False Cape State Park With The Central Virginia Trailblazers

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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.




WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge / Big / The Sky

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So big the sky. Our friend. Full of our sustenance. Our breath. And filled with beauty too. What we need to survive every minute and art, as well. Visuals.

How long can you stop breathing? Not long. Look around. This invisible resource is all around you. More valuable than gold. More beautiful than flesh. It does not grow old. It will be here. . . forever.

It is very large. The sky.

Flying A Kite At The Beach

More Photos, Virginia Beach


It has been a cloudy few days punctuated with some clear, cool days. Fall weather is wonderful. Colorful leaves should be everywhere in a few days. We are barely in the 50’s this morning.

I walked the boardwalk yesterday and there were some kite flyers on the beach. There are still plenty of folks hanging out down there, hoping, I suppose, for one of those beautiful days that can happen at any time.

It’s all good in my mind.

It’s all lovely.

2012 Neptune Festival / Virginia Beach

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This past weekend we were down at Virginia Beach for the Neptune Festival. It rained a good deal but not heavily and we were able to visit the vendors on the boardwalk and enjoy some of the musical performances.

And I’ve been working on some of the sand sculpture photos from the festival today. The sand sculptures were done in a tent. So you really can’t take photos of them that don’t include the blue carpet, tape, signs and people walking around the exhibit. Well, thanks to PS Elements I am able to remove all of that and, hopefully, allow viewers to focus on these incredible, transitory art works made out of sand.

I will add some more as we go along but here are a few. It was a great weekend. I walk/jogged (wogged) the board in over five miles per hour! That was a first. And the rain, as I said, was not a disappointment. Rain is lovely.

Here are some photos.



Virginia Beach Photos / Logan Pearsall Smith / Kahlil Gibran

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What humbugs we are, who pretend to live for Beauty, and never see the Dawn! ~Logan Pearsall Smith

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~Kahlil Gibran


It’s Friday! And we have had some beautiful weather this week here in Virginia. It is cool and dry. The sun feels just right on the skin. A soft breeze has generally been around. You just couldn’t ask for anything nicer.

Here’s another photo of a recent storm down at the beach.



Lightening is all about maintaining balance between earth and sky. Nature does this in a beautiful way. Lightening is amazing to watch, right? But we could say, well, if nature (the earth) delights in having contact with us (see quote above) how do we explain the many lives that are lost each year to lightening strikes and other natural disasters?

In my view nature takes care of us in many ways but it is not about making sure everyone lives to be X number of years old. There is a difference between providing living things with clean air, food and water and protecting us until we keel over in a nursing home. Think about the recent hurricane that came ashore around New Orleans. People drowned in the deluge. But the storm relieved the suffering of many living things as it relieved drought in the middle of the U.S. .

Nature didn’t put up railings around the Grand Canyon. And people do fall into it and die. We are responsible for some things. And one of them would be to avoid getting hit by lightening if possible. Nature is not impersonal. I believe it responds to us as living beings. But it’s not going to protect us at all times.

Nature treats us a little differently than our mothers treat us. Although I can remember, long ago, my mother telling me I should join the army. I was being immature at the time and this was during the Vietnam War. Joining the army would have meant a one way ticket to the jungle and some man-made dangers as well.

So, maybe mothers and nature are not all that different. It’s complicated but also worth the time and energy to consider, “What is my relationship with nature?”. Have you thought about it lately?

From Walking To Jogging / A Different Perspective On Aging

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I decided to run this morning. It was so wonderfully cool and dry out there. I’ve been walking for over a year now and generally follow a route through our neighborhood for 6, 8 or even 10 miles. But I have a dream. I would like to compete in a half-marathon and do it in 12 minute miles.

For the past year I’ve generally walked 16 or 17 minute miles. If you walk around you can usually go three or four miles in an hour. So that’s what I did. I was trying to shed fat. And I did that. But, something else happened as well. About six or seven months ago I was down at the beach doing this on the boardwalk when I saw an older guy doing the same thing. Except that he was jogging. He was several years older than me. Probably he was 70 years old although you can be fooled easily when trying to estimate the ages of some of these oldsters.

He was dressed only in a pair of running shorts and his skin glistened with sweat. He was very thin. And I thought. . . he looks so cool. He looks like something a sixteenth century Renaissance painter would produce. He looks like a saint. And he was jogged a long, long ways.

This guy has been a bright image in my memory for many months now. And I want to do what he is (hopefully) doing. I want to jog a long ways down the road. I want to run a half-marathon in about two and a half hours. I did it in 3.4 hours last November after walking for just a few months. And it took several days to recover. This year should be better. And next year too. I’m not concerned about how long it takes. My major interest is to discover how one can blunt the aging process with daily exercise (walking).

So today I jogged on the flat surfaces or when I was going downhill. I walked pretty fast the rest of the time. And I didn’t push it. It’s all about having a relaxed mind and body. It’s all about allowing this process to happen naturally….in “good time” as the old expression goes. And I finished 8 miles six minutes under 2 hours. That’s almost 8 fourteen minute miles.

I felt great afterwards. It’s important to feel good when you are done for the longevity of the project. I’m not trying to suffer out there. I’m trying to understand my body and teach my mind how to work with it.

This is how I intend to deal with the aging process. This is how I intend to “grow old”.

It makes that process, somehow, a lot more interesting.



A year ago. . .

Virginia Beach Dolphins / Walking The Boardwalk

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You never know what you are going to see when you walk the boardwalk at Virginia Beach.  It is more interesting than walking around our neighborhood with all its hobbit-like dwellings in Richmond.

The dolphins were out there this morning and so I had to walk in the sand near the water and take a few photos of them as they played and slowly made their way southward along the beach.



A couple of fighter jets from [[wiki:Naval Air Station Oceana]] flew out to sea as I was taking this photo.


Here are a few more photos.



It was a bit cloudy this morning but also a little cooler and there were plenty of folks doing their morning exercises, walking or running and enjoying the last week of summer before the Labor Day holiday.

On this Labor Day we remember the 23 million people who are unemployed or underemployed in America. It should be easier to create jobs in this country.

Virginia Beach Volleyball / East Coast Surfing Championship

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I was down at Virginia Beach this past weekend and decided to check out the surfers and the volleyball players.  For starters the placed was packed.  I’ve never seen it so crowded due, no doubt, to the fact that there were skate boarding and sand football areas set up as well as the other sports activities.

Watching people on the boardwalk was fascinating too.  We are very, very close to the point where folks just walk around in their birthday suits around here.  And this is Virginia!  I cannot imagine what it must be like in, say, Miami, or Sand Diego.

It doesn’t bother me one way or the other since I’m over sixty and misplaced my libido on the train sometime ago.  They say you start losing testosterone after forty and so everybody wants to sell you some these days!  One of the sales pitches is that it somehow causes us to lose weight (as well as regain a Tarzan-like appetite for Jane).

I’m sorry but it’s just too much trouble and expense.  Walk every day, lose weight and I’ll throw in a nice cholesterol drop for free.   Jane can go shopping with all the money you save and you can avoid a lot more trouble down the road.

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Vacations / Erma Bombeck / Milton Berle

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A vacation is like love – anticipated with pleasure, experienced with discomfort, and remembered with nostalgia. ~Author Unknown


We hit the sunny beaches where we occupy ourselves keeping the sun off our skin, the saltwater off our bodies, and the sand out of our belongings. ~Erma Bombeck


Laughter is an instant vacation. ~Milton Berle

National No Bra Day / July 9, 2012

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The bra was invented around 1888 by [[wiki:Herminie Cadolle]], a French woman, who built a thriving business around the female anatomy. So, back when the America was being settled and women were traveling in covered wagons westward through the mountains and over the prairies they didn’t wear bras!

And through most of human history they didn’t wear them either. So are they really a good idea? Maybe they’re just an aberration. I can remember reading The World Book Encyclopedia as a young person and admiring the clothing styles of Egyptian woman back when they were building the pyramids. Some of you know what I’m talking about because their notion about dressing the female torso was 180 degrees from ours!

They had it right and we have only gone downhill from there these many centuries. But all was not lost even in the pioneer days of this country and it was only before the dawn of the 20th century when France (who would have suspected them?!) completed the subjugation of the female form.

Well, some people need support and that’s fine. If you need a cane, eye glasses, back brace or special shoes you should wear them. But if you are young and in shape and don’t need an item why should you be forced to wear it?

Because there are crazy people out there! That’s why. There’s no other reason. Unfortunately we have to gear up with our pepper spray and ninja shoes when we go out. But today the brave ones may be out there celebrating and I’m thinking maybe it’s a good time to go out and take some photos. Except, it’s hot and the students are on holiday from their campus activities.

So my only suggestion would be to move the date! Next year let’s have National No Bra Day in October when there will be much happening at the U and the air will be cool next to the skin and the evenings full of excitement!



Friendship / WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge /

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True friendship comes when silence between two people is comfortable. ~Dave Tyson Gentry


Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival. ~C.S. Lewis


I like friends who, when you tell them you need a moment alone, know enough not to stray too far. ~Robert Brault