The Age Barrier

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There are times in life you catch yourself being so ridiculously cautious that all you can really do is laugh at yourself. Take this morning as I walked down an Oregon beach yards from the roaring waves of the Pacific. Everyone over the age of 50 was absolutely stopped and thwarted by two inches of water flowing off a nearby marsh that criss-crossed in a ribbon pattern twenty feet wide. My six year old self would have charged into that water without a seconds hesitation enjoying every second. So what changed so drastically in 2018 that every adult (pictured) seemed so baffled by a fifth rate obstacle? Especially since I can almost guarantee half of the people stopping to turn around probably paid hundreds of dollars to participate in a muddy Spartan race the previous summer.

So here is my pathetic list of why I chose to cross on a log further up stream:

  1. Wet shoes are sand magnets, which after drying in the car from the heater being cranked will drop to the floor in waves creating a clean up hassle.
  2. Most humans hate looking like idiots in front of their peers. There was a high slip factor on the mushy flat that could easily result in an America’s Funniest Home Videos face plant into the water. Ugh.
  3.  Older people have all been around long enough to experience the pain of at least one physical feat fail in their athletic career ending in injury. For me, I tore my calf muscle significantly the year before sprinting for a college video assignment. That month on crutches sucked, and I have no plans to repeat it in the name of pride.
  4. It’s way more fun watching our dogs wrestle each other in the water while socializing rather than sinking in quick sand.

We are unfortunately reasonable beings that really just need to take our damn shoes off and get back in the game. Sheesh.

 

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A Backwoods Giggle

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My wife and I were exploring a new section of trail near the Willamette River outside Salem when I noticed the forest floor was being overrun by these small, clover like plants (pictured). Being incurably curious, I said:

“I wonder what that is.”

To which my wife happily offered…

“The forest giggling.”

I nodded satisfied, and we carried on.

Between a Rock and a Park Place

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I was talking with a friend a few months ago who told me that there was absolutely nothing of interest to do in her hometown of Cocoa, Florida. It was so bad she claimed, that she rarely ventured out of her home into a world beyond television. I told her to hold on a moment, then returned with a list of things within a few miles of her place that would interest me if I lived in the area including an ancient mammoth museum and a high school play. These ideas came courtesy of Google of course, but with a little grit, other charming pieces of culture can be found by the curious mind.

Take my walk in the park this morning. Walking my dog for a little bit of fresh air, I found a small painted stone nestled against an old growth Douglas Fir tree near the sidewalk. I took the above photo before venturing into a nearby shop to ask if they had any idea as to its origin. Turns out, a local artist took up the habit of painting stones a few years ago before hiding them in the park to be discovered by children. Collecting the art has become an almost Easter Egg like hunt ambition for toddlers who delightedly line them up against their windows after snatching them from their hiding places.

Honestly, I think ridding myself of cable two years ago was one of the most pivotal choices of my life. You lose a certain level of numbness and free up energy to see life with more detail.

Moose Magic

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I attended a park picnic last Saturday evening where I met a Field Biologist who was studying moose populations in Montana as directed by the state. According to data, there has been a very mysterious crash in the female population of moose the last few years and he and a partner were investigating as to why.

Imagine my surprise to come across this young female (pictured) feeding near a small pond the very next day! We pulled over to watch as she scoured the vegetation beneath the water surface very industriously; raising her head every so often, a river pouring off her snout, to check on us. It was one of those magic moments only nature can provide. I can’t imagine losing this majestic species. What a thrill.

Memory Pull

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It had been over a year since we’d visited the Alameda Hot Springs Retreat in Montana, but that didn’t stop our dog Barley from digging in like a tractor and pulling me to the room we stayed in previously right after I hooked him up to the leash. I continue to respect our animals abilities for memory and emotion as I move forward in this life and spend more time with them.

A Different Light 2

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One of the things that makes early morning walks so enjoyable is the soft light that changes the ordinary familiar scene into something new. This got me thinking about how the scene I shot (above) is actually four scenes if you consider the seasons, and many more if you apply other influences. There is the geography of a specific place, the time of day, the mood of the observer, your cultural view, and other factors that may combine into a million possible perspectives.

 

Songs of Spring

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If you love nature and have a wetland or preserve within driving distance of your home, here’s a great activity for you and the entire family. Call your local Audubon society and see if they sell a CD with short recordings of song birds in your area. Mine cost me about $10 and featured most of the water and song birds migrating through my state in Spring and Fall. I merely had to listen to the CD a couple of times focusing on difficult birds to see such as the Grasshopper Sparrow (pictured) and then set off to see what I could hear. It’s a very tricky way to identify birds, but presents a great challenge to the ear and first time birder. I highly recommend it as it will give you an entirely different hiking experience.

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