Sunday, August 22, 2010
I took the first (or top) video on April 22 of this year when we cut our decorative grasses down. If your listening to my comments on the second video, I didn't compute the duration correctly. It was only 4 months, since we cut them down. What a prolific summer for tall grasses, but not, as you can see, for the lawn.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Even family members ask themselves why would Ken be walking for an hour over western PA's hilly terrain. I would answer them today by saying that it's for my health, not just my physical body, but my soul's health. In past years, I've been a runner. In my younger days, I've run 5 or more miles and was surprised to find that during those lonely periods that my mind seemed to be quicker and somehow taping into a different part of my brain because of the interesting connections and observations that I was making. Books and articles have been written about this change in consciousness, and some have called it "Runner's High", possible being produced by chemicals released during exercise. This change of consciousness was so addicting, that I experienced withdrawal symptoms when I wasn't able to run and it was a strong motivation for me to return to running after getting on a medication that has controlled my arrhythmia and allowed me to get back to exercising. My wonderful discover has been that I get the same expanded consciousness by walking or hiking on neighborhood streets that I don't get on the treadmill at the YMCA.
During today's walk, I found words to explain why the first episode of Laura Linney's new show, The Big C, meant so much to me. When I was first diagnosed with the heart arrhythmia, I went through an initiation of sorts. Instead of seening happy celebrating people wavying at loved ones on those early morning news shows, I saw people who are going to die, like me. It's the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about. All of a sudden I was taking medication that was making me more and more lethargic and increased my life long tendency to put on weight and of course, my chance of dying. After several years of trying different drugs in ever increasing dosages, I finally changed doctors and found one with a different set of meds in his tool box, one of which allows me to get back to a more normal life.
So just as Laura Linney's character, is allowing herself to try things that she has never done before; telling a student, the tough truth or spilling the wine herself on the sofa, I want to live my life, somehow in a "deeper" way, and try to discover what that means. I have a plaque on my mantle. It's by Ralph Waldo Emerson and says, "It is not length of life but Depth of life". Another writing informs this exploration, too; I remember, perhaps Thoreau said it, "most men get to the end and find they have never really lived". Please let me know if you have the actual quote and author.
I'm really grateful that the new heart doctor has allowed me to escape, for now, from the valley of the shadow of death. With the help of my wife, swingdancer Donna, I've been able to loose 30 plus pounds and take 6 1/2 inches off my waste. I want to live my life, remembering how precious each moment is, discover each day, how to live more deeply.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
In addition to the beautiful interstate drive, I found the Washington, PA country music radio station that is unique in this era of satellite-delivered uniform music. WKZV 1110 AM plays old time country music like done by The Bellamy Brothers and The Forester Sisters. As we drove by, where their station signal was strongest, we sang along with our all time favorites and as we entered the park, we finished our 2 hour drive, singing "I Love Beer" with Tom T. Hall.
This picture is of the Cheat River, know for it's whitewater kayaking and rafting. It was taken from the overlook at the park.
Although you can pick up a map of all the trails, if you want to see rocks, up close, I recommend taking the Rattlesnake Trail that begins just to the left of the concession stand. It leads to Rock City, a collection of rocks and boulders that you can walk among, stand on, and trip over. Although I had taken my tennis shoes, I insisted on wearing my open toed sandals and stubbed my toes a number of times.
Just want to wet you appetite for this wonderful location. Hope you can make it, and enjoy it as much as we did. If you would like to see more pictures of our adventure, CLICK HERE!