Some pictures I have come across in the past few days.
It is with profound sadness that I report the death of my beautiful dog and beloved companion Tango. He was 13 years old and diagnosed in July 2019 with cognitive dysfunction — doggie dementia — followed just a few weeks later with the discovery of a fast growing cancer on the roof of his mouth. Continue reading “Tango’s Passing”
If you enter North Dakota from the west, traveling from Montana along Interstate 94, one of the first things you will see is a billboard which simply says, “Be Polite.” I knew I was going to love ND. Continue reading “On the Road – The Dakotas”
Ah dear readers, what a difference a day makes. Yesterday Tango and I navigated California’s hot and crowded Interstate 5. Today we traveled secondary roads in Oregon and life was much better.
We started early and headed for Crater Lake National Park, an hour up the road from Klamath Falls. The day was perfect. Bright blue sky and mild temperatures. There was just one problem. Snow ….and lots of it. Continue reading “On the Road – What a Difference A Day Makes”
Today Tango and I set off from Berkeley after spending four days at the Doubletree Hotel at the Berkeley Marina. It was a wonderful place to stay, with a gorgeous park just across the street where Tango could run free in some tall grass and sniff every varmint hole on the acreage. He was a happy boy. Continue reading “On the Road – Time for Fun”
Tango, I have decided, does not really like the constant wind of the Western plains. My theory is that it simply overwhelms his senses, which, as we know, are so much more acute than our own. Who knows what multitude of odors are carried by a constant 15-30 mph wind. Too much to process. His hearing is excellent but the wind just deafens hims, kind of like a constantly blowing hair dryer. So, he jumps out of the van, does his job and looks at me woefully when I try to encourage him to walk with me. But he is enjoying the trip and jumps around like a puppy sometimes, mainly in the hotel rooms. There is a major weather front moving through tomorrow and tomorrow night. Snow is forecast! Perhaps when that is event is over things will quiet down for Tango.
Today Tango and I crossed the states of Alabama and Mississippi, stopping in Vicksburg on the banks of the Mississippi River.
Vicksburg is notable for being the spot where the first Coca Cola was bottled in 1894. It was also the site of one of the critical battles of the American Civil War. In 1863, from May 18th until July 4th, the Union forces laid siege on Vicksburg. The armies totaled 110,000 men–more than twice the current population of Vicksburg. Causalities were more than 37,000–a number that does not include the civilians of Vicksburg who were trapped along with the Confederate soldiers.
Vicksburg’s strategic place along the Mississippi made it a “must win” for the Union. Abraham Lincoln declared Vicksburg “the Key” to winning the Civil War.
Today the land on which the Yanks and the Rebels squared off against one another is preserved as a National Park. With close to 150 years of recovery, the landscape no longer resembles the war-ravaged land of 1863. Monuments grace the 1,800 acres and the Park Service clearly has its hands full keeping the grass trimmed back. You can hardly believe there was ever the carnage and suffering that is depicted in the exhibits.
Why visit such a place, you might ask? Why care about a war that is long gone and that many college students can’t even tell you who won (it was the Union)? It has to do with perspective, I think. There are many who feel these are the worst of times in the U.S. But there was a time in this country when we set about to slaughter one another and did a darn good job of it. Estimates are that 620,000 people died in the Civil War, which was only four years long. Do the math…155,000 a year, 12,917 a month! Add to that the mammoth destruction of property in the South. It was a horrific time….
Yet today soft green grasses of spring wave peacefully on the hillsides. The trees have that rich color of new growth and birds are everywhere collecting the makings of their springtime nests. Butterflies flitter about and dozens of people, like me, stopped by to pay their respects to this hallowed ground. Things may be a little tough right now but let us hope we never return to the horror that was the American Civil War. ❖
Today, dear readers, I present another collage because sometimes just one picture isn’t enough. We are also re-visiting the redwoods in northern California. I’ve been sorting pictures from my recent trip and today I found myself lingering on these images from the redwood forests. They are so majestic and they are also great teachers. No matter how mighty or grand, everything on this earth, in the immortal words of George Malley, “is on its way to something else.” Redwoods fall, as these pictures clearly show. In the upper left-hand corner you can see the roots of a redwood, as big as a man’s thigh and ripped from the earth by the sheer mass of the tree. Yes, when this tree fell I believe there was a sound, even if no one was present to hear it. In the lower left picture you can see how the fallen redwood has become a new home for ferns and other plants. It is a new world, a new ecosystem. It is all part of the circle of life. ❧