Flying over the hoods of cars 

8 April, 2018            Flying over the hoods of cars 

30th anniversary – 5 April, 2018 – thanks for the picture, John! 

I spoke with many friends who urged me to take up flying again, even though I can’t get a license. On 5 April, 1988 I went “flying over the hood of a car” when I was hit while riding my bicycle. Thirty years later – to the day – I began flying lessons again at Hanover County Airport- KOFP- Richmond Virginia (Ashland). So, on 5 April, 2018 I “flew over the hood of a car” (several) again, but this time it was by choice – and I was about 2,000 feet over the hoods. If you want to fly over the hoods of cars, I heartily endorse the 2018 version. Vastly superior. My instructor, John Doyon, took that picture just after we landed. Thank you for the excellent lesson and for taking the picture! 

There’s a picture of me from thirty years earlier on this blog but it’s not pretty. You can click on the More about me link at the top of this page if you want to see it and read a tiny bit. I don’t have to look at the 4/5/1988 picture of me to feel grateful, but it’s always a great reminder.

There was a timely post on the instagram page for l’arche USA this week. It’s a picture with a quotation:

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” – Henri Nouwen

On Wednesday, 4 April, Ev treated me to dinner at L’opossum to celebrate the anniversary of my accident – and I didn’t get a picture! I “only” got the pleasure of Evelyn’s company and a stomach full of delicious food! Oops.

This just in – Ev got a picture!: 

L’opossum, accident anniversary eve, 2018

In less touching news, I only got one reasonable picture of a raptor this week, and it was an osprey. This is across from the West End Assembly of God on Parham Road Wednesday afternoon:

Osprey across from West End Assembly of God on Parham Rd

I’m just putting these crummy osprey pictures because they’re the only raptors I’m getting! I was sure I’d be able to get a Red-tail or Red-shouldered hawk each week but they’re MIA, or at least photographically (for me) right now. I glimpse them flying from time to time or hear them but no pics. Yet. 

The day of the thirtieth anniversary of my accident (Thursday, 4/5/2018) was spectacular. The first thing I did to celebrate (of course) was go to the river with Mackey and Turner. I’m grateful every time I see this view:

Any day I can see this is a good day – no exceptions.

This one too:

The park is a Riot of Redbuds

A pawpaw the same day:

Pawpaws are so unassuming. Until the fruit ripen at the end of the summer. Then they take over.

A book I read in my early teens made a tremendous impression on me that lasts even today. It’s a tame adolescent age outdoor adventure involving dogs and hunting and rivers and I read it over and over and over and over. It’s called Where the Red Fern Grows and was written by Wilson Rawls in 1961. Mr. Rawls sets the stage at the start of the book with the words, “…In the spring the aromatic scent of wild flowers, redbuds, pawpaws, and dogwoods, drifting on the wind currents, spread over the valley and around our home.” The book finishes with, “I’d like to walk again on trails I walked in my boyhood days. Once again I’d like to face a mountain breeze and smell the wonderful scent of the redbuds, and pawpaws, and the dogwoods. With my hands I’d like to caress the cool white bark of a sycamore.” When I first read it, we were living inside the Beltway in Maryland and we’d just bought the cabin. I knew what a dogwood was but I’d never even heard of a redbud or a pawpaw. Now they’re an integral part of my daily life. And dogwoods were our Dad’s favorite tree. I remember at the cabin when we were young, Dad having us pull honeysuckle off of dogwoods. This was around 1975 and I suspect the phrase “invasive species removal” had never been uttered. Dad was forty at that time – forty – and we were all out there doing invasive species removal at the cabin. Anyway. I’m daydreaming.

Mackey and Turner’s first green salad of 2018:

Mackey and Turner enjoying the first greens of 2018. Who knew dogs were grazers?

For my flying lesson Thursday we flew toward King’s Dominion then turned west toward my brother Kevin’s house. My instructor took the controls for a few minutes while I snapped a couple of pictures. Here’s an image of north central Hanover County from around 2,000 feet on Thursday, April 5, 2018:

Hanover County from 2,000 feet:

I had snow on the hood of my car this morning – it’s April 8 – I’m not even kidding – it looked like this:

Snow on my car this morning. It’s April!

So it’s reassuring to see the riot of daffodils Evie has bursting the seams of our yard. And in our house. I could do an entire blog post of just daffodil pictures. Here’s just one from outside:

This is just one – I should do a pano – they’re everywhere in our yard. Multiple varieties.

And a little arrangement Ev made indoors:

Brightening our yard and our house!

Plus I can’t leave out our white lilac buds – they’ll be in full bloom by next week:

About to be full, fragrant, delightful white lilac blossoms

It all comes at once this time of year. Our dogwood peeking out:

Dogwood blossoms – same thing every year, brand new every year – sort of like the river in slow motion.

There are deer at the river every time I visit now. Here are a couple I saw this morning – though there were four in the vicinity:

Delicate deer in the April woods at Pony Pasture

If you’re hiking with dogs, it’s easy to see deer. Just trust that’s what your dog’s gaze is riveted on. I’m standing behind Yuki in this picture, looking where he’s looking. Just trust they’re in this picture, and look closely. Draw an imaginary line vertically from each of Yuki’s ears. See the two deer? There’s one on each side at the top of the image, indistinct in the shadows. They’re masters of disguise!: 

Yuki’s ears are pointed directly at 2 deer – they’re at the top of the image – look closely:

I got a cute Chipping sparrow (Spizella passerina) on my feeder this week – this may be the first time I’ve photographed one. I had to look it up!:

Chipping sparrow drops in

Enough for this week – hopefully not too much! All best, come back next week, 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 Birds, Cessna 172, daffodils, Dogs, Flowers, Fun, James River, l'opossum, ospreys, People, Pony Pasture, raptors, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!), whitetail deer and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Flying over the hoods of cars 

  1. Jackie says:

    Congratulations on continuing a
    dream. Life is beautiful enjoy !😘

    • Thank you Jackie! Thanks for being such a great sister and thanks for having such a great sister! I agree – life is beautiful – enjoy!

      Have a great day, xoxo,


  2. Pam Waaland says:

    Love to see you and Ev enjoying life! Keep on keeping on! And keep pursuing your joys!

  3. Pingback: “The world is full of injustice” | NEWFAZE

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