“The weird turn pro” – Hunter S Thompson, 1971 

5 April, 2020            “The weird turn pro” – Hunter S Thompson, 1971 

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro” – Hunter S Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, 1971. That quote doesn’t relate to anything in particular, other than each time I encounter another coronavirus related inconvenience – all of mine have been minor – I think “this is weird.” If someone you care about has died from it, you have my deepest sympathy. But since I first heard the word “coronavirus” in February or March, it’s mostly just been… weird. 

Today is the thirty-second anniversary of my accident. What a way to celebrate – Yuki came home from his winter travels and joined Mackey and Turner and me at the river this morning! Dogs standing on warm granite under a blue sky on a 400 million year old river – this is the opposite of weird: 

Turner, Yuki, Mackey, the James River – the opposite of weird

We hiked a little deeper in the park and paused a moment for this one: 

Yuki, Turner, Mackey – a few minutes later, still not weird

I experience and think and read about gratitude regularly, mainly since I lived through this day 1988. Gabby Giffords in early 2011 survived being shot through her brain. I mean, think about that – for a moment – if you can. In an assassination attempt a man shot her in the forehead with a nine millimeter pistol. He kept shooting and shooting and killed six people, including a nine year old girl. But that’s not what this blog post is about. 

Neither is it about coronavirus, though that’s why the going is getting weird. But she wrote an article in Friday’s (4/3/2020) USA Today called [[What I learned fighting for my life. And why it can help America now.]]. She talked about being kind to one another, which of course is more important now while we all – everybody on this planet – go through this. She wrote “Each gesture, however small, is a stitch in the quilt that keeps our communities connected.“ More on that later. I have a few pictures this week. 

April has begun and central Virginia is bursting at the seams. Here’s a mayapple flower from our hike this morning: 

Mayapple flower from Pony Pasture this morning

And here are gardenias Evelyn brought home. Have you ever smelled a gardenia? If not, smell one. Your life will get better and it will remain better, even after you stop smelling gardenias. That’s just the way they are. Don’t take my word for it – find one and smell it. If you have smelled one before, it might not have been in 2020 – they’re just starting out. Find one and smell it! Here’s one of our beauties: 

Gardenia from our home (not from our yard – yet)

The dogwoods will be done flowering very soon. I took this one in our front yard today:

Dogwood in our front yard – that flower is almost finished

I have a handful more pictures. But first, I read an article in Friday’s NYT called I Never Used My Computer on the Sabbath — Until the Coronavirus. It was written by a man named Avi S. Olitzky, a rabbi in Minnesota. It’s a great article – it comes with my strongest recommendation. But my favorite part – by far – was the final sentence: “Meeting people where they are, bringing light into their dark corners — that is how you change and build a world.“ That sentence was perfectly true a thousand years ago, before there was a computer to use, or ten thousand years ago, before there was such a word as “sabbath.” When we’re looking back on the Spring of 2020, when the going got really weird, if we can recall the importance of “Meeting people where they are, bringing light into their dark corners,“ we’ll be making the world a better place. 

Wow – I’ve “talked” (written) way too much. Here is one of my favorite pictures from this week. A purple martin from Bryan Park: 

My first Purple Martin of 2020 (at Bryan Park)

This is half a mile down the street from our house, near Patterson Avenue: 

The caption is included in the photograph

The NYT must be printing old articles. I had a quote in my notes for this week and when I looked it up just now, I found it was from a Times article from September of last year! No matter. The article was called “The Trick to Life is to Keep Moving – What my friendship with a woman 51 years my senior taught me about growing up” by a woman named Devi Lockwood. I think just the title caught me – “the trick to life is to keep moving.” 

I’m going to need to move to my bed soon – I’m running out of gas! I’m working less so I’m exercising more and it’s catching up with me! Wow (again) I haven’t put up a picture of a pawpaw flower! They have to be the homeliest flowers ever. Or anyway after looking at gardenias and mayapples and redbuds and so forth. The fruit is the opposite of homely – think of eating a gardenia. It tastes so good you practically never want to taste another flavor. But for now, there’s a homely flower: 

Pawpaw bud. That’s really kind of pretty, in an understated way

I almost forgot – there are ospreys everywhere – except where I can get a reasonable picture. But I got a handful of adequate ones so I’ll close with a couple – and come back next week! All best, 


This is zoomed in too far, but it’s always amazing (IMO) to see one actually holding a fish:

Osprey on a tower with the last bit of a fish

And this one’s zoomed out too far, but the light and the scenery are pleasing. I took this one this morning:

Osprey against a blue April sky

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, Dogs, dogwood, Endurance, Flowers, Fun, Gardenias, James River, koans, love, newfaze, ospreys, People, Pony Pasture, raptors, Rivers, simplify, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!) and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to “The weird turn pro” – Hunter S Thompson, 1971 

  1. Nancy Favor says:

    Thanks for this, Jay. If it were on FB, it would get a LOVE! Nancy


    • Thank you Nancy! One of the “weirdest” things about now (for me) is how nice and kind and beautiful everything looks against the background of this virus problem. The ugliness of the virus pushes the beauty of everything else into sharper relief. Have an excellent week!

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