5 July, 2011    Placeholder

This isn’t a “real” entry – there’s currently just no time. But it’s been over a week since I’ve put up a post. And I’ve had some really, really neat experiences and taken a few images I’ve enjoyed a great deal. I hope you will too. My brother Kevin had a great crowd at his house yesterday for his annual July Fourth celebration. Including my mother, my father, both my brothers, both my sisters, and three of my five nieces. But we hardly took any pictures! Maybe if someone else in the family got a good one they’ll send it my way and I can put it up in a future post.

Should I get my obligatory train image out of the way? Last week Clark and I were down at the tracks and these two big AC4400’s were just sitting there waiting for new crews. Trains are easy to photograph:

GE AC4400's - 4,400 HP

The dogs and I were down at the river one day (probably more) and this turtle was crawling out of the mud. A dragonfly was sunning itself on her back:

Turtle with hitchhiker

And of course my favorite subject:

I could stare at it non stop

Also Alex invited me to the horse races at Colonial Downs on Sunday. It was an amazing experience. I didn’t watch a lot of racing. But the people were fascinating and I enjoyed the horses:

Cooling off

But also the people. Especially this enthusiastic and patriotic man conducting the orchestra after the races but before the fireworks:

All American

My favorite image of the week (so far) is of one of the many Rose of Sharon flowers in my backyard. They bring to mind the character Rose of Sharon, a.k.a. “Rosasharn” from John Steinbeck’s Nobel Prize winning The Grapes of Wrath. She brought to mind another character from the same novel, the preacher Casy, a favorite literary character of mine. I may write more about Casy later. And about Rosasharn and Steinbeck and Grapes of Wrath. But here is the image, from my backyard:

Rosasharn, a.k.a. Rose of Sharon

I have lots more to say and write but very little time. I may get another post up very soon. I hope so! I enjoy it so much. Have a great day,


About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
This entry was posted in Flowers, Fun, People, Rivers, Trains and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Placeholder

  1. Evelyn Zak says:

    Jay, lovely photos – such diverse subject matter! The dragonfly/turtle is amazing – what a lucky catch. Always good to read the blog, an entry is an entry. Thanks for posting.

    • Glad you liked it! I’d love to post more often. I take a lot of notes for posts and often don’t get them together. I think my time may become a little more organized now.

      I was certainly very fortunate to “catch” the dragonfly/turtle. I didn’t even see it when I took the picture – not until I looked at after I downloaded it!

      Have a great day,


  2. Clare M says:


    As always, lovely photos! The trains are so bold; and the turtle and the dragonfly are indeed a lucky catch. The river is as beautiful as ever. I wish I had been at the racetrack! I should get Mom and Dad to take me down there sometimes. Is that the winner of the race? My, he/she looks sweaty! The orchestra sounds nice!

    And the flower has such individual beauty.
    Good’ old Virginia, eh? Surprises you everyday, but with what you see every day. Interesting.

    • Hi Clare,
      I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. I love taking pictures of trains. I couldn’t get a shot I liked that day but that one came out ok. Sometimes there are real nice engineers around and they let me walk all over and take pictures.

      The turtle/dragonfly was a VERY lucky catch – I didn’t even see the dragonfly until I came home and looked on the computer! That was neat. And I love all river pictures. It’s very colorful this time of year. Nice greens and blues.

      That was the horse that won. He or she WAS very sweaty, or wet anyway. They were hosing them down – do you think they might have done that already? I don’t know. The orchestra was really cool too. That conductor was having a blast. And he had an awesome shirt. The flower was gorgeous too. I had trouble picking out the image I wanted. I have those flowers in a few different colors. “Rose of Sharon” in the book “The Grapes of Wrath” is a fascinating character.

      And you’re right – you should get Mom and Dad and go to that track. It’s a fun place, lots of room, the crowd and the atmosphere were very pleasant. I think they had nine races Sunday. They race Thoroughbreds through July, then take August off, then in September they do harness racing.

      Have a great day,



  3. Grace says:

    You managed to get in trains, a turtle, a conductor (not a train one) and Seinbeck–I’m thinking that’s a well rounded blog post!

  4. Hi Grace!
    Glad you enjoyed it. Plus, I didn’t just get a turtle – I got a turtle giving a piggyback ride to a dragonfly! Back in June, you may recall, I posted a picture showing a heron’s tongue – another rare sight at the river! Summer is off to a fun start. Have a great day,


  5. My sister Katie recently informed me – discreetly, by email, she’s considerate that way – that what I identified as a dragonfly is in fact a damselfly. And she knows from insects. A lot of other carbon-based life forms too, but definitely insects. So that you will avoid repeating my error, I will include here what she told me: “it’s extremely slender compared to a dragonfly, and holds its wings together above its back at rest, rather than spread flat like a dragonfly.” She knows lots of other cool stuff too.

    Have a great day,


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