Tag Archives: Congaree National Park

I Need to Stay Close to the Ground

Some days, weeks, years,  and decades seem difficult.

I think, at heart, I am a simple person.  I believe what Scout told Jem in To Kill a Mockingbird, ” I think there is just one kind of folks. Folks.” I am having a hard time holding to that ideal, or, more precisely, getting the world to accept it.  So what I do is cling to the ground to help preserve my sanity (or at least a bit of equilibrium). My ground includes the bugs, the bindweed, and the first tomatoes in my garden. More fundamentally, though,  I am thinking about the wild (more or less) places I have been lucky enough to hike in.

I had been planning to write a post about the hundredth anniversary of the National Park Service. For a  few minutes earlier today,  I thought the topic was too light for this day, week, month, and year of violence, ethnocentrism, demagoguery, and hatred.  I dropped that thought almost immediately. I believe also what Thoreau said, “In wildness is the preservation of the world.”

Enough words. Below are a few photos of some of my favorite places within the National Parks system. May we have peace (I still believe in that ideal, too).

Kolob Canyons, Zion National Park

Kolob Canyons, Zion National Park

Congaree National Park, South Carolina

Congaree National Park, South Carolina

Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde

Widforss Trail, North Rim, Grand Canyon

Widforss Trail, North Rim, Grand Canyon

Canyon de Chelly

Canyon de Chelly

fritillary, Yosemite

fritillary, Yosemite

Grand Tetons

Grand Tetons

Lava Beds National Monument

Lava Beds National Monument

Needles Overlook, Canyons

Needles Overlook, Canyonlands

Chisos Basin, Big Bend

Chisos Basin, Big Bend

Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park

Lava Beds

Lava Beds

Old Year, New Year: Flexibility, Part 3

I didn’t know there was going to be a Flexibility, Part 3.  I had thought that I had explored my flexibility (and lacks thereof, various) sufficiently in Flexibility, Parts 1 and 2.  This has not proven to be the case.

  • When I contort my arms while doing my stretches, my left shoulder hurts. I think I am losing strength and range of motion (e.g., flexibility) because  I haven’t used my weights in over a week.  We are on the road again, plus it was a) too stormy b) too cold c) too sad (see below) d) too cold (second round) to get the weights out of their storage space in the camper.
  • Yesterday morning, after re-stowing the–once-frozen, now defrosted–canned goods in the camper, my hands were so cold that I went back to the cabin, whimpered from the pain in my thumbs, and sat in a chair all day with a blanket up to my chin.
  • I am warm today as I sit here in the food court of the Myrtle Beach Mall, Kings Highway, Myrtle Beach, S.C. I sit here and miss my father and mother.  How flexible is that?   I might have gotten used to their being gone since it has been  20 years and more.  Without my parents’ kind hearts and bright souls here to raise my spirits, I feel like I am in a cave without a light.

I’m late: I usually transfer the data from my old day planner to my new day planner by around January 1 of the new year.  It’s some sort of ritual for me–copying names, numbers, emails, addresses from the old book to the new. Note: I also transcribe some of my passwords onto the day planner pages. Because of that, in a fit of sense, I am not posting my photo of the old and new  day books  together as I had intended.  Someone might be able to read my little secret codes.

New day planner

New day planner

Speaking about rituals: For the last several years, I have affixed a Post-It note with lyrics to the back of the day planner. This year, I have actually written the words on the inside cover: 

There is a town in North Ontario,
With Dream comfort memory to spare,
And in my mind
I still need a place to go,
All my changes were there

(Hear Neil Young and Arcade Fire sing “Helpless” (1969) at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUD2JUacpPo)

For decades, I  would understand the North Ontario part, and then I would hear Neil mumble the next lines: something, something, something.  I didn’t know what the somethings were or meant, but I felt they were important and the words I couldn’t understand made me want to cry.

I do, however, understand the meaning of the song title: Helpless.

I grow old. Someone else wrote, “I grow old, I grow old, I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled” (“The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot). I used to think that line was a bit funny.  Now, I get it.

I think I am fit and flexible. When I ask, people tell me my gait is fine. However when I see my shadow, I see a little something wobbly with the gait on my right leg.

Shadow

Shadow

I can’t seem to stop walking into swamps of one sort or another, but then I remember, I love swamps.

Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park

I am helpless to stop people I love from dying. So, Ave atque Vale (check your Catullus) and Happy New Year.

Sunlight and water, Myrtle Beach

Sunlight on sea foam, Myrtle Beach