Road trips can be adventurous. I am dreaming of a moment in time when I can take an unplanned road trip with a gypsy attitude, traveling wherever the road leads me based on road signs, whims or just the desire to take “the road less traveled”. I have this desire to climb into my car and to start driving west, or north, or east to see parts of America that I have yet to experience. No reservations, no definitive plans, just drive and spontaneously do whatever feels right at that moment in time.
All the road trips of my life have been planned…to the beach, to baseball tournaments, to cities within easy reach of home or long adventures over seas to other lands. And along the road I have always been fascinated with roadside monuments erected to honor loved ones who perished as road warriors. I find myself slowing, imagining the pain their families experienced and the love that spurred them to erect a monument to their lost loved one. These beautiful expressions of grief are reminders of the preciousness of life and how quickly circumstances can change, how quickly what matters the most can vanish. A reminder of just how fragile life really is. A reminder to take time to enjoy life’s journey.
How do you like your burger? Fully loaded or just meat and bun? We have a new type of burger in America now…a “Nothing Burger”! Lately this new term has taken the television waves by storm. I think if I hear one more Republican call the spy novel we are inhabiting right now a “Nothing Burger”, I may be nauseous. Just what is included in a “Nothing Burger”? Their so-called “Nothing Burger” includes an awful lot of Russian ingredients. It is loaded with alternative facts, prevarications, flat-out denials and a perverse refusal that any of those Russian secret sauce ingredients are present. My personal favorite, the “Fully Loaded Burger”, comes with true indisputable facts, evidenced based science, reality over perception…dates, times, players, secret meetings exposed, actual true information, a regular Snopes of the culinary world .
How does one forget a meeting with a Russian official? How does one forget a meeting with a Russian official where an interpreter is needed? Why has Trumpulthinskin never acknowledged Russian interference in our presidential election? Why does he appear to embrace Putin as his best friend? An autocrat who has robbed the Russian people of billions of dollars, Putin arranges the deaths of dissidents, invades other countries to promote the Russian agenda, eliminates media threats and rules with a heavy hand, all while added to his own personal coffers. These are but a few of his transgressions. His agenda is always about rebuilding the power and might of Russia and what better way to do this than to destroy the credibility of American democracy.
Democracy is the Fully Loaded Burger. This burger makes your mouth water just at the sight of its “beautifulness”, full of wonderful pleasures that meld together to give one a satisfactory belly full of goodness and happiness throughout a lifetime. When you are the best, the competition is always trying to land a knock out punch and take your place. Trumpulthinskin and his minion’s collusion with the “Nothing Burger” are willing to do anything for a win even if that win means the death of morality, ethics, the demise of truth, the elimination of all that is so cherished by Americans. He is and continues to be Putin’s puppet.
I still believe that eventually the “Fully Loaded Burger” will prevail, that truth will triumph over lies, that goodness will deal a death-blow to evil, that “love WILL trump hate”. The competition is fierce though and we will have to be vigilant and strong, persisting and resisting to keep our “Fully Loaded Burger” the best of the best and assure the survival of truth.
Always seek the truth, examine all sides of an argument, read to educate yourself about just what is at stake when we walk into a voting booth to choose the guiding hand for our nation. It may be painful to watch a news channel that may not support your beliefs but being uncomfortable can lead to enlightment or at least a better understanding of all sides of an issue. Your very life may depend upon the choice you make.
Happy bird searching followed by two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles onions on a sesame seed bun!
My annual extreme birding adventure took me to Bar Harbor Maine this year and a special visit to Acadia National Park, a spectacularly beautiful place famous for lobsters, several bird species specific to the region and some pretty awesome scenery. After all, what is not to like…ocean, mountains, beaches, great food and Mother Nature everywhere.
I was joined in this adventure by my oldest sister Linda and my BFF Linda! Right off we decided I needed to be able to differentiate which Linda I was speaking to so sister became “Lin” and BFF became “Da”. It has been at least a year ( a really tough year!) since I had seen my BFF and when we embraced in the JFK airport for our connecting flight to Bangor, it was as if only hours had passed between us. Thus is the depth of our soul sister bond. My goal at this stage in my life is to build memories and to spend as much time as I can with my loved ones. Traveling is never easy and becomes more difficult as I get older, so it was a great joy for me to share this trip with my sister as well.
It is difficult to compress ten days of exploits into a blog post but here goes…fast forward… Flight to Bangor Maine, rental car to Bar Harbor, arrival at Wayman House residence, four days of early rising for multiple birding excursions to Witch Hole for beautiful views of Frenchman’s Bay and Mount Desert Range, an Owl Prowl till midnight, Little Cranberry Island highlights of common eiders, catbirds, red crossbills, and long-tailed ducks, Sieur de Monts up close and personal encounter with my favorite Pileated Woodpecker, and Frenchboro Island where we simply sat and enjoyed visits from magnolia, yellow and yellow-throated warblers, chickadees, robin and cedar waxwings busily striping an apple tree of its blossoms.
Perhaps the highlight of our birding field excursions was our Pelagic boat trip 25 miles out into the Atlantic in search of the seabirds that rarely visit the shore area. And we were not disappointed. My sister accompanied us on this particular field trip and layer dressed with scarves, hats and heavy coats, we began our journey. It was freezing cold and windy but with bacon and scrambled egg sandwiches and prophylactic Dramamine in our backpack, we forged ahead. Passing Duck Island, two bald eagles graced us with their presence. Successful nesters for several years, it was a real thrill to see our national bird in such a beautiful environment. Atlantic Puffins, Black Guillemots, Razorbills, Great Cormorants, Atlantic and Common Terns effortlessly gliding through the sky. All of these sea birds were “lifers” for me, so I was richly rewarded on this trip.
And of course, a trip to Maine would not be complete without a few lobster meals. My favorite memory is at Thurston’s Lobster Pound where we each attacked our own personal lobster guided by the waitresses expertise in how to best dismember this huge ocean crawler. It was a perfect evening highlighted not only with great food but the shared camaraderie of friends and family just enjoying a specific moment in life.
Exploring the beautiful island, shops and special attractions rounded out the rest of our visit to Bar Harbor. These yearly birding trips are greatly anticipated, thoroughly enjoyed and revisited in my birding journals until our next adventure.
My tears are flowing again like a river flushed with the melting snows of a heavy winter. I cry for the lack of humanity exhibited by elected officials who believe that removing healthcare from tens of millions of Americans is the right thing to do, the moral and ethical thing to do. What motivates these people, these beasts from Hell, to think that a tax cut for the richest top 1% of our population is worth the loss of health care for millions of poor, sick, mentally ill or disabled Americans? I cry for all the elderly who will be uprooted from nursing homes, for their children who must reconstruct their lives to care for Mom, Dad, Grandma or Grandpa, for the elderly who must make choices between food or life saving medications and for the parents of an infant born with multiple congenital birth defects who must bankrupt their lives to provide major care.
Medicaid is the largest healthcare provider in the United States insuring 75 million Americans. I encourage everyone to watch the Rachel Maddow show of June 22, 2017 to understand the full scope of the criminality of what is being attempted by the Republican party led by the meanest toad of a man Mitch McConnell. Medicaid provides healthcare for 50% of all babies born today in the United States, 60% of all poor children, and helps the disabled to remain in their home rather than in institutions. In other words, protection for the most vulnerable members of our society.
There are a multitude of cartoons and comic skits on television about tRump and his best friend Putin. Laughter is medicine to help us survive untenable things. They may temporarily relieve anxiety, but unfortunately what is happening to our democracy is no laughing matter. We may be witnessing the death of “truth” in our nation and moving to a world of lies and falsehoods. Daily tRump and his minions attack the media as “fake news” and as America watches, we are witnessing the dismantling of the democracy our forefathers fought to ensure when they penned the Constitution, the bedrock for life and liberty, that was fought and paid for in blood hundreds of years ago.
As Americans we have come to expect and enjoy, in fact take for granted, the safety of our water supply, the assurance of clean air to breathe, the guarantee that the food we eat is free of harmful pesticides . The environmental and health protections achieved for over 40 years are being systematically swept away. The food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe may be suspect in the near future if the deconstruction of the EPA continues at this alarming rate.
The constant barrage of “unimaginable” things that this administration is trying to implement is numbing our senses and lulling us into the beginning acceptance of this behavior as being the “new norm”. This acceptance or complacency is the beginning of the decline of democracy as we know it. Sadly, this loss of “truth” or the normalization of “alternative facts” is to watch America sink into an Orwellian “1984” society where what we believe is dictated by the “Big Brother” government, driven by the elite few seeking wealth and power to the detriment of millions of everyday hard-working citizens.
I cry for my nation as it writhes in death throes. I cry for the millions of my compatriots, fellow citizens, that will succumb to death if this administration is allowed to dismantle all that is good and wonderful about our way of life. My tears flow freely trying to wash away the pain of what I am witnessing on a daily basis.