As briefly mentioned earlier, things took a shocking turn here a few weeks ago when one of my adult children had a serious and totally unexpected medical emergency. The condition has improved a good deal, but we are still left not knowing what caused the emergency and crisis to begin with. It’s one thing if you fall into a hole and then take steps to fill it up, not to fall in again. When you don’t know where the hole was to fill up or build a fence around to avoid, it’s not reassuring. So while things are slowly returning to normal, we are still dealing with a good deal of uncertainty over it all. But moving forward, and getting back to work now on writing and other projects. Watch for new posts and features soon!
Partially related– Do you have a “Bucket List”? I have never really thought much about it or been inclined to actually sit down and write one out. Until last night. Recent events get one to thinking about things, as you can imagine. I watched a “Modern Marvels” Discovery Channel show on “Mountain Roads” during dinner, and the final segment was all about the Blue Ridge Parkway. Having grown up in the midwest and with nature, I have always had a love of the mountains and their beauty, while also curiously having a great love for all things connected to the sea and beaches. I think that I may have been a sailor or pirate in a prior life. Who knows? But maybe. And a mountain man. And that would of course explain the whole mountain fascination, too. Maybe like Thomas “Broken Hand” Fitzpatrick, who ran away from home at 17 to be a sailor and then later teamed up with Jim Bridger, Jedediah Smith and Mike Fink on a fur trapping expedition in the Rocky Mountains. Sorry, I digress. And Little Red Bear wasn’t real happy with that mention of fur trapping. Sorry Red, just rambling.
Getting back to it, the Blue Ridge Parkway winds along 469 miles of Virginia and North Carolina, mostly along the Blue Ridge, a major mountain chain that is part of the Appalachian Mountains. The Blue Ridge Parkway was built to connect Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The construction project was begun under President Franklin Roosevelt, and completed 52 years later in 1987. The Parkway travels over 168 bridges, 6 viaducts and thru numerous tunnels. Absolutely beautiful scenery and vistas, with many pull-over and parking sections along the way to stop and take in the views. I have been thru the Smoky Mountains before and it was incredible. I decided right then — “I want to go to there.”
And then I remembered always wanting to visit Sanibel Island in Florida, famous for beach-combing and shells. And Key West. And Yellowstone National Park. And Yosemite. And San Francisco again. And New Orleans. And the Napa Valley and Big Sur regions of California. And the Giant Redwoods. And that’s when I decided that maybe it was time to start making a list before I lost track of things. Being in my mid-60’s now, I suppose it’s time to fess up and call it what it is– a “Bucket List”. I have no intention of actually “kicking the bucket” for quite some time, especially as so many wonderful things are coming to mind to be added to the list now that I think about it. But I also acknowledge that while endeavoring to postpone the bucket kicking date as long as possible, I really have no control over it. So, time to get organized, make a plan and get busy.
Number One– The Blue Ridge Parkway. Truth be told, I would really like to hike the Appalachian Trail, a 2,184 mile trek thru the Appalachian Mountains from Georgia to Maine. But I think I have a much better chance of actually completing the 469 mile car ride on the Parkway! And then, what else to add to the list in addition to those listed above? Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane will NOT be on the list. Going to have to think about other things I suppose. A croissant on the Champs-Élysées in Paris sounds enticing, as does visiting many places in Europe, but I have to keep it real, budget-wise.
So yet another project started– “Prepare a Bucket List”. Suggestions welcomed.
In the meantime, please check back for new Blog features and story developments with Little Red Bear next week. Thanks for your patience while other things were being attended to the past few weeks, and thanks as always for reading. Best wishes for a wonderful weekend! — Jim (and Red!)