Walking, losing weight and taking photos of life in Virginia.

Archive for ‘January, 2013’

WordPress Daily Prompt / Eulogize Yourself / What Would You Say?

The Daily Prompt today is to write a eulogy for oneself. And the blogger, in all good conscience, cannot resist such a grave challenge. All that is required to “get started” is to look out the window at the snow and notice that the jet stream has managed to bring the arctic to our backyard. It is cold as death not five feet away.

It is cold as hell. A contradictory notion. And so we begin.

The blogger has left us dear friends. But he was not too bummed out about going somewhere else. He was happy, for example, to now have the opportunity to haunt his ex-wife whenever he feels the urge. He also told me that he wanted to buzz a few UFO’s, scare the crap out of them the way they terrified him from time to time. And, of course, he is looking forward to meeting God and asking him a few questions. For instance, he would like to know why God allowed Bill Buckner to play first base for the Boston Red Sox during the 1986 World Series. And, if there is time, he would also ask Him why he didn’t make the human brain explode whenever someone says, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you”.

Our friend could be generous at times. Most of you probably did not know that he donated his body to science long ago. There was a biology student back in his college days who was really hot. He also spent years working with those in need and actually gave some of them shelter for several nights.

He was always an optimist. Because, he said, he had a choice and it would be really dumb to go the other way. I imagine that, right now, he’s enjoying the fact that he has actually been freed from himself; the near-sighted, fumbling, wrinkled body, and the introverted, forgetful mind. He’s more free to love, laugh and learn as he greets those he has missed for a long time, including his grandparents and his dear mother.

He’s exploring the vistas of many astral worlds made of light and music. And he’s waiting to welcome the rest of his family and friends home. Let’s have a party.

(This is an example of the posts I will be writing in my new blog, Daily Promptness, a response to the WordPress Daily Prompts at WordPress.com.)


Below Freezing In Richmond / The Blogger Turns Back

Today I decided to go downtown (Richmond, Va.) to take a four mile hike starting at Brown’s Island and heading along the James River to take photos of Blue Herons nesting. But it is very cold today and I cut it short because the tips of my fingers started to burn with cold. Apparently these gloves I purchases at REI are not as helpful as I thought and will require some chemical hand warmer packs tucked inside when the temperature dips below freezing.

Better this was discovered here than on the trail! So after a short loop it was back to the warmth of the car and some cool jazz. Mission aborted! Since I started hiking 8 or 9 months ago I’ve had many situations that have not gone as planned. Equipment doesn’t perform. Or I don’t have the right equipment. At some point, hopefully, I will have enough experience to do these things with predictable results! And I will be able to share notes on products that actually do a great job!

I’ve actually had a great time experimenting with hiking gear and clothing. REI is my partner in this effort. They treat their customers very well and I never have a problem bringing something back or exchanging it. If I had to keep everything I bought in the first few months my new hobby would have run aground by now. I could not afford to keep buying sleeping bags, for example, until finding one that was comfortable enough to allow me to sleep. Too expensive! Here’s a photo from the point where things went south and I decided to turn back.

Next time, boys and girls. And sometime soon.



My aborted adventure actually fits in well with the WordPress Daily Prompt today which is Ready, Set, Go . . .write a post in ten minutes. There’s not much to say about getting out of the car, walking around in a circle, snapping a few shots and then returned to the vehicle!

Beyond The Church Structure / Martin Buber / Frederick The Great / Dalai Lama

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God made so many different kinds of people. Why would he allow only one way to serve him? ~Martin Buber

All religions must be tolerated… for… every man must get to heaven his own way. ~Frederick the Great

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness. ~Dalai Lama

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Hiking In Prince William Forest Park/ Snow In Virginia / Children Playing In The Snow

WordPress Writing Challenge: the Devil is in the Details



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Here is a photo I took last weekend during a seven mile hike in Prince William Forest Park in northern Virginia. It was near the end of our walk and the sun was lower in the sky throwing huge shadows off the trees. I was listening to an audiobook about the life of John Adams while going up and down the small hills along the path and enjoying the fresh air. It’s good exercise and on the day hikes you can be home in time for dinner.

Such a simple life. I am drawn, more and more, as time goes on to the woods and the act of walking between the trees. One, in particular, helped me out as I started to slip over some mud and went off the trail. It was only a three foot or so drop but there was a slender sapling there that I grabbed and held. It bent under the weight but did not snap and then sent me back in the direction of the foot path.

It was so good seeing bright sunlight after a week of almost constant rain here in Virginia. I have heard rumors that later this week it will turn very cold again and we may have more snow. How do you feel about weather reports that suggest it will snow soon? Is there something inside that responds with delight? Or do you only think about the problems associated with travel and other issues? We know how the children feel about it. Is there a child inside who remembers the good times in snow?

I hope so. I can feel it crunching under my feet. And I can hear the silence. Snow seems to do something to the quality of sound around us. Especially at night.

I have some good equipment now for dealing with the cold, slippery conditions and hope to get it together to write about these things soon. A few years ago it was difficult even walking down to the U of Richmond campus to take some photos. I was worn out in boots that were much too heavy (so was I) and outerwear that did not breathe properly. All that has changed and so I will be able to venture farther and, hopefully, take more and better photos. I am incurably optimistic about snow.

And old age, as well. I will not be old in another decade. Being in your seventies does not necessarily mean you are old. It could mean  you are much healthier and in far better shape than you are now!  I try to imagine how far I will be able to run in five or ten years and don’t spend a moment thinking about all the diseases out there. There are thousands of things that can go wrong with our bodies tomorrow! I don’t think about that. And the things that have gone wrong can get better too.  For example, my RLS is getting better. I also had a condition on my lower legs that left the skin disfigured. The doctor told me a few years ago that it couldn’t be cured and I would have to wear support hose someday. I ignored what he said.  Well, the condition is gone and did not leave a trace.

Not everything is so easy to defeat, of course. And I can hear somebody saying, “Eventually something will get you!” Really? It may get something but it won’t get me. I shed things like a dog drying himself off. Once in awhile the pooch may get into some nasty stuff and it will take awhile for him to get clean. But he will do it. And I will too!

Getting older and retiring from the daily grind is a vast opportunity to get rid of so many things and go back to the world we experienced as a child. But not the toys! Don’t get rid of them! Not the hiking equipment I hope to write about soon! But now it is almost time to go play in the snow! I hear the kids outside laughing and the sound of steel runners going down the hill. And it hasn’t even started snowing yet! But it is peaceful, the sun has gone down and I can feel the cold on the window pane.

Perhaps I am there, already.  And you?

Weekly Photo Challenge / WordPress / Beyond


This week’s photo challenge is to write about a photo that presumably takes the viewer beyond the main subject to “hidden depths”. And while I was out walking with my camera this morning I took this shot of an art gallery at the University of Richmond. I don’t want to speak for other viewers but it takes me to a couple of places. The reflections in the upper windows suggest a sunny morning in winter with trees that have shed their leaves. The lower windows seem to bring us into the gallery where (perhaps) there is a large work of art. I love art galleries so this makes me curious. What have the artists at U of R been doing here? I need to go over there again, soon, and investigate!
I was mainly taking photos this morning of the snow which fell briefly here in Richmond last night. Most of it will probably be gone by 5 pm. So here is a slide show of snow on the University of Richmond campus and the surrounding neighborhood.

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