Hello gentle readers. It has been several weeks since I have posted to this blog but Alice’s Wanderland is truly living up to its name this week.
Greetings from Australia! I am mid-way through a three week holiday with a bit of business at the very end. It has been a wonderful time.
Australia is fun. It is at once very familiar and, at the same time, very different. Coffee is a good example, as you can see in the above picture. It is a simple cup of coffee with cream (milk) but Down Under they call it a Flat White and the very best of them have wonderful designs created from the milk. This particular cup was enjoyed at a cafe called Emelia’s in Gympie, which had wonderful food, coffee and pastries.
I forget how much “foreign” travel can do for the soul. It pushes to the rear all the day-to-day stuff that consumes our lives and forces a re-awakening, a re-visiting of attitudes and customs, a great kick on the door marked “Learn” to throw it open as wide as possible. Everyone travels these days. Age doesn’t matter…from 8 days to 80 years and everything in between. All colors, languages, dress…and all with a slightly wary eye on our fellow travelers because it is, dear friends, a dangerous time too. But at the end of 8,000 miles you can emerge in a land where people make hearts on your coffee. And I am certain in every land there are these gestures of acceptance and welcoming. Humans, most assuredly too numerous for their own good, nevertheless have great hearts and show them in a hundred different ways. Keep looking. ❧
Devil’s Tower, Wyoming
One month ago I was at Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. Made famous by the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” the rock is massively beautiful.
Our weather was not the best. It was a white-gray sky that occasionally opened up with torrents of rain. Not exactly the best day for photography but it didn’t matter. Devil’s Tower is such a wonder of nature. The Native Americans call it Bear Rock and legend has it the striations in the rock were caused by gigantic bear that tried to claw his way to the top after the earth spewed forth the rock to save several children (some legends claim it was three girls, another claims it was two boys). The rock literally rose from the ground after the children prayed to be saved from the massive grizzly that was chasing them.
I like thinking of it as Bear Rock. I spent some time looking at websites about the rock and one website said this, “Of course, Devil’s Tower is a white man’s name. We have no devil in our beliefs and got along well all these many centuries without him. You people invented the devil and, as far as I’m concerned, you can keep him.” You can read more here.
Bear Rock or Devil’s Tower, it is something to behold. We enjoyed a nice hike in the region surrounding the rock. Needless to say, it dominates the landscape (it is visible for miles, truly) and it was a constant backdrop for our hike on Joyner Trail.
Mary hiking the Joyner Trail.
Humboldt County is very large and quite diverse. Geographically it is about the size of Connecticut. There are the notorious marijuana grows in the mountains and forests but there is also a lot of other agriculture in and around this county. The area is also very old and some towns have maintained the architectural flavor of their history. Ferndale is a perfect example.
Crossing Fernbridge (above) you begin to immediately feel that something is different. The dairy farms that dot the landscape are neat and well maintained. Signs welcome you to Ferndale and upon arrival you are transported back in time to the Victorian era that marked a heyday of this town.
Catholic church in Ferndale
The Catholic Church is a prime example of the Victorian architecture that has been maintained throughout the town. All the storefronts in the town are from the late 1800s and early 1900s. It is very peaceful and gives you a real sense of how American used to be. ❧
The Victorian Hotel where lunch is a relaxing and enjoyable experience.
This store sign shows the wonderful Victorian typography.
Such a clean and welcoming garage!
Yesterday I posted a picture collage from the Lady Bird Johnson Redwood Grove near Orick, California. Today’s collage is also from that beautiful spot but the images are more detailed with close-ups of the fantastic bark and burls that characterize these beautiful beings. ❧
Abandoned motel in north Georgia
There was once a time in America when no two motels were the same. As the great day of the automobile blossomed so did accommodations for weary travelers. There were many “Mom & Pop” motels that consisted of small cabins, like this one that I found abandoned in north Georgia. Even though there were many styles the colors of green and white seemed a common thread. ❧
Recently I saw an acquaintance whom I had not seen in more than a decade. He had heard about my medical missions from mutual friends and was particularly interested in my trip to Uganda. When I told him how much I loved Uganda he asked why and the answer was quick in coming. “The people. They are noble and good.” Ugandans have a regal bearing that is hard to explain but I feel that several of my pictures captured their spirit. So, for this week of Alice’s WanderLand blogs we will travel to Uganda. Our mission was in Gulu, which is the largest city in Northern Uganda. We saw mainly women and children, most of whom were HIV+ or had AIDS. In four days the fifteen member team would see close to 2,000 individuals. For most it was a routine visit to a medical clinic. Pills were provided to fight intestinal parasites, vitamins were given for the children. But for some this trip to see Western doctors was an opportunity for help. In some cases the result was successful…in others it was far too late. It was a experience I will never forget. ☙