs such as Fire Rescue Fit, SEALfit, and a good number of yoga classes/channels on YouTube.  
   Yoga is more than contorting yourself in crazy positions, there is also an aspect of mindfulness, breath work and healing. A local studio, 18th Element Yoga, has a free mindful resilience class under the Veterans Yoga Project, which helps those dealing with varying types of trauma.
   Proper nutrition is essential to staying healthy. You may have seen a dietary program called Noom on social media sites. It is cognitive behavior therapy –- changing your behaviors and habits around food based on psychological, social and physiological factors, along with daily education to help reinforce your progress.
   Currently, you can try it free for two weeks before having to pay for three months. I lost seven pounds during my trial period.
   To keep tabs on our parents and family members, we explored and sought out the best communication applications. We tried Skype, Zoom, Facetime and Duo for the face-to-face interactions.  
   Social interaction is so important. Some patients I tended to in nursing homes were really struggling because they could no longer look forward to visits from family. Similarly, if you know of someone who lives on their own, no matter their age, become an accountability partner — call them and ask how they are doing.
   How did your pantry fare? Trying to purchase paper products was a nightmare in local stores. I turned instead to Amazon Subscribe & Save for toilet paper, paper towels, facial tissues and shelf-stable items. Also, with current rationing/shortage of meat products, I try to pick up one extra package of meat even if it’s not on this week’s grocery list.
   While scientist believe COVID will be back during cold/flu season, we should consider the slight possibility of one more scenario. Our country is so politically divided, and we have an election coming up in November. Stories are already circulating about mail-in ballot fraud. Certain elements have also demonstrated their willingness to use violence to further their political beliefs. Going out on a limb here –- we should be aware of civil unrest and the potential for another lockdown after the elections.
   As our governor stated, we have run the sprint, but are now in the marathon. While it’s relatively quiet, take time to assess and fill in the gaps before the next crisis wreaks havoc and disruption. Stay safe and healthy!
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