“Blue” or “The Fog is Lifting”

7 January, 2012    “Blue” or “The Fog is Lifting”

I’ve been in a little bit of a fog since I hurt my arm walking the dogs on Christmas. More of a fog than I am normally, I should say. The fog has been a result of being out of my routine, from the pain, from being unable to do the things that normally clear my head. I.e. spending lots of time outdoors, moving around a lot, playing with firewood, etc. The fog has also come from my pain medication, which was a near-lifesaver for the first week or ten days. But yesterday I was finally able to go without it, and it feels as if the fog is lifting. The river didn’t look like this today:

The fog is lifting

That was from November.

Fortunately today it was more like this:

I can see clearly now

Evelyn and Mackey and Turner helped me celebrate the lifting of my personal fog and the gorgeous weather with a hike at the river that was beyond compare. It was 67º and clear and sunny and dry and lovely. Some may say this is a sign of global warming. Allow me to remind you that in the three months between December of 2009 and February of 2010 we got twenty inches of snow. This is a glitch. Or that was, I am uncertain. Today was sublime.

This time of year when it’s clear and there are no leaves on the trees, the river reflects the sky and the blue is powerful and pleasant and pervasive. I am reminded of a song from Paul Simon’s 2006 album “Surprise” called Everything About It Is a Love Song. The verse I am reminded of says:

“Early December, and brown as a sparrow,
Frost creeping over the pond.
I shoot a thought into the future,
And it flies like an arrow, through my lifetime.
And beyond.
If I ever come back as a tree, or a crow,
Or even the wind-blown dust;
Find me on the ancient road
In the song when the wires are hushed.
Hurry on and remember me,
As I’ll remember you.
Far above the golden clouds,
The darkness vibrates.
The earth is blue.

And everything about it is a love song.”

Click on this picture to see the CD

Another song invariably comes to mind on days like today is Regina Spektor’s Blue Lips from her 2009 album “Far.” She says “Blue is the color of our planet from far, far away.” Boy is it ever blue and lovely and oh it is so nice to see with no fog. There’s also a song by Creedence Clearwater Revival called Green River. I love that song, but it certainly wasn’t inspired by a view like this:

Blue River

Evelyn and Mackey and Turner and I weren’t the only ones enjoying the blue sky and water:

Many seagulls enjoy our blue river

A handsome goose also enjoys this blue river

A Bufflehead. They dive the instant you focus. Is it blue underwater too? Marine blue would be my guess.

Taking pictures of that bufflehead in the last picture was like fishing; I have several stories of “the one that got away,” i.e. the “perfect picture” of a bufflehead that I continually missed. Each story is identical; one will suffice. It’s early in the year but there are already lots of buffleheads up here. I usually don’t see them in numbers like this until February. But there was a big, big flock down there today. The whole big flock was on the other side of the river (near the north bank). 250 yards away, give or take a yard. I was zoomed way in, so the image is not crisp. I’m not at that level of camera yet. Buffleheads are diving ducks. I zoomed in on three different ducks, for three flawless images, and pressed the shutter half way to focus. The instant my camera focused, the ducks disappeared underwater. They were the ones that got away. You should have seen those images. They would have been on the cover of next month’s National Geographic. Oh well.

Also I see my last post was 30 December, so this is my long-awaited (by me, if no one else) first post of 2012. So Happy New Year! I hope your year is off to a good start. I even have a new person following my blog, my niece Phoebe, which is extremely exciting. She got her first email address for Christmas and I’m thrilled to have her looking at my blog. Her sister Clare already sees it and gives me excellent feedback. I’m always pleased to hear responses about my blog, so don’t hesitate to use the “comments” section at the bottom of the blog, or just send me an email. I make an effort to respond to 100% of the notes I get. If you’ve made a comment or sent a note and haven’t heard back from me, I apologize, it is no doubt due to my lack of organization. Please contact me again and I will be certain to respond.

I am also interested in hearing suggestions for blogging topics. My intellectual range is limited but I know about a few subjects and am rarely shy about holding forth if someone is interested.

Have an outstanding New Year,


PS What I enjoy most about the river is the river itself. Fog, no fog, rain, snow, anytime I’m there I can just stare at it and not tire. I’ve mentioned in the past, the river is always different and always perfect. And like life, it doesn’t stop. Images like these help me remember:

Never hurries but never stops.

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.
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8 Responses to “Blue” or “The Fog is Lifting”

  1. Justin Smith says:

    You might want to try jailbreaking your iPhone, and getting a little Camera app called Snappy. You just hold your thumb on your status bar to bring up Snappy, and it loads just a little bit faster the stock Camera app (I’m not sure how it pulls that off, but I think there’s witchcraft involved). Might help with those elusive duck photos.

    • Hi Justin,
      Thanks for the note. The photos of those elusive ducks were taken with my SLR. If I’d used my phone maybe I would have gotten the shots before they dived! Maybe I’ll try that next time…

      Take it easy,


  2. Jay – I was sorry to hear about your shoulder injury, what a bummer. Unfortunately – or fortunately? – the universe has its way of teaching us certain lessons, doesn’t it? One of our jobs is to figure out what that might be – to slow down, perhaps, lol?!?! Also glad to hear that you are emerging from your “fog,” literally and figuratively! Your pictures of the river are always gorgeous and I never tire of hearing of your adventures. Here’s to a wonderful 2012 for you and yours…!

  3. Hi Patti,
    Great to hear from you, and Happy New Year! This injury is an inconvenience. It may be teaching me to slow down, but of course that would imply I was going fast before this… I have fun taking pictures at the river. It’s so photogenic, it makes anyone look like a good photographer. Looking forward to new adventures in 2012. It’s a Leap Year so we’ve got 366 days! Have a wonderful year and I look forward to seeing you soon,


  4. evelyn says:

    I’m sorry to hear that you feel your intellectual range is limited; that has not been my observation. One of us must be mistaken. Here’s something to think about, a brilliant friend shared it with me recently: “Cut doors and windows for a room; It is the holes that make it useful.
Therefore profit comes from what is there;
 Usefulness from what is not there.” Love the post, etc.

  5. phoebe m says:

    Hi jay! Thank you very much for mentioning me in your post. I hope your arm is getting better. How does it feel? I can not wait to go to the maple festival with you and Evelyn. See you soon.

  6. Hi Phoebe,
    And thank YOU very much for following my blog – I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it! My arm gets a little better every day. It feels fine as long as I don’t bend it the wrong way. It will be fine for the Maple Festival – I can hardly wait either! Have a great day,


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