My New Embrace Of Heroic Honor

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger then oneself.” (Joseph Campbell.)

I used to think of Memorial Day Monday solely as a self-indulgent reminder that my stressful teaching year in inner city schools would soon end with some well deserved freedom in summer. Narrow-minded visions of a sumptuous picnic or a sunny off-day at the beach typically occupied my mind during these times. My indifference to the expected military pageantry of this holiday seemed further driven by the cynicism of student protest that intensified for me during the Vietnam War period in my undergraduate college years.

In retrospect, however, it’s clear to me that I’ve made a poor choice to ignore the true meaning of this important patriotic holiday in my life. For I’ve grown wiser through the years and thus now deeply regret my past failure to give tribute to the countless number of men and women who lost their lives serving our country so honorably and courageously in the past. Understand then why I feel grateful today for possessing the folded American flag from my father’s funeral that now lies front and center in our condo living room. For this flag provides a vivid reminder for me to remember often my father’s great courage in having flown multiple bombing missions over Nazi Germany as an Army Air Force gunner in World War II. Most recently, my yoga classes have also given me a useful forum to manage my “inner pain” of past Memorial Day forgetfulness. For in silencing my ego through meditation, I’ve resolved in the spiritual presence of “Dharma” to pay homage in action to America’s military past on this most cherished day.

So next Monday morning , I will lay a bouquet of flowers on my father’s grave and perhaps say a few much needed words to him then that feels appropriate. In the afternoon I will take some time to engage in a spirited “pep talk” with my mother about my father’s admirable military past. I close this entry with some key historical events in American History that I’ve observed in my travels that might spark interest  in your Memorial Day reflections. 

George Washington’s heroism in battle during the American Revolution made him a popular choice to become our first U.S. President.
During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln’s strong leadership provided a rallying call for Union Army generals and troops to keep the faith in their heroic cause.
President Lincoln’s 1863 Address at Gettysburg, in particular, expressed an honorable tribute to all soldiers who lost their life on this battlefield during the Civil War.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s foresight to achieve Allied control of the seas prior to World War II, heightened the importance of dutiful service in the U.S. Navy.
These personal items of a common soldier during the Civil War show that thoughts of loved ones at home provided an element of comfort for them before facing the horrors of an upcoming battle.
While in the case of this World War I foot soldier, military preparedness could be manifested in a variety of personal ways.
Soldiers in modern warfare witnessed the horrors of new weaponry along the European battle line in World War I.
While soldiers “holed up” in unsanitary trench warfare conditions, they  endured long stalemate situation facing enemy lines.

Compulsory military service laws in the two World Wars often dictated one’s readiness to fight when wartime occurred.
While print media traditions amassed public support for the war effort in more voluntary ways.
Impressive monuments remain standing throughout America today to memorialize extraordinary war heroes from the past.
This important question remains, however, as we ponder a deeper look at Memorial Day celebrations. Does any loss of life in battle justify the pursuit of war?

Tests Of Cultural Confusion

“The seed of cultural harmony lies not in the culture you are born but in the recognition of the sweetness of other cultures.” (Abhijit Naskar)

I’m a huge proponent of cross- cultural awareness based on my past experience as an English Second Language instructor along with my extensive travels around the world. Thus, I diligently make an effort to study any obvious misunderstandings of cultural bias at home and abroad. Informal word phrase usage involving culturally defined, slang expressions, I realize, can present comprehension challenges for foreign born individuals who rely chiefly on obtaining literal understandings in their 2nd language. In other vocabulary use situations, word part divisions, like eggplant and driveway, can easily confuse the culturally challenged learner. Those who overly depend on the dictionary for looking up such new meanings rather than deciphering their vocabulary understandings from contextual clues in a sentence will most likely suffer more severely from this problem.

Consider for instance the following situation. Observe how the intended meanings of quotation marked word/ phrases below could be culturally misunderstood by one receiving the message.

EXAMPLE 1 – WEATHER FORECAST MISUNDERSTANDINGS      

Person #1 – I heard that it will not not rain today.    

Person #2 – “Good grief!”Hold your horses”. This is no time to “cut corners” and leave your umbrella home. For a “matter of fact”, let me tell you something “straight from the horse’s mouth.” “Sit tight” if you leave your “doorway” to “get out and about” today. For it will definitely get “pretty ugly” if you drive in the town’s “parkways” today.

A Logical Take: Warnings about a rainy day are clearly given but the reader becomes confused from so many informally and/or contradictory worded and directions.

Another important component of cultural misunderstanding that I’m highly sensitive to involves those who make hasty judgments about real life situations based on limited knowledge of cultural customs and beliefs. In such cases, specific facial expressions, body movement, and tone of voice…. can be interpreted in different ways.

 Notice below several cultural awareness challenges that I have faced in my past overseas travels. Imagine putting yourself in each of these situations to self reflect in agreement or disagreement about why/how each of them can be best explained.

EXAMPLE 2 – PRIMITIVE PUZZLEMENT          

You’re headed into the vast grasslands of Kenya on a wildfire safari. Along the way, your expedition van turns onto a dusty path leading to a small village of primitive looking huts occupied by the Masai Mara tribe. It seems the entire village populace gathers to meet you then. You expect handshakes or hugs to be exchanged but are surprised that all Masai people present smile broadly and then begin to jump up and down in unison as they come closer to your presence. Some cows are soon brought into the gathering spot accompanied by a leader of the tribe. The chief gives curious attention to your electronic device that you’ve taken from your pocket.

One Logical Take: Playful physical movement in certain cultural settings  may indicate one’s willingness to greet another person.  

2nd Logical Take: The smiling chief might be serious about bartering with me to exchange something he owns in exchange for his use of my electronic device.

EXAMPLE 3 – CULTURAL CLASSROOM INTRUSION      

You’re teaching an English Second Language class of freshman students on designated mornings at a South Florida community college. On the first day of class you notice that one of your pupils, an Iranian of birth, comes to classroom accompanied by his affluent father. During class, the father follows your instructions that college rules prohibit family from sitting in class with the student. So he proceeds to wait outside until the class finishes. When the ninety minute class ends, the father re-enters the class to speak to you about his son. He tells you in a very demanding tone of voice that he functions as an important Arab businessman of great wealth and religious power in his country and thus expects similar high standards of success for his son in this class. He further suggests that if you pay dutiful attention to insure that his son’s grades will be excellent this term, he notes that he will keep his end of this bargain by treating you well at his personal expense.

One Logical Take: Good grades can be bought in some cultural situations; not necessarily earned

EXAMPLE 4 – THE MISCAST LUNCHTIME              

You’re taking an organized tour vacation in South India. On one of your day’s proceedings, you’ve been told by the tour guide that you will be eating a casual lunch in native cultural style in this dense, tropical environs. So when you sit down, and take a sip of your glass of water, you are curious why the waiters have gathered together in mass some giant leaves from nearby trees in these lush surroundings. You next notice one leaf has been given to each person sitting along the table. While larger portions of meat, porridge,, raw fruit, and rice are now placed carefully on each leaf, you wonder why there are no eating utensils to be found. The waiters then quietly vacate the area.

One Logical Take: Proper eating etiquette with knife, fork, and spoon can be practically discarded in some cultures. Just use the leaf as a plate or utensil and scoop the food with it using the your hands. Maybe even eat what’s left of the leaf at the end

EXAMPLE 5 – A PATRIOTIC NIGHTMARE      

It’s the Fourth of July on your independent tour of Madrid, Spain and you are dressed conspicuously American for your country’s celebration in a noticeable array of red, white, and blue and a U.S. flag stuffed in your pocket. Adventuring around the city on this busy weekday, you work your your way slowly through local crowds and descend into one of the busiest underground stations of the Madrid Metro system. After only a very short wait, a metro car approaches. You then whisk your way through its opening door in mass with many others with little time to spare. A group of young men you don’t see remains near the train car entrance as you get in. They quickly work in tandem to surround you to pickpocket your front pocket for my wallet and time themselves for a quick exit off the train before the doors shut. The train departs on time and you realize you’ve become an innocent victim of this robbery.

One Logical Take: Showing love for your country may be perceived negatively in some urban cultural situations. So if you “stand out” this way  in such a crowded situation , you are more likely to become the victim of a “ mugging” crime.        

 2nd Logical Take: Rushing around in crowded places increases ones chances of becoming a victim of a crime .

EXAMPLE 6 – DIRECTIONAL DISORDER    

Today marks the beginning of your 1st time visit to Italy. So you step off  your water taxi alone along the Grand Canal in Venice onto a district of poorly marked local streets amid the old city. Being at first excited to find the small pension where you are staying, you soon panic as any maps and GPS guidance you’ve often utilized in finding suitable lodging before seem useless. An old man walking with a child ahead suddenly gain your attention. 

One Logical Take: Finding your way around amid an unfamiliar cultural location can be difficult to accomplish on your own. So look around during such times and make good use of your best  social  options. 

So in re-connecting to the world beyond as our travels resume in the post pandemic era, let us think more mindfully of the words we choose and the actions we take in challenging cultural situations. For as our sensitivity to /global diversity thrives, there’s greater potential for attaining unity in this modern era.

2021: Year Of The Road-Trip

“Afoot and lighthearted, I take to the open road. Healthy, free the world before me. The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.” (Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road.

Are you ready to resume travel again as the Corona pandemic threat in our country fades into a semblance of normalcy? Yes, the CDC has finally given Americans the go-ahead to take off their masks and not be overly mindful of social distancing if they’ve been fully vaccinated form the Corona virus. Of course, long distancing cruising and airline travel remains an uncertain proposition for now, given current restrictions in place for crossing international borders. So why not instead take to the highways and explore your own country by way of a road trip endeavor this summer? As I often reiterate in my blog, you don’t necessarily have to venture far from home to experience the benefits of travel. So I like to think that as you pick places to visit either close by or afar from your home, you can fill in the spaces between these destination dots with lesser known sites of new interest to visit along the way. I would then particularly recommend using “Atlas Obscura” or “Trip Advisor” as online reference sources to find unusual sites to to visit according to your interests at the time.

Without hesitation then, Ruth and I will take off on a shorter road trip adventure in the U.S., further east than usual, in early July. Feeling less threatened now to visit crowded places because of these recent pandemic rulings, this trip will take place with a more of an urban, big city feel. This latest vacation for Ruth and I through the Deep South, Midwest, and Mid- Atlantic coast region has been more efficiently planned as a result of my participation in a “Virtual Travel & Adventure Show” digital event this past week. Focusing on my desired theme of “slower travel” through road tripping this year, I obtained a better “feel” at this conference for contemporary trends in driving vacations. I particularly enjoyed listening to veteran road trippers reveal their time tested, travel tips during several webinair topic sessions. I similarly savored those live “ Zoom” chats with various U.S. state experts to clarify in Q&A style, some personal matters of concern.

A few general learnings “ stood out” most to me during these conference sessions:

(1) Be cognizant of time constraints by managing shorter drives each day to free up more time to visit lesser known places along the away.
(2) Be mindful of current COVID alerts in each state you visit that might vary from CDC easing of mask and social distancing guidelines nationwide.
(3) Take more time to read relevant literature that disseminates useful road trip topics like American Road Magazine.
(4) Take what you need in road trip trip packing but become more mindful of vehicle space limitations dictated by how much stuff you acquire along the way.
(5) Road trip drives are not the time to impress others with how impressively you look. So dress comfortably for “those long, hot days you likely will likely experience during the summer.

During the “Virtual Travel & Adventure Show, I also gained road trip knowledge during the featured speaker presentation at the Main Exhibit Hall that evening. For I listened with interest  as world renowned author Patricia Schultz, highlighted various American road trip itinerary options to consider from the latest American version of her book, “1,000 Places To See Before You Die.”

One particular route description during Patricia’s speech definitely “caught my eye.”, as described briefly below. Imagine taking your time to drive the 1,500 miles distance south along the eastern portion of our country from the New England to Florida. Gaze wondrously at a serene lake or mountain setting as you cross over a 19th century covered bridge in Vermont or New Hampshire. Find a more relaxing alternative to the urban frenzy of Manhattan Island and head into the quiet remoteness of New York’s Catskills or Adirondack Mountains. Take a slow paced buggy ride in Pennsylvania Dutch country to obtain an intimate glimpse of Amish culture. Be daring in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and try horseback riding along a shady trail. Walk amidst amazing Magnolia gardens and plantations in historic Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia and feel what life was like in antebellum times prior to the Civil War. Pamper your body and sip a cool drink in sun tan stillness at your favorite beachside spot in South Florida or the Florida Keys. In your mind, you might even already be there in one of these inviting places!

Namaste Baseball Therapy & More

“When day comes we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid. The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light if only we’re brave enough to see it; if only we’re brave enough to be it” (Amanda Gorman, U.S Poet Laureate)

I often use the word Namaste loosely in greeting people with folded hands over my chest or as a casual closure recital at the end of my yoga classes. Having visited India twice in the last five years, I’m thus curious to know about the positive spiritual aura that pervades Namaste’s use amid Hindu culture. So why do I seem to take this concept so lightly in my own country? For given my current Namaste interest, I do not wish to “buy in” to our current culture of blame filled negativism that has intensified in the U.S.A. amid left/right wing differences recently. Therefore, it seems appropriate now to more fully embrace the self cleansing aspect of this powerful concept in my daily life. Perhaps the following fictional story will enlighten you to how I wish to proceed in utilizing this powerful message of Namaste to calm such festering fits of human discontent by paying deeper attention to the goodness of others.

Jason woke up each day feeling confused by his prolonged inability to live up to his baseball hitting potential with the Chicago Cubs. After all, as he had signed a multimillion dollar bonus contract out of high school with the “Cubbies” as one of the top American baseball prospects destined for major league stardom. Yet he faced a challenging reality now in he second month of his rookie year. For he often fretted angrily about the boos he heard from the home crowd stands after each non-hitting game performance. It seemed certain to him as well that this first year batting slump would inevitably spiral into his release from the Cubs and raise a “black flag” that other teams would be reluctant later to sign him. In such case, would Jason struggle as well to find a suitable backup career option as a twenty one year old baseball underachiever out of work without a college degree?

Thus Jason felt his ego increasingly shattered being demoted to an occasional pinch hitter and frequent “benchwarmer” role in early May. It’s not that Jason had not tried to get out of his slump. For being obsessed with hitting fundamentals, he’d “ramped up” his batting practice time before games, maximized his bench press efforts to grow stronger, and studied over and over, slow action video replays of his batting swing. None of these time tested actions, however, seemed to translate to game time success.

Consider the fact that his wife, Janice, who knew basically nothing about baseball, would surprisingly become the initial catalyst for restoring Jason’s faith in making a successful baseball career. For on this off day Thursday morning, he made a last moment decision to accompany Janice to her meditation yoga class. This event would radically change the outlook of his life by convincing him that he had been approaching baseball hitting skills wrongly. For as the class progressed, he observed how mentally focused  the class participants seemed  in moving with unforced effort to the inspiring positive mantras of the instructor. One particular verse that the students chanted as the class ended immediately stood out in his mind.

“May every human in the world be happy & well. May the leaders protect the earth by following the path of virtue. May  there be goodness & well being for everyone who knows the earth to be sacred. May the universe & world be happy & peaceful. Peace, Peace, Peace…”Namaste

Jason resolved without hesitation then to make a concerted effort to apply such positive yoga learnings as he approached his next at bat. He got his chance on a sunny Mother’s Day Sunday a few days later to hit in the bottom of the ninth inning of a tie game at Wrigley Field. For the stage seemed set for him to be today’s hero and thus provide a “ walk off” win in front of this celebratory, sold out crowd. So as he waited his turn to hit next in the batter’s circle, he gazed around wondrously at the positive aura he felt at Wrigley Field today. He first glanced in awe at the comforting blanket of green ivy perfectly covering the distant home run walls. He next chuckled quietly at the amusing presence of loyal fans awkwardly craning their necks like ostriches from atop rooftop terraces beyond the stadium perimeter to see the game in progress. He waved as well at a little girl smiling sitting above the dugout instead of agonizing over the booing jeers that would inevitably take place as he entered the batting box. But most importantly, he thought then of the positive support his wife and mother had provided him over the years in times of suffering and stress.

So on that Mother’s Day Sunday, Jason would break out of his longstanding slump in grandiose style by clouting a mammoth home run over the left field wall to win the game. It seems then it’s no coincidence that as Jason continues his bold pursuit of yogic mindfulness before and during each game, he will  blossom into a successful baseball hitter as his major league career unfolds. Thus I hope you might follow Jason’s example in this story and be inspired by such Mothers Day goodness in your own family as you proceed forward to succeed in your own life.

Please note you can listen to a podcast version of this blog. Just click on the  link below. 

http://anchor.fm/james-a-rogge

Travel Podcast Arrival

Hi Readers:

I’m excited to report a new podcast option to supplement my written travel blog efforts. Utilizing the Word Press sponsored app, Anchor, in conjunction with various audio streaming services, I’ve begun the process of adding upcoming and past blog entries through listening playback mode. To see a “real time” sample, click on my URL website below.

http://anchor.fm/james-a-rogge

Know then that you can easily access my podcast through several links I’ve set up under the blogroll section on my Word Press home page. To review these current options for viewing my podcast presentations, take a look at the photos below. Any comments from you about best utilizing this podcast tool would be greatly appreciated.

Cleveland’s Comforting Concoction

“You’re out of the woods , you’re out of the dark, step into the sun, step into the light! Keep straight ahead for the most glorious place on the face of the earth or the sky. Hold onto your breath, hold onto your heart, hold onto your hope, march up to the gate and bid it to open.”(Emerald City reference in the Wizard of Oz, 1939)

A change of heart took place in the last two days as the weather warmed up during our road trip visit to the Cleveland area convincing me that those nostalgic day excursions to Akron and Cuyahoga Falls would have to wait for another day. Understand then that Cleveland has evoked strong personal images since my childhood of the glamorous “Emerald City” in Wizard of Oz fame where I can dream of obtaining everything I desire in life to my heart’s content. My “yellow brick road” on Thursday and Friday would thus lead along the shoreline of Lake Erie to downtown Cleveland where live professional sporting arenas, rock & roll music thrills, amazing bridge/skyscraper viewpoints, and a tasty Irish pub, would satisfy fully such momentary mood desires.

So you be the judge. Do the photos I took from our past three days give you any hints that there’s enough to see to entice you to visit Cleveland for a leisure vacation? I wish to give a warm thanks to those who took the time to read my road trip blogs over the past two months. In case you are interested, we’re looking to set out on our next westbound road trip in late summer. Namaste. USFMAN

Cleveland Springtime In Play

“Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again. That’s the way life is, with a new game every day, and that’s the way baseball is.” (Bob Feller).

Ruth and I have driven close to 10,000 miles for over seven weeks on our latest road trip from Fort Lauderdale with few weather interruptions. But as we exited Nebraska a week ago on our easterly track to the Upper Midwest, I-80 again became dangerously slickened by winter snow/wind blast conditions. Other then making two brief diversions to a suburban Costco for clothes shopping and a carb-filled dinner at “Big Boy”, we therefore felt little motivation to venture outside during this weather stressed, driving period. Driving slowly and steadily, we somehow managed to stay on schedule for our three day Cleveland, Ohio stopover this week.

On the way to Ohio, I did feel compelled however to make a brief stop at the Bob Feller Museum in Van Meter, Iowa to pay my respects to arguably the greatest pitcher in Cleveland Indians baseball history. You see Mr. Feller represents to me one of those iconic sports heroes with hometown Cleveland connections that passionately consumes my life to this day. For like Lebron James, and Jim Brown, Feller represents a “larger than life” role model for me beyond his athletic achievements Consider for example, how the Feller pitching portrayal at this museum of him fearlessly “rearing back and letting go” the baseball in strikeout mode, inspires my will to act more assertively” in making critical life decisions. I invite you to click on the website below for a more complete story of Bob Feller’s memorable life.

https://www.baseball-almanac.com/quotes/quofllr.shtml

Know then that regardless of such frigid conditions at this late point in our trip, I’m grateful to feel a sense of home here in Cleveland once again. I’m also hopeful that better weather days will follow us during our visit with the stubborn arrival of Northeast Ohio’s annual springtime unfolding. Later this week, I will likely venture south to nearby Cuyahoga Falls and Akron, hoping to find some signs of positive childhood remembrance. I’ll let you know what I discover in my next road trip blog. Enjoy the photos.

Cruising For Cranes

“Whatever walk of life you are in, we hope you come witness the next migration with an open heart and open mind to see what inspiration might come your way.” (Josie DeVault)

As Ruth and I exit the alluring heights of the Rocky Mountain region into the vast flatland of the American prairie, we must again pick up our driving pace to return home safely to South Florida in the next ten days. Unfortunately, we are currently experiencing some late winter weather conditions along the I-80 corridor of Nebraska. Nonetheless, we found time on Thursday to get off the Interstate for a few hours yesterday in the North Platte vicinity and drive along dirt roads to obtain some fascinating firsthand sightings of the annual spring migration of Sandhill cranes along the Platte River basin. For it’s quite a sight to see for yourself these gangly looking birds with long necks form large flocks in the thousands on these Central Nebraska wintering grounds at this time of year. Turning my attention to the ubiquitous presence of black cows dotting this Great Plains landscape, I also begin to wonder why these docile herds don’t run away to escape their inevitable doom at the slaughterhouse.

Sadly, as mushy snow conditions continued to develop further eastward during our overnight stay in Kearney, future plans to extend our time to search for this crane invasion along now muddy, unpaved roads would have to be scrapped. Vivid memories now surfaced in making this decision of the mucky quagmire we faced two years ago when my low lying, foreign car slowly sunk into the mud and got stuck as we drove along the Platte searching for cranes on the Nebraska leg of this previous road trip. On this somewhat somber Friday morning with extra time to spare, at least Ruth and I could settle in now to enjoy one of the best breakfast sites of our road trip. We next travel on to Lincoln, Nebraska for some nostalgic fun in the familiar company of a close friend and two affectionate cats. I hope the weather gets warmer! Enjoy the photos.

Steamboat Springtime Seclusion

“Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own.”(Charles Dickens)

Ruth and I enter the latter stages of our first U.S. road trip in 2021, feeling fortunate that the end of winter’s frozen wrath in Colorado seems inevitably “in the air.” So it seemed to be good timing for us to slow down our traveling pace and enjoy once again a satisfying stay in the Rocky Mountain Alpine jewel of Steamboat Springs. Yes, for the next five days, we would no doubt face muddy hiking tracks “slickened” by melting snows at this time of year. Further reality would surface in us” because of the high altitude crossing into Steamboat Springs via Rabbit Ears pass which might also prove risky to traverse by car without four-wheel drive. The current state of the Corona pandemic in this quaint Colorado village obviously lingered in our mind as well as we weighed our options for eating out or browsing in shops downtown.

Yet in staying optimistic about the re- emergence of wild nature’s glory expected during this period of springtime thaw, we thus remained determined to spend the bulk of the weekend strolling time-tested routes outdoors. For Steamboat proper, we embarked then on some level ground walks along the Yampa River Core Trail which follows along this gently flowing river amid this town’s scenic valley to and from downtown. Additionally, we would admire the seasonal existence of springtime snowmelt and resultant flower re-emergence with a short paved walk along the upper trail of pristine Fish Creek Falls.

On Sunday, we sought to find more glimpses of spring solitude in the higher elevations of Rocky Mountain surroundings on two car excursions out of town. So that morning, we headed southeast out of Steamboat on State Road 40 and made a glorious return to the Grand Lakes region, near Rocky Mountain National Park. Know that less than six months ago, our late autumn vacation in this area would end stressfully as we escaped the fast spread of wildfires encroaching on millions of acres to the immediate west of our hotel. As a new week began the next day, we re-experienced another promising region of secluded Rockies paradise as we traveled north from Steamboat along scenic Elk River Road to the snowy heights of Steamboat Lake State Park near the Wyoming border. How excited we felt as well that Monday to observe a closeup sighting of two moose feeding on the side of the road near our hotel.

On a related note, I recommend to my readers the award winning novel, “Lab Girl” by Hope Jahren as a very readable source of earth/plant science information to supplement this blog. For I enjoyed reading in my Steamboat spare time, this fascinating, inside look at wild nature from an expert who has spent her life studying trees, flowers, rocks, seeds, and soil. My next blog will take place as we cross the Great Plains into Sandhill crane country along the North Platte River heading to our next destinations of Kearney and Lincoln, Nebraska. Enjoy the photos from our latest Steamboat Springs adventure. For a further challenge , you might try to share the names of tree/flower specimens of photographic display here.

My Vast Rock Stirring

“What we have been pleased to call “solid Earth” is not as solid as we thought. It is energetic, dynamic, and fundamentally restless.”(Jonathan Weiner)

Let’s take a glimpse today at our restless earth that seems to be ever changing. Imagine going back over two hundred million years ago to an early formed Earth when violent geologic forces caused the formation of our continents and oceans that we recognize today. As this dynamic process of tectonic rock movement activity continued over time, massive earthquakes and volcanos, generated from fault rift fissures in the the earth’s core would wrack physical havoc on the earth’s physical landscape.Layer upon layer of rock would pile up on land amid a vast ocean of hot rock explosions in this ever shifting physical world. Inevitably, mountains and valleys would spring up and erode unevenly by wind and water to further sculpt our planet’s livable surface.

In this this regard, then, observe the geological photos of interest below. For they were taken amid a widespread blackened ooze of volcanic ash along Central Idaho’s Snake River Plain at Craters of the Moon National Monument. Along this latest leg our road trip going east along Idaho Highway 20 into NW Wyoming, also notice the spectacular aura we felt from discovering prehistoric formed volcanic buttes and cinder cones to enliven this otherwise monotonous- looking drive.

Or imagine Ruth and I making this latest three night road stopover amid the snow covered region of Jackson Hole along Highway 89 as a living testament to the spectacular Grand Teton Range and snow dotted, environs of Jenny/Jackson Lake so uniquely formed over eons of time. Consider that my interest in taking “shots” of the iconic Antler Arch on Jackson Town Square, as well, stems from a spiritual need to understand the evolution of life amid the “primordial soup” during those earth formative times. I look forward to writing my next entries during our upcoming six night stay in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Enjoy the photos.

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