Music on

5 October, 2014            Music on

Happy Birthday Aileen! I have, as I may have mentioned, five lovely nieces. Today is Aileen’s birthday. Happy Birthday Aileen! She lives in MD and I live in VA so we don’t get to see each other as much any more. Although we’ll be getting together soon, yay.


Since I haven’t even started this blog post I guess that doesn’t actually count as a digression. I was cutting the grass Friday and Ev took a picture and put it on fb. The caption: “Singing with gusto while cutting grass, and whistling too!” I have always loved cutting grass. (Mine, but not yours). I love washing dishes too. I’m not overenthusiastic about cutting grass in e.g. mid-August but this time of year it’s nice. I’ll get to the singing/whistling part later – it’s how I named this post. Enjoying the day:

Whistling and singing Paul Simon and enjoying the smell of freshly mown grass

Whistling and singing Paul Simon and enjoying the smell of freshly mown grass

I haven’t put up a train picture in a long time. When Clark and I were at Brown’s Island on Wednesday, we were expecting to see a CSX coal train. Or a mixed freight or nothing. But there was a train parked there with mostly tank cars – probably all tank cars, that was all we could see – with NON-CSX engines! Both engines were BNSF, formerly known as Burlington Northern and Santa Fe. Which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway! Which is owned by Warren Buffett! BNSF operates mainly in the western US, along with Union Pacific. CSX and Norfolk Southern are the two big railroads east of the Mississippi. I don’t know what those locomotives were doing here. This front locomotive (#5912) is a GE ES44AC, which is the same locomotive CSX operates there. BNSF locomotive #5148 was behind it, you can’t see it in the picture. #5148 is a GE C44-9W, another 4,400 HP heavy hauler. Nice to see fall colors in October:

Autumn colors on the railroad tracks:

Autumn colors on the railroad tracks:

This flower was growing right beside the railroad tracks. A friend who is a florist told me it’s from the buttercup group, a ranunculus. When I googled it, the first hit, even before wikipedia, said “Prolific and Terrific: Ranunculus.” Which that’s a good enough reason to put up a picture of it, for that reason alone: “Prolific and Terrific.” And such a bright flower:

Ranunculus: prolific and terrific

Ranunculus: prolific and terrific

The autumn bird migration is going on right now; a lot of birds have headed south and more are passing through. We’re having some bright clear days that are great for photography. These mourning doves (in central Virginia) probably don’t migrate a lot. They’re always graceful birds and this one posed well:

This one is better with fewer words.

This one is better with fewer words.

I apologize (I think I’ve done that a lot) if these river pictures all look the same. I never get tired of them. I promise (if you’re still viewing) to post some later in the season when the leaves are gone. And hopefully also with some snow and ice. But that won’t be for a while. Meanwhile – and I mean this literally and figuratively – enjoy today:

If it's boring, sorry. I don't get bored of it.

If it’s boring, sorry. I don’t get bored of it.

This blog post was coming together slowly when I got to the river this morning. It was clear and bright and really cold. The coldest it’s been (I learned) since late April or early May. It was in the upper forties when I got up and 52º when I pulled into the parking lot. And so incredibly clear. And we got down to the rocks – we were three minutes walk from the parking lot – and I was looking around to see what was visiting the river this fine morning. And an osprey landed in a tree right in front of us! I think this is a female and I think it’s a juvenile. But I’m not an osprey expert. Yet.

Look at those eyes. What a magnificent animal.

Look at those eyes. What a magnificent animal.

I’d already written this whole post and was ready to put it up. But I took twenty-three pictures of that bird. I deleted about twenty but still had a couple of beauties. This one isn’t a lot different from the one above. But this gaze in  my opinion is really what defines a raptor. Check this out: 

That is what alpha predators ALL look like. Fish wake up having nightmares when they see that look.

That is what alpha predators ALL look like. Fish wake up having nightmares when they see that look.

= = = = = = = = = =

I’ll just close up with a blurb about why I called this “Music on.” Because when Evelyn took that picture at the top I was cutting the grass and singing (and whistling) a selection from my large repertoire of Paul Simon songs. Because I spend a lot of the day Friday with my old buddy KD. You may recall him from a blog post I wrote in January called smile. He loves Paul Simon. To the exclusion (at least in my car) of nearly any other music. I have eighty-five Paul Simon songs on my iPhone and that’s what we listen to whenever we’re together. KD doesn’t talk a lot. He uses an economy of words (unlike yours truly) and gets his point across clearly. If I’m listening to anything in the car – anything you have ever heard anywhere in your life – and it’s not Paul Simon, KD says two words: “music on.” If I’m listening to classical or jazz or opera or the Grateful Dead or hip hop or country or bluegrass, KD says “music on.” He means “Put on some Paul Simon.” The unavoidable implication is that the rest of it is not music – only Paul Simon is. It’s great grass cutting music. Excellent for washing dishes too. Which I have to do right now! Until next week,


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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2 Responses to Music on

  1. Jean Yerian says:

    I have to tell a funny thing that happened as I was starting through your post. I realize resolution, etc. will define anyone’s screen view, but the bottom of My Favorites bar was just above the lightest part of the flower’s leaf when I saw the dove. It looked like it was turned toward me with a stick in its hand, ready to do battle! After I scrolled down and saw the whole bird, I had to laugh out loud. I must admit that it would have been the first bellicose mourning dove I’d ever seen, but ya never know, eh? Hope that image gives you a good Monday laugh. Think of John and me as we spend Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend in Bon Echo Provincial Park, with its 3,000+ foot Mazinaw Rock, including 260+ Aboriginal pictographs. According to Canada’s Historic Places — — “For size and complexity, this site has no rivals, no doubt the dramatic setting of a great cliff rising sheer out of the water was a factor in the choice of this location for pictographic arts.” There is even the odd-name “mugwump ferry” ponton boat to float you almost within reach of the rock art. There is also this Walt Whitman verse chiseled into the cliff foot-high letters: “My foothold is tenon’d and mortised in granite. I laugh at what you call dissolution and I know the amplitude of time.” Whitman never visited Bon Echo, but James Thurber was often there as part of what once was a colony of artists and poets! At any rate, can’t wait to visit for three days and cook our Thanksgiving hobo packs over the barbecue by the camp cabin.

  2. Pingback: There’s an echo in here! | NEWFAZE

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