26 November, 2017            Healer 

Bald eagle on Williams Island yesterday (11/25/2017) around 12:30:

That eagle is not the healer – time is. I just like that picture. 

Early in my recovery from my 1988 accident, my brothers told me “time is a great healer – the only problem is, it takes time.” Mom died suddenly on January 4 of this year. Ten months and more passed between that bright cold morning and Thursday, November 23, 2017, our first Thanksgiving without a living parent. It’s to both of their credit that my brothers and sisters and I were able to hold on to their memories and still experience the joy of the holidays a relatively short time later. The river continues to flow:

I know how to feel crummy, and I know how to look at this river. I am unable to do them simultaneously. Speaking of healers.  

Nice bluebirds too:

1/2 hr after & 1/2 mile downstream from the eagle – Eastern bluebird

The eagle picture at the top is not related thematically to this post – I just like the image. It’s not perfect, but on my monitor you can see the pupils in its eyes. That just fascinates me. The eagle was perched in a tree at the downstream end of Williams Island, overlooking the rapids. Also – if this sort of thing interests you – you can make out the dried fruit of yellow poplars in the surrounding branches. Plus a few sycamore fruits. Sycamores are by any measure the “alpha” tree of Pony Pasture. We are so fortunate to have this river and this park.

As the hawk flies (if you will), the cell phone tower this Red-tail perched on is 350 feet from our chimney. Mackey and Turner and I did a loop around Pony Pasture Thanksgiving morning. This guy was up there, watching us come home:

Red-tailed hawk, Thanksgiving morning, probably eyeing a chipmunk in our front yard

Speaking of Thanksgiving. I didn’t take any pictures! But we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving for many years at my brother Kevin’s house in Doswell. This was the first one ever without Mom, and her absence had a strong presence (in a manner of speaking). But it was (in my opinion) entirely positive. Because we talked about her often and warmly, and we celebrated the gifts she’s left us with, the qualities of hers that we’ve made our own.

I think there were twenty-five people at Kev’s house, give or take some. We were seated at a long, long table, and we were shoulder to shoulder down both sides and at both ends. Kevin’s daughters make our personalized place tags every year. My youngest (for the time being) niece Wren made them this year. Each place setting had a rock painted with a meaningful scene. I wish I had them all – they were creative and thoughtful and lovely. This was mine. That’s Yuki on the left, Mackey in the middle and Turner on the right. Pony Pasture and the river and the sky and the clouds are in the background. What a treasure:

Personalized place tag, 2017 edition – Yuki, Mackey, Turner, Pony Pasture. Thanks Wren!

For a rough comparison, I took this picture at Pony Pasture at 12:30 today. Mackey is on the left (he is the absence of light in this image, although he may have the lightest spirit). Turner in the center, smiling, because he’s in the center – that’s his favorite place. Yuki on the right – he appears to be pondering something. They are such excellent boys: 

Mackey casting his own shadow on the left, Turner front and center, Yuki on the right

Evelyn is out working in the living room, sitting in front of the fire. She took this picture of Dash moments ago:

Dash just can not stop worrying. Sadly, it is his burden.

I lucked into an image of a seagull flying low over the river this morning. It’s not flawless quality, but I enjoy the bird’s lines. Seagulls in my opinion always present a pair of opposite qualities. They’re squawky and noisy and quarrelsome. But they only fly gracefully:  

They look so elegant. When they fly. Ring-billed gull this morning at Pony Pasture.

I was out in Glen Allen earlier this week, leaning against my car and trying to get an image of very predictable Red-shouldered hawk. I could never come to terms with it (photographically speaking) but this handsome male cardinal watched me the whole time. I just turned 90º to my left and got this guy:

Glen Allen cardinal

Have a great week! Come back next week! All best,


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 Bald eagles, Birds, cardinals, Dogs, Fun, James River, Pony Pasture, raptors, Red-tailed hawks, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!) and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Healer

  1. adamseliz@aol.com says:

    I miss her too … Glad you were all together!


    • Thanks Liz – great to hear from you. The warmth and good cheer at this year’s family Thanksgiving was easily recognizable as Jude’s ongoing energy. Please say hi to Bill and Ruth and Sarah and have a great day,


  2. Jackie says:


  3. Jackie says:

    Beautiful!, 😘

  4. Sheila says:

    I loved this post and I’m sorry we weren’t there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s