Infinite intangibles

4 September, 2016            Infinite intangibles 

I took this picture in our front yard in September! A gardenia! Evelyn’s hard work continues to pay off: 

A gardenia in our yard in September! Thanks Evie!

A gardenia in our yard in September! Thanks Evie!

Imagine what the bug in the center of that gardenia was smelling. It would be like standing in the center of a gardenia that towered over your head. I’m overwhelmed by the fragrance when they’re smaller than my hand! I would never have wanted to leave. I wouldn’t have even wanted to exhale! 

This blog post title went through about twenty revisions this week. “Infinite intangibles” was the one I began the week with so I decided to stick with it. I got a birthday card this week from my nephew in Blacksburg. For a while I was going to title the post “long-distance high five”:

Long distance high five:

Long distance high-five:

Turner and Mackey and I visited Stony Point Fashion Park with an old friend earlier this week. I didn’t get any ideas for blog post titles, but my buddies posed for a sweet little picture:

Turner (brown) & Mackey (not brown) being sweet at Stony Point mall.

Turner (brown) & Mackey (not brown) being sweet at Stony Point mall.

This morning a Pony Pasture I found large fungus growing on the side of a tree across the creek from the Willow Oaks Country Club golf course. I call this picture (but not this blog post) “iPhungus”: 



The idea for this blog post title did come while on a long bike ride Monday. Three hours long, my longest ride for 2016, I saw a lot and thought a lot. And pondered the “infinite intangibles” I experience through the sport of triathlon. Like having C-17 Globemaster fly over my head while I stood watching the sunrise in one of our country’s most historic rivers. As mentioned in my blog post from two weeks ago – “Best triathlon I’ve ever done – so far.”  Another “infinite intangible” is in recent years on my last long ride I stop and buy honey here:

My favorite refueling stop

My favorite refueling stop

A little plastic bear filled with honey, something I can carry in my bike bag for the two hours it takes me to ride home from there. I’ve been sweetening my oatmeal with it ever since. And I’ll sweeten my oatmeal with it on race day morning, for good luck – an intangible if ever there was one:

My favorite fuel:

My favorite fuel:

So I ride home and around an hour later I’m crossing Broad Street (Route 250) in eastern Goochland and I hear an airplane sound I don’t recognize. I stopped my bike at the intersection of Three Chopt Rd. (State Route 612) and West Broad Street and stood in the gravel while I took this video. This is four miles west of the intersection of Gayton and Broad, facing east. This is the first video:

Same spot, I took three short videos. I was riveted. My friend Daniel is a flight instructor and experienced pilot. He’s also a lot younger than I am! When I was growing up we referred to these planes as “crop dusters.” Daniel says they’re still called crop dusters, but the process is also referred to as “aerial application”:

I told a friend at the Y about it and he speculated they may be spraying for zika virus. That’s not out of the question, but here in central Virginia it’s also not likely. I’ve also read recently they may be spraying for gypsy moth caterpillars, and that makes sense at this time of year, especially if you spend as much time out of doors as I do – there are lots of gypsy moth caterpillar tents in the woods:

Daniel says there’s a firm in town that handles aerial application in central Virginia, and the planes they use are “Air Tractors.” I regret that I was not poised enough to photograph that plane’s tail number so I could tell what model it was. Air Tractor makes six models for agricultural work. I could tell by the sound it had a turboprop engine rather than a radial  engine, but that only eliminates one model. I was so entranced with the pilot’s skill that it never crossed my mind to identify the aircraft. Next time.

See all those “intangibles?” Planes and honey and nice people, stuff you just couldn’t plan for – it just all appears. It’s “tangible” – to a degree – but you can’t plan for any of this stuff to happen. You just show up and, if you’re fortunate, so do these intangibles. 

There are still ospreys in our area (they’re quite tangible), or at least the nest near Stony Point is still active. I took this picture Wednesday:

Stony Point osprey.

Stony Point osprey.

And – speaking of raptors – there was a young male Red-tail on the tower at Freeman this week. I hadn’t seen one in some time. He was much too small to be a female. I also took some closeups of his feet. The tough skin covering them was clean and bright yellow and unscarred and unlined; he hasn’t tangled with too many small mammals yet:

Young Red-tail against a bright blue sky.

Young Red-tail against a bright blue sky.

Last on this blog post, I found a “new” oak tree right in my own area – at Cheswick Park! I say “new” because it’s new to me. And I have been studying local trees exhaustively for close to two years and I was certain I was at least aware of all the local varieties of oak trees – there just aren’t that many. But I took this picture and when I went home and looked it up it turned out to be a Chestnut Oak (Quercus prinus or Q. montana). My two main tree-finding areas are Bryan Park and Pony Pasture and if either have a Chestnut Oak, I’ve been ignorant. Not for the first time, rest assured, and certainly not the last. But it was nice to see, and even nicer to learn about:

Unripe chestnut oak acorns

Unripe chestnut oak acorns

The last title for this blog post that I first imagined then rejected (it was, you’ll agree, uninspired) was “Happy Labor Day!”

So with that I’ll sign off – Happy Labor Day!

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.
This entry was posted in Birds, Flowers, Fun, fungus, Gardenias, Insects, James River, ospreys, People, Pony Pasture, raptors, Red-tailed hawks, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!) and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Infinite intangibles

  1. Pingback: I held hands with STRANGERS!!! | NEWFAZE

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