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Archive for the ‘Outdoor and nature’ Category

Wondering why the long silence? Well, just take a look at the view out the back door of my friends’ house in western North Carolina to see why turning on the computer was not an especially high priority this past week…

GassawayView

So, I do hope that I’ve not lost too many of my WordPress readers…my blog stats have been plummeting due, I’m sure, to the lack of any new content lately. If you are just finding this blog, welcome, and feel free to participate in our conversations…my intention is to have rich conversation, rather than a series of monologues.

What was I doing in NC? A friend of mine here in the D went with me, and we were blessed by the hospitality of my two friends who are retired physicians and who recently rebuilt a beautiful home on their property near the Nantahala Outdoor Center and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We went for walks or hikes every day, some more adventurous than others. I needed a little follow-up medical care from a procedure I had last week, which was provided very graciously by K, who used to be my primary care doc before she retired.

M and I designed a house blessing ritual at the request of our hostesses, but as I told them, the place was already blessed with their presence and great generosity.

I’ll put together a bit of a photo show once I get around to it. In the meantime, it’s time to gear up for the new semester. I have a new course, “Sensors and Actuators” to prepare, and that will take a lot of time, as will my duties as coordinator of our efforts to prepare our 3 undergrad engineering programs for their accreditation visit in Fall 2010.

But I did want to surface briefly just to let you know I’m back and will be doing the best I can to post at least a couple of new reflections every week. As always, if you have a topic you want to discuss and would like to use this blog as a forum for conversation, I’d be delighted to feature you as a “guest blogger.”

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Enjoy…here’s a slideshow of the photos I took one day while in Florida. Most of them are from the Wakodahatchee Wetlands and the Green Cay Wetlands, though the last 2 are from Sr. C’s back yard. If you want to peruse the photos in a more leisurely fashion, feel free to click on the link to the album on Photobucket.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Birds and other Florida creatures“, posted with vodpod

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I don’t know…it’s just my caption for the picture (see below) I snapped from the back yard of one of our sisters who lives in Florida. Sr. C. has been in Florida for many years, since before I entered the Baden CSJs, so we hadn’t really met properly. But since she lives only 2 hours from the friends I’m visiting, I went down to Cooper City for an overnight to visit and to help her with some computer problems. Fortunately, I was able to help her get her computer running smoothly (running Windows XP with 256MB of RAM is a good way to go crazy….upgrading to 1GB was like giving her a new machine!)

Where's the party?

Where's the party?

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Florida Trail - Hickory Hammock Segment

First, a disclaimer…I did not take any of these photos, but have linked to the websites they came from.

My friends here in Florida and I did a six-mile hike along a beautiful segment of the Florida trail today. I thought I’d bring you along, virtually, of course. We hiked with a group of folks from the local trail association, all were pleasant company.

On the way back, we stopped briefly at Lake Okeechobee, just to have a look-see. The most interesting bird I saw there was the common moorhen. Probably not so unusual down here, but if they are common in Michigan, well, I guess I’ve just not been very observant.

Lake Okeechobee

Common Moorhen

Common Moorhen

I was thinking about the notion of starting this little break even as the season of Lent is beginning. It may be that God is inviting me to fast from negativity rather than candy…and being out in nature goes a long way towards clearing the mind of some the difficult stuff of the past few weeks.

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As we in the northern U.S. shiver and hunker down in the face of sub-zero temperatures and more snow, I thought it would be nice to finally share with you some photos I took while on our motherhouse grounds for retreat last July. Sister J. is a wonderful gardener, and spends lots of time making the place beautiful. She has an amazing array of lilies in several beds around the back…if you ever make it to Baden in the summer, don’t miss this splendid display of God’s creation and J’s hard work. Enjoy!

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more about “Baden Flower Show“, posted with vodpod

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OK, this is a very old video, but it has been getting a lot of attention on YouTube lately. It is (then) 13-year old Severn Suzuki from Vancouver, BC addressing a 1992 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development. Some on YouTube have discounted her speech because she happens to be the daughter of environmental activist David Suzuki, but I believe the speech stands by itself as a powerful indictment of the culture of greed and domination so prevalent in our world. What do you think?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “From the mouths of babes…“, posted with vodpod

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Today, one of our students put me onto this website, My Cycling Log. I had been keeping track of my miles in a spreadsheet since I got back on the bike in April, but this site offers some additional features:

  • It computes the reduction in CO2 emissions that result from me riding instead of driving.
  • It computes my savings on gas, based on my car’s actual gas mileage and gas prices.
  • The log is publicly accessible, which might bring me more of an accountability motive to keep making the choice to ride instead of drive.

May I add that today was a gorgeous day to be commuting by bike? Anyway, I hope that this will help me in my efforts to train for the upcoming MS ride in July. (BTW, thanks to those who have contributed to the MS Society in my name.) I had thought about a 40-mile ride tomorrow out to Oakland Univ. for the annual International Ground Vehicle Competition, but there’s a 60% chance of strong thunderstorms, plus my memory of doing it last year is that the last 3-5 miles are simply grueling, and I may not yet be ready for that kind of workout yet.

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