Central Virginia Trailblazers / One Year Anniversary

Blogs or Posts, D's Writing, Favorites, Well-known Poetry

Let me plunge into a wandering post. It is time. I’ve not been posting much because there has been so much activity in these warm days of May and June. But let’s try to catch up. First, there was the problem with hiking those extra miles and dragging oneself to the finish line. We did some boulder climbing on Old Rag Mountain a week ago and I really didn’t think I would be able to get OFF the mountain after reaching the top. But it’s all about hydration. That seems to be the problem. Someone recommending drinking extra water for several days before the hike. And then you should always read the directions regarding the number of Nunn tablets to put in your water! I was only using 50 percent of the recommended amount. Why? Because, as I have said before, I am an idiot.

But, unless you make at least one mistake PER day, you are not really trying. And so, because I’m an unrepentant and incurable optimist, we will try again. So what else is happening? Well, I am actually enjoying my hiking companions more and more these days. My heart is opening up to these folks who are trying to have adventures in the wild while they are working jobs, raising children and dealing with all the garbage our government is sending their way. Last weekend was my one year anniversary in the Central Virginia Trailblazer group and around this time I realized that I really cared about these smelly guys and girls.

We hike in all kinds of weather. Sometimes it’s very hot and we are soaked with our own sweat. Sometimes we bleed. One of our own was bitten by a tick and came down with Lyme’s Disease. We pray for his complete recovery. Soon! But there are beautiful moments as well and beautiful people too. Some of the women make me feel thirty years younger when they smile or laugh. But then I watch the young men with their strength and good looks take them away. And I remind myself that I have been there and done these things. Perhaps I should watch the sun as it sets while the clouds glow. And take a photo.

I recently took one photo on a kayaking trip that pretty much sums up my love for these adventures and the people who make them possible. Here it is. . .
a kayaker at caledon state park


I’m not sure I can express the subtle emotions that accompanied this evening on the Potomac River. It was about the peaceful breezes and beauty around us. There was one cloud on the horizon and it worked in perfect concert with the setting sun. I felt that if life brought me to this point there must be some benevolent power behind it. Riding home, alone in my car with Cousin Brucey and the 60’s on 6, the GPS lady telling me what to do and the cruise control on 55 I tried to sort it all out. And, only because I’ve been down so many roads was I able to make sense of it. It’s all about the setting sun and moments in time. Don’t grasp at things. And I remembered a quote I often read as a young man. It bothered me then. I couldn’t accept it.

Now I can accept it.
He who binds to himself a joy
Does the wingèd life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise.

~William Blake

Walking, Losing Weight And Going Up The Mountain

D's Writing, Favorites, Walking And Losing Weight

This post is aimed at those of you who would like to be a little healthier, feel better, lose weight and enjoy life more. Here is a simple idea about how to do these things. But, first of all please let me just say that I don’t feel comfortable in the role of a cheerleader. I like to blend into the background for the most part. And it’s true that for most of sixty years I avoided doing anything like what I’m suggesting here. I was this person not long ago . . .



Not a comfortable place to be . . .

So here’s the deal. A suggestion. Try walking five or six days a week. I know you are busy but let’s just say you start walking for 30 minutes and you walk a mile. The distance is not really important. But it is very important to do it on a regular basis and establish a habit. I cannot express how important it is to make this a regular occurrence. When your mind says “I can’t do this today” you must shut it down. Buy a techie rain jacket and go out when the weather is not good. Use fleece layers in the winter underneath it. The trick is to make this an automatic behavior, like brushing your teeth or going to the refrigerator when you are hungry. Because the good news is that you will be able to go to the refrigerator and feel good about it. You will still lose weight and be healthier.

Because . . . a strange thing happens when you are out there walking that little mile, using up just 30 minutes and listening to your favorite music. You will inevitably want to walk more. You will challenge yourself to rev it up once you start to see results. You will feel like testing your abilities. Sooner or later, you will be running in local races or hiking nearby hills or mountains.

That’s just the way it is . . .

Here I am testing a bit of food from a bush or something. Our guide on this Trailblazer event was sharing with us the medicinal uses of some common plants at a local state park. It’s pretty good, actually. See the techie jacket? It was raining on this day. Did I care? Not much. Wearing a jacket like this one is a lot like wearing nothing at all. They breathe. They shelter from the cold wind. A good jacket is your friend.




Here we are on a local hike downtown. I would suggest looking for a local Meetup group once you have established a routine. Not all your walks have to be solitary (not that this matters). I must admit that I was enjoying this moment.  There’s my favorite beer truck.  And I can drink some beer at this watering hole without gaining weight or overdoing it.  I’m such an idiot.  Betsy has been very supportive and I love her dearly because she trusts me to have a good time but not get myself into trouble. Trouble, you say? What trouble? Here’s a photo I took at The Museum of Fine Arts In Richmond.




musuem photo
This kind of trouble.


Listen, guys and girls. We are all evolving physically, mentally and spiritually as we go along the road. That’s why we are here. When I walk along those mountain paths I enjoy looking out over the crevasses at the huge expanses of trees and clouds. Nature is beautiful. But you have to respect its power as well and not play around the cliffs. Whenever I start to think “Oh, you are doing great!” I inevitably end up on my knees. Usually it’s when I try to climb a 2500 foot mountain trail with a thirty pound pack in the snow. But, it could be something else. So, as I was saying earlier, focus on the basic goal. Walk every day. Take a day off when you are sure you won’t use it to slide back. I had one cold this past winter. It lasted for three days. I walked when I had a cold. I walk when I’m feeling depressed. Inevitably things seem not so bad after the walk. When I absolutely don’t want to walk I go back to a baseline effort. And that is not the couch. It’s four or five miles, no running, just wandering about feeling sorry for myself. But it could be that simple mile in thirty minutes for you.




Like I said I feel a little uncomfortable writing this post. I always wonder about people who do this for a living. But maybe it will help someone. And now it’s time to go walk and stop worrying about how I may “come off” to readers. I’m a work in progress, or, a piece of work, according to my wife. Bless her. Marriage is like a base camp in the shadow of the mountain. You always want to have one where you can relax and be yourself.

Thanks to my Trailblazer friends for some of these photos!

False Cape State Park With The Central Virginia Trailblazers

D's Slide shows, D's Writing, Favorites, Virginia Beach

This past weekend our Central Virginia Trailblazers group went to False Cape State Park on the coast of Virginia to explore one of the very few nature refuges on the east coast.  There were about 25 of us and I would say, just looking around, that everyone had a fun time.  One of the things I appreciate about this group is that it is friendly  but not clique-ish.   I don’t feel comfortable hiking alone but it’s fun having a certain amount of solitude while you are exploring nature.   If you have a question or need help there are folks around but you don’t have to worry about the mind games.

So I appreciate this group and am actually learning a few things about the natural world and my place in it.   The rangers in this park were very nice, as well, and we learned some survival techniques during a Sunday morning class from one of them.  Nettles are one of my new, favorite plants!

The weather held up pretty well and we had some good meals in the lodge thanks to some of our talented trailblazer cooks.   Here are some photos. I am also learning to appreciate Flickr as they do a much better job displaying photos than FB or some of the others. All in all, it was one of my favorite camping adventures to date.




Being Alone In The Woods And This World Rock Scrambles Great Falls National Park

Blogs or Posts, D's Slide shows, D's Writing, Favorites, More Photos, Walking And Losing Weight

Last Saturday we went up to the Great Falls National Park near Washington DC and did some hiking as well as rock [[wiki:Scrambling]]. I was reading about the latter on the wiki page and noticed they categorize this activity into three parts. We were doing the the easy to moderate scramble, it seems to me, along with some rock hopping! And it was a lot of fun! I enjoyed looking for the best way forward and never lost an opportunity to use a small tree or branch for balance and security. You use your arms and feet together in a coordinated way, unlike hiking, and it reminded me a great deal of the high school wrestling we did many years ago. I’m not very good at sports but there is something about both these activities that resonates with me. There is the possibility of landing on your back, in both cases. And in neither do you require great balance, which is my problem. Just hold on and stay low! Look for the next advantage and go for it!

At one point during this adventure I was waiting for most of the group to catch up and started looking at the trees. They seemed so full of energy and life even though their leaves have all gone. Their branches reached for the sky as the sun made an appearance for a short time. And I thought, “I am out here, listening to the Potomac River, looking at the trees, and waiting for a group of people but I am essentially alone in this world. My children are grown. I’m retired. I could stay out here for days and it would hardly be noticed”. It’s a feeling I’ve had all of my life but now all the daily chores are gone. And thanks to the love of friends, family and my wife, it’s no longer a feeling of loneliness. It’s not painful! It’s a feeling of solitude.

Walking nearly every day for the past 18 months has probably intensified this feeling. It’s difficult to hold on to things when you walk. And letting go of bad habits is not the only thing. It’s also an opportunity to let go of anxiety about being alone. When you walk you are away from your life and the things you “need” to be doing. You are creating a space. A peaceful place. And, based on what I was feeling last weekend, my space must be getting larger! I feel like a space traveler who is here for a visit and will be hopping a ride on a spaceship shortly, leaving all behind.

My diet has changed too. Giving up sugar was not so difficult. Giving up manufactured bread was a little more challenging. There are so many things we eat that are not good for us! Or drink! So, probably, this has made a difference in my perceptions.

Creating a new lifestyle is not very difficult to do and there are surprises along the way. We have spiritual guardians who will help us but we must think and not be discouraged. Every day brings an opportunity to make an effort. Mine, today, was not great. I felt weak and only hiked 4 and a half miles in the rain. But why even think about that? Look at the big picture. I’ve “walked across the US” in the last 18 months if you add up the miles. And then look at the bigger picture. We are here a short while and then we go. We leave our possessions and our bodies behind! I watched my dear mother-in-law, Betsy’s mom, draw her last breath in December. And it made a deep impression on me. I can’t describe it here but one result is that I see the limitations of our earthly loves. Bema is still with us in spirit. She is in a better place, for sure. But she is gone as well. We tend to feel anxiety about this part of the equation. We tend to avoid thinking about it. We spend our hours and energy looking in the other direction with all the family or group activities we can imagine. We think about our “soul mate” who will, supposedly, resolve this feeling of separateness (not for long!).

It’s a little bit easier to deal with this issue as an introvert, perhaps. You have many more opportunities to practice!! But all the practice in the world will not help if you don’t deal with the challenge. Love your friends. Love your family. But take that love to a place where you are alone with nature in the woods. Or go to the library. Wherever. Be somewhere that includes voices you cannot hear and visions you have not shared. And then, listen.

I am never alone in my heart. But we are human beings made of earth, separate and alone, who struggle along the path as we discover our way home. Here are some photos from our hike on Saturday taken with a little Canon point and shoot.


Backpacking To Calf Mountain In Winter

Blogs or Posts, D's Slide shows, East Coast Travels, Favorites, More Photos, Walking And Losing Weight

This past weekend we went up to Skyline Drive here in Virginia to backpack in the snow and ice. It was an adventure. I would go into more detail but I’m still too sore to type. It was a good learning experience and we are all blessed to have returned home in one piece. Just about every one of the ten hikers on this trip took a fall at some point. Fortunately nobody landed on a rock or tumbled down the side of a mountain. Would I do this again? Yes, but not without micro-spikes. I have learned some important things on each camping trip and this one was no exception. Have the proper gear. Stay as safe as possible.

I took these with my little Canon Powershot. I have to hand it to Canon. This is a nice, little point and shoot. And it doesn’t seem to mind if you drop it on its head every once in awhile. It’s difficult keeping the lens clean while you are dragging a pack around in all kinds of weather. But once all this other stuff becomes second-nature perhaps I will take time to clean the little sucker every few minutes.

It’s beautiful in the woods when snow covers the ground. The views are incredible. Here are some photos. Have some coffee. Be happy you are warm.



Downtown Richmond Christmas Lights / Trailblazers On The Move

Blogs or Posts, D's Slide shows, Favorites, More Photos, Richmond, Walking And Losing Weight

Last night I went on the Trailblazers 2nd Annual Tacky Lights Walk (seven miles/ fairly easy) and took some photos along the way. Taking photos at night is always challenging unless the lights are blazing or you have a tripod. But it was fun and good exercise as we headed downtown from the NY Deli on Cary St. to the James Center. Along the way we ventured into the Jefferson Hotel.
So here are some photos. The folks on Monument Ave. like to put up the Christmas lights around their doors. And there’s a guy who likes to decorate his car.



Will we have snow for Christmas? I put in an order. So we will see.



My Run For Vice President In 2016 / Jump On Board Now!

Blogs or Posts, D's Writing, East Coast Travels, Favorites


I’m thinking about running for VP in 2016. Why not, you may ask, run for President, since you are obviously living in fantasy land. One’s as good as the other and most folks, in your situation, would run for the Big Prize. Well, the answer to that question is very simple. I don’t want to do any work. I’m already retired and have some things to do every day. Adding to the list would be stressful. But (!) an occasional trip to DC and a ride, once in awhile, on Air Force One (the VP does get to do this, right?) would be fine. I could make a speech every so often at least as cogent as the present occupier of the office. And I wouldn’t be causing any scenes, touching folks, and spreading germs. So that could be a plus.

Here’s how we are going to do it (because I’m counting on YOUR support). First, we need an issue and I’ve actually been writing about one here, on this blog, recently. The debt crisis. How do we solve it. Well, I’ve found two interesting articles. The first is by Thomas Sowell writing for Townhall.com entitled Fiscal Cliff Notes: Part II. 

And the second is by Stephen Herrington writing for Huffingtonpost.com entitled Conservative Myth Busting: Lowering Taxes Raises Government Revenue .

They are diametrically apposed in their ideas about solving the debt crisis and taxes. Today that issue is identified as the Fiscal Cliff although this term will probably be a distant or non-existent memory by the time you read this. What WE need to do is discover who is right! Because economics should be more like science, dammit! They don’t send up the space shuttle each time based on this kind of information!

Once we have the answer to our problem, we need to make sure, EVERYONE knows what-the-hell it is! Because I’m tired, and so are you (probably) of hearing about this every day. We can proceed, in other words, and make sure the word gets out. We do have, unfortunately, once small problem.

It’s called Global Warming. It has come to my attention that there are folks out there who do not feel our fiscal situation and 16 trillion dollars of debt is the primary issue facing our country. They feel the the level of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are more important! And one party is not paying enough attention to the fact we may drown (as a nation) while trying to figure out our fiscal mess. In fact, many of them feel it would be helpful if our economy collapses! This would cause many of us to be unable to drive our cars and cut down on smog. Among other things.  We need science once again!  And not the creepy made-up stuff!

So, as you can probably see (if you are still paying attention) these two issues are interrelated! And we need to sort them out before we can come up with solution (duh!). Once we have done this we can press forward. We can let the world know what needs to be done. There are many other issues, of course. And I, as a VP candidate in 2016 will have no position on any of them. Let the states sort them out. Let the Supreme Court have a stab at it. And I’m sure the military can stand up for themselves.

If we can solve the debt issue and make sure we don’t all get waterlogged in the process we will have done our part! And I, as your presumptive candidate for the second highest office in the land will be more than ready to take a few victory laps.

Next time, we will need to discuss who will be President and put our policies in place. She (or he) must be trustworthy, of course. So it shouldn’t be difficult getting down to the short list. And since we will probably have 50 million supporters by this time next year, I feel confident we will be able to find someone.

So, it’s time to go to work on these two articles. I’m looking forward to your comments. And, if they are really impressive, who knows? There may be a cabinet appointment in it for you!



Robert Thurman / Buddhist Thought / The Path To Greater Realization

Artists, D's Writing, Favorites, Meditation, Music, The Lost Child

Robert Thurman is a funny guy and very smart, too.  He’s on my Ipod talking at great length about the Tibetan Book Of The Dead.  Here’s a joke he tells that he finds hilarious.  “Why does it take so many sperm to impregnate the egg?”

“None of them will ask for directions.”  Pretty good.  Probably an old joke but I don’t remember ever hearing it.  Certainly my Dad didn’t mention it in The Talk we had many years ago.  Although I wish he had and hope my son reads this and will, someday, pass it on to my grandson.  An icebreaker.  Be cool, Dad.

Does the name Thurman ring any bells with you?  Well, it should!  Can any of us forget the bathtub scene with Uma (his daughter) or Kill Bill (not Bob).  Robert married the Swedish Beauty,  Nena von Schlebrugge, years ago.  Nena used to be married to Timothy Leary.  I shared this information with my wife today since Uma’s Dad is my new best friend during my walks (Audible.com  Liberation Upon Hearing In The Between.  Robert Thurman).  She may have rolled her eyes.  I need to see better but at the moment bright lights are causing me some difficulty because I’m giving up the pain medication I am prescribed for RLS (Restless Legs Syndrome).  Pain medications do help but they have very annoying side effects.  They amplify pain and other bodily miseries (itching, for example  and I have patches of eczema that are very distracting).  I could with some justification float around on a cloud all day but I choose to avoid this false reality and the increasing dosages necessary to avoid the “coming down”.

Besides, I’m in good shape now and don’t mind these daily wrestling matches with the body and it’s charming surprises.  But when your eyebrows cause you pain you have a serious problem.  Just saying.

Back to Robert Thurman.  He brings a poetic imagination to the table and builds visions that inspire, for instance.  New York City.  A large apartment building on a weekend evening.  How many people inside are “getting it on”?  Unborn souls are swirling around and being attracted to certain couples engaged in the tangle.  Each is identifying with a certain man or woman and “dive in” to the aforementioned struggle, not asking directions, but becoming an unborn child (male or female depending on  their focus), if they manage to reach the front of the line.  Sometimes it’s a tie (twins)!  His riff on the Oedipal connections at this moment are intriguing.  Lust will find a way, it seems, and we see why souls are drawn back into this world.  I’ve wondering for awhile why anyone would come back to this place.  Reincarnation always seemed a forced procedure but after listening to his description of romance on the East River I can sort of see why it happens.

While I walk the miles.  I’m not a Buddhist but much of what he says makes sense to me.  I was raised a Methodist in the sheltering arms of my parents and my most memorable experience there was “a first kiss” in the choir loft on an evening before we were discovered by the choir director (not a happy man).  It was a group meeting so the recriminations afterwards were diluted due to our sheer numbers.  Ah, church youth groups in the late 50’s and early 60’s were such fun.

Later I was a Baptist after an ill-fated decision to marry (Yours, Mine, Ours) in the Brady Bunch tradition.  I hope it was good in some ways for the kids because it was the Trip To Hell for me.  I stuck it out for 14 years but as you can probably tell I’m not the traditional kind of guy and the finest memories I have of this period were the communal meals with home fried chicken.  Jesus is real and I kept that in mind as I went down the road with someone who was interested only in support of one kind or another.  And still is, today.

The love of my (spiritual) life is Paramahansa Yogananda who arose in the Hindu tradition.  Robert says some interesting things about how the Hindu and Buddhist religions had a parting of the ways in India.  He notes that there are fierce Hindu deities who resemble  Buddhist deities and so forth.  Did you know that if you encounter one of these terrifying-looking forms (you can often find renditions of them in local museums like our own Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, by the way)  you should embrace them!  Don’t be afraid!  They are your protection in the unconscious mind where the great horrors of mankind (Hitler, for example!) reside.  So my guru, Paramahansa Yogandanda, has been with me since I discovered his autobiography on a book table, while in college.  I don’t associate him with kissing or fried chicken.  He has gotten me this far and through all of that.

And so my path continues as I walk every day and try to (gradually) improve.  The inner light calls me although I will admit, at this moment, the gross light of day is difficult.  I understand that life is fierce and lustful, at times, and it will lead you astray.  But I’m also confident that we can find our way.  I’m most grateful to have found a loving and supportive partner, my wife, Elizabeth, who is a gift from God and someone who enables me to reach beyond our mechanical world with it’s failing traditions.  “Betsy” is known to many as a source of strength and love.  I will call her Elizabeth, here, because it is a majestic name and were we to see her as she really is, we would see a spirit of such stature we would be in awe of the light she casts about this frightful (at times) place.

And to sum up, regarding Robert Thurman.  Once, long ago, he was apparently trying to jack up his car when the stupid thing snapped and shattered his face, causing him to lose an eye.  At that time he seemingly was a traditional guy, but after this happened, he gave up his marriage and traveled abroad, becoming the first American Buddhist monk of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.  He studied with the 14th Dalai Lama who became a close friend, and then returned to the U.S. in 1967 where he met his German-Swedish model and gave up his vows to pursue the life of the ordinary man.

Thus, we have Uma, her siblings and so many other things including some great lectures that one can enjoy while walking and trying to do better.  Yesterday, after I gave up the prescription pain medication and walked, I was lying in bed listening to the following music and doing some breathing exercises.  Suddenly, I was filled with a blissful light and energy that made it clear this was the right path.  This is the way.  Thank you for listening.  Have a perfect day.



Cold Weather Camping And Jogging / Exercise For The Soul

Blogs or Posts, D's Writing, Favorites, Meditation, More Photos, Walking And Losing Weight

Monday afternoon. We went camping this weekend in the cold mountains of Virginia. Karl, Peggie, Mike, Sean, me and Roscoe, the dog. And when I return home the bed, the chair, the furnace and the frig all seem new to me. I love their presence. At one point this weekend while we were sitting around the fire, as the sun disappeared around 5 pm behind the mountain we inhabited, I tried to imagine living this way as others have done. Being here is merely a passing perception of life in the wilds. But it is riveting and something to remember. In ten years I could not tell you much that happened back in the fall of 2012. But I will remember the fire, the cold that settled in the night and being alone in a small tent in the early Sunday morning hours when everything was totally dark and infinitely quiet. My feet were cold and I could not sleep. And so I spent an hour (or two) teaching myself toe exercises that would bring the hot blood down there to the craggy end of my beastly being. I could not reach them with my hands because the sleeping back was pretty tight and at one point I felt claustrophobic and nearly ripped it aside and ran outside to meet the frigid, black night.

But it is better to settle down and not let the mind’s freaky moments rule. Eventually, and happily for all, the toes warmed up and no campers were alarmed by strange noises erupted around the campsite. I returned to the gentle clime of dreamland and did not awaken until 7:30. Mike had restarted the fire and soon we were having breakfast and planning our hike for the day.

Roscoe, Karl’s beautiful little dog, was there to cheer me up and we soon went up the trail for some beautiful vistas on The Priest Mountain in The Priest Wilderness. Roscoe enjoyed it. He is recuperating from an auto accident and broken bones. One of his legs can’t keep up when he runs so he goes on three legs when he’s in a hurry. I didn’t get many photos because the battery died but here in one of our furry companion.



Being away from civilization is a teaching moment and one that is priceless for those of us who see so many things going away. There is beauty in the woods and a feeling that nature and its many inhabitants are clearly beyond bombs falling on sleeping children abroad and the gigantic numbers signifying our leases are about to expire.

This morning, back in town, I went out for the morning jog and, as sometimes happens, I was suddenly aware of an enormous burst of energy within my soul. I ran the lonely streets, draped in mourning trees and carpeted with orange leaves, with a knowing that comes from running beyond everyday life and its concomitant tears into the cold, bright air of my true life. Muscles that strain and lungs that surge forward to the top of something. Where am I going? Why do I do these things?

I do not know. I am only aware that life is on fire and I wish to burn. Wrap your arms around me, Blessed One. I am of wounded age, but, like Roscoe, but I can still walk, run, climb, jump! I am unencumbered of so many things and waiting for the word. Listening, breathing and moving in the dark. Being with the trees and the light that shines on the mountain tops.

I do not wish to think, anymore. There is still so much to learn.

And George, I do love you and your gorgeous work.


All alone in this world am I
Not a care for this world have I
Only you keep my eyes open wide
Yes it’s true
I live for you

Not a thing in this world do I own
Only sadness from all that is grown
In this darkness I wait for the day
Yes it’s true
I live for you

For many years I wait
For many tears I wait

All this time my thoughts return to you
Give my love, that is all I can do
Wait in line till I feel you inside
Yes it’s true
I live for you

For many years I wait
For many tears I wait

All this time my thoughts return to you
Give my love, that is all I can do
Wait in line till I feel you inside
Yes it’s true
I live for you

I Live For You/ George Harrison

Running In The Richmond Half-Marathon / Jogging And Taking Photos Too

D's Slide shows, Favorites, More Photos, Richmond, Sports, Walking And Losing Weight


Today there was a marathon, half-marathon and 8k race here in Richmond so there were tons of folks downtown and lots of photo ops. I ran in the half-marathon for the second year and decided to take the little point and shoot I use for backpacking to, hopefully, distract my senses from the cries of muscles and old bones. And it worked! Up to a point. I ran most of the way and knocked almost an hour off my previous time. I’m at least 20 pounds lighter this year and using better equipment, too. The weather was perfect as well.

So I decided to edit the photos and add captions to each of them. Hopefully, this will make them a little more interesting. Betsy met me at the 8 mile mark and also took some photos which I have identified. They added thousands of spots to the half-marathon this year. It is a very, very popular race. And it’s challenging too. Plus, you get to run next to some superhuman athletes, if only for a few moments, as the blow past on their way to incredible times in the marathon.

So here are the photos and now I’m going to relax and watch some college football. Zachary called me yesterday and told us he is going to be part of the color guard at the Baltimore Ravens game tomorrow in Baltimore. So we need to tune in to that and see him in his handsome uniform holding the flag. He finally made it to the pros and no one laid a scratch on him!

I hope everyone has a great weekend and don’t forget to get out and walk!



The Destruction Of Hurricane Sandra / Invisible Storms And Peace

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I just saw a post somewhere that says New Yorkers are eating out of dumpsters. Because there is a problem with distribution of goods up there. Everything from gas and water, to electricity and diapers is in short supply. But eating out of a dumpster should not be a symbol of the “end times” now faced by many up the coast. I used to have a brother-in-law who would dumpster dive on a regular basis for lots of good stuff. Sometimes he would share it too! I can’t remember the exact details but he would show up with a victorious smile on his face and a bag over his back. He was not the Santa. He was the human version of bacteria. But he wasn’t in the predicament many face up north either.

I’m just saying you can find good stuff in dumpsters because we throw out a lot of food. When the power goes and you can’t keep meat fresh it gets tossed.

I worry about a breakdown in social order these days. I hope our northern neighbors are as “resilient” as the media says they are and they “pull together” to “weather the storm”. It’s a tremendous challenge when you think of the millions of folks who are without the necessities of daily life. And they are not used to camping out. It’s cold. The lines are long. And they don’t drop down in prayer three times a day like the residents of Central Iraq. This is a war zone with potential combatants and nothing except a television screen to bring hope.

Hopefully the power will be turned on again soon.

We didn’t have much of a problem with the storm here in Virginia. Yesterday was sunny and I had an eye appointment after the wing of my reading glasses broke off. It was a good thing that it did, too, because it has been five years since my last exam. How time flies. So we were going through the routine when the eye doctor said she wanted me to see a specialist about a “freckle” in my eye she could not clearly see. There is a possibility it could be a Myeloma which I found interesting. “There is really nothing to worry about. . .it’s just that I can’t see all of the freckle!”

Well, maybe you should get an eye exam Doc! So here we have a obscure little storm inside a fragile eye socket. Or maybe not. I was concerned at first. I recently had a birthday and am now the same age as my mother when she died from an aggressive cancer. I have wondered, from time to time, if this could mean I would face a similar situation at this age. It’s not uncommon that children do this. So we will find out more next Tuesday.

Ultimately, of course, we all must go. And I am looking forward to a reunion with my Maker more than I can describe in words. Here’s an interesting question. Would you prefer (David) to:

1. Spend the next thirty years dealing with the problems of aging, restless legs, etc or. .
2. Be free of this bag of bones and in the ethereal realms in 15 years.

I would rather be free. I’m here to take classes. We all know how lovely it is to reach the end of the school year. Someone once asked Paramahansa Yogananda, “Is there really a Hell?”. And with a brilliant smile he said, “Where do you think you are now?” It’s not hell all the time, of course. There are wonderful reflections of heaven everywhere. But it’s not heaven. As our brothers and sisters on the East Coast of the US and in Iraq know all too well.

There are a few people I will miss terribly when it is time to go (whenever that is), of course. But I feel confident I will be able to watch them from wherever. And meet them when they arrive. It’s all so much better than being 13 and not knowing their whereabouts at all. Being 13 is worse than dying. It’s a deep, dark place and I’m never surprised when I hear that a poor child has taken their own life or lost it in some reckless action. I feel for children as they lose their innocence and become aware of their surroundings.  I truly do.

So I am happy with either outcome. And I feel joy when I see the lives that have started because I was here. Here is one such precious soul.  My granddaughter, Molly.