Approximating equilibrium

29 January, 2017 Approximating equilibrium

My family experienced a significant upset at the beginning of the year and my blogging equilibrium (to the extent I have any) was brushed aside. I’m not quite back to baseline, but I’m getting there. More at the bottom of this post if you’re interested and haven’t been here recently. 

Mackey and Turner and I made it to Bryan Park on Thursday (January 26), our first visit in some time. We were rewarded with (among other things) the first pair of Hooded Mergansers I’ve seen this winter. The picture is not lovely but they’re nice-looking ducks:

Pair of Hooded mergansers in muddy water at Bryan Park

Pair of Hooded mergansers in muddy water at Bryan Park

The sun was bright on the edge of the soccer fields and the trees were full of bluebirds. I don’t recall seeing as many bluebirds as I’m seeing this year: 

Bluebird at Bryan Park Thursday. Look at that glow.

Bluebird at Bryan Park Thursday. Look at that glow.

Yesterday Evelyn and I went to Sub Rosa Bakery for lunch. It’s one of our favorite places in town – it comes with our highest recommendation. The food is divine, the coffee is spectacular, the warm, bright ambience is second to none. Eat there or get food to go – you will never regret it. I didn’t take a picture! Next time.

We walked almost literally next door and visited DEAR NEIGHBOR, a brand new gift shop in Churchill. Drop in when you’re down there; you’ll be happy you did.

Our original mission was to visit Caravati’s Architectural Salvage just across the river in Manchester. It was my first visit; Evelyn’s been there before. I loved it and can hardly wait to go back – it’s one of a kind. We walked out of Caravati’s and we were next door – we learned for the first time – to the Richmond Railway Museum.  Which is a.k.a the Richmond Railroad Museum; I think they’ll answer to either one. Of course I took pictures there. They had an enormous HO scale layout inside:

Small segment of the train layout inside the Richmond Railroad Museum

Small segment of the train layout inside the Richmond Railroad Museum

I took three short videos of a train going around the layout. If you like model trains – or trains at all – these videos are fun. Here’s the first one, about nine seconds long, a small model freight train going past bookshelves:

Rail museum video #1 

The second one is about the same length, but the train is coming straight toward the camera, it’s closer and with a much different perspective:

Rail museum video #2

The third and final video is around twenty-five seconds long, and it shows the same train passing some Norfolk and Western (N&W) coal hoppers. At our cabin in the Shenandoah Valley in the 1970’s and 1980’s, coal trains ran up and down the N&W main line several times every day. In those years I saw more N&W coal cars than any other kind of train car. The only sound better for going to sleep at night was whippoorwills:

Rail museum video #3

So to continue our whirlwind tour of downtown Richmond we went from the railroad museum to the new Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge, a.k.a. the “T-pot.” What a treasure that was. The only thing missing was Mackey and Turner! There were tons of other dogs though. I was able to get a dog-fix at will. Then we got across the bridge to the other side of the river and – more train tracks! This was a fun picture I took from the bridge:

Railroad tracks gleam in the evening sun at the south end of the Tyler Potterfield Bridge

Norfolk Southern railroad tracks gleam in the evening sun at the south end of the Tyler Potterfield Bridge

I know next to nothing about seagulls, except that at Pony Pasture we get about 95% Ring-billed gulls (Larus delawarensis). Because the T-pot bridge is closer to tidal water, there was a wide variety of gulls. I don’t know what kind these are (I’m sure someone will inform me; I’ll pass it on), but they were lovely:

Gleaming gulls

Gleaming gulls

Back a bit:

Graceful, gliding, gleaming gulls

Graceful, gliding, gleaming gulls

I’ll close with a picture of my canine posse at Pony Pasture this morning, but when we got back to the house there was a hawk screaming in the backyard. It was facing away from us and I took a picture or two of its back but, if you’ve ever seen a picture of any bird’s back, they are not fascinating. Raptors are so visually oriented, they always know when they’re being watched. As I was pointing the camera at its back, it turned around and jumped off the branch facing my direction:

Flying leap

Flying leap

Last picture of the day – my boys at Pony Pasture this morning:

Yuki (white), Turner (brown), Mackey (not white or brown) at the Wetlands at Pony Pasture this morning

Yuki (white), Turner (brown), Mackey (not white or brown) at the Wetlands at Pony Pasture this morning

Have a great week,



So I’ve been blogging the past few weeks just to help myself stay grounded. Three weeks ago, on January 8, was my first blog post after our family was jolted. Evelyn wisely counseled me to hold off for a while, so I just put up this brief, inconsequential blog post: 8 January, 2017 Yellow and blue

It’s possible you’ve seen this blog post if you’re a regular. Eleven days had passed and I had regained enough equilibrium (and distance) to write this slightly more revealing blog post: 15 January, 2017 Jet boat in Hells Canyon

With these major and unexpected life changes, especially when they’re unanticipated, closure comes in fits and starts. Last week I’d processed enough to write 22 January, 2017 Downstream

Which leads to today, and here we all are. Many blog readers have known me for a long time, some for decades. Others haven’t been around as long. Our family experienced a similarly shattering event just over four years ago. Here’s a blog post I did then: 24 November, 2012 Good man

Next week, more than likely, I’ll be approximating equilibrium even more closely than this 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, Bryan Park, Dogs, Fun, James River, Pony Pasture, raptors, Red-tailed hawks, Rivers, Trains and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Approximating equilibrium

  1. Sheila Wiese says:

    There is something very reassuring about the presence of your blogpost in my Inbox or in my Facebook feed every Sunday PM. Glad you’re back — at least, nearly so!!!

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