Thanking a one year old for putting the “social” in “social distance”

3 May, 2020            Thanking a one year old for putting the “social” in “social distance”

Our neighbor Austin turned one yesterday. Austin single-handedly brought together more smiling people than I’ve seen since the first time I heard that peculiar word “coronavirus” back in February. This is what I saw when I walked out the door yesterday morning – Austin’s birthday parade coming up the street: 

Could there be a more beautiful day for a birthday party?

So I didn’t get a ton of great pics this week, really only a couple, so I’ll scatter them in here – among the party pictures. 

Here’s a picture of a Rose Breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) that came to my feeder Monday morning: 

Rose-breasted grosbeak comes to our feeder

Before Austin brought all the people together yesterday, when I thought of “social distance,” I focused on DISTANCE. Thanks to Austin, now when I think of “social distance” I think of SOCIAL. Thank you Austin! 

I’ve been around a long time and I know a lot of people. I have had a ton of birthdays. Guess how many of them had something like this? If you guessed “zero,” I admire your precise and correct response: 

Austin’s birthday was REALLY social!

Black locust trees are common in Virginia, but they hide in the background and don’t draw lots of attention. But they’re flowering right now (today) and I did manage to get one picture this morning at Pony Pasture. Unfortunately these were too high off the ground to smell. I have never smelled a tree flower as fragrant as a black locust. I’ve hardly smelled any flower as fragrant as a black locust. 

I was fortunate to see a handsome male Bluebird perched on a wire while Mackey and Turner and I were headed out to pick up Yuki for our hike at Pony Pasture. He was very accommodating! I’m always grateful to get a picture like this: 

A handsome male bluebird posed on our way to the river this morning

This was the table that greeted all of Austin’s guests yesterday. VERY social, though of course we all kept our distance. Note the bottle of Purell doing double duty as a paperweight. When people look at pictures from this birthday in the distant future they’ll reliably say “oh, Purell, right, coronavirus, that must have been the Spring of 2020.” But – there were doughnuts! Thank you Austin! That’s how you put the “social” back in “social distance.” Happy Birthday Austin! 

What a way to celebrate your first birthday! Thank you Austin!

FYI, I had a picture published in a magazine! If you click here you can see the cover picture on the current (May/June 2020) issue of Virginia Wildlife Magazine. The cover of this month’s issue has a picture of an osprey holding a large bluefish. If you have the actual magazine and  open up to page 46 you’ll see the picture I took in the “Pics from the field” section. I took a picture of the picture – it looks a lot better in the magazine: 

A picture of the picture I took – you can see my name! – in Virginia Wildlife magazine

Back to Austin’s party! Here was another family being social: 

I’m fortunate to have such a popular neighbor – what a party he had!

Mackey and  Turner and I took at little hike at Pony Pasture Tuesday. We were happy to see these three officers patrolling on horseback. Beautiful horses and friendly police officers – Richmond is such a wonderful place to live: 

Richmond’s finest on horseback Tuesday at Pony Pasture:

I’ll close with a couple more of Evelyn’s spectacular flowers. We have so many gardenias it takes me a long time to sort through the pictures! So here’s one I took at 7:45 this evening: 

Gardenia from this evening:

Can’t leave Dash out. Here he’s about to start playing soccer with a tennis ball: 

Game, set, match

And I’ll close with a rose (I like the way that sounds). I took this one Wednesday morning at 7:30: 

It is simply impossible to tire of this:

Have a great week! Happy Birthday Austin! Thanks for putting the SOCIAL in social distance! 

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

7 Responses to Thanking a one year old for putting the “social” in “social distance”

  1. Rob Martin says:

    Austin is awesome! 🎉👏🏼

  2. Rob Martin says:

    Austin is awe inspiring! Happy Birthday!! 🎉👏🏼

    • Best of all – when he was unwrapping presents, he was paying attention to the wrapping paper – not to what might be inside the box. I knew in an instant I was seeing an advanced soul. It was humbling and gratifying.

  3. David Myers says:

    Hey Jay, hope you are well. I always look forward to Mondays to see what you are going to post. I think this is the first time that I can remember that you did not have photos of your dogs.

    • Hey David, great to hear from you! This post veered a little partly because of this covid craziness etc. Plus the river’s been pretty high for a while & we’re accessing Pony Pasture from Landria and we’re hiking odd spots. I hope to get them down there tomorrow (Tuesday) or Sunday 5/10 at the latest and get a picture up. I’ll tell them you mentioned them. They’re both snoozing here on the floor as I type.

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