|View from my window at Valhalla Ranch |
|Thor and Valkyrie|
|Jean and Hal|
- Online searches finally turned up a place in western Virginia whose room rental was a good value, so I said good-bye to careless housemates, stress-addled drivers, and clouds of airliners, helicopters, and drones passing overhead. With a lot of help from a few very good friends, I am now settled in five miles and at least twenty minutes south of the exciting metropolis of Purcellville, Virginia, which actually has two excellent non-Starbucks® coffee shops. My favorite is Loco Joe's -- but of course, I'm trying to wean myself away from my coffee fixation, so I rarely visit there (koff).
- The expanding number of new friends I have made in the trail hiking and repair communities, especially the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club's Cadillac Crew, have drawn me into the company of mad folk who enjoy camping out on freezing nights -- and have supported my own mad quest to regain the "mountain goat" agility of my years growing up in Arizona.
- My close friend's request to visit Makemie Woods encouraged me to visit Norfolk in February; I was able to meet with the new caretaker for the forest where my wife's cremains are interred, spend time with my in-laws listening to their disagreements, and visit many places nearby that framed some of the happiest times of my life (First Landing State Park, and the Naro Cinema, for example).
- Another unexpected return to Arizona recalled my saddest years -- a sister's untimely death. These unpleasant reminders that tomorrow is not guaranteed are hard to bear -- yet I will not speak sadly of her passing, of my parents', or of my wife's. Both her husband and I believe that the death of the body should be a moment of happiness, no matter how much the child in each of us wants to cry out in rage against the loss.
We just keep swimming.