Reflection of hope

27 May, 2018            Reflection of hope

“May your choices reflect your hopes and not your fears.” – Nelson Mandela

I didn’t have a theme for this post – I still don’t – but I saw that on a friend’s instagram page and it resonated for me. She was using it for a post about graduation. It is a perfect graduation post. It’s also a perfect suggestion for those of us who have graduated a time or three already. Make your choices reflect your hopes.

This is the company who posted the “choices” quote from Nelson Mandela. They’re old friends of Evelyn’s from when she lived on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The company (who posted the Nelson Mandela quote) is called Pure Mana Hawaii. They slipped past my advertising censor with that well chosen and timely quotation. The same folks run an excellent coffee operation (I had a cup this morning) called Kona Rose Coffee

I regret not being clear at the end of last week’s post. Some folks may have read the title story at the end of the post Bridge Over Troubled Water. Hank – my friend who had been hospitalized at such a difficult time – recovered. Fully, completely, 100%. It didn’t happen instantaneously, it was a slow and difficult process and he got lots of help. But if you spoke with him today, you would not know anything had ever been amiss. I don’t think anyone really knows why it started in the first place, and its disappearance is equally mysterious. There is a lot we don’t know about how our minds work.

A few images this week. Also I went to the 16th annual Autism Society Central Virginia 5K Run/Walk yesterday at Innsbrook; it was wonderful as it is every year. It is a reliably excellent event; I recommend putting it on your calendar for Memorial Day weekend, 2019.

There were wonderful people everywhere I turned, and I took a picture of one of the many signs lining the course:

“…each individual is unique, talented and wonderful in their own way.”


I was particularly drawn to that one because I immediately thought “you could leave out ‘autism is a spectrum disorder, and.’” The sign would then read “each individual is unique, talented, and wonderful in their own way.” I thought that most when I looked at the dozens and dozens of huge, bearded, tattooed, leather wearing, Harley driving motorcyclists helping us out wherever we turned. Here’s just a handful of them. I think there were fifty or more in total:

They were all so nice! What a day

Unique, talented and wonderful in their own way – every one I met. They were so different from the stereotype of a “biker.” To a person they were warm, outgoing, helpful, genuine, kind, thoughtful, considerate – it was like they were Boy Scouts in leather uniforms with tattoos. Look at the people playing in this little band on the side of the course:

They were (you guessed it) unique, talented and wonderful in their own way.

They were 100% unique, talented and wonderful in their own way. David (the guy I was doing the race with) and I also met lots of great police officers helping out on the course – unique, talented, etc.

I met a friend from grad school just after David and I crossed the finish line. She’s operating a non-profit in Hanover, VA called Raise Coffee Co. Here is their mission statement: Our mission is to create opportunities for job training, employment, and full participation in community life for youth and young adults with developmental disabilities in and around Hanover County, Virginia. Raise Inc is a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization. All the people selling coffee were (you guessed it) “unique, talented and wonderful in their own way.” David and I were grateful for the outstanding coffee and even more grateful to meet yet another group of fascinating people.

Anyway, a few more miscellaneous pictures from this week. I’m starting to get more raptor pictures (in addition to ospreys) and it’s reassuring. But I still feel like the numbers are low. Monday mornings I can often check off a raptor picture by “getting” a red-tail at Henrico County Firehouse 13. Here’s the bird I got there this week – Wednesday morning:

Red tail up high on Firehouse 13

This is the fire station. See that tower behind the station? If you’re looking at this blog post on a device that allows you to zoom in, look really closely at the top of that tower. The red-tail is sitting up there. That gives you an idea of the way this camera zooms. I took both pictures from the same place with the same camera:

Henrico Firehouse 13. See the hawk on top of the tower? Smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. 

True storyWorld Turtle Day this year was on Wednesday, May 23. On Monday morning – possibly in anticipation – this nice looking animal was sauntering around in western Henrico:

Having a hard time controlling its excitement about the imminent World Turtle Day

I tried to go flying Tuesday but a storm blew in and we did ground instruction about flying near the airport “in the pattern.” When you’re flying near an airport, there are certain rules you need to follow. Proper speed, proper altitude, choosing the correct runway, radio calls you have to make, throttle settings, flap settings – it has to become automatic. The best way to do it is with an instructor while you’re actually flying, but there is sufficient theory to learn that “ground school” is essential to prepare. I also have to “pre-flight” the plane before every flight. I have a detailed checklist for whatever plane I’m flying that day. We were able to fly on Thursday, and this is what the plane looked like when I went out. One of the first things on the checklist is untie the three ropes:

Walking out for pre-flight:

An essential checklist item is a visual check of the fuel in the tanks. Even if the fuel gauges read “full,” it’s essential to verify. Don’t run out of gas in a plane – a bad idea for obvious reasons. I climb up on top of each wing to take off the gas caps and look inside to see if they agree with the fuel gauges. I took this picture when I was on top of the plane Thursday:

I’m on the wing, looking forward:

A bit of flying info for any who are interested. A lot of days we take off and fly up to around 3,000 feet. Then we practice “power on stalls” which are meant to simulate a stall when you’re taking off – under full power. When you’re at 3,000 feet you have lots of room to recover. You can do it over and over again for practice – it needs to be automatic. At a similar altitude we practice “power off stalls” which simulate a stall on landing. You do it until it becomes automatic, because when a real stall is happening, you can’t be thinking about what to do next. You just have to act and you’d better get it right the first time. 

Friday I was hiking with my buddy at Deep Run Park and I saw my first Ebony Jewelwing of 2018:

My first ebony jewelwing of 2018. What a beautiful animal. Beautiful name too.

Evelyn has our gardenias and our roses producing at full capacity. An example of each. Oh this smell:

Hopefully scratch-n-sniff internet is coming soon to a blog post near you

See preceding caption

Have an excellent week! Come back next Sunday! That will be the first Sunday in June! And enjoy Memorial Day! 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 Birds, box turtle, Cessna 172, disability, Dogs, Endurance, Flowers, Fun, Gardenias, honeysuckle, Insects, James River, People, Pony Pasture, raptors, Red-tailed hawks, Rivers, roses, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!), Turtles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

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

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s