Wonder and rejoice

22 October, 2013    Wonder and rejoice

“…everyone hears an inner voice

A day at the end of the week

To wonder and rejoice”    – Paul Simon, How Can You Live in the Northeast?, 2006

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m training a lot as my race draws near. I was on a long (five hours!) very rainy solo ride last week. When I’m on a ride like that I tune out a lot but tune in to my “inner voice” and it made me think of that song. “Inner voice” is not a great blog title (maybe it is) so I went a line or two later.

My race (Beach2Battleship) is this coming weekend. You can see my times for each section of the race in real-time. You’ll need to enter my race ID #, which is “9”. Very low number since I entered really early. Here is the link: Live results . It says this on the race site: “(NOTE – Nothing will populate until athletes start to cross the timing mats at swim finish on event day).” Also FYI, my times are incredibly slow; it may be more exciting to watch your grass grow. But the results will be there.

I love comments on my blog, by the way. Some people are regular commenters, which I love, and some  are occasional, which I also love. But I love any kind of comments and I reply to all of them. I don’t reply instantly but I reply. I always enjoy hearing what people are interested in.

I’ve said it often – a lot of the reason I get good pictures is because I have my camera with me. The other day I pulled into my driveway and looked out the car window and this guy was hanging on the fence. I just put the window down and he stayed. I picked up my camera and there it is. Fun shot:

Handsome male downy woodpecker next to my driveway

Handsome male downy woodpecker next to my driveway

I also played around with moon pictures a little more. The moon was rising very, very clear on Monday, October 14. I got a handful of pictures of it at 5:30 or so, still over an hour-and-a-half before sunset. Then I took a couple more around 7:30 and a final set close to 9:00. I use an app called MoonPhase that shows some moon info. So I took a screenshot each time I took a photograph. The screen shot is of the “ephemeris” data from MoonPhase.

“Ephemeris: a table or data file giving the calculated positions of a celestial object at regular intervals throughout a period.”

I’ll put one picture I took from my front porch followed by one MoonPhase screen shot. It’s interesting (to me). :

Moon - October 14, 5:37 PM EDT

Moon – October 14, 5:37 PM EDT


Same moon, 7:29 PM:


photo-2Same moon, 8:55 PM:

Same moon, 8:55 PM

Same moon, 8:55 PM

More moon info

More moon info

Enough about the moon – hope that wasn’t overdoing it.

Except for swimming I do all my training outdoors, which is maybe my favorite thing about long distance racing. Not only do you spend a long time outdoors while you race, you spend hundreds of hours outdoors training. Some of it (a lot of it) is running at West Creek, and I even get enjoyable pictures there. I took this one standing next to my car:

What a present.

What a present.

Human beings (with notable exceptions) are warm-blooded – we have an internal heat source. Not so for turtles, they rely on the environment to keep warm. Mackey and Turner and I were at the river on October 15th. In mid-June the sun rises around 5:45 AM and sets after 8:30 PM – it’s above the horizon for nearly fifteen hours. If you rely on the environment to keep warm, you are loving life on those long days. We all notice the days getting shorter, but if we pay our utility bills and dress right we keep warm no matter. When we were at the river on the 15th, the sun rose at 7:15 and set at 6:30 – above the horizon for barely 11 hours. These guys don’t have calendars or anything else but they are totally making the best of these shortening days. Notice their heads are way out of their shells and check out those guys on the right, spreading their toes to get every last bit of sunlight:

Making the best of each moment

Making the best of this moment

Or maybe they were just spreading their toes in ecstasy because this was the view. I mean, seriously:

Those turtles were craning their necks to get a better look at this. Can you blame them?

Those turtles were craning their necks to get a better look at this. Can you blame them?

If you look very, very, very carefully at that picture, just below the middle and just to the right of center, you can see something sticking out of the grass. This is the zoom-lens version:

Aren't zoom lenses incredible? Look what you get to see.

Aren’t zoom lenses incredible? Look what you get to see. Without even bothering him. 

Sometimes when we’re down there I look at the water and just stare. I mean, this is water. I just pointed the camera at it and pressed the button. That’s one of the treasures, if not the treasure of being in a river environment like that. You can go there hundreds or thousands of times and each time there is something new. You just never know what it will be. Look at this:

It's a photograph but it almost looks like a painting.

It’s a photograph but it looks like a painting.

We were down there on a less sunny day this week also. Turner and Mackey run hard on the river side and settle down by the time they reach the woods:

Happy hikers

Happy hikers

Turner has his own special tag. I made it myself. There wasn’t enough room to write “USUALLY” after the second “I’M”:

I'm USUALLY a great little boy!

I’m USUALLY a great little boy! (OFTEN, really)

I took a little time off filling bird feeders but I bought some bird seed and we’re at it again. I took these pictures out of my car window so the focus is not what I’d like. I’ll perfect it. This tufted titmouse was filling up:

Handsome tufted titmouse (with a mouthful of sunflower seed)

Handsome tufted titmouse (with a mouthful of sunflower seed)

Meanwhile, this squirrel found a safe place to contemplate his (or her) next move out of reach of marauding dogs:

Staying above it all

Remaining above it all

 = = = = = = = = = = =

I’ve enjoyed training but I’m looking forward to settling back into real life. Or what passes for it. I’m also looking forward to seeing everyone soon! 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 Dogs, Endurance, Fun, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!). Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Wonder and rejoice

  1. Justin Smith says:

    Good luck this weekend! Well, ‘luck’ probably doesn’t enter into it. Have a weekend!

    • Hi Justin!
      And thanks for the note! Sorry for the delayed reply – I just posted a brief recounting of my experience at B2B 2013. Another lovely experience. Thank you for the encouragement – at some point during my sixteen hour day I inevitably find myself digging around for some. It worked again! Thanks again and it easy,


  2. Clare T says:

    loved your comment about “staring at the water” – it made me think that sometimes my head is so full of @#$@#$!!! that I can’t see anything at Pony Pasture but a checklist of “things”- ….river, check; trees, check; rocks, check……but if I really look & pay attention, I not only find Waldo, but a heron hiding, water shimmering like a painting, a deer footprint in the mud or bluebirds gathering in a tree at the end of the hike as if to say “well done”. I think your beautiful photos & sharings encourage others to pay attention and be grateful for what is right in front of them – I know they have had that effect on me! 🙂

    Great to see you guys the other day!


    • Hi Clare!
      Sorry it’s taken nearly two weeks to reply. A lot has changed, I know. But the river is there – thank goodness! Evie and the dogs and I were down there this morning. Looking forward to seeing you soon! All best,


  3. Laurie Wilner Jobson says:

    jay, have a great race!!! i really enjoy your blogs! i read everything you write and love your pics! thank you for sharing them. the picture of the water (below the turtles) makes me want to get in it!! and i am going to steal your dog tag quote- thats the best !! …. well, run fast, swim steady and pedal like you did when you were a kid!!! best of luck – be safe! :)wilma

    • Hey Wilma!
      Almost time for Kids TG! Remember those days? Wow. I’ve got a great picture of Gus carving a turkey at one of those gatherings. I’m glad you enjoy my blogs! The race was great, as always. Great swim this year, sort of like the canoe test only in salt water, and the ride was fun too – beautiful to be outdoors on a bike in October. Great day for a run too – just nice to be outdoors all day. Now I’m done – yay! I’m glad you like my dog tag quote too – Turner is lying behind me as I type, snoozing – he and Mackey had a hard run at the river this morning. Which is where I took several of the pictures on this post! Thanks for the note, enjoy and have a great day,


  4. Meryl says:

    I can’t wait to hear your times! I love all of your pics/stories. Im so thankful to live in this city with a river running through it- I too often forget how lucky us nature observers are!! I love pony pasture year round- and those turtles seem to as well! I’m currently downloading that moon app…

    • Hi Meryl!
      Nice to see you on our way to the river this morning! We went to Lamplighter this afternoon, what can I say. Pony Pasture was beautiful as always today – that bird picture on the post I just put up was a nice one. And there were more turtles today – but it’s going down to 25º Tuesday or Wednesday and I think the turtles will hide out for a while. Buffleheads will be on the river any day now, though – the first winter duck, they’re black and white and easy to identify and there will be dozens of them when they get here.

      Have a great day and I’ll see you soon,


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