Recent Posts


Circle of Life by Dr. Juan Harrison

Circle of Life by Dr. Juan Harrison
  • PublishedJuly 19, 2023

The emergence of late winter and early spring vegetation conjures up ambivalent feelings.  I’m tired of winter and the dead gray grass, yet with the change in seasons comes hard work and hot sweaty days.  Almost overnight in the yards and by the highways the landscape is peppered or quickly swamped by clumps of green and emerging weeds and wildflowers.  Like preteens sneakily making the transition through the teen years, it’s so subtle that the transition seems to be done in a couple of weeks, given a little warm weather.

As I help prepare the grounds of my two latest customers’ homes to go on the market, I feel a bit of nostalgia.  Each one has been under my care for over 30 years.  They almost feel like wards of mine as I’ve tried to maintain them throughout the years.  Ice storms with accompanying broken limbs and summer heat waves and autumn leaves smothering the grass made things challenging.  Throw in a few hundred pounds of acorns from Live Oak trees falling in late winter and you’ve got a cure for boredom.

I survived over forty years working inside, but my heart has always been happiest working outside.  The first thing I did when acquiring a new school was to get out the loping shears and weed eater to dress up the place.  I like to start on the outside where people could see immediate change before I tackled the more elusive and difficult matters of curriculum and pedagogy.

Anyone who loves the outside knows the peace you feel as the chatter of the day and the cares of the world seem to morph back into a less threatening challenge than before.  Doing things with your hands making visible changes helps offset a world of work where you can’t separate the forest from the trees.

A cute skinny younger friend once told me that people who work in the dirt live longer.  It hasn’t made me cute or skinny, but I think it has helped me live longer as I approach the 80’s.  Maybe it’s releasing endorphins and hormones.  Maybe it’s just doing something that feels good without having to pay $59.99 a month at the gym.  Maybe it’s letting someone else pay me for exercising.

There’s something comforting about being outside working with Nature.  I grew up on a farm.  I reckon it never leaves your blood.  You gain a sense of security and stability as you see seasons predictably come and go.  No matter how crazy the world gets, Spring is going to arrive.  My sons gained the same insights as they worked alongside of me growing up.  As my youngest even now prepares his garden for the early spring vegetables, I smile, thinking about how already he’s teaching his little ones in the garden about the circle of life.

By Dr. Juan Harrison




Written By

Front Porch News Hopkins County is the #1-ranked online news source for the greater Hopkins County, Texas area. We provide up-to-date happenings, photos of life, and current events in Sulphur Springs and surrounding communities. With our incredible 32,000+ social media following and easy-to-access website, we get news and content about our great community to more people. We have the combined reach of every radio station, newspaper and other news website in Hopkins County combined!