Archive for August 2017

BONNEVILLE

August 30, 2017

One of the great stops along I-80  is the Bonneville Flats Test Sight.

After the flat green landscape of Kansas and the beautiful tan and brown and gold tones of the mountains of Wyoming and Utah,  you  notice a “change”  outside your car window:

B1 Bonneville 370

The land becomes white.

B2 Big Flats 380

Miles and miles of dry white surface.

And, of course,  these are the Bonneville Flats – and they’re made for driving!

B3 Flats are for driving 370

There are miles and miles of this.     I always say:   ” I’m not going to stop.”

B5.5 Rest Stop up ahead 370

“I’m not going to stop.    I’m not . . . ”

B4 rest area 370

But I always do.   They have a really nice and informative rest area,  and you can get as close as you can to the salt flats.

Although almost all you’ll see for many miles into the curvature of the earth is salt.

B5 just salt 2 370

Somewhere in that expanse there is a course set, varying in length each year, for the fastest cars to set speed records.  Only one mile of the course is recorded,  the fastest mile, I guess.

B6 sign 370

I’m not that interested in cars and motors and engines and how fast you can get a car-like vehicle to move,  but even for me a portion of that sign was impressive:

B7 sign portion 370

I’ve driven in “triple digit” m.p.h. — but not with an 8 in it!

Might seem like an odd place to take a stroll,  but there’s no danger.

B9 odd place for a stroll

And I always get out there on the salt-encrusted earth too:

B10 shoes in 370

Water seeps through some places:

B11 Wading 2 370

Wet and dry:

B12 shallow water 370

If you scoop up some of the salt from the wet portion –  well, it just looks like wet salt:

B13 shallow wet salt 370

 

But if you want some salt from the dry portion, you have to pry it up from the desert gravel,  you have to use a little force and try to get a big chip:

B14 salt sample 370

I had all the fun I wanted . . .  it was getting later in the traveling day . . .  and see that kind of white  line across the middle of this picture, leading on into the distant mountains?  —

B16 highway goes 370

That’s the highway where I had to go, off into those mountains,  up and over,  and into the high desert:

B17 highway into 102 370

Quite a temperature!

 

 

 

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P.S. THE YELLOW AND THE BLUE

August 30, 2017

Here are the “yellow” and the “blue”  I alluded to in the last post  about dinosaurs but forgot to include them at the end.     You see, some of these species are still with us, living today.

So here’s the yellow —  tiny little things that spit poisonous and deadly venom at passers-by.

D Yellow Frogs

They’d be easy to overlook as you walked past them.    They were on display behind glass   (rather thin glass!)   in the lobby of the Sternberg Natural History Museum.

Same with the blue deadly venomous spitting things:

D Blue Frog

Odd.  Different.   Strange.   Exotic.    Hypnotizing.

I wouldn’t want to raise little children where these things live.

We’re reminded that Nature around us is not necessarily a friendly place  . . .  at least not since after the Great Fall, which forever changed the relationship of Man and his Environment.

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DINOSAUR HEAVEN

August 29, 2017

Those of you who know me know my enthusiasm  for dinosaurs!   A 5,000 mile road trip is just my excuse to visit dinosaur museums  ( ahem,  “natural history” museums).   So please join me on this leg of the trip for a visit to the dinosaurs, for as much patience as you have!

Getting there was easy:

D Getting there370

That’s  the middle of our country!   Kansas,  home of the Sternberg Museum of Natural History.   And a very good one it is:

D Building

Easy parking.  No waiting in lines.    That big cream-colored  dome in the back houses the main exhibits.  You can see it better from the expressway.

Inside is a beautiful lobby, with blue and yellow live relics from ancient times on display  (more later)  and a lovely plesiosaurus   hanging overhead.     Also a thoughtful welcome sign:

D Bldg 80m 370

Guests are all primed and ready!    First stop, though, is actually the sea creatures,  displayed in a beautiful curving pathway through  “the sea.

D Thru the Sea.jpg 370

And  close to the “swimming”  monsters:

D Mososaurus 370

Looks fierce at maybe 25 feet long,  but we know what it used those teeth for,  sort of:

D Mosoaur diet 370

Each of the blue arrows shows bite marks on an ammonite,  a mollusk kind of thing, possibly eaten by the “sea monster.”

D Sea Creature 2 Tyrosaurus 370

Thirty or so feet long.   Tyrosaurus.

What’s left of him:

D Sea Creature 2 370

Reptile bones can be a little boring,  but sometimes they can show us interesting things:

This fish swallowed another fish whole . . .  and then died:

D Sea Creatures fish in fish 370

The head of the fish that got swallowed is to the right, so he was swallowed head first.  They know what kind of fish these are:

D fish in label 350

But the main attraction is always the big reptile things —  all kinds of dinosaurs — so I entered into “the cave” —

D Cave Entrance 370

Through the cave to another world –  with fun warnings:

D Warning Sign 278

And then a rather serious thought:

D Warning Tail Signs 370

 

I mean,  if you’re observant,  you would notice that tail sticking out from behind the rocks.    That’s a mighty big tail!

Life is mean,  80 million years ago.   Always was,  always will be.    Predator and prey.   It’s a “dog-eat-dog”  world out there.    Or whatever these are.

D Warning Fight 370

A T-Rex towering over me:

D T REX Head 370

And many others:

D T Rex friend 2 370

One walks through a land of dinosaurs with sounds of swampy groans and growls and piercing whistles and occasional roars . . .  it became eerily realistic after a while.  Occasionally a huge dinosaur would move as it called out –  thanks to subtle animatronics.

Although the Age of the Reptiles lasted for many millions of years,  even long before these dinosaurs was another age,  the Permian Age:

D Permian monsters 370

 

You really have to think about this to begin to understand the magnitude of ages before the ages before . . .  us.    If you were a time traveler and started out at the time of the dinosaurs and moved backwards in time . . .   if you stopped off every ten million years and saw what lived on this planet,   you would see the height of the Permian Age;  no dinosaurs for a long, long time to come.  Just Permian Age creatures of all sizes.

Then take a time-leap back another ten million years.  Still the Permian Age creatures.

Then take a time-leap back another ten million years.  Still Permian Age creatures.

You could keep doing that until you were tired of leaping backwards, ten million years at a time —  at still hardly reach the beginning of the Permian Age.

Maybe we don’t do that because the creatures aren’t as glamorous and familiar to us,  but if this scientific guess reconstruction is somewhat accurate,  then it was a beautiful and complex age too.

D Permian sea creatures 370

It was predator and prey,  dog-eat-dog then too:

D Permian monster jump 370

That guy was going after a tasty dragonfly.   The museum had a model of the dragonfly,  much larger, according to Permian Age fossils than our dragonflies today.

D Permian dragonfly 370

My hand , in the corner,  was much closer to the camera,  but still you can see the exceptional size of this creature with maybe a three-foot wingspan.

There were land creatures too of all sizes,  and creatures who lived in the water and on land

And then it came to an end.  We can only speculate why.   It’s called the Permian Extinction Event,  or the Permian-Triassic Extinction Event.   It occurred about 252,000,000 years ago.   So much of the planet’s biodiversity was lost;  about 96 percent of those sea creatures, and 70 percent of land vertebrates . . .  almost all the insect species.

This was the P-T Event,  which came long before the K-T Extinction Event which killed off the “dinosaurs.”      Someone once wrote that it’s like the earth was nearly scrubbed clean of life, and then after a long recovery period, something like a “cosmic dump truck”  just unloaded an explosion of brand-new life forms that became dominant.

What age are we in? How long will it last?

One thing is very clear from actual history written on this planet:  Extinction events happened because of natural causes –  causes caused by Nature and Nature’s significantly, planet-wide drastic changes.   Whether caused by events from outer space,  cosmic bursts of lethal radiation,   or by upheavals within the earth itself —  mankind DOES NOT CAUSE  planet-wide destruction  and mankind CANNOT CAUSE  planet-wide destruction of the “environment”  or the “ecosystem”  or even any portion of the immense “biodiversity”  that exists on this earth.

Climate change is the result of these immense forces that impact the earth.    It doesn’t start from any one species living on the planet.

Please don’t dismiss the Young Earth Theory  (not the “earth is six thousand years old theory”  but the legitimate Young Earth Theory —   that’s worth looking into too, and there is actual evidence, geological and fossil evidence,  that the earth’s age doesn’t need billions of years to explain itself.)   But just play around with all the theories offered.   There is “a diversity”  of theories too.    (None of us living today can determine the right theory.)

Sure I love dinosaurs,  but my heart  is in the last Ice Age,  about 30,000 to 10,900 B.C.

D Mammoth

Or — as they exist now in the Sternberg Museum:

D Mammoth 370

Here are Dr. Sternberg’s actual working tools:

D Sternberg stuff 370

That’s all we have of these magnificent past ages:

D All and hard work 370

It’s so worth a trip to your nearest natural history museum,  just to enter their worlds.

And ours.

ZOO TIPS

August 28, 2017

Going to a zoo sometime during this trip west was something I looked forward to.

Z Zoo Sign

I found a couple:   the Kansas City Zoo in the city;  and this one,  way out in the country through narrow two-lane roads.     Surprisingly worth it.

Of course I’ve been to lots of zoos before, and in one way they’re all “alike”  —  all the familiar animals arranged in simulations of their native continents;   but each zoo is a bit different too,  and it’s those differences plus the animals that make it worth “going to the zoo again.”

Z Rhino

So,  you’ve seen lions and tigers in person;  you’ve seen a rhino;  exotic birds; you’ve been up close to elephants;  maybe you’ve even fed the giraffes with their long black muscular tongues!     (He just stuck his tongue back in when I snapped the picture.)

Z Giraffe 270

Some zoo tips:

First:   you are never too old to go to a zoo.    No matter how old you get, no matter how many zoos you’ve seen,  even if you have to go alone, your zoo trips are not behind you;   you’re never too old!

Second:      In the summer?   On a hot sunny day?    Hat, sunglasses, plenty of water and sunscreen with you?    But don’t forget that the animals are hot too and this is the time of day when the most interesting animals   go    to   sleep!

Sleeping furry tail 300

Cute little guys –  but they’re not going to be moving anytime soon.

Sleeping Flamingos 320

Pretty flamingos.   Pretty sleepy flamingos.

You won’t see much action from even the big guys:
SleepingTigers 370

And I think the bright noon sun bleaches out the colors in the photos.

Third:      Ride!      Ride the trams . . .

Zoo Tram 400

. . .  the trains . . .

Z Train 400

. . .  and the sky rides.  . . .

SkyRide 400

 

You’ll see the zoo in comfort and in shade, with a cool breeze blowing past you;  and it’s surprising how long you can last the day without feeling a bit tired.

Riding,  rolling  gliding your way through the zoo is a great way to see where all the exhibits are and plan which ones you’d like to actually walk to.   And there are always frequent stops,  so just get off near exhibits that you want to see, and then get back on    when you’re done there.

Fourth:   Don’t forget to see the humor – and take some funny shots!

Funny shots 400

Like a headless polar bear

Fifth:   Enjoy the signs –  but remember to be safe or you’ll get some surprises.       This sign was easy enough to understand:

Kangaroo sign and spiders 400

What it meant was that the kangaroos run freely, no cages,  and there are no barriers between you and them.

Kangaroo Spider surprise 400

This made one young man – one foolish, boastful young man –   tell his girlfriend (or wife)  that he was going to run right at those kangaroos and scare them!   His young girlfriend (or wife)  told him  “No!   They’re wild animals!    They could hurt you!”

But the young man ran off our pathway,  through the opening in the bushes,  and promptly began to yell:   “Aaaaaargh!!”       He had run right into some wild . .  .   spider webs!   He came out spitting and sputtering and rubbing his face.      “I’m not going back there,”  he said.   I guess he’d found his wild things.

Sixth:    Look all around and enjoy the whole wild, strange, exotic world that you are just a tiny part of:

Z Blue 400

There was a group of maybe 40 of them, all dressed alike in the same colors:  moms, dads,  children,  babies . . .  speaking “Pennsylvania Dutch,”   which since “Dutch”  means “Deutsch”  I could understand about a third of what they were saying.   How I wondered and speculated what their world is like!

Seventh:   Take Google with you:

Snake google 400

This is a giant python.  An ordinary python with a genetic defect  causing amelonism because of  a double heterozygous gene which produced a condition called … “leuco-”  something.   Another lady and I were trying to figure out what all this meant, what made the python such a pretty yellow color.   Finally we looked each other in the eye,  smiled, and whipped out our cell phones,  consulting Google for the full explanation –  which was rather satisfying.

And that wasn’t the last time Google answered our questions –  questions which could make sense only while we were there,  but answers which will stick with us for a while.

Eighth:       Leave your POLITICS  at home!!!

Not you –  the young millennial zoo people who insisted on writing, for every animal exhibit,   that HUMANS  have destroyed this animal’s habitat and that they are now becoming extinct, or in danger of becoming extinct, or one day will think they might become extinct.       Because  “humans did it.”      Humans are horrible!    Humans make it no fun to be an animal.

And soon there will be no more zoos.

Let me add a little animal sound to that:   “grrrrrrrrrrrrr.”

 

(Next post:  I’ll show them an extinct thing or two!)

 

 

 

 

 

WORLD WAR ONE REVISITED

August 26, 2017

You should . . .  we all should:  revisit World War One.   Or maybe learn about it for the first time.     And 1917.  So much happened in that year that is relevant to us today — and if we don’t learn its lessons,   its warnings for us will come true.

KANSAS  CITY,  MISSOURI:

I had two things on my list to do in Kansas City:   (1)  visit the zoo;  (2)  visit the National World War One Memorial and Museum.

It’s NOT easy to drive in Kansas City,  and they had just received about 9 inches of rain, so many roads were still closed for flooding.  I was heading for the zoo, but got lost and found myself staring at a sign that pointed to the Museum . . .

It looks like this:

WWI Tower 400

It’s large.   You go forward and downward about fifteen feet, and then in through those dark doors in the middle.

Fortunately (if you want to have some fun)  you can go way up to the top of the tower too,  up in a rattle-y metal elevator:

WWI looking down elevator

That’s standing at the edge of the elevator looking down a couple hundred feet!   It lifts you up and then you walk up a further 45 winding steps,  just like in a lighthouse.

Quite a view!

WWI KC overlook

And my pretty blue car, way down there:

WWI Blue car

 

But inside the museum,  it was serious.    Serious history for a serious century.   You entered the exhibit rooms by walking on a glass floor.   Underneath the floor, about twenty feet down,  was a garden of poppies.

WWI glass floor anad foot

The reflection of the bright light makes it hard to tell that it’s a transparent floor,  but there’s my shoe to show you I’m standing on glass!

Deep down below, if you were there,  you’d see the poppies:

WWI glass poppies

I  cried.

Poppies.  *    We must never forget.

World War One was a slap in the face to “modern” man,  and a punch in the stomach.   With all the confident promises of modern technology to solve every problem, we discovered that technology could be used to wage the horrific, murderous, brutal war we could not even have imagined.   Airplanes were used to deliver bombs and chemical gases.    Artillery increased in unimaginable sizes.   Submarines delivered death to civilians, not just enemy soldiers.

And a new kind of warfare took the lives of almost half the men in the war:

WWI Trench 400

This was a life-size model of a trench from which much of the war was waged, on both sides.   10 to 15 feet or more deep.   Dirty, muddy,  disease and vermin filled.   A map of the trenches ran from the English Channel all the way down to Switzerland,  and it was not just one long narrow string of trenches.    There were many intersecting trenches,  some for fighting,  some for communications, some for the officers to plan,  some for tending the wounded,  some for supplies . . .   The web of trenches were like small cities.

And many, many young men died in these trenches.  Or trying to get out of the trenches.   Or ordered to get out, up, and over, to bring the fight to the enemy.

WWI Men sign up 400

America entered the war after a few years.    There were campaigns to raise money for our troops.  There was rationing at home.   “Tobacco parties”   or “Tobacco Balls”  to raise a supply of cigarettes to send to the troops.    And there was pressure on young Americans to enlist.

My grandfather enlisted in the Navy.      U.S.S.   Utah.

In 1917 the war effort faltered as Russia left the war to fight an internal war of its own.

WWI stolen guns

Actual German guns – taken by the Russians,  to use in the Russian Revolution.

Like World War One and “poppies”  the Russian Revolution is another event of the 20th century that should be revisited, since the same revolutionary group is at work in the United States today, promoting anarchy,  social upheaval,  class warfare,  racism,  discontent, and violence.

We need to remember what that did to the Russian people.   I know for a fact that our school and university history books do not tell us what we need to know.

World War One ended, then in 1918,   but its lessons for us do not come to an end.   Unless we want an inevitable Three.

 

 

_____________________________

.*

 

InFlandersFields

OPEN ROADS OPPORTUNITIES

August 26, 2017

I have some photos for you!  Finally!   I’m back in business:  after driving more than 600 miles today,  most of it looking into the blazing western sun;  and after resolving the war between Kaspersky and an “unsecure”  hotel Internet connection;  after finding a way to bypass a reluctant camera-to-laptop  connection while managing an insistent Roaming cell phone connection   . . .    and having my laptop shut down several times by the above mentioned parties to the “war”  —  I showed them all who’s Master of all this digital stuff!

BEHOLD:

Kansas Rd 400

Wide open spaces, as I wrote about last time!   Missouri and Kansas.

And Wyoming:

Wyoming Rd 400

I have so many photos of Wyoming, because it’s  the most scenic state I’ve ever  driven in.    This one just shows the open roads, not the scenery

If you ever want to feel like you’re driving on the very  top of the world, looking out in all directions for miles and miles into the horizon,  you would find that extraordinary feeling in Wyoming!     It’s a little like looking out from an airplane window.   The view is a cross between beautiful earth colors and a moonscape, and it lasts all day!    Ooohs and ahhhs and catching your breath is most appropriate!

The Glory of God reflected back to Him by Wyoming  scenery!

Well, this is about “opportunities”:    

Take them.

Mississippi 380

That’s the Mississippi River.  But not “just”  the Mississippi.   Think of all the history involved with that river:    Ancient Americans navigated it and built their mounds alongside its shores.    It’s quite likely, from the artifacts left behind that the Mauritanians   during the Roman era knew it.   (Mauritania:  an African province of Rome)      And “blue-eyed”  blond explorers (the Vikings?)

Certainly we know Father Pierre Marquette explored and mapped the river and the surrounding territory.   The first name  for this river that the Europeans knew  was “The River of The Immaculate Conception”  in honor of the Virgin Mary.

MAP River of the Immaculate Conception

The year was about 1673 and Father Marquette was 36 years old!

Of course the Mississippi River (as the English renamed it)  was important to the pioneers who had to cross it.

Did you know that when the first bridge over the river was completed, people were so afraid to cross that bridge,  that a parade of  elephants were led across the bridge to prove that it would be strong enough for people and wagons!

So when you’re driving across that ho-hum we-‘ve- heard- the- name- a- thousand- times river  —   when you’re driving,  take the opportunity  to think of all its interesting history.  And, as Son reminded me,  when you’ve driven to the western side of the  Mississippi River,   you’re really in the West.

Same thing for the Missouri River.

MIssouri 370

It also has a rich history and was meaningful to all those who had to cross it on their way west.    It’s really west,  far west,  and I felt quite emotional humming the beautifully sad song “Shenandoah,”   the river so many left behind when they pioneered west,  knowing they’d never go home again.   (YouTube it.)

Imagine what these strange-looking banks of the Missouri River meant to them:

MIssouri banks 370

Well, it isn’t just history and geology along the way.   Sometimes you have to make an effort to NOT let an opportunity get away from you.

Traveling along I-70  I saw many signs for wineries,  but I didn’t want to travel 20 miles north or south to get to one.  Then I saw this one:

Winery Bldg 380

Right along the edge of the interstate —  I drove to the nearest exit, turned around, and drove back to it.

Winery Sign 380

It’s hard to stop the “forward”   momentum  when you’re on a long trip,  but I think this was a little bit  worth it.  I met some nice people.   They let me peek into their back room.

Winery vats 380

The lady described the wines in terms that were foreign to me:  forward effect,  undertones,   fragrance,  airiness,  and , oh, yes,  “like taking a walk in a forest . . .”

I’m glad I took this opportunity and had the experience, even though  vineyards are only mildly interesting to me.   I’m not a wine-drinker — but the rest of my family  is.   I didn’t take a photo of the inside of the wine store and the bottles I picked out . . .  it’s a secret (until I deliver the bottles to my family)!

But more interesting stops in the next posting . . .

 

__________________________

 

Well, I found Shenandoah for you,  sung by a Norwegian singer!

(Remember,  it’s a very sad song . . . )

 

BEYOND “ROAMING”

August 24, 2017

Well, I  am  traveling (roaming)   but so is my cell phone and it’s apparently very nervous about being so far from home.

I’ve traveled westward now for several days.  It’s a vast empty space out here.  You can drive for three hours straight, 80 m.p.h.,  few curves, few hills, and few cars  and without seeing any towns.    There are few exits, and there are usually no structures at the exits anyway.   Gas stations are few and far between.    You can fill up your tank and drive for another two or three or four hours and still see pretty much nothing.

Other than beautiful fertile landscape . . .  and lots of steaks-to-be.

For most of the last two days I had no cell service, and when I did,  I had to keep readjusting the roaming settings.    Now I discover that the Internet service is sketchy at best.

No photos?    Each photo that I have for you is taking 3 to 4 minutes to download.   That won’t do.

There is nothing that makes one feel “away from home”   as being away from cell phone and Internet.

(I’m driving up into the mountains tomorrow.   I’ve been there before.   There are even fewer people up there!)    Good-bye, again!!   

________________________________________

SOME THOUGHTS ON ROAMING:

We have a vast, empty country, with relatively few people to spread around.   The people we do have seem to want to group together in too little space.      Now,  why should that be?    Back in the mists of time,  before ancient history,  we know  that our Creator said to “be fruitful . . .  and fill the whole earth. . .”  which we can understand means to “go ahead and live everywhere on this planet.”  

Also in ancient myths we repeatedly see that the Enemy had “taught”  humans to live in vast cities,  concentrating power and wealth in the hands of a few rulers.     Not good.

But we really do have enough land to spread out in small related groups of family and friends.    Sure would make true democracy a bit easier.

 

 

YES, WE DID

August 22, 2017

It’s taken an amazing amount of effort to get to see the eclipse —  and write about it!

e sun

We saw that, taken during the eclipse, but the eclipsed sun was still so bright that the camera couldn’t pick up the crescent sliver.    We did see the eclipse in all its phases,  at about 99+ % totality.

Safely looking through safety glasses:

e thru glasses

 

And looking goofy through the safety glasses:

e to edit

 

After tons of doubts and indecisions and not a few trepidations, Son and I had headed south for our eclipse viewing.  We made it all the way into Kentucky.    Reports of traffic jams seemed slightly exaggerated  but perhaps it was our lengthy morning discussions that allowed all the other cars to get a head start.  We nearly had the highways to ourselves!

We had no idea where to go in Kentucky, but there seemed to be a guiding hand watching over us and managing the timing and the location.

e npo crowds

 

We found our way to what turned out to be the local community college, where everyone was friendly and happy.   It wasn’t really crowded.

One advantage of viewing an eclipse in a college setting is that there are telescopes at hand!    Son gets a good look:

e telescope

We walked around, we sat down, we lay down in the soft clover grass and tried to absorb all the phenomena:  we watched the crescent sun get narrower and narrower,   the lights dim,  the air get slightly cooler  (it was 95 degrees — “slightly cooler”  still felt hot!),  we saw the shadows actually get unusually sharper with well-defined edges:

e sharp shadow

And then, all at once:  

In the trees all around us the crickets and bugs and things began singing – loudly!   The people who had been speaking in soft voices  each other had to speak a little more loudly to each other.    We all looked around in wonder because we hadn’t noticed any “absence”  of bug sounds just a few moments before, and now there was a full chorus around us!

e noisy bugs

Son discovered that these were dead bugs,  but there sure were a lot of them.

We had beautiful park-like surroundings on that campus:

e beautiful surrroundings

 

We lingered awhile, just reliving the experience and enjoying the scenery.   We sure didn’t feel like being among the first to leave.

e blue car

The little blue car was waiting for us.   Son starts his journey home to the Far North and I begin my journey West,  first stop  Kansas City, Missouri,  where there is LOTS to see.

Truly,  everything worked out smoothly for us.   Deo gratias.

 

FAREWELL WALK IN THE SPRUCE TUNNEL

August 19, 2017

I think . . .  I don’t mean . . .  a permanent farewell. . .      Deus vult.

Bar Cross in middle

 

The little traveling car is fully packed now,  very early!   I  don’t actually depart for another 18 hours,  but I’m already saying  “good-bye” to all my favorite things around here.

I needed to visit the Spruce Tunnel and I won’t say “for the last time,  ”  but . . .  well.

So here’s my visit:

The Spruce Tunnel is located in the middle of a county park, full of instructional signs:

35Sp 1 history

I know we had mastodons here,  but I have to travel west before I start seeing any actual mastodon bones.    It’s  (partly)  why I’m going.

There is an indoor museum of local wildlife, though.

3 Sp 2 turtle resting

I think we have lots of reptiles around here.

3 Sp 3 turtle simming

I’m really not that interested in turtles,  but they have a nice home there in the little museum.

3 Sp 5 turtle for children

That seems to be the theme this summer.    All right.     I promise to look for turtles.

Now we enter the pathway that will lead us to the Spruce area.    From this spot you can already feel the dark quiet dampness of a forest.

3 St Public Eptrance

I’m a bit rebellious  about government signage:    “Don ‘t run over pedestrians with your bike.”     ” Don’t ski in the summertime.”     “Take your poop with you  (if you have a dog.)” “Don’t make sudden loud noises in the presence of a horse.”    “This park cost a  lot of money so  don’t  . . .  touch anything.”

But apart from the signs,  that really is a very inviting entrance.

 

3 Sp 7 Fresh Air

There is quite a long pathway to enjoy.     You just have to slow down your pace —  maybe look sideways off the path.      Eyes wide open because it’s  more  than trees.

Breathe deeply.

3 Sp 8 sign scent

I already was smelling the pine scent all around me, and more —  something in my kitchen . . .  herbs,  fresh herbs.

Eventually I came to . . .  this place.

3 Sp 9 Bench and Light

It’s not just a bench.   It was one of the benches Hubbie had to use to “sit and rest for a minute”  during the last time he and I walked the Spruce Tunnel together.

I didn’t know,  had no idea,  that in a few short weeks he would be “entering the Light” by himself.      This feels like a dangerous  place for me;   it takes a bit of courage to keep on, just,  maybe doing what I’m supposed to be doing in this life.    That’s his bench . . . .

I reach the curved entrance to the “Tunnel.”

3 Sp Curved Entrance

I enter the place where the tall Spruce grow.   There’s not much to hear here.

3 Sp 6 Path into tunnel

 

All other thoughts are just a faint echo,   the packing- getting- ready- for- the- trip  frenzy seems far away.

3 SP Tunnel Bench

The Spruce Tunnel has a “bench” of its own.  You can sit there next to the Spruce for a while when you don’t want to leave quite so soon.

I capitalize “Spruce”  because these trees were living a hundred years before I was born, and most will still be here for another hundred years.

How often I’ve told you:   I hope you find a Spruce Tunnel of your own.  An actual place that is both physical and spiritual.

3 St above came for

 

After a while I found what I came for.

(That will last me for a few thousand miles!!)

 

 

CANDY PHYSICS

August 19, 2017

Friday?     It’s been Friday today?     I haven’t been here for four days?    Oh, I’ve been to the Spruce Tunnel,  just not this one.   (See next post)

____________________________

I’m in full CleaningOrganizingSortingDecidingPacking mode.      Cleaning and poking around where I haven’t been for a long while.

I’m finding some really random, interesting stuff around my house . . .

M2

 

They’re real and they’re delicious and I can’t finish them off because they’re not mine.

But it’s kind of fun to combine physics and candy.

E   x    p      a       n        d       your thinking.     We’ve been placed in a fun world, full of joy.

THE UNKNOWN ASSUMPTION

August 15, 2017

What I wouldn’t give to  know for sure that I’d be reunited with my own son in Heaven some day!!!!!

Bar Cross in middle

 

To “assume”  may mean to make a mental leap,  an educated guess;  but it can also mean something in the physical world.   That is, the physical taking up of something.

This Assumption is largely unknown outside of Christendom,  and rapidly disappearing from even the vestiges of Christianity.    But there are those,  surprisingly many,  who still choose to recognize the Assumption on August 15th.

The Assumption of Mary:

assumption

There are so many beautiful works of art about the Assumption of Mary –  Centuries and centuries of trying to get it just right!    I like this one because it shows movement.   The Virgin’s hair seems to be moving, or flowing,   because of the upward motion,   and people seem to be reaching.

The Church doesn’t teach one way or the other whether Mary, the Mother of Jesus actually died or if she  “fell asleep”  and was taken up in to Heaven,  but it doesn’t matter.   The teaching,  based on contemporary writings, is that her body totally disappeared from the place where she lay in a deep trance?  coma?  sleep?

Everything about her physical presence is just gone.  No relics.    No pieces of cloth or hair.  No “bones.”  No vials of blood.   Nothing.  Most unusual, for even the least of the martyrs had some relics saved.    It’s what they did in those days.

The Assumption of Mary into Heaven is clear.

assumption crown

Just as we will go “some” place when we die,   so did she.

The Love of God in each lover of God unites,  and separation is only temporary.

So  just as Death will not end our love and will not separate us from our Loved Ones,  in and among this wonderful Community  of Saints,  dead and alive,  we will still love and care for each other,  and so does she . . . .

mary nearby

Heaven is not a matter of time and distance.  It’s Eternity,  an eternal now that permeates the physical world.

When Jesus (on the Cross)  gave His mother to be ours,  He means now.

 

 

ADDENDUM — WHO IS THIS GUY?

August 15, 2017

So,  let’s play  “Guess Who?”  concerning the events this week in Virginia.

The Guess Who man fancies himself a poet, and reads his poetry on his YouTube channel.   In 2015, in one video he declares his hatred for Christianity;  in another he reads a poem about   the “white devils,”   manifesting hatred of whites, although he, too, is a white person.

Next, this man writes on his own blog that the profession he admires most is the Provocateur.    He would like to become a provocateur –  for hire, of course.

He is an admirer of the Barack Hussein person, occupying the White House.

This man is also a participant and promoter of the Occupy movements, those foreign-funded mobs which cause riots and try to shut down areas of major cities.

Know who this man is yet?   . . .

The Barack-Hussein person leaves the office of the president after eight years, and moves his headquarters to a neighborhood in Washington DC, close to his former office  —   to keep active.

The nearby city of Charlottesville Virginia declares itself to be “the capital of anti-Trump resistance.”

The man  ( the Guess Who man)  is a supporter of the Barack Hussein person and he in the summer of 2016 he takes on a new persona to achieve his goal of riots and civil war, whatever it takes to bring down America.

In Charlottesville,  2017,  he masquerades as a “right-wing”  white nationalist demonstration organizer.     He is . . .?

His name is Jason Kessler,  the man pegged as the leader of the “protest movement” in Charlottesville,  the ones the foreign-funded Antifa and Black Lives Matter people had to become so violent against.

What does the entertainment-news media tells us about him?    The “right-wing” white nationalist protest movement,” led by Jason Kessler,” is armed and violent and dangerous, and so is everyone who is “right wing”  and every  white person better be ashamed of this movement and say the “right words”  to denounce this movement.

So,  that’s the guy.    An extreme Left-Winger.

_____________________________

While we’re at it,   what do we know about the young man,   James Fields, who drove his car into the crowd of demonstrators?

Who is that guy?

He is a young  psychiatric patient who is on three or four different psychotropic drugs.   You know,  the ones who warn on the drug package inserts that the side effects are “homicide”  and “suicide.”     The drugs that actually cause brain damage. . . .

The police were called to his house because he was beating up his mother.

The police were also called to his house because he had pulled a knife on his mother.

His (liberal)  college teacher said he had a “fascination”  with the Nazis –   without explaining that it was a fascination with Nazi symbols,  the false “glamour”  of the Nazis,  and that he had no idea what the Nazi movement was all about, except for its slogans.

He is truly mentally ill.

That guy.

 

 

 

 

 

LIFE’S A MESS — TAKE HEART

August 14, 2017

(A message  – to me  –  about lambs and lamb’s wool . . .   and death to come.)

Sometimes life seems a mess,  a complicated, tangled mess.    We get to feeling like that once in a while.     We get a lot of “cares”   and loose ends swirling around in our minds.

Alligator Wrong Side

Doesn’t take much sometimes.    As we work and learn and think —  still, everything doesn’t fall into place, and those loose ends don’t get tucked neatly away,  not even at the end . . . .     Most of us will come to the end of our lives with not all things fitting together and making sense.

Alligator Inside Out

 

Of course,  our Maker is seeing a different pattern developing.

Alligator Right Side

Cute little alligator sweater for Cooper!

I didn’t create the pattern or write the directions for the alligator.     I needed a chart for  guidance.  I needed Guidance.

It’s very soft.     I’m using something similar to lamb’s wool.

But I myself am no smarter about life than a little lamb, soft and vulnerable, in the middle of a great green pasture.

Lamb in pasture

I didn’t make the pasture,   I didn’t even put myself here,  and I don’t know everything that I’m supposed to do here,  but my Creator is the One who, with a gentle shepherd’s hand,  made me and placed me here . . .  and watches to see what I’ll do.

Everything will be provided —

lamb and water

Delicious green grass,  water,  companionship,  and Guidance.

I don’t have to solve the problems of the whole world.       I don’t even have to anticipate everything that’s going to happen.     (“Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength . . .”   Isaiah 40:31)      Even when   Especially when I don’t understand certain things,   there will be strength to go on.

The Good Shepherd is looking down on the life He gave us, with great care and attention, so when things get complicated  we need to just “stay where he put us.”

lamb waiting

 

Although for us humans that means being active, learning, doing, walking in His ways,   and it might look like we’re making a mess,  He is seeing our pattern forming,  from the “Other Side,” so to speak,    and when He sees that we have made our choices,  for or against Him,  with or without Him,  He’ll know when our time is up —  we are who we are going to be.

 

lamb no lamb

 

—  and we’ll be taken out of this beautiful pasture Earth.

And then stand before Him . . . .

 

“REACHING UP TO SLAP GOD’S FACE”

August 13, 2017

(Pardon the slightly blasphemous metaphor —  truly  random, rambling Sunday talk today):

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bozeman Trail

The whole quotation (in the title of this post)  is  spoken about a man who held himself apart from the group,  his opinions,  his rights,  a little more worthy than the others, he thought:  “Look at him,”  said Rusty Karnes under his breath, “if he could reach high enough, he’d try to  slap God’s face.” 

boseman trail

(We saw people like that in Charlottesville yesterday –  people who think they are so right that they can throw rocks,  fire, pepper spray and tear gas,  and foul liquids at those whom  they disagree with and want to silence.)  

_________________________________

God does NOT change.    The world doesn’t change.   Right-and-Wrong doesn’t change.   Honor doesn’t change.   Men don’t change.    And Danger doesn’t change.

bozeman exposed

Exposed on the Bozeman Trail

We’re all mighty vulnerable in this world.    Even when we band together with a few friends and relatives,  we’re always a small band facing the forces of evil and random uncertainties that the world gives us.   It’s a humbling thought.

Bozeman single

We’re alone,  with only one guidebook and only one Church —  a thought for those who don’t intend to “slap God in the face.”

Along the Bozeman Trail you had to deal with snowstorms,  thunderstorms,  lack of shelter or water, Indian attacks, accidents with your horse or wagon wheels,   assorted outlaws and thieves waiting for their chance at you,  and the possibility of losing your way and making the wrong decisions.

I’ve crossed the Bozeman Trail several times – in my car – and I plan to do it again this month.  I’ve dealt with snowstorms,  black ice,   concern about thieves or muggers (as a woman traveling alone),   strong summer winds blowing such hot air that you feel you’re being sucked dry just trying to put gas in your tank;  and I’ve made some bad decisions about which way to go – that turned out all right.    No problem with the Sioux or Pawnee, though.

B protection

Modern times,  about a century later,  there are still perils in our world, and especially now in these times we must think clearly about our “traveling” companions in life.    That is,  who and what values and what attitudes will accompany you?

You must choose your companions wisely.   You want to be sure that the ones who are with you are true and honest and have the ability to protect you.

Bozeman Wagon box

You don’t want your “traveling companions”  to be those who are so sure of themselves that they can’t see any other point of view and cannot allow anyone to think differently;  leastwise you.    You have a right to think things through in your own way.

 

Micah 6:8  —  He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.        And what does the Lord require of you?    To act justly and to love mercy   and to walk humbly  with your God.

One way of looking at it,  there are still only two postures:    (1)    “walk humbly with your God” – or “before your God,” as some versions put it,  knowing that you don’t know everything on this journey through life but you’re on a journey to meet Him and He’s given you a Guide.   Or   (2),  try to reach up to God and tell Him you’ll do it your own way,  the “slap in the face.”

A book and a little story:

Here’s the book I’m reading –   plain, clear  thinking  in it . . .

Bitterrot Book

I might not go all the way to the Bitterroots this month,  way up north in Montana,  but I’ll remember the things I’ve learned from this book.

___________________________________

Here’s the story I love to tell – and you don’t have to read through it,  I just really like to think about it:

The word “faith” is important to a lot of Christians, and the Bible tells us that the Pillar and the Foundation of our faith is the Church   (not the Bible).      Took me a while,  but I studied that Church and  understood enough to know that that’s where I belonged.

So one day,   a particular holiday that we all must recognize,  I went to church,  went to Mass, along with many hundreds of others in that church building.   Standing room only by the time I got there!   That meant kneeling on the hard stone floor for quite a while.

The crowd had pushed me, elbow to elbow, next to a man whom I recognized as the governor of our state!     There he was, kneeling on the stone floor,  next to me.   Except for a nod of recognition,  I didn’t speak,  and neither did he,  because we were both silently kneeling at that time to  the Lord Jesus,  the Son of God, Who  was present on the  altar, way far away in front of the church.

kneeling

That’s it.     That’s the story.    I disagreed with that governor on a few things,  but we seemed to be both on that same  “trail” in life,  humbling ourselves before our actual, present God.

Neither of us, nor anyone in the church that day,  appeared to be telling  God that we’ll do it our own way,  reaching  up to His face and . .  .  you know.

Our souls are safer that way.

 

NIGHTFALL

August 13, 2017

“And the evening and the morning were   (the next)  day . . .”    (Genesis)

Pond at Night

Looking out my back window tonight.      That’s the moon reflecting in my pond and three solar lights in my butterfly garden.

Darkness has descended.  Darkness makes a fitting division from one day to another.  Shut out all the issues of one day;  another (new) day will some.    And I am happy to leave behind today’s events in Virginia and the ensuing attempted attitude-adjustments by the Leftist-controlled media.     I’d like to form my own opinions,  thank you very much.

Maybe I’ll do pictures in this post to make up for no-pictures in the last.

The demonstrations in Charlottesville today and the Global-Socialist counter-demonstration that fought against them presented some big problems,  but the solutions do not lie in proclaiming our opinions one way or the other,  making quick pronouncements about “what is wrong,”   descending into name-calling in order to make a point.

I guess I stand with the president today when he said we need to analyze this,  investigate it, figure out what happened and why.   And all that before we can tell each other how to fix the social and civil problems we have.

Here’s my contribution:

As I taught public school for a few years,  I witnessed the deliberate destruction of American values by the new curriculum and the introduction of Socialism  into the minds of the children.     The children weren’t “victims”;  they were to be the new tools of Social Change.

They didn’t know that American values are opposed to Socialism’s values:

free_not_equal_equal_not_free

 

And they were not taught what could happen under some socialist governments:

Socialism Try Again

 

Yeah,  why not try it here?   How about some practice and a standing ovation?  —

Standing Ovation

Yeah, that’s the president of the un^it^ed  st^ates . . .  disguised as “Julius Caesar”   in a recent play,  much promoted by our hate-filled media.

Celebrities teach our children to have bad attitudes ready to display:

children's celebrities

“Children,”  or superannuated children.

We permit mindless slogans:

We Hate America

 

Slogans against America;  slogans against the president — any president:

dump trump people

 

The   young man who drove from Ohio to crash his car into the demonstrators today is said to have anti-Trump sentiments on his Facebook page — although that information has not reappeared anywhere.

car crash

 

Leftist counter-demonstrators today   “fought flags with fire”:

lighted spray

Disrespect embedded in —  what?  Am I supposed to say “only a small group of people”?    Okay –  then why no public disapproval  from public voices?    We ought to be publicly and loudly “disrespecting”  these people.

Because small groups of people can spread hatred and violence like a cancer spreads into the body,  into the body-politic.

We’d better watch what we teach our children —

Librarian for childrens hour

—  and we’d really better try to educate ourselves.

That’s a great project, because the rehabilitation of our society is done one person at a time.       Read!      And push back at the attitudes that lead to action that threaten our republic.    That’s like sitting outdoors in a comfortable chair in the sunlight –  and swatting away the wasps that might come your way.

Here are a couple suggestions:

If You Can Keep It  by   Eric Metaxas

Inventing Freedom   by  Daniel  Hannon

George Washington  by  Ron  Chernow

and . . .

happy face        . . . . .    most Westerns!

 

_________________________

Most Americans who are 50 years old and under have grown up in an atmosphere saturated with socialist principles alongside  American values.    They are incompatible.  One side will win out over the other.        One side is deliberately trying to win out over the other.

But this could be correctable.

I’m feeling  better already!    I love the night!       A new day comes next!

 

ON THE SPOT

August 12, 2017

(Wow –  a hardcore narrative is forming now over the events I watched today.  which tells a story  opposite of the portion I witnessed earlier today.      The politically correct way to talk about  this lawful protest is to  emphasize  words like “nazi” and “white supremacist”   and “violence”  and “hate” and “bigoted”   — and to absolutely leave out the thousands of black and white American citizens who are protesting the eradication of their own history.   The reporting is so muddled.     The character of the events will change.    The victims of the counter-protestors are finally fighting back a little, so now they can be made to look like the agitators.    The victims of Hate are being called the Haters.    This hardcore counter narrative is strong!)    

____________________________________________

 

(No photos.    You will see this later and be told a different story by our (leftist) media groups, but for now,  come with me and be eyewitness to the events.)

________________________________________________________

 

Right now,    Saturday,  August 12, I’m watching peaceful demonstrators being assaulted by the Leftists; by many professional, well-funded Leftist groups that show up in many places in our country to shut down free speech.

The peaceful demonstrators are opposing the Cultural Marxist movement which is trying to remove all traces of American culture and its history.

_____________________________________________________

I am watching ( on my other screen) a peaceful and lawful demonstration in Charlottesville,  Virginia,  an exercise in free speech that Americans are supposed to have, but they are now, on camera,  being assaulted by extreme Leftists.

I’m watching  . . .   the peaceful demonstrators being assaulted with urine, feces,   balloons filled with various liquids,   sticky colored liquids, and tear gas.

Not tear gas by the police, but tear gas from the Leftist groups – Antifa among them, and Black Lives Matter, various university-age people,  and some unnamed homosexual group with a woman shouting out accusations.

. . . .  Black Lives Matter people are in black masks and shouting unprintable obscenities and threats and insults.

. . . .  The Leftist groups are being allowed to totally dominate the peaceful demonstrators, pushing them back and back and back with balloons of urine and tear gas . . .   I thought the police were supposed to keep the groups separate.   The Leftists are pushing back the peaceful demonstrators, and certainly out-shouting them.

. . .    Those who committed the assaults are not getting arrested.

. . . .     Now some peaceful demonstrators are being sprayed by the police.   Tear gas, I think.

. . .  Some of the peaceful demonstrators who were affected by the tear gas, some injured and blinded,   tried to move away from the clouds of tear gas were being forced by the police to move back into the Antifa group who are still in the process of assaulting.

 

 

Ooops.     A Facebook interruption. I must have been watching a livestream through some Facebook means, and they just shut down the video.   Not surprised.   The Leftists were beginning to look like professional rioters. the peaceful demonstrators remained peaceful.    Facebook censors . . . . 

 

 

Found another livestream video source.

. . .   The peaceful demonstrators with a permit to demonstrate there, at that particular location, are now being told  that their demonstration is unlawful.   Where’d that come from?      (Doesn’t the Bill of Rights give them the right to peaceful assembly?)

. . . Some nicely dressed people are moving around among the peaceful demonstrators, offering them bottles of water and looks  like small pieces of pizza.   (Southern hospitality?    Historic Southern culture  is being suppressed all over the South.)

….  Blacks and whites who are with the peaceful demonstrators are both shouting that they want to preserve their history, their culture, their right to free speech. You can’t hardly hear their words over the Leftists shouts of racist, bigot go home, and other words like that.

. . .   And now they’re spitting;    Antifa, the Leftist group, is spitting at the peaceful demonstrators.     I can see the . . . spit.

. . .   There are bottles being thrown filled with urine,  liquid gel  (so it sticks in your eyes),  and some kind of burning chemical.

. . .   Now someone is throwing pepper spray at the peaceful demonstrators.    Police have apparently been ordered to . . . let them.

Shouldn’t police stop Antifa from using pepper spray against people?

. . . . Someone now seems to be gathering small groups of people from both sides and goading them into a brawl.    Therefore, as one Leftist shouted:   “White Supremacist Violence!!!”   That’s a slogan.    Or he’s seeing something somewhere else that this camera is not finding.

And so,   on it will go,  probably into the evening.

I hope I’ve given you a ” long-distance” eyewitness view of what’s going on today.

What am I seeing?

– – – – –

Mainstream media is calling the peaceful demonstrators  “Alt-right”  as though giving them a label will make them appear bad.

The protests began when the city government of Charlottesville have called for the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee,  over the protests of many citizens.   In the words of one:  “trying to remove a historical war memorial and a work of art which is important to millions of people was an act of hate by the city council.” 

(I must add that Robert E. Lee is one of my heroes too.   Even though I was raised in Illinois,   I also studied history and learned the broader issues surrounding the War Between the States in the 19th century.  Robert E. Lee was a great general,  who was opposed to secession.)

_______________________________________

. . . .   Oh, wow — I just saw a reporter beginning to introduce himself to a camera, and a man ran up to him and hit him in the face and knocked him down — shouting something or other, and then ran away.

. . .   I can hear someone groaning in pain because he just got struck with pepper spray  — eyewitnesses identified the attacker as a self-identified “marxist.”

_____________________________________

 Someone  posted this quotation, which seems to describe what is being perpetrated against American citizens:

“The first step in liquidating a people is to erase its memory. Destroy its books, its culture, its history. Then have somebody write new books, manufacture a new culture, invent a new history. Before long the nation will begin to forget what it is and what it was.” — The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, by Milan Kundera

____________________________

 

. . . .  Medics are on the scene . . . .

This is addictive.    I need to  stop.

Again,  I’m sure you will be shown an opposite narrative on

NBCABCMSNBCFOXCBSCNNABCAPRUETERS  . . .  etc.

 

 Moral of the story?     Don’t stand up for your rights if you don’t want the Left to violently attack you and throw chemicals, urine,  pepper spray, and tear gas at you.

Leftist Rule!   Leftists Win!!

Apparently.

 

 

______________________________

And now, on media sources, as the hardcore narrative is being developed —   President Trump is being blamed . . . . 

AUGUST ASSERTIONS

August 8, 2017

atom bomb the

I don’t usually let  August 6 and 9 go by without some note of gratitude that I exist.  I’m here.   I’m alive.    And so, therefore,  are my son and daughter and grandson.    (Oh, yes, and  my baby sisters.)

Here’s my Dad:

Dad in Dress Blues

He’s in his Dress Blues,  Marine Corps.     It’s the photo that gets taken to show your Mom or your girlfriend that you’re doing okay in the service.

But when you’re 18 years old in 1945,  the Marine Corps is not a safe place to be, although neither was the whole world.    He and about a million others were en route to the South Pacific for that one great last offensive to put a stop to Japan’s aggression.   (Better read about those horrors, if you don’t know them.   It’s not a matter of “moral equivalence.”)

It was summer,  1945.  My dad said he and his unit were sleeping for weeks on a huge hangar floor, on their duffel bags, waiting for the planes to take them to California,  and then on to ships that would take them to the fighting.   Casualties were expected to be very high.

And then it was August 6th.

And then it was August 9th.

And finally, after experiencing two atom bombs,  Japan surrendered, and my Dad’s unit was not sent  . . .  he reunited with his young wife . . .   and then later I came along.

By every account, from my Dad and his friends, his commanders,  from the military leaders,  from civilian analysts,   those two atom bombs saved the lives of a million or so  young men  from America and from other countries,   because the war ended.

You can hardly call that “an assertion”   because it was the actual well-considered consensus.

Much to my surprise – and disgust –  in these recent years  I’ve heard the assertion:  “Oh, no, a million lives wouldn’t have been saved.”   Simple assertion.

The anti-American rhetoric coming from the socialists has revised the history of World War II;    and since their aim is total pacifism, even in the face of military threats to us,  the ideology which produces that false assertion is:   “the use of atom bombs (knee jerks here) is so reprehensible that no amount of saved lives is worth it.”

“And so besides,   no one knows it would be a million . . . .”

This would be my Dad’s  regular uniform:

Dad PFC

Ready to die.

So for me,  for millions in my generation,   for maybe your mom and dad who exist because the atom bomb was used,  let’s pause to be glad we exist.

Let’s not celebrate these atom bombs, but let’s look clearly and weigh all the alternatives.   Let’s not throw unsupported assertions at each other.    There are many, many books written in the 1940s and 1950s that deliver some very sobering analysis of what was going on in those days.

As always,  if you want to know some history, let the people who lived then tell you what happened.

I happened upon an article that said during the Cold War, when the Soviets were actually threatening us,   the ratio of our nuclear weapons to theirs was 13 to 1.    Overkill,  I think,  but those are the facts.

Today?   The ratio of nuclear and nuclear type weapons is  1  to 4.     The rest of the world has four times as many (nuclear) weapons as we have.

map nk

In today’s news there is one tiny nation that is actively threatening the U.S.  and showing us every few days that they are becoming capable, or are capable now,   of hitting   Alaska or Seattle or San Diego or Hawaii  with a nuclear weapon.

I don’t know . . .    if Hawaii is hit,  is Hawaii worth going to war over?

Now we’re back to World War II.

 

 

NINE OF HIM WOULD’VE MADE A DOZEN

August 8, 2017

“Nine of him would have made a dozen!”  

What better way to describe a big brawny man!    Most especially it’s a term of appreciation to say that about a man who is helping you out on a particularly tough physical job – and is  more than adequate for the task.

It’s from a book I’m reading.     A western.

Everything is pointing me westward this month.   I finished a small grocery trip and pulled out of the parking lot,  looking for traffic, towards the west —

Sunset at Tom's 370

A surprising splash of color from the west  flowing down the street.

This book I’m reading is a twentieth century western, takes place in Montana,  and from what I’ve seen the West is still out there like that in Montana.    The author has a way with words that make me laugh right out loud or make some noise of delight once or twice on every page,  and it was actually his description of the mountains that made me think of my own trip westward in the last post I wrote.

I forgot to write it down in the last post,  but I think this little passage is worth thinking about.

The story is told from the point of view of a fourteen year old boy  one summer- and I think I nearly know what it’s like to feel like him, near as I could.    Going up farther into the mountains to count sheep for his ranger father,  he looked out the window one morning to see what kind of day it would be:

“First thing,  I made a beeline to the window.  . .  Roman Reef and all the peaks south beyond it stood in the sun, as if the little square of window had been made into a summer picture of the Alps.  It still floors me how the mountains are not the same any two days in a row,  as if hundreds of copies of those mountains exist and each dawn brings in a fresh one, of new color, new prominence of some feature over the others, a different wrapping of cloud or rinse of the sun for this day’s version.”

That’s what got me thinking about my upcoming journey, because I’ve driven this way many times in the past,  but I get up over into Wyoming, and I always gasp – right out loud,  and more than once, as I drive over each rise and see another glorious vista.  But each time I see these same mountain ranges,  they do seem to be a new, different,  more wonderful version of those mountains I thought I remembered.

And then, out again in the mountains by himself, the young man experiences those “twin feelings of aloneness and freedom . . .”    I’ve felt that too, out there.  I was where I shouldn’t have been, alone at least,   but alone I was for many hours,  somewhat lost for a while, and yet so free . . .  all by myself.

The book also described a perfect Montana Fourth of July,  picnic, square dancing,  and rodeo.   I can tell you I was tired by the end of all that activity!    It will be a little snapshot of a perfect Fourth of July for the young man in the story, and I’m glad to have shared his experience.    As he thinks over the day, the author says:  “It was a set of hours worth the price of the rest of your life.”

All in all,  it’s out West that I’ve known  one corner of this  immense planet and felt that great aloneness,   I’m a simple speck next to the infinite iterations of mountains and prairies.

Just a tiny little speck of life on a home planet that presents  endless scenes of majesty – and yet both are a reflection of the infinite power and glory of their Creator.

 

book

Travel West.  Think big!

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRAVEL MODE

August 7, 2017

Well,  I’ve been observing a lot.  I have a lot to write about . . . .

But it seems I’ve entered travel mode now.    That means I will be distracted (and scatterbrained)    and overly excited  (Wow!  I have 5,000 miles of road ahead of me!!!!)  and overly-dramatic  (I won’t know if I make it back home until I get back home)   and indecisive (what all should I be taking with me?)  and should I plan everything or just be spontaneous   (and trust there’ll be a hotel room available in the evening)?

Anyway,  I’ll try not to be absent from The Spruce Tunnel . . . .

First stop?

eclipse

Under that.   I know when,  I just don’t know where.   Yet.

Of course visiting Cooper is my main destination . . .   This is  just outside his front yard.    He calls it his “beautiful lake”  and I hear he has lots of plans for me.   In the lake.

Shaffer Summer 300

But I’m very much in need of some other mountains.  Not Cooper’s Sierras;    but these:

 

wy mt stretch

Mountains with wide open spaces!.  You have no idea of how much land you’re looking at,  not even when you’re driving there.

I’m supposed to “promise” that I won’t keep taking pictures while I’m driving.

I’ll be driving through some of my favorite towns too:

wyoming civilizaiton

Hubbie used to ask me why I keep taking so many photos as we would drive through the mountains.  He said they all look the same!     Well,  he’s a creature of the deep dark  northern forests.   He thinks trees look all different.

When  I was young my Mom used to “torture” me – and herself –  by asking the question:    “Which would you rather live near,  the mountains or the ocean?”     It was a game,  but we’d think so seriously and discuss our answers.   I was always unsettled by my final  answer,  because . . .  “neither” wasn’t an option.

Hubbie’s forests are very scary,  because you feel closed in tight by the trees.     Mom’s mountain preference made me feel closed in because you can’t see much horizon.   The ocean gives me claustrophobia  because it’s  a foreign environment  full of dangerous, unseen creatures and its powerful waves threaten to close in on you.

So. . .  what can I say?     I like seeing forests, mountains, and oceans,  but I spent my childhood  on the edge of the Illinois prairie.  You could look  out forever and see endless sky and endless horizon.     You stand tall on the solid ground.

If you have the choice to travel or not to travel,  choose travel!     Not the airplane kind,  skimming over everything,  but driving,   really getting into it,  living through all the scenery our country has to offer.

Maybe then you’d know how to answer my Mom’s question.

 

 

A MOM’S MIND AT WORK

August 5, 2017

(Hyberbole:  my favorite form of humor)

The last few posts have been about  huge problems “way out there.”      I’m returning now closer to home,  closer to the Spruce Tunnel.   

Or maybe not.

Alaska where cooper is

See that tiny little huge cruise ship in the middle of the Alaskan mountain fjord?   Well, my loved ones are on board, including my little grandson Cooper.  So tiny in a big wide world.

al overboard   On their first day I woke up  with a flash of a very vivid picture:  it was Cooper going over the railings of the ship,   plunging into the waters below.    It was a huge panicky kick in the stomach.     And before I could catch my breath,   there was Cooper’s Daddy taking a running leap over the rails to save his son . . .

(Not a good way to wake up in the morning.)

They sent me some photos.  Want to know what goes on in a Mom’s Mind when you’re out having your adventures?

Alaska Stream 300

Here are Cooper and Daddy,  halfway into their Denali adventure,  standing next to a pretty little stream . . .

. . .  Along with a little wildlife, also enjoying the stream and watching for whatever they can find in the stream:

Alaskagrizzlies watching mountains

It’s an Alaskan stream.   Close enough.

I hope those grizzlies know what else is available in that stream:

Alaska Salmon 260

I think my little family was standing too close to all those delicious salmon when they took this photo.

I asked Cooper if he knew what an iceberg is.  He told me he thinks it’s something like a big floating island made of ice.    And clearly that didn’t make any sense to him.   I told him it was more like a river of ice that flows between the mountains.

AlaskaGlacier River

Pretty big river,  pretty small ship.    But I think the river of ice  idea made some sense to him.   After all,  his home is on a lake between very high mountains.

The icebergs make a very big splash when they crack off –

Alaska Berg 360

They’re pretty close to this one that’s about to “crack off.”      A very big splash for a very little cruise ship.

Then I got this picture, very small size on my cell phone,  no explanation.     But it looked to me like Daddy got captured by some wild Alaskan mountain men and strung up between the trees   . . .

Alaska Zipline 290

Except that might be a smile on his face.

I just know I’m going to be getting some more photos.

One mother’s  (one grandmother’s)   worries, even though I’m pretty sure they are safe.    I worry about them all because I know how precious and vulnerable they are.   Family is pretty close to home, close to heart,  and everyone is part of someone’s family.   That’s how a Mom’s Mind works too.

I think that’s why I was writing  all those recent posts about the current development of an all-powerful State that will rule every aspect of our lives and negatively affect not only us as individuals, but our loved ones too.

“Big Brother evolves.”

 

al sky bots

e v o l u t i o n

If Artificial Intelligence trumps human intelligence,  then we and the ones we love will become little more than (dehumanized)  human resources to manage and manipulate in whatever ways are best for the system.

We’d better start there,  with the certain knowledge of the dignity and worth of every form of human life.  Each individual specially created and loved by the Creator.   No one can be discarded without greatly offending the One who made him.

al gr gr

As the decades roll past,  and you have fewer years ahead of you than behind you,   everything that you thought was important drops off until what you have left is  Love —    ideally,  the love God gives you to love Him, to love your family,  and to love yourself.

 

“Faith, hope, and love;  and the greatest of these  is love,”  right?    That’s instruction from the Bible.

Bible Rosary and Glasses 270

When you leave this earth and see God,  you’ll have no more need of “faith” in Him.   You will have no more need to hope in Him for your safety;  He’s right there, and you are safe  with Him.

But the Love will only increase exponentially, even beyond what we can imagine now.