Happy to be outdoors 

16 February, 2020            Happy to be outdoors 

The 1,001st time I see them, I’ll be as gleeful as the 1st time

I’m reading a book by Florence Williams called The Nature Fix – Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative. Here’s the book cover: 

The Nature Fix – Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier and More Creative – Florence Williams

Although that’s not my all time favorite owl picture, I was grateful to be there. I posted it on instagram and it automatically goes to facebook and an owl loving friend of mine mentioned how happy she was to see it. I’m aware I post pictures of these owls a lot – this is my twelfth consecutive week, but who’s counting? Anyway, this was my response on facebook: “If I see owls in the woods 1,000 times, I will be just as gleeful the 1,001st time as I was the first time. The novelty of it simply does not wear off.” 

Owls weren’t my only encounter with “the nature fix” this week. The reason I called this post “Happy to be outdoors” is somehow I got to spend extra time outdoors this week – and I normally get to spend a lot. Triathlon training has kicked off but I’m still too wimpy to ride my bike. So I go to the park a lot. This is from yesterday (2/15) at Pony Pasture: 

Fewer than half the deer I saw at Pony Pasture yesterday:

I was at Pony Pasture this week Tuesday, Thursday, yesterday and today. Four visits in one week – that’s a lot even by my standards. I also visited Deep Run Friday. I saw a Hermit Thrush there but didn’t get any pictures I loved. 

There were a whole, whole, whole lot of deer at Pony Pasture this week; I’m not sure why the population of certain regions of the park ebbs and flows the way it does. I was seeing herds of six or seven or more deer at a time on two or three days this week. 

Just after I saw those deer Tuesday, they began running through the woods. I’m not sure what caused it; perhaps there was an off leash dog somewhere I couldn’t see. I almost never see them run. But anyway, they ran towards the creek and a bunch of them swam across! It was totally unexpected for me and I was unprepared to take a decent picture. But here are two moderate images; it was so cool to see: 

In this picture a deer is jumping into the water. You can see the splash from another deer too.

Here you can see one deer jumping in and another (barely) to its left

Please don’t get the wrong idea; it’s February and I spend plenty of time indoors. I took this picture of Dash snoozing on a chair near the fire Tuesday: 

He only does this when the woodstove is burning

My camera is always close by – even now it’s about a foot from my keyboard. Since I never know what’s going to land on my bird feeder, which is only about six feet away from the window behind my desk. But I always keep it in my car during the day, and when I was driving home from work Friday morning I saw this squirrel chowing down on fresh maple buds at around 9:30: 

Squirrel against a bright sky on Valentine’s Day morning 

Although I’m not Buddhist, rivers are powerful symbols in Buddhism. I follow a wise Buddhist monk named Thich Nhat Hanh and Tuesday morning this was on his instagram page: 

Go as a river – Thich Nhat Hanh

Some friends were out of town this week; I took their dog to the river a couple of times with Mackey and Turner. Here’s the four of us on the riverbank yesterday morning: 

Going as a river with a little crew yesterday morning

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 Barred Owls, Birds, cats, Dogs, Fun, James River, love, People, Pony Pasture, Rivers, simplify, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!), squirrels, whitetail deer and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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