Being Alive in 2014

For those of us still on the planet this year I hope it is a good year. At my ever increasing age it seems more important each year to be  appreciative of the miracle of being alive in this vast and expanding universe, and to be aware of it.  

I could have just said "Alive in 2014," for this year's theme, but the point is TO ACTIVELY BE alive, not just to passively suffer being.

I know, that is easy for me to say since I am still healthy and can do things.  Some are not so fortunate, I am aware of that, and I feel for those whose lives are a trial to them every day.  

I am consciously sure there is no life beyond this.  At the very same time my intuitive mind whispers "that is not so, there is more."  Which one is right?  Logic says I will never know.  But what does logic know?

Regardless, my approach is to attempt to continually bring my awareness of being into my consciousness, as I breathe in and out, to help me appreciate from moment to moment the miracle that aware being is: a very rare thing (perhaps increasingly rare in a rather empty universe expanding in all directions at the speed of light?)!

That means to me that all opportunities for knowing more widely, feeling more deeply, and loving more selflessly ought to be joyously and exuberantly taken: I intend to continually practice fully BEING!

1

On January 2, driving from Carlsbad to El Paso, we saw a strange thing: water in what is usually a dry and dusty salt-flat below the Guadalupe Mountains.  Since it was just a quick roadside stop, I only took two photos and added them to one of my existing Guadalupe Mountains pages.

2

A short Winter walk in Dark Canyon, just south of Carlsbad, New Mexico, with a small rock shelter and an oasis.

3

Another short Winter walk from Guadalupe Ridge Road, with a view toward Lonesome Ridge, a continuation of a previous short walk in the same area (2013).

4

I wrote "A Requiem for a Fallen Tree," some text with photos, and it was published in the Spring 2014 issue of the Focus on Carlsbad magazine, pages 18-19.

5

Then I went back to see if my fallen tree was really dead.  It was, but I was surprised --pleasantly surprised-- that other Texas Madrone trees seem to be rising from their roots already!  (February 21, 2014)

6

An early March 2014 visit to Phoenix's South Mountain City Park.

7

A tale of two atomic bombs.  Trinity and Gnome.  Both were in New Mexico and both were firsts in the world.  

8

A look at the Rio Grande River and the Valley of Fires  recreation area nearby the Trinity site.

9

A look at the dunes and salt lake near the Gnome site.

10

Ideas I could relate to or found stimulating in The Upanishads, Breath of the Eternal. The Wisdom of the Hindu Mystics  by Swami Prabhavananda and Frederick Manchester  were closely related to my reading of Herman Hesse's Siddharta  and the readings I have done in Medieval Christian and Sufi (Islamic) mysticism. (Also see item 20, below).

11

Several pages on short Spring walks into the Appalachian Mountains of southern Virginia.

12

Spring flowers and trees at home in Carlsbad.  

Updated 28 June 2014.

Updated July 10 and 27 2014.

13

Another visit to check on the Dancing Trees (by Sitting Bull Falls) neighborhood-renewal progress.

14

My very good friend Alice gave me three books in the Spring of 2014:

1. Island of Saints, A Story of One Principle That Frees the Human Spirit, by Andy Andrews.  What drew me to this book was its description of World War II submarne warfare in the Gulf of Mexico.  What makes the story worth reading is the lesson in forgiveness that it teaches.

2.  Book of Shadows, A Modern Woman’s Journey into the Wisdom of Witchcraft and the Magic of the Goddess.  The author is Phyllis Curott, a Wiccan High Priestess, and I was captivated by the original way she presented the story of her spiritual and intellectual conversion and convergence.

3.  Vindication of the Rights of Woman, with Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects, by Mary Wollstonecraft.  This is a difficult book to read and in my very personal opinion does not apply to women living in today's more modern societies.  Nevertheless it contains material and lessons of some use today and gives a frightful look into the lives of English upper class women in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

15

SPRING 2014 UPDATE: Slaughter Canyon recovery from 2010 fire.

16

Spring cactus flowers at Carlsbad Caverns National Park

17

"Deep in the Heart of Texas!"A very short visit to San Angelo, Texas, to see the statues of the "two Angelas" ('dos Angelos') and the Concho River downtown.

18

GUADALUPE PEAK, highest point in Texas, in Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

19

On July 10 and 27, item 12, above, Spring flowers and trees at home in Carlsbad, was updated.

20

Dallas/Fort Worth Hindu Temple: a very few photos and very short discussion. (Related to item 10, above.)

21

A Summertime series of Guadalupe Ridge Road walks in the national forest that lies just north of Guadalupe Mountains National Park, with views into Devils Den and North McKittrick Canyons.

22

DEVILS DEN CANYON hikes in the Guadalupe Mountains National Forest (New Mexico).  Three separate hikes that complete what was started as part of Item 21.

23

Several short visits to several locations in the Netherlands.

24

A day in Cologne (Köln) Germany.

25

A day in Hamburg, Germany.

26

A day in Lisieux, France, where Joan of Arc's judge, Bishop Pierre Cauchon, is buried and where Saint Therese of Lisieux lived and died.

27

A day in Verdun, France.

28

Two hours in Luik (Liege) Belgium.

29

Spreading my brother Alex's ashes in the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington.  A promise kept after two years.

30

A short sunny walk in a park in Seattle, Green Lake Park.

31

A few glimpses along the way: the Snake River on the Idaho-Oregon border and Dead Horse Point on the Colorado River in Utah.

32

Two walks along the Columbia River in Richland, Washington.

33

A fourth 2014 walk related to Devils Den Canyon! (See items 21 and 22 above.)

XX

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