Peace like a river

12 April, 2020            Peace like a river

Today is Easter and several friends said and wrote “peace” to me earlier. As Mackey and Turner and Yuki and I got out on the rocks at Pony Pasture this morning I thought of Paul Simon’s 1972 song Peace Like a River. If you click that link and listen to the whole song, that’s three minutes and forty-two seconds of your life you’ll never get back. But you’ll be real, real, real relaxed. It’s calming. Like the river. Just ask Yuki and Turner and Mackey: 

There is no stress there. None. Peace like a river.

The first line of the song is “Peace like a river ran through the city.” I don’t know a ton about the song – I’ll read more about it. But the second verse – written in 1971, close to half a century ago – says “I remember Misinformation followed us like a plague.” If you look up enough stuff you always stumble across odd coincidences like that. “Misinformation followed us like a plague” in 1971 and in 2020 we have competing “experts” with misinformation about COVID-19. Who could make this stuff up? Not me. Crazy. 

Much less of a coincidence was my dogged return to the branch these owls love so much, and this morning – April makes sixth consecutive months – I photographed a Barred Owl: 

Barred owl at Pony Pasture! Again!

Evelyn took this picture of one small azalea bush in our backyard. I was looking at pictures of different flowers on an instagram nature page. It had a quote by a philosopher named Iris Murdoch. I’ll use it as the caption for this picture; it’s made for this picture: 

Photo by Evelyn “People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.” – Iris Murdoch

This one (somehow) almost didn’t make it into this blog post. Thank goodness I found it at the last moment! Every time I see a flower now I think about that quote by Iris Murdoch:

This flower is wildly uninhibited

If you didn’t read the caption on the earlier picture, it’s “People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.” I’ll remove and replace a single noun and use it as the caption for this picture I took at Deep Run this week. My Dad would have been mad with joy: 

“People from a planet without birds would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.”

Since the Y’s been closed and I’ve been unable to swim I began riding at West Creek for an hour every single day. Today was my eleventh consecutive day. That’ll end the streak; tomorrow’s going to be a rainout. But I saw this Red-tailed hawk in a tree in the swamp off Patterson Avenue Monday morning at 8:00: 

Well named Red-tailed hawk Monday morning

When Mackey and Turner and I came home from our walk Friday evening I noticed Ev’s daffodils in the backyard. They’re growing everywhere in our yard, in all sizes and shapes and patterns and colors and smells – who even knew there were so many? The back lights were on but I didn’t even use a flash. Pretty picture, taken with my phone, at 9:51 PM: 

“Mad with joy.” It’s just everywhere you look, isn’t it?

This post is “peace like a river” but it’s not a stretch (IMO) to use the river as a proxy for the natural world. I’m aware the coronavirus is also from the natural world but the twenty-four hour news cycle is not. The river and the owls and the bluebirds and the hawks, even the starlings are more peaceful than anything from any news outlet I’ve noticed. The same is true for the azaleas and the daffodils and even the dandelions; they have no agenda. Evelyn and the dogs and I took a relaxing hike at Bryan Park yesterday; here’s a Purple Martin we saw: 

Purple Martin at Bryan Park yesterday. “Mad with joy.” (Me, not the necessarily the bird)

I photographed another Mayapple flower at Pony Pasture this morning. They’re ephemeral (like we all are) and soon will change to a different form. But here’s a flower from this morning: 

Late season May apple flower from this morning at Pony Pasture:

And last – not least – we saw a snail this morning! I see gastropods from time to time (snails are gastropods) but I know very, very little about them. They’re fascinating though – I may learn more. I’lll share it here when I do. Meanwhile, I’ll close with the one we saw this morning. And come back next week! All best, 


Gastropod (snail) at Pony Pasture this morning

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, Bryan Park, Dogs, Endurance, Flowers, Fun, James River, love, newfaze, People, Pony Pasture, raptors, Red-tailed hawks, Rivers, simplify, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!) and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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