On Today’s Walk: No Bears Detected

At the start of the year, I stated my ambition to explore as many local walking paths and trails as possible. That has…not happened much. But I had the day off work today, the temperature was perfect, my to-do list had several things crossed off, and my son-in-residence was willing to join me. No excuses not to go exploring.

These photos are from the Bear Creek Trail in Columbia, MO. We found the creek, but no bears (because there aren’t any in this part of the state so far as I know.) Not pictured are the spots where we discovered an unofficial connector between two trails by navigating rock-to-rock across a narrow part of the creek, in the process startling dozens of tiny toads on the opposite bank. It was a good old-fashioned nature walk after all.



Be still my heart — not just one, but two wooden footbridges! I have an unreasonable attraction to wooden bridges. I must have been a troll in a previous life.


All in all, a very satisfying 2.3 mile micro adventure. The jaunt wasn’t too short or too long, not too hot or too cold, not too scary or too boring, but in every aspect just right.

On Today’s Walk: Warning Heeded

Here be hornets!


I often take this little path through the woods, but not today!

Sign posted by some considerate person warning of hornets on the path. A little drawing of a hornet is included, and directions to alternate routes.
Here be hornets!

I hope whoever made the discovery is okay. I certainly appreciate them putting in the time and effort to warn others. I did check, and there’s a sign at the other end of the path, too. I especially like the added touches — the drawing of a hornet and the suggestions for alternate routes.

The person or people could have warned only their friends, or sat at home nursing their stings. The extra effort to make sure strangers are safe, it’s one of the building blocks of a functional, caring civilization. I’m inspired to be extra mindful these next few days to make sure I’m watching out for others and not just myself. Thank you, kind sign maker(s)!

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On Today’s Walk: Artfully Decorated

I haven’t made a “Today’s Walk” post in a while, but I talked my son into going on a three-mile excursion this morning. We decided to explore some streets we don’t usually cover in our walks and found a little pocket of houses that must be inhabited by artists. It was a delightful discovery.

Found object (?) yard art:

A colorful little free library.

A little free library, wooden red container with the words "offline reads" painted in white, mounted on teal post. A plastic yellow spinning flower is in the ground next to it.

And even more colorful garage doors:

Two side-by-side garage doors painted in squares of several vibrant colors. The surrounding house walls are shades of purple.

I really need to up my game at home.

Happy Labor Day!

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Let us Now Celebrate: a Poem for Labor Day

Photo by Chevanon Photography on Pexels.com

I wrote this poem a while back, and I wasn’t necessarily thinking of Labor Day. But this weekend seems like an appropriate time to share.

Let Us Now Celebrate

Let us now celebrate those missed 
In the recording of history
The nameless and unremembered
The one who walked in the rain
To a factory job that paid for shelter 
From the rain for their family
The one who brought joy to the immediate crowd
With jokes and laughter, but did it while
Shucking corn, and not near a microphone
Those fallen to disease or war before
They were old enough to fight
The songwriter who composed melodies
To sing the children to sleep
The one who could have gone far in life
If not for so much close at hand
To get done first
The washers of dishes and clothes
Cleaners of floors and furniture
Whose work came undone as soon as done
Leaving nothing to sign a name to

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Words of Wisdom from Salman Rushdie

Ovid was exiled from Rome and never allowed to return. However, his poetry outlived the Roman Empire.

I’m distressed by today’s news of an attack on author Salman Rushdie and fervently hope for his full recovery. I heard him speak in person about five years ago and it was an hour well spent. One thing he said that sticks with me:

Ovid was exiled from Rome and never allowed to return. However, his poetry outlived the Roman Empire.

I believe that’s something to ponder today.

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Neighborhood Walks Through the Looking Glass

Vacant lot with orange mesh fencing
There used to be a fairy tale looking stone cottage here.

As a frequent and avid walker who has lived in the same spot for nineteen years, I possess a deep familiarity with the landscape and character of my neighborhood. There are constant changes, of course, as seasons and residents move on to be replaced by others. But some alterations are more jarring than others. A couple of differences in the past few weeks have given me a through the looking glass feeling.

I’m fortunate to be within walking distance of my job, so my most frequent route takes me from my house to work and back. Those handful of blocks contain the sights I see on a near-daily basis. One house I pass was bought a few years ago by a couple with two very young children and an obvious appreciation for outdoors play. It always gives me a smile to see what they’re up to and maybe exchange a few words. This past winter was pretty brutal and lasted longer than usual, so I didn’t see the residents out at all for several months. Then one day in May as I headed up the block toward their place, I heard kids laughing and saw the parents out with them, drawing on their driveway with chalk. I approached with swelling heart, ready to wave and say a cheery hello. But wait!

When I arrived at the yard something was off. It was inhabited by the wrong family. All different people. Same general ages and complexions, but four completely different people. When did that happen? I go by the house nearly every single day, remember? I’d never seen a for sale sign, no moving trucks, no hint of disruption in the fabric of my reality. Had I gone through a portal to a parallel universe? I was shook.

Second shocking change: the house of my daydreams is gone. Poof! This one is (or was) not on my work-and-back path. It’s several blocks from my home, but still on a street where I walk frequently, in part because I enjoy looking at the stone cottage that appeared to be out of a fairy tale, the kind of place they put on jigsaw puzzles. I loved to imagine living in it some day, maybe in retirement, spending my days tending flowers in its yard. My step gained an extra spring when I turned the corner leading to my intended future enchanting stone home.

It’s amazing how quickly an entire house can be gone with hardly a trace. Breathtaking really. I ambled along anticipating my moment of housing zen, only to be caught up short by orange fencing and a demolition order. Sob. What does my dream future hold now?

Dare I venture out today? I suppose I will. I’m bracing myself. Perhaps I’ll find the portal that will bring me back to my dependable, known universe. I can hope.

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On Today’s Walk: New Places, Old Familiar Faces

I said I wanted to walk new places this year. Well, my husband and I, along with son number two, have traveled to Washington State to visit son number one. It’s beyond delightful seeing my grown-up baby in person again and letting him introduce us to the places he loves in his adopted home state.

Today, we parked and took a 20-ish minute hike down to Clayton Beach near Bellingham, carrying a picnic lunch with us.




Tomorrow, we’re promised to see more gorgeous scenery. This time away from the grind, experiencing new places with my loved ones seems to be at least part of the cure for what ails me. I know the problems of the world will be there waiting when my trip is over, but everyone needs an occasional breather, along with a reminder of the natural wonders that surround us.

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For Anyone Who Doesn’t Understand the Impact of Today’s Supreme Court Decision


Post has been slightly updated.

Access to abortion once allowed someone I love a whole lot to be around and keep raising the two children she already had.

I try not to swear gratuitously. I save up those words to use when really needed for maximum impact. Here’s my gut reaction to today’s news about the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade: we’re fucked. We are truly fucked. I live in a state with trigger laws. Everyone in this state who possesses a uterus no longer possesses full human rights. Here are some links to give an idea of the full extent of dystopia we have just entered.

In states that already have restrictive laws, patients experiencing miscarriages are being denied care because doctors are afraid of being accused of providing abortions should they provide medical assistance in removing the miscarried pregnancy. Folks just have to suffer in pain on their own for however long it takes and hope they don’t die of sepsis or something. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2022/05/roe-dobbs-abortion-ban-reproductive-medicine-alabama.html?utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=traffic&utm_source=article&utm_content=facebook_share&fbclid=IwAR2b_x5pch_hrdTDMHKw78MkqUed18kzD7R7OtvIFnZee-oGEKvMs7o1szU

Never forget the case of Savita Halappanavar, who died after being refused an abortion. Her case helped spur a movement in Ireland for a change in the law. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-20321741

In the U.S. already, people have been jailed for having miscarriages. This is already happening. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-59214544

“Putting the data aside…” https://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/the-devastating-economic-impacts-of-an-abortion-ban

“A recent study estimated that banning abortion in the U.S. would lead to a 21% increase in the number of pregnancy-related deaths overall and a 33% increase among Black women…” https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/abortion-restrictions-health-implications/

I know parents of young children who are seriously investigating leaving the country. Between the increasing number of gun deaths and the stripping of human rights, they’re realizing this is a pretty dangerous place to raise kids. As one friend said, “It feels irresponsible to raise my daughter in this country now.”

If anyone is currently composing a response playing “devil’s advocate” or providing a “logical” anti-choice explanation from a person without a uterus who’s never had to ponder how a pregnancy would personally affect them, I invite those folks to keep your typing fingers off my page. Your time is better spent listening, really listening, to the loved ones in your life who are devastated today by this ruling. This post isn’t an invitation to debate whether roughly 50% of the population should or shouldn’t have fundamental rights.

I know this post is disjointed and lacks eye-catching graphics, but if feels necessary. We have to find a way to right these wrongs. I wish I knew what that way is, but I know it’s not going to be done by remaining silent.

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On Today’s Bike Ride: Juneteenth Chickadee

We are in a two-day lull between brutal heat waves, so I seized the day and took a little bike ride this morning. I made a brief stop near a creek to drink some water (from my water bottle, not the creek) and heard an unmistakable sound, the first one in this video.

I’m not well acquainted with many birdcalls, but I do recognize a chickadee when I hear one. Has a more adorable looking bird ever existed? When I was pregnant with my second child, I started calling my baby Chickadee as a placeholder name until he was born. I don’t remember the reason I latched onto this particular nickname, but my fondness for the little critters remains.

I looked up when I heard the call. Aha!

Chickadee in oak tree
Black capped chickadee in oak tree.

I choose to believe it was calling out “Happy Juneteenth” in its own way.

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