Of All The Roads Traveled…

I don’t pretend to know how many miles of roads there are in the world. I’m pretty sure that it’s a lot. Highways and byways, dirt roads are jeep trails stretch out like an intricate web across the globe. Some roads are major interstate highways and others can only be traveled by foot. And oh the places where they can take you! There are large metropolitan cities with amazing architecture. Glass and steel and concrete comes together in an artful pentacle that pierces the heavens! I’ve been on roads that go under the mountains and even under the very sea itself! I pass by roads every day and wonder where they end or, even if they do end at all. But no matter how far you travel or what wonders your eyes drink in there’s one road that’s the most welcomed of all of them. This one road will take you to a place where you are the most content. It’s a special road that ends in a different place for each of us. In case you haven’t guessed, it’s the road that brings you home. No matter how rocky or how many twists and turns and no matter how high the hills that you have to climb are the road home will be the one most eagerly traveled. An old Irish blessing goes…

May the road rise to meet you.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the rains fall softly on your fields.

And, until we meet again may God hold you gently in the palm of his hand.

Tonight’s blog post is dedicated to my fellow West Virginians who are living out of state and being evacuated from the path of Hurricane Florence .

The Sacrifice Of A Friend

I have a fondness for the Corvus family. Today the crow and raven are associated with darkness and death but I want to share a different perspective.

The Leni Lenape tell the story of the Rainbow Crow. I have not been told the story from any tribal elders etc. In fact, I only learned the legend with the invention of the internet. So with no further ado here is story as I understand it…

The sun seem to sleep a lot over the past few years. The days were dim and short and the night was long, cold and dark. As the chieftain walked through the village the sadness of his people rested on his spirit like a heavy stone. He had tried everything. All of wisdom of his grandfathers, all of the prayers in his lodge and long lonely nights in forest seeking a vision that would tell him what to do. He couldn’t even sit at the council for the crying of the hungry children. He paused for a moment beneath a large spruce tree and began to sob. Then, he heard a rustling is the branches above. It was his friend the crow of many colors that had come to check on him. The crow was magnificent with feathers that shimmered with every hue in the rainbow. He loved the people and he loved the chieftain. The crow tried his best to cheer up his friend by singing in his most beautiful voice. It had always worked in past. The chieftain would smile and forget his troubles for little while. But tonight’s sadness the worst it had ever been. Moving down to a lower branch the crow opened his mouth and once more that beautiful melodic voice came out. “I have never not been able to make you smile my friend. What troubles your soul and how can I be a friend for you?” The chieftain took a breath and began to unload his burdens. He told the rainbow crow of the hungry children and the sickness of the old ones. “If the cold does not end soon my people will fade away forever. ” spoke the chieftain.

The rainbow crow knew in his heart what must be done. He would undertake a journey to the council of the creator and plead on behalf of the people. The journey was long and dangerous. The rainbow crow flew nonstop for many days and nights. When he found the creator he begged for him to end the winter and save the people he loved. The creator agreed and as a token gesture he gave a burning branch to the crow and instructed him to give fire to the people so that they could be warm again. The rainbow crow took the fire in his beak and made the long trip back to the chieftain and his people. He found the chieftain still sulking under the large tree. As he landed, the rainbow crow laid the fire at the chieftain’s feet. In his excitement at finding a way to save the people he tried to speak but the smoke from the fire had destroyed the crow’s beautiful voice and his magnificent feathers were singed black forever.

The chieftain was able to save the people he served as a result of rainbow crow and his sacrifice. So, always after the people would leave food out for the crow and he was always welcomed in the village.

The Sacrifice Of A Friend

I have a fondness for the Corvus family. Today the crow and raven are associated with darkness and death but I want to share a different perspective.

The Leni Lenape tell the story of the Rainbow Crow. I have not been told the story from any tribal elders etc. In fact, I only learned the legend with the invention of the internet. So with no further ado here is story as I understand it…

The sun seem to sleep a lot over the past few years. The days were dim and short and the night was long, cold and dark. As the chieftain walked through the village the sadness of his people rested on his spirit like a heavy stone. He had tried everything. All of wisdom of his grandfathers, all of the prayers in his lodge and long lonely nights in forest seeking a vision that would tell him what to do. He couldn’t even sit at the council for the crying of the hungry children. He paused for a moment beneath a large spruce tree and began to sob. Then, he heard a rustling is the branches above. It was his friend the crow of many colors that had come to check on him. The crow was magnificent with feathers that shimmered with every hue in the rainbow. He loved the people and he loved the chieftain. The crow tried his best to cheer up his friend by singing in his most beautiful voice. It had always worked in past. The chieftain would smile and forget his troubles for little while. But tonight’s sadness the worst it had ever been. Moving down to a lower branch the crow opened his mouth and once more that beautiful melodic voice came out. “I have never not been able to make you smile my friend. What troubles your soul and how can I be a friend for you?” The chieftain took a breath and began to unload his burdens. He told the rainbow crow of the hungry children and the sickness of the old ones. “If the cold does not end soon my people will fade away forever. ” spoke the chieftain.

The rainbow crow knew in his heart what must be done. He would undertake a journey to the council of the creator and plead on behalf of the people. The journey was long and dangerous. The rainbow crow flew nonstop for many days and nights. When he found the creator he begged for him to end the winter and save the people he loved. The creator agreed and as a token gesture he gave a burning branch to the crow and instructed him to give fire to the people so that they could be warm again. The rainbow crow took the fire in his beak and made the long trip back to the chieftain and his people. He found the chieftain still sulking under the large tree. As he landed, the rainbow crow laid the fire at the chieftain’s feet. In his excitement at finding a way to save the people he tried to speak but the smoke from the fire had destroyed the crow’s beautiful voice and his magnificent feathers were singed black forever.

The chieftain was able to save the people he served as a result of rainbow crow and his sacrifice. So, always after the people would leave food out for the crow and he was always welcomed in the village.

The Sacrifice Of A Friend

I have a fondness for the Corvus family. Today the crow and raven are associated with darkness and death but I want to share a different perspective.

The Leni Lenape tell the story of the Rainbow Crow. I have not been told the story from any tribal elders etc. In fact, I only learned the legend with the invention of the internet. So with no further ado here is story as I understand it…

The sun seem to sleep a lot over the past few years. The days were dim and short and the night was long, cold and dark. As the chieftain walked through the village the sadness of his people rested on his spirit like a heavy stone. He had tried everything. All of wisdom of his grandfathers, all of the prayers in his lodge and long lonely nights in forest seeking a vision that would tell him what to do. He couldn’t even sit at the council for the crying of the hungry children. He paused for a moment beneath a large spruce tree and began to sob. Then, he heard a rustling is the branches above. It was his friend the crow of many colors that had come to check on him. The crow was magnificent with feathers that shimmered with every hue in the rainbow. He loved the people and he loved the chieftain. The crow tried his best to cheer up his friend by singing in his most beautiful voice. It had always worked in past. The chieftain would smile and forget his troubles for little while. But tonight’s sadness the worst it had ever been. Moving down to a lower branch the crow opened his mouth and once more that beautiful melodic voice came out. “I have never not been able to make you smile my friend. What troubles your soul and how can I be a friend for you?” The chieftain took a breath and began to unload his burdens. He told the rainbow crow of the hungry children and the sickness of the old ones. “If the cold does not end soon my people will fade away forever. ” spoke the chieftain.

The rainbow crow knew in his heart what must be done. He would undertake a journey to the council of the creator and plead on behalf of the people. The journey was long and dangerous. The rainbow crow flew nonstop for many days and nights. When he found the creator he begged for him to end the winter and save the people he loved. The creator agreed and as a token gesture he gave a burning branch to the crow and instructed him to give fire to the people so that they could be warm again. The rainbow crow took the fire in his beak and made the long trip back to the chieftain and his people. He found the chieftain still sulking under the large tree. As he landed, the rainbow crow laid the fire at the chieftain’s feet. In his excitement at finding a way to save the people he tried to speak but the smoke from the fire had destroyed the crow’s beautiful voice and his magnificent feathers were singed black forever.

The chieftain was able to save the people he served as a result of rainbow crow and his sacrifice. So, always after the people would leave food out for the crow and he was always welcomed in the village.

Lessons Learned from Tiny

While on my way to my day job Sunday morning I noticed a familiar shape on the road. Unfortunately, the Eastern Box Turtle sees the warm road surface as a great place to absorb the morning sun and get the old metabolism going. And what’s worse is that not all drivers are alert enough notice them in time and a few are cruel enough to crush them on purpose. This one is just a baby! He was the smallest box turtle that I’ve seen in a long time. I just couldn’t leave the little guy to fate and so blocking the road with my truck I hopped out and scooped him up.

I wasn’t really sure what to do with him as I’m not a herpetologist. So, I carried him into the office where my coworker quickly found spare box, some scraps out the break room and came up with name Tiny. Tiny was declared to be our team mascot for the day and the whole crew fell instantly in love with him.

While he mostly just kinda sat in the box not understanding what was happening by the end of day he had become accustomed to the attention.

Originally the plan was for me to take him out of the city and relocate him to a nice secure place near my property (which borders the National Forest) . However, in researching how to properly care for him in the meantime we learned that because of strong homing instinct that such a move would almost certainly kill him.

Tiny was released on the same property where he was found but well away from the road.

During his short tenure as Department mascot he did manage to pass on a few words of ancient turtle wisdom.

1. Not everyone who messes up your plans has bad intentions. Tiny’s plans to warm up on the road had to be ruined for his own good.

2. Don’t be afraid to stick your neck out for a friend. Had Tiny not come out of his shell my coworkers would not have been impressed as much and been so motivated to research his well being.

3. There’s no place like home. The Eastern Box Turtle spends it’s entire lifetime (as much as 100 years!) within one mile of its birthplace.

That’s it. Tiny is just a baby and that’s all he had to share right now. But he and his kind have the potential to teach the same lessons to the great grandchildren of the humans born the same time he was. So, if you spot a turtle trying to cross a road (take your own personal safety into account FIRST) the best thing to do is to move it to the other side of the road as close to the woods as possible.

Back in the day, we would write or paint names and dates on the shell. That’s definitely not recommended today. Not only is it possibly toxic to the turtle but it messes up his camouflage that protects him from birds.

The Beacon part 5

The young man decided to leave the cottage for a while as the caretaker slept. He walked along the the rocky shore and enjoyed the sun while he could.  The weather was unseasonably warm.  Knowing that a warm front always proceeds a large storm front he decided that he would holed up in cottage for the next few days.  The golden sky was of particular concern for him. “Orange or yellow will hurt a fellow” he said underneath his breath.  He searched the horizon for any signs of a sail for a moment.  He could have sworn that he saw the glimmering of glass off in the distance but when no sail was spotted he presumed it was just wishful thinking.  With the tide out he actually had a beach to stroll on. As he did so he continued to look out to sea.  Just then he scuffed his foot across something half buried in the sand and fell face first on beach.  He rolled over and looked back to what it was that he had tripped over.  It was a wooden box approximately one foot wide by eighteen inches long and 8 inches deep.  He dug out the other end of the box.  It was a bit heavier than he expected for its size.  The young man lifted the box to one shoulder carried it back to the cottage. The box could not have been lost for too long.  There was no corrosion of the metal hinges or latch.  Once inside he placed his newfound prize on the table and contemplated on how to defeat the lock. He walked into the supply room and found some tools. There was a hammer and chisel, a file and after some digging around he found a box of miscellaneous keys. He would start with the keys.  He carefully began to remove the sand and debris from the lock.  Gently tapping on the lock with the handle of the chisel would get the bulk of the sand out. He inserted the first key and it wouldn’t seat fully into lock. However,  raking the key back and forth removed more sand. He patiently worked in this way for a few hours before he noticed a presence in the room. How long had the caretaker been sitting there watching him? The caretaker was just shaking his head when the younger man realized he was there.  The caretaker was holding the hammer and chisel.  With one pop of the hammer and chisel the lock opened.  Inside was a fine navigational kit consisting of a sextant, a compass, ships glass, and a chart. In the very bottom of the box well wrapped up in oil cloth was a watch. The set was exquisite. The fine craftsmanship of instruments was second to none.  The box was well fitted enough to prevent the sand from fouling up the instruments. There was a navigator somewhere that if still alive was mourning the loss of this kit. The placed the box on the hearth where the instruments could dry out and prepared the lamp for the oncoming evening.  For the first time since he was stranded the young man had a way  of plotting his position.  This was also the first night with a clear sky. Although the watch had stopped he could still latitude and general Compass points. To the best of his reckoning he was somewhere between Greenland and North America.  The compass had a sun dial on the lid which would make it possible to determine local time.  

The Beacon part 4

The young man was just putting away the last of his recovered belongings when the caretaker emerged from the bedroom.  Determined to not be a burden the young man had already prepared the next meal from his supplies.  It was early afternoon and dark clouds were already gathering to engulf the small island.  At the first flash of lightning they began to count the seconds between the flash and the sound of thunder.  This would let them know how many miles away the edge of the storm was.  The second flash was a few seconds shorter between flash and crash. This one was coming in fast.  The caretaker drops his spoon into the bowl with a splash and starts for the supply room . The young man catches him by the shoulder and motions towards the spiral staircase.  The caretaker understands, the young man had already prepared the next round of oil in the lamp.  They made their way to the top of the lighthouse and once more the beacon began it’s nightly battle with the darkness.  They returned to the meal and stoked the fire.  The little cottage had few creature comforts but the fireplace and generous supply of cordwood was one of them. It was while sitting by the fireplace that the caretaker noticed the small stack of personal items recovered from the wreckage.  On top was an oilskin wrapped around a book. The caretaker gestured for the younger man to show him what was in the bundle.  The young man handed him the oilskin and the caretaker removed a Bible.  The leather cover was very worn and pages were falling out but it was all there.  A certain look came over the caretaker’s face and a small tear formed in corner of one eye. The caretaker seemed to caress the book as he held it. Without lifting the cover he began to speak.  It didn’t take long for the younger man to recognise that the caretaker was quoting scriptures verbatim in his own native tongue.   After reciting a few passages the caretaker returned the sacred book to its oilskin and secured the closure.  “It was my father’s book.” The young man said as he returned it to the small stack. “He was lost at sea when I was a child.  It’s all I have left.” The caretaker placed a hand gently on the younger man shoulder as he spoke. After a few minutes of silence the caretaker motioned him to move back to the table and sit down.  He disappeared into the back of the supply room and returned with a bottle of wine and a box. The caretaker pours each of them a proper glass of wine and opens the box.  Inside was a chess board and pieces carved from shells gathered from the beach.  They passed the evening with a few rounds of chess until it was time for the caretaker to focus on the maintaining the lamp and watching the rocks for the signs of ship in trouble.

The next morning  the storm seemed to break early.  The young man ventured into kitchen and greeted the caretaker.  They had one more round of chess and the caretaker disappeared into the bedroom.