The Delaware Water Gap

The creek and trees in the Delaware water gap national recreation area

The Delaware Water Gap helps form the border between New Jersey and Pennsylvania. This is where the Delaware River has been busy carving through the Kittatinny Ridge for more than 400 million years.

The gap itself is about a quarter of a mile wide near the river, but about a mile wide at the top of its two sides, according to park information. The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, a 70,000-acre park, allows visitors to explore this natural wonder in many different ways. The park celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.

Created by Congress on September 1, 1965, Delaware Water Gap was established to preserve the natural, culture, and scenic resources and values of the Delaware River valley and provide opportunities for recreation, education, and enjoyment in close proximity to the most densely populated region of the nation,” according to the park’s website.

Appalachian trail marker on tree
Keep left for the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail passes through, along with more than 100 miles of other hiking trails. People visit each year for hiking, boating, swimming, picnicking, biking, fishing & hunting, exploring historical sites, and for special events.

When I was little, my family went to this park for hikes and later for backpacking. After he retired, my dad walked through on his journey to complete the Appalachian Trail in its entirety.

Mossy rocks and the creek in the Delaware water gap park

The gap is also significant to me because from a young age it was a marker for my sisters and me on our family’s long drives to Ohio to visit my grandparents several times each year. After about an hour of driving through New Jersey, we would pass through the gap into Pennsylvania’s miles of endless oblivion, with the promise of nothing to good look at and nowhere fun to stop.

Creek and trees in the Delaware Water gap park

This was where the real journey began. Would we ever make it to Gramma and Grandpa’s, or would we succumb to whining and madness? Would we find the strength to behave ourselves in the backseat, or would the sport of sibling taunting bring out the bullies and the tattle-tales in us? Would we push mom so far that she would tell us we weren’t allowed to get a happy meal?

Trees and sunlight in the Delaware water gap park

As a child, I didn’t appreciate the panoramic views of the gorgeous rolling farmland, mountains, rivers, valleys, unspoiled wilderness and all that the beautiful state of Pennsylvania has to offer. I only knew it was 6 hours of impossible boredom. And it all started with the ancient and enormous Delaware Water Gap.

Last year, I made three trips through the gap when my Gramma got ill and when she passed. Grampa has been gone for years, and the time had come time for Gramma to complete her long journey. Those were the last of the visits to Gramma by way of the Delaware Water Gap.

A trail in the Delaware water gap park

Finally, in summer, I drove to the gap and stopped there for a couple hours of peace and tranquility. A walk through the park was what I needed. The sounds of the water rushing over rocks calmed me as I watched the creek flow past old rhododendrons and hemlocks. They have been growing since I was a kid. Probably before. On the ground, ferns bobbed on breezes under tall trees. Summer’s sunlight and heat was diffused by the forest. It was perfect. Just like it’s been for the past 400 million years.

Three Day Quote Challenge, Day 3

people never forget how you made them feel maya angelou

Thank you, Lynne of Lynne’s Recipe Trails, for nominating me for the Three Day Quote Challenge. Check out her blog for yummy recipes!

I have heard this quote many times and it’s usually attributed to Maya Angelou. Do a quick search for it and that’s what you’ll find. Although I did come across a website called Quote Investigator (QI), which researches the origins of quotes. Their conclusion is that it was not Angelou’s, even though it’s widely attributed to her. QI says (with 19 citations to back up their research):

The earliest evidence located by QI appeared in a 1971 collection titled “Richard Evans’ Quote Book”. The statement was ascribed to Carl W. Buehner who was a high-level official in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

This sort of confusion over the origins of quotes reminds me of a segment done by John Oliver on Last Week Tonight (video here and article here) that pointed out instances of prominent politicians misquoting Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers in their speeches. Clinton, Reagan, and Obama to name a few. Oliver talks about how easy it is to search for quotes online, but that they may not necessarily be accurate.

“That is the problem with memes. If you have the right font and the right photo, any quote can seem real,” says Oliver on his show.

He even announced a new website where you can generate your own historically inaccurate quotes, and they are hilarious. Check that out at definatelyrealquotes.com

But back to the quote. Whatever the origin, it’s very meaningful. Whether you’re a teacher or public speaker and your job is to influence others, or whether you take it in the context of interpersonal interactions, the message is a powerful one.

However, seeing it online, and the number of image results that a search of this quote produces, got me thinking about another layer to all of this. Because of our constant access to the Internet and social media, people can remember what you say and they can remember what you do, as well as how it made them feel. At a time when people can be so careless in a tweet, text, post, or video, they forget that these messages live on and can follow them and their relationships.

Does today’s technology make this quote obsolete? Of course not. It’s not as if every aspect of our lives is recorded (and hopefully that’s not where we’re headed). But I think it’s important to be mindful of our communications with others. All types of communication. Always consider how you might make other people feel, because that’s what they remember.

 

Challenge Rules
1 – Thank the blogger who nominated you.

2 – Share one new quote on three consecutive days on your blog. They can be from anyone, anything, or anywhere.

3 – On each of the three days, nominate three more bloggers to carry on the fun! No pressure; nominees are free to decline.

My first-day nominees for this challenge are:

Cee at Cee’s Photography

Lana at Once Upon a Spice

Antonia at Zoale (She’s also doing the challenge at the moment but her blog is great so go check it out!)

Please don’t feel obligated to participate, it’s just for fun, and a way for me to say that I enjoy your blogs!

See my quotes for Day 1 and Day 2 also.

 

Three Day Quote Challenge, Day 2

TolkienWanderQuote (575x1024)

Thank you, Lynne of Lynne’s Recipe Trails, for nominating me for the Three Day Quote Challenge. It’s been a while since I have done a challenge, so this should be fun.

I’m not huge into collecting quotes. Oftentimes I feel inspired and moved by them, but I don’t seem to remember them or hang them somewhere for daily inspiration. I know I can find three that I like for this challenge, though 🙂

“Not all those who wander are lost”

This quote appears in The Fellowship of the Ring, the first book of the Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien.

See my post for Day 1.

 

Challenge Rules
1 – Thank the blogger who nominated you.

2 – Share one new quote on three consecutive days on your blog. They can be from anyone, anything, or anywhere.

3 – On each of the three days, nominate three more bloggers to carry on the fun! No pressure; nominees are free to decline.

My second-day nominees for this challenge are:

Lynn at lynz real cooking

Sabiscuit at Sabiscuit’s Catalog

nelkumi at What does nelkumi think?

Please don’t feel obligated to participate, it’s just for fun, and a way for me to say that I enjoy your blogs!

Three Day Quote Challenge, Day 1

Thank you, Lynne of Lynne’s Recipe Trails, for nominating me for the Three Day Quote Challenge. It’s been a while since I have done a challenge, so this should be fun.

I’m not huge into collecting quotes. Oftentimes I feel inspired and moved by them, but I don’t seem to remember them or hang them somewhere for daily inspiration. I know I can find three that I like for this challenge, though 🙂

This first one is kind of a joke, but the next two will be a little more meaningful, I promise.

The dude quote that's your opinion man
Image created on imgflip.com

From one of my all-time favorite movies, The Big Lebowski, and one of the many classic quotes from the film. We can learn a lot from The Dude 🙂

Challenge Rules
1 – Thank the blogger who nominated you.

2 – Share one new quote on three consecutive days on your blog. They can be from anyone, anything, or anywhere.

3 – On each of the three days, nominate three more bloggers to carry on the fun! No pressure; nominees are free to decline.

My first-day nominees for this challenge are:

thegreyeye at Life As We See It

carol1945 at My Silly Snail Blog

MeRaw at The Journey of My Left Foot (whilst remembering my son)

Please don’t feel obligated to participate, it’s just for fun, and a way for me to say that I enjoy your blogs!

See my post for Day 2.

One Week Post-Blizzard

Dirty snow with shadows
It doesn’t get any prettier, it just melts away.

One week after the biggest snowstorm on record, and there’s still a lot of snow out there (big surprise). The temperatures have been pretty warm, so the good news is it’s been melting off of the roads. Many of the two-lane roads were reduced to one and a quarter lanes earlier last week because of so much snow on the sides of the road. The huge snow piles are also shrinking out of the parking lots.

Pile of snow with pine tree and afternoon sun

Today was 55° and sunny, and the remaining snow mountains at home were still fun to climb up, slide down, and dig through.

Bright and Snowy

A snow shovel in the walkway next to snow

The snow removal crew cut a path this morning. The news said our area got 27″ of snow. That felt about right!

A path cut through the snow

Interesting how the wall of snow is taller on the right. You could also tell when walking–it was deeper in some spots. This is because of the high winds creating snow drifts. It depends on which way the wind blows, and around which obstacles. You could also tell with the cars in the parking lot. Some had more snow than others (mine was almost completely covered!)

Bright blue sky and snow on the pine trees

The sun was bright and the wind was gone, so shoveling out the cars wasn’t too bad.

Snow pile and sunshine

This huge pile was made by the plow. They push the snow up into the grass and out of the lot.

Sun behind the pine tree next to snow

I have never seen so much snow deposited from one storm. This usually doesn’t happen here. We’ll usually get several storms, sometimes even one per week, with a few inches here and there. Sometimes the snow will pile this high if we have several big storms in a row, but very rarely getting this all in one shot.

To make it even more strange, this is the first major snow of the winter. We’ve gotten flurries twice this month. So to go from 0 to 27 inches in a day is a pretty dramatic change!

For more views of the snow, check out my post about my walk through the blizzard yesterday evening.

Hourly Snow Forecast

2016-01-23 09.43.29

Eeeeeeee!!!

We’ve gone from no snowstorms yet this winter to a blizzard. Like an actual blizzard warning from Friday night to Sunday morning. Way to bring it!

I’m excited now, but I also feel that the power could go out at any second. Then the party’s over, and I will be furious with the snow.

But for now, it’s enchanting.

Time to get the kids mittened up and go play. I don’t think we’ll last long out there. It’s extremely windy, that must be what they mean by “blizzard.”

Autumn, You Kind of Blew It

Cold, dry air blew in last night and shocked my neighborhood this morning. It finally got to us–the winter that we had been expecting for months but was no where in sight.

I knew I would do this. I don’t want to, but I can’t help it. I knew that as soon as the cold weather came I’d be wishing it was warm again. Daydreaming about spring and summer and green things.

Oak tree green leaves, green grass
Green, and a few leaves tickled with yellow

I really do like winter at times, but I guess not at the moment. The problem now is the sudden change in weather. We had record-breaking warm temperatures at Christmas. I wore a sundress because I was too lazy to dig out my shorts that are packed away in the closet. And now suddenly we’ve got this icy wind swirling outside.

What happened to the smooth transition between seasons?

I can’t help feeling that autumn really dropped the ball. Of course it was fun to keep pretending it was going to be warm forever, but you were supposed to gradually get cooler so that one day we would be so close to winter that we wouldn’t even notice that you had left. Maybe next year you could things a bit more like usual. And could you have a talk with winter? It’s coming on a little strong, maybe it can tone things down a little. Thanks.

Photo Challenge: Creepy

Tombstone from 1800s

The inscription at the bottom reads:

Friends and parents as you pass by
As you are now so once was I
As I am now you so must be
Prepare for death and follow me

That shocked me when I first read it. Gave me the creeps. I said, “No, I won’t follow you! Not ever! You don’t tell me! I’m not going to die!”

Then I calmed down a little, stopped being mad at someone who’s been dead for 101 years, and thought about why a person would want that on her tombstone.

Had she been sick? Did she know she would die soon and felt bitter about it? Or did she write that into her will, to have that inscribed no matter when she died, or under what circumstances? Why did she want to basically give the finger to anyone who stopped to read her tombstone? Did she want to freak them out, or is this a preachy sort of sentiment? Or did she just have a weird sense of humor?

I found some information about the verse on this blog, which says it was pretty popular at that point in history. The usual verse starts out with “Remember me as you pass by.” So I wondered about the phrasing of this stone. Why “friends and parents?” I assume she didn’t have any kids, otherwise wouldn’t they have been mentioned? Why not simply, “Friends and family as you pass by?”

Was it a deliberate dig to her parents? Did she want to call out to her parents each time they visited her grave to remind them that she was dead? Sometimes when I think about this woman, I imagine her as someone who still has the personality of a rebellious teenager at age 39, wanting to torment her parents one final time.

Or did they have a bad relationship, and she knew they wouldn’t visit anyway. Maybe the whole town knew that she wasn’t on good terms with her parents, and this was her way of publicly saying so.

I’ve thought about this tombstone a lot, and clearly have even invented some family drama in the life of young Mary, who died 101 years ago. Maybe that’s the point of anything written on a tombstone. To be remembered by people; to be thought of by the living.

In the comments section of the blog I linked to, many people said they remembered the first time they had read this verse on a tombstone. It certainly had an emotional effect on me.

I did think about it, Mary, may you rest in peace.

And just for creepy’s sake, here are a couple more images.

Hip bones xray
Ghostly bones

I think I’m a little annoyed that all the stores already have all of their Halloween candy and merchandise out already. Halloween is still on October 31, in case you were wondering if it had been moved this year.

Stores, school hasn’t even started yet, could you just continue to push the school supplies a little longer before you shove the next holiday down our throats? Shelves lined with Halloween crap in mid-August? That’s just creepy.

Purple leaves and spider web
Spooky spider

In response to the challenge called Creepy.