October 19, 2014

Leaf Peeping

Last Saturday morning, my family and I departed on a road trip that had been on our to-do list for many years -- a leaf peeping run to upstate NY. As we were loading our things into the trunk of the car at 9:00 AM, the rain was pouring rather heavily, but forecasts had said that the weather in the Catskills would clear up at around 11:00. With a leaf peeping adventure have such a small window of opportunity, we decided not to let the chance go by for another year. Unfortunately, the weather during our drive stayed wet, causing heavy traffic and turning what should have been a two-hour drive into more than 4. It was afternoon by the time we finally rolled into the entrance of Minnewaska State Park, though the rain had cleared out and the sky was fluctuating between periods of overcast and sun. We quickly changed into our hiking boots and stepped on to the trail that circles Minnewaska Lake. Here, our long ride in the car was well-rewarded. Our eyes were met with beautiful shades of browns, reds, oranges, greens, and mustard hues in all directions. I recall thinking that if I could pick up the landscape and pop it into my mouth, it would probably taste like butterscotch.

We stayed at the park for most of the afternoon until it started to get chilly out. Then we headed out to get dinner and to check into the Super 8 Hotel. Sunday would prove to be a much nicer day with clear blue skies and sun. After having our breakfast, we drove south to the Hudson Valley area and Bear Mountain State Park. It just so happened that the park was celebrating Octoberfest for the weekend and we ended up on a long line of cars to enter the park. The entire area surrounding Hessian Lake was set up like a huge bazaar with lots of vendors and food booths. It was a very fun atmosphere. Though, the thing that I enjoy most about Bear Mountain is the system of hiking trails that meander through the park. These paths include a walk through a zoo and several trailside museums dedicated to local geology, history, and wildlife. I really enjoyed viewing the mastodon bones. One can also take a long hike through the woods and over a footbridge to visit the ruins of Fort Montgomery, a Revolutionary War stronghold. In all, this was a fun trip and I was so happy to have finally gotten to see the changing foliage in upstate NY. A beautiful autumn journey...

"You make known to me
the path of life; you will fill me
with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures
at your right hand."

~Psalm 16:11


October 5, 2014

Pinks & Blues

Well, I haven't done very much this past week. I took my kids to the movies to see "Box Trolls." It was pretty good and definitely had the right tone for the Hallowe'en season. I'm also very happy to see that Pink Ribbon Bagels are back for the month of October at Panera Bread. These are so delicious and the proceeds go toward breast cancer awareness. Now, in the past, I've given to many cancer charities and taken part in quite a few fund-raising walks, but I have to say that I now have some reservations about giving to such causes. I've actually heard doctors who have said that the medical industry will never allow anyone to find a cure because cancer is big business. They rake in billions of dollars from charities for research while giving sick people false hope and expensive radiation treatments. I've also heard that doctors who have come up with effective treatments for cancer in the past have had their reputations destroyed wrongfully and their lives ruined. Big business indeed. There are many who accuse the medical industry of playing God, however, as I see it, allowing people to die for profit has nothing to do with God. It is clearly the devil's work. So, I'd like to know, to what are we really donating our time and money? I will give generously to charities if I know that innocent folks are being helped, but I refuse to contribute a single penny to keep the greedy rich. Nothing makes me quite as angry as when evildoers try to take advantage of the good natures of others. If this is all true, that is one cash cow that I would happily drag to the abattoir.

Anyway, I had one really nice moment while on a lunch break from work this week. It was a rainy day, so I drove to the 7-11 to get a Pumpkin Spice coffee. With cup in hand, I then drove down to the marina to sit in my car beside the water and listen to Joe Bonamassa's latest CD "Different Shades of Blue," which I had just bought, but hadn't listened to yet. Wow! The combination of the taste of pumpkin spice on my tongue, the sight of rain falling on the marsh waters, and the sound of Bonamassa's Blues on the radio mixed into one magical moment. It was a beautiful lunch break and completely unexpected. Cheers!

"Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless;
maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.
Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them
from the hand of the wicked."

~Psalm 82:3-4