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How to have better political conversations

“So this is my call to you: let’s put this country back together. Let’s do it despite the politicians and the media and Facebook and Twitter and Congressional redistricting and all of it, all the things that divide us. Let’s do it because it’s right. And let’s do it because this hate and contempt that flows through all of us every day makes us ugly and it corrupts us, and it threatens the very fabric of our society. We owe it to one another and our country to reach out and try to connect. We can’t afford to hate them any longer, and we can’t afford to let them hate us either. Empathy and respect. Empathy and respect. If you think about it, it’s the very least that we owe our fellow citizens.”

This quote is from a TED talk by Robb Willer.

Arboretum Strollers easy hiking trails

Arboretum Strollers ist meet Sunday….if the temp is above 45…….

http://www.ncarboretum.org/plan-a-visit/hiking-trails/

Located within the wildly-popular and botanically beautiful Southern Appalachian Mountains, The North Carolina Arboretum offers more than 10 miles of hiking trails that connect to many other area attractions such as Lake Powhatan, the Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Visitors of all ages and abilities can enjoy their hiking experience at the Arboretum as trail options include easy, moderate, and difficult challenge leveles. All trails are dog-friendly and visitors are asked to adhere to the proper waste disposing procedures for pets.

Easy Hiking Trails
Azalea Collection Trail – 0.5 miles (Foot traffic ONLY)
Starting with a bridge from Bent Creek Road, this trail provides access to multiple routes through the National Native Azalea Repository, including a teaching circle and a close look at Bent Creek. At the west end of the Collection, the Fern Loop provides a cool route along a natural mountain wetland and through part of a Rhododendron thicket where you can get a slight feel as to what a “Laurel hell” meant to a mountaineer traveling cross country. Total length, including the Fern Loop, is approximately ½ mile.

Bent Creek Road – 1.3 miles
Bent Creek Road is a gravel-surfaced corridor shared by pedestrians, pets on leashes and cyclists. The 12-foot wide road follows Bent Creek for the length of the Arboretum property with several adjoining roads leading off the property into the Pisgah National Forest.

Bent Creek Trail – 1.3 miles (Foot traffic ONLY)
Bent Creek Trail, for foot traffic only, parallels the road in several places, running closer to the creek. One favorite attraction along Bent Creek Trail is the National Native Azalea Repository. Bent Creek Trail is 1.3 miles in length.

Old Mill Trail – 0.3 miles
The Old Mill Trail connects the trailhead/recreation parking area at the Arboretum’s main entrance to Bent Creek Road. After leaving the trailhead parking area, turn to the left around the pipe gate. Cross the bridge and the trail will begin to the right through the woods. This trail is named for the old grist mill that existed in the area around the viaduct bridge.

Wolf Branch Road – 0.3 miles
Wolf Branch Road allows easy access to the Carolina Mountain Trail and Bent Creek Road, affording a short, pleasant walk along a cascading stream.

 

The Arboretum Strollers will walk these easy hiking trails.

 

Love creates the unity of heaven and earth

“Love creates the unity of heaven and earth.
Love tears apart heaven and earth.
Is love sympathy.
Is love gentleness.
Is love possessiveness.
Is love sexuality.
Is love friendship.
Who knows?
Maybe the rock knows,
Sitting diligently on earth,
Not flinching from cold snowstorms or baking heat.
O rock,
How much I love you:
You are the only loveable one.
Would you let me grow a little flower of love on you?” ~ Chogyam Trungpa

Good Morning Star Shine I am back

 

The long journey from one home to another is finally over. It took much longer than I expected but my new situation is well worth it. That first day I found out the sun rises in my kitchen window- wonderful for me since I love sunrise. I wake up singing this song from the 60’s play HAIR. Yes I am that old.

good morning star shine, the earth says hello You twinkle above us   we twinkle below    good morning star shine, you lead us along     my love and me as we sing our early morning singing song.

Magic Hat

me hatI believe I have a magic hat- really I do. It is a fairly unassuming ring of gold fleece. I spied it in a local consignment shop called Serendipity. It matched my winter coat and I needed a hat. I learned all the traditional warnings about lice etc. in used hats but I slid it on my big head. It fit perfectly and covered my ears without being tight. Within a few minutes 3 strangers in the store suggested I buy the hat. So I did. The first time I wore it I noticed other drivers smiling at me upon passing- more than usual even when I am singing aloud. At the dog walk strangers seemed particularly friendly. It was Thanksgiving day when I knew the hat was magic. Drivers still smiled, one stranger even honked and waved. (I did pull over to see if I had a tire going flat or something.) Everyone at the dog walk smiled at me, strangers made conversation and one couple even yelled a greeting across the ball field. The weather cooled and I did not get a chance to wear the hat for more than a week. I started to question my magic hat decision and think of other more rational reasons. Then I wore the hat again- the same phenomenon happened! What fun, I wish I could wear it everyday- does magic wear out?

Attachment

Halloween Picture of my parents from a 1967.

The main themes in my life recently have been the understanding and letting go (or not) of attachments, mostly to things. Three years ago, I inherited the house my parents had lived in and loved for the last 35 years. It needed a lot of work, particularly dealing with water. If you dam water up it find another way to flow- emotions work the same way I think. Recently with the news in Sandy’s wake, we are well aware of what water can do!

I believe the house issues are in a stable state now but this exercise has showen me that taking care of the house and yard  really is more than I can physically (and financially) support. I have loved this house and all the happy and trying times spent here. My parents loved it and the 1/2 acre yard. Dad had fabulous plantings of organic vegtables and beautiful flowers. His beds were never straight but a labryinth of circles and curves. I have noted before that I believe my Father’s approach to rolling with life was “When in doubt, turn the compost.” The rabbits now have a warren where his compost used to be. Ten years ago when he passed, his friends planted a Magnolia tree in his memory because he always wanted one. Now it towers high, producing those creamy white fragrant blossoms. How do I leave Dad’s tree? Mom and I put his ashes around it  The reality of how little humans leave behind when they pass away- except stuff. Things my Mother treasured are of no real value or meaning to me- so do we continue to carry this stuff just because?

I have taken the path of sending the majority of belongings on to others through sale or donation. I have gotten to help some local charities I believe in which feels good. Like many of you I have seen my collection of books as friends that have been with me for years for reference or just seeing them reminds me of a lesson or event. My Father also collected books but his are cloth bond , old and fragile. Most I can’t sell for the price it would take to ship them. Again something treasured for years which has no tangible value.  So far I have invited friends to come and take books that interest them – about 15 boxes gone so far. Books have been the hardest so far.

Getting the house ready to show is an odd experience because I removed all the personal pictures and nick-nacks that litter my life. It looks like my house but different. well folks ending for today. I am glad to blog again. I have not even had time to read blogs and I miss the snapshots of other lives from the blogosphere.