Sunday, March 13, 2011

Holly River State Park - Fall of 2010

Ric and I enjoyed a wonderful trip to Holly River State Park with our friend Jack last fall.  Jack is a loving, kind-hearted, intelligent, talented childhood friend of Ric's.  Although I had met him once before, this was the first time we had spent any real amount of time together.  Jack likes to talk.  He will tell you so himself.  We were amazed at all the words Jack could cram into one sentence... all GOOD stuff... but sometimes it's hard for our brains to keep up!  So we would laugh.  And Jack would say, "I know I talk too much."  And in a way, yes... but really I wanted to shout, "No, don't stop!  This is amazing!"  So at Holly River we got the best of three wonderful things life has to offer... laughter in the midst of the extreme natural beauty found in the middle of West Virginia, and a newfound friendship.

Walking, climbing, wandering thru the forest...
Little streams and falling water
Moss-covered rocks
Among the bare trees, still many with bright yellow and orange leaves
Green rhododendron
Soft hemlock pine
Fallen leaves on the trail
Little surprises along the way – a deer, a “golden” pond

The guys were outside and I went back to the cabin to get a bottle of water.  While there I decided to take a few minutes to straighten up and make the bed.  Later when all three of us came back inside, we walked through the door and the dialogue went something like this...
RIC:     Ah, they made the bed!
JACK: Yes, they did!
ME:      “They”?
ME:     Gotta say it... spoken just like a man.
RIC:     Men are slugs.

I had been to Holly River many times, many years ago... and those camping memories are good.  I remember sitting around a campfire with my mom and dad.  I remember Danny and Jill having so much fun riding their bikes and hiking in the woods.  They (well, me too) loved roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over the open fire.  Yet, this time seemed like the first time I had been there.  We stayed in a cabin for one thing, which is in a different area of the park.  But I think the real difference is that I have always enjoyed nature, but these days I really appreciate nature.  As I hiked and walked through the forest, I keenly felt the energy of all the live plants and trees.  I even buried my face in the low branches of a hemlock pine and felt the delicate needles brush against my face.  And I hugged that tree! 

I was glad that I have been recycling during the past few years, and trying to use less to start with (but I’m a spoiled American, and often fall short of my goals).  My hikes over the weekend made me much more aware of my connection with the trees and plants and wildlife, whether I’m in the woods or driving on the streets of Charleston. 

We set the time on the camera to get a pic of all three of us.  Jack doesn’t just talk fast... he does everything fast... and expects the camera to keep up with him!  Guess he assumed the instant we all three lined up together the camera would take our pictures.  It took a few tries to keep Jack in the shot!

"I'm wearing  my corduroys today."  ~Jack

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Button

I’ve had my Saturn car for 7 years.  I love it.  I’m keeping it for several more, because sadly I won’t be able to get another one (as of this year, Saturns are no longer being made).  And now I love it even more! 

I always thought I was told, when I purchased my Saturn new, that the back seats would fold down, opening up to the trunk, to allow for transporting  large items.  I would try to utilize that feature from time to time, but could never get my seats to fold down.  There was a square button on top of each back seat, but when I pushed it, nothing happened.  I tried various things, like pushing or pulling on the seat itself... again, nothing.  So I assumed I just dreamt that this was an available feature.  I don’t like to have to ask for help, but just recently I had to resort to asking my friend, Matt, to help me move a few things to my new downtown art studio.  He happily helped me do so. 

A few days later, I was loading groceries in my car, and saw that square button again.  I felt around all sides of it, to an opening in the back.  I put my fingers under the button, lifted it up, and voila!  The back seat instantly folded down! 

Seven years... 7 years... that’s how long I could have been using my fold-down back seats.  7 YEARS!
The button was there all the time.  I just needed to lift, rather than push.  How very simple.  “Simple” referring to the mechanics of the button... and to ME!

Friday, March 4, 2011


For a moment, let that split second between breaths be the space where you keep the memory.
Let your pain, and questions fly out in a whoosh...
And thereafter,
As often as you're inclined,
Pause a moment there again,
And feeling full and satisfied,
Smile the memory of a friend.
~Ric Cochran