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.


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.


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.


On Today’s Bike Ride: Beware the Poison Hemlock

Poison hemlock plant

Despite seasonal allergies, a slightly sore back, and the need to report to work this afternoon, I got out on my bike for a short ride this morning. I ended up at a wetlands area I frequent because there’s a nice shelter house, yet it’s at a spur off the main trail, so few people seem to stop there.

Thanks to a recent Facebook post from a friend, I realized this morning that there’s an abundance of poison hemlock growing there, and not harmless Queen Anne’s lace as I had always thought. I used the Seek app to verify the species. Since I don’t aspire to die like Socrates, I’m glad I never touched any back when I was misidentifying it!

One clear way to tell the difference between the two plants is the stem. Poison hemlock has smooth stems with purple spots. Queen Anne’s lace has hairy stems with no purple. I found a helpful article that provides more information.

Now you know. If you see this plant, make like anyone who is not Socrates and avoid it.