Thursday, January 31, 2019

Ocala National Forest Backpack (Scrub Jays, Spiders, and Bears, Oh My!!!)

Journey's Start: Outside Juniper Springs

In January a contingent of Florida Tropical Trekkers backpacked through Ocala National Forest along the Florida National Scenic Trail from Juniper Springs to Rodman’s Dam. With the deft planning and leadership of Jim Couillard, this small fellowship successfully completed their journey along nearly fifty miles of longleaf pine sandhills and peninsula inland scrub.

Banana Spider Four Inch Span

Along the way they encountered a variety of flora and fauna, including a charm of scrub jay frolicking trailside in stands of scrub oak. An occasional banana spider and a myriad of unique insects were spotted as well. 

Florida Trekkers Mid-trek

Although frequent and fresh black bear scat was found on the trail, all ursine tales remained second-hand or night-sky inspired.  

Mars and a waxing Moon heralded frigid temperatures on a few nights of the trek, chilling noses and toes. Nevertheless, dry weather, a backpacker’s best friend, permitted the trekkers to saunter (like a bale of turtles) to their destination. 

Ocala National Forest  Campout, Shutdown Notwithstanding
At journey’s end comradery, adventure, and the great outdoors were celebrated with steamy showers and a brick oven of pizzas.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Happy New Day Toward An Honorable New You

The world is what you and I make it.

As far as holidays go, New Year's Day seems to be the most frivolous. Sure, the end of a calendar year has no connection with holy rites, patriotic grandstanding, or compassionate activism. It is simply the flipping of a new annual number.

Still that number change is built into our civilization's time sense. January 1st is an arbitrary new beginning and a recognition time receding behind us. Of course, there is nothing like the present, if only because the present is the only inherent thing that exists, and each of us is surfing that wave as long as we can.

Many find the new year a fine time to put forward new resolutions. For me it is a time to renew my resolve to live an honorable life. Of late that transfers to living with a blend of compassion and rationality in general and modifying my thinking and actions toward inspiring a better world for all.

"All" is not only my family, my friends, and my species, but also a thriving environment, thinking creatures everywhere, and the creation of thoughtful immersive experiences with a peaceful positive activism. And so each day I attempt to look within and ask how can I do better, before going about imperfectly implementing that intention.

The only thing stopping our world from spinning horrifically out of control is each of us human beings, for no creature on the planet has wielded the skills to effect change inside and out. To that ends, with compassion and reason engaged, consider asking deeply of yourself each day the simple question "how can I do better?"