20 January, 2019            dredge

I dredged up a few stories I’d appended to blog posts in years past. Some of them are interesting if you’ve never read them before. I’ll put them near the bottom. After some pics from this past week.

I often wear t-shirts and hats and sweatshirts (the first one a gift from my brother Kevin and his wonderful family) with a logo that says “simplify”. They bought me the first one many years ago when they were visiting our sister Sheila in Concord, MA. They took a side trip to Thoreau’s home at Walden Pond and picked up that first great t-shirt. I focus on having less “stuff,” although I still have way, way, way too much. But part of the reason I spend so much time at the river is this could be in The Picture Dictionary as the definition for the word “simplify”:


I took that picture near the beginning of the hike (we started out late) 3:15 this afternoon. We (just Mackey and Turner and me) saw our friend Peter and his dog Henry at the beginning of our hike but they were just leaving as we were arriving. Peter said they’d seen a bunch of deer in the woods. After I took that river picture, Mackey and Turner and I headed down the river bank then turned up the creek and crossed Charlie’s Bridge. Sure enough, the woods were full of deer. I counted five, but there are always more that are “invisible.” I know this because so many times I’ve been looking at (say) “five” deer, and someone comes along with a barking dog and next thing you know, nine deer jump up and run into the woods. It is astonishing how “invisible” they make themselves. This youngster  was (at that instant) in no way invisible:

simplify too

The river says “simplify” and those deer say “simplify” and every raptor (IMO) says “simplify.” It’s early in the season but pairs are beginning to form, and everything is becoming more active. But “activity” for these raptors means a lot of sitting still, which this big female was doing Friday morning at Westhampton Memorial and Cremation Park on Patterson Avenue:  

I find many antidotes to being overwhelmed

The sky was clear earlier this week and I got a few “moon shots.” On Tuesday, 1/15 at 3:30 PM I took this picture directly in front of my house:

The moon Tuesday afternoon at 3:30:

This is how my “world clock” app described it:

About seven hours later, around 10:30 PM the same day, I photographed the same moon, this time from the side of my house:

Same moon, seven hours later

This is my “world clock” app description of the same moon, seven hours later:

Same moon, seven hours “older”

This is fascinating information. In seven hours, the moon has grown from 66.1% full to 68.8% full. It started out (when I saw it) 32º above the horizon and moved up to 46º above the horizon. I first saw it at a heading of 102º, just south of east. My house faces about 120º. Seven hours later it had gone all the way around to 245º, or almost west. I was looking at it from my driveway, continuing its rise over my next-door-neighbor’s house 

For people of a certain sensibility, that may not sound simple, but it is. It’s just numbers. It is entirely predictable, and it will not change in any of our lifetimes. Instead of this predictability being boring, I find it fascinating. But I know lots of people – many readers of this blog, I’m certain – don’t share that opinion. But here we all are. 

Yikes! I almost finished this blog post and neglected my marginal photograph of a rare (in my experience) “accipiter” – either a Cooper’s hawk or a Sharp-shinned hawk. They are not truly rare, I just don’t see them very often. This one was perched in my next-door neighbor’s sweet gum tree, scoping out bird feeders:

Red-tails (earlier in this blog) hunt mammals. This is an accipiter, and they hunt other birds. With no apparent remorse.

Yesterday Mackey and Turner and Yuki and I hiked at Bryan Park to avoid Pony Pasture mud. I didn’t get any brilliant pictures, but we took a moment’s break to get a photograph near this partially cut up fallen tree:

Yuki, Turner and Mackey at Bryan Park yesterday

That’ll be enough (for me) for today. But I’m going to append some links to a few early (-ish) blog posts with stories on the end. All five of them are from early 2012. At that point I didn’t have much blogging experience and was disorganized. But I was enthusiastic. Take a look at them – they’re worthwhile. IMO. And come back next week! All best,


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My first blog entry was on March 2, 2011 but it wasn’t like it is today. Much more random.

The first post when I appended a story was 13 January, 2012    A lot of life. At the very bottom is a story called Bird by bird that briefly describes the genesis or early years of the person I’ve become today.

My blog posts were still intermittent and less organized (if you can imagine) at that relatively early point. My next post was nine days later when I wrote on 22 January, 2012    A Perfect day for a lot of things. I described the first person I ever worked with, beginning around 1990. I just talked with him last week! Twenty-nine years later, remarkable. Always to see the “story” on a blog post, scroll down to the bottom – that’s where I put them, after the pictures.

It was only four days until my next “story” in the series, in a blog post on 26 January, 2012 called Day tripper. It’s the early story of a young man I began working with in late 1994 when he was fifteen years old. He lives in Charlotte now and we don’t catch up as often but I’m still in touch with his family. He’ll be forty next month!

On Groundhog Day that year I put up a post called We didn’t see our shadows and introduced that guy in a little more detail. He couldn’t really talk – at all – but he was and is an expert communicator. He was a great teacher for me, exactly the person I needed to spend time with early in my career. The most valuable lesson he taught me was (and is) “pay attention.” I am so grateful.

The blog post after that just had a link to a ride, then on February 11 I photographed and wrote a post called Don’t fence me in, which also had some riding in it. But I closed it (at the bottom) with another story that fits in with the series. They’re all a bit different. Currently I’ve found twenty-three blog posts with stories on the end. I’ll add a few more 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 accipiters, Birds, Bryan Park, Cooper's Hawk, Dogs, Fun, James River, moon, Pony Pasture, raptors, Red-tailed hawks, Rivers, simplify, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!), thoreau, walden, whitetail deer and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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