Welcome to Stuff I Learned Yesterday. My name is Darrell Darnell, I am so glad I don’t have to come up with any more random facts about myself, and I believe that if you aren’t learning, you aren’t living. In today’s episode of Stuff I Learned Yesterday I take one last evening stroll as the sun sets on Stuff I Learned Yesterday.

Today’s Fun Fact: How about a bit of poetry knowledge to wrap up our fun fact segment? Today I want to tell you about the Haiku. (Source: Britannica.com)

Haiku, is an unrhymed Japanese poetic form consisting of 17 syllables arranged in three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables respectively. The term haiku is derived from the first element of the word haikai (a humorous form of renga, or linked-verse poem) and the second element of the word hokku (the initial stanza of a renga). The hokku, which set the tone of a renga, had to mention in its three lines such subjects as the season, time of day, and the dominant features of the landscape, making it almost an independent poem. The hokku (often interchangeably called haikai) became known as the haiku late in the 19th century, when it was entirely divested of its original function of opening a sequence of verse; today even the earlier hokku are usually called haiku.

Originally, the haiku form was restricted in subject matter to an objective description of nature suggestive of one of the seasons, evoking a definite, though unstated, emotional response. The form gained distinction in the 17th century, during the Tokugawa period, when the great master Bashō elevated the hokku, as it was then known, to a highly refined and conscious art. Haiku has since remained the most popular form in Japanese poetry. Later its subject range was broadened, but it remained an art of expressing much and suggesting more in the fewest possible words. At the turn of the 21st century there were said to be a million Japanese who composed haiku under the guidance of a teacher.

A poem written in the haiku form or a modification of it in a language other than Japanese is also called a haiku. In English, the haiku composed by the Imagists were especially influential during the early 20th century. The form’s popularity beyond Japan expanded significantly after World War II, and today haiku are written in a wide range of languages.

What I Learned Yesterday
Sun on horizon
It brings beginning and end
Perspective is key

When I was in high school I would occasionally go camping with my friends Van and Jason. It was always a lot of fun just hanging out with my friends and goofing off. We’d find a good spot on one of the hundreds of acres owned by Van’s parents, and make camp for the night. We’d build a campfire, stretch out our sleeping bags, and eventually we’d go to sleep right there under the stars. No RV. Not even a tent.
One of my favorite things about this experience was getting to see the sun peek its head above the eastern horizon. Since we were outside, as soon as there was even a crack of daylight, I would wake up. There was something majestic about it. The air was cool and still. It was fresh and breathing it in felt good. In fact, I soon looked forward to the next time we’d go camping because I knew I’d get to experience the fresh dawn air once again.

Those moments are brief. The sun quickly rises and brings with it the heat of the day. Deadlines, expectations, rush hour, meetings, conflict, and toil. The sun bears down upon us and sometimes all we can sense is the burden of its unrelenting presence. But we all know that its burden is not unrelenting. Well, technically the heat from the sun is unrelenting, but our exposure to it is cyclical.

The sun eventually begins to drift lower in the sky and soon rests upon the western horizon. These times of day are also magical. The air begins to cool and become crisp. It’s during this time of day that I enjoy taking walks with my family. The cool of the day has set in and we get to take some time and converse about what’s going on in each of our little worlds.

Can you relate to these stories at all? Is it weird that we think of sunrise and sunset as two different things? Craig D. Lounsbrough once said, “A sunset is nothing more and nothing less than the backside of a sunrise.” I love that quote. The truth is, the only difference between a sunrise and a sunset is our perspective. Our sunrise is someone else’s sunset and vice versa.

It was either January 4th or 5th of 2014 when I first came up with the name for this podcast. The concept had been sifting through my brain for quite some time, but it was there, after an encounter with the garbage whistler, that it all began coming together in my mind. The garbage whistler, a fairly short hispanic man working as a janitor at the Rio in Las Vegas, was in the midst of doing a job that no one aspires to do. Yet in that moment he was not down trodden, he was not ashamed, he did not have a bad attitude or even a mediocre attitude. His attitude was positive. He had a smile. He he life in his step. And he was whistling. His positive attitude was contagious, and it inspired me.

So what’s special about the garbage whistler? The same thing that is special about me. Absolutely nothing. That is, there’s nothing special about he or I that isn’t also special about you.

He inspired me to start this podcast and thus was the dawn of Stuff I Learned Yesterday. Today we have reached its sunset. Stuff I Learned Yesterday will live on via our website, iTunes, and the internet at large. The 562 episodes that mark its path tell a story of their own. It’s a story of life. Within the span of Stuff I Learned Yesterday we’ve laughed and cried. We’ve shared success and failure. We’ve shared life together. And I’m quite sure we’ve grown stronger.

I’ll always be proud of Stuff I Learned Yesterday. The objective was simple: Take a look at the every day situations of life, and look for lessons from which to learn. It’s easier to learn from the big moments of life, and let us never fail to find the teachable moments that those big moments contain. But most of life plays out among the rote, mundane, plain vanilla moments. There are lessons to glean from each of those moments and it was upon this belief that this podcast was built. I am even more convinced of that truth today than I was on sunrise day, March 17, 2014 and I hope you are too.

I hope that you also realize that you have the power of the garbage whistler. You have the power to impact the world around you. You don’t have to be famous. You don’t have to write a book. You don’t even have to write a blog or start a podcast. You can be a positive change agent in your family, your office, your church, your school, and everywhere you’re present.

Many of you have told me that I’ll never fully know the impact that Stuff I Learned Yesterday has made on this world until I say goodbye to this world. You’re right. But the same can be said for each of us. The truth is, we are all making a difference in this world and we’ll never know what the fullness of that impact is while we reside on this side of eternity.

If there’s anything that this last week should have taught us, it’s that we truly never know just how close to eternity we are.

And so here’s what I’ve learned.

Our perspective in each moment is the most critical thing to our outcome. Today this podcast is experiencing its sunset, but that same event is bringing new life and a sunrise to the next thing. Maybe it will inspire you to start a podcast or a blog. That would be great. I’ll be happy as long as it has inspired you to stay positive and look for lessons in every circumstance and an opportunity to reach out a hand to help another.

I’ve learned to be present, ask for help, allow myself to be vulnerable, and that my hard times are not unlike yours. I’ve learned that when I’m willing to share my life with others, I realize that I’m not alone. One of the most revealing things I’ve shared on this podcast is the relationship I have with my mom. That has also been one of the stories that has impacted listeners the most. When I shared it, I thought I was unique in my experience. Now I know there are many others of you who have a similar story. I hope my story has strengthened you. You have strengthened me.

Lastly, I’ve learned to be a better listener. You all have taught me many things through your stories, comments, emails, and phone calls. I’m not always the best listener, but I know that when I take the time to honor people with my attention, I’m better for it. That’s a lesson I hope I never forget or push to the back of my mind.

Whether you just happened to tune into today’s podcast for the first time or you’ve been with me for all 562 episodes, thank you. If you’ve shared this podcast with a friend or loved one along the way, thank you. Let’s stay in touch via the Facebook group, and most of all, remember that each moment of each day is an opportunity to learn and be a garbage whistler.

I’m Darrell Darnell, and this has been Stuff I Learned Yesterday.

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“A sunset is nothing more and nothing less than the backside of a sunrise.” ― Craig D. Lounsbrough