1. Happy 4th! Many of my neighbors and I gathered on the roof deck to watch the Macy’s fireworks display. People were out on the roof decks of the buildings all around us. There was a lovely breeze and it was a clear night. The lights of the city were almost twinkling. It’s a bit odd to watch fireworks from such a distance and without “Yankee Doodle Dandy” or something like that playing in time. First, you see the sparkle of the fireworks, then it takes a good 8-10 seconds before you hear the boom. We all clapped when it was over. This was the best photo I could get with my phone, but it wasn’t bad considering I was zoomed in and it was so dark. The Empire State Building is the one on the right lit in red, white and blue.
2. Imagine. A nearby high school had this mural painted on the wall overlooking the soccer field. Not much more I can add to that…
3. Little Bruno. For months I’d had very good intentions to stop by the Sean Casey Animal Rescue to volunteer. It’s a small rescue center without much space to move around, but somehow they’ve been able to work magic. In 2010, they plucked 2,000 cats and dogs out of the city (read high kill) shelter and found homes for them.
When I saw their mobile adoption van outside the pet supply store last week, I knew it was time to go. Unfortunately I picked one of the hottest days. The dogs were panting up a storm before they even got outside, so I only got to walk one dog, Little Bruno. He is maybe 25 pounds and has a lot of puppy energy. He never jumped up on me, but he definitely wanted to get where he was going and was intrigued by all manner of squirrels. If it hadn’t been so hot I would have had him practice “sit” and “down”.
It had been too long since I last volunteered at an animal shelter (read about my trip to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary) and it was a wonderful experience. I plan to go back very soon. When I got home, Reggie was very curious about where I’d been…
4. Speaking of Reggie… this is how he looks at me when I’m eating yogurt. Yes, his head is resting on my leg. Doesn’t he look worried? You’d think he hadn’t eaten in a week. (It had been 20 minutes.)
5. Mini book review: Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. It’s true that after reading Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, I went online looking for hiking boots. It’s the kind of story that makes you want to follow in the author’s footsteps, that makes you believe, if she can hike 1,100 miles alone on the Pacific Crest Trail, well goshdarnit, I can too. (Under no circumstances should I do this. If I buy a tent, someone please intervene.)
Cheryl is at a low point in her life when she decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) at age 26. Her mother passed away from an aggressive cancer, the rest of her family scatters and her marriage disintegrates from the stress. Looking back on the experience, she can see that “everything I am is borne from everything that I gathered back to myself on that trip.”
The trail is the most powerful metaphor of all. There are always only two choices, Cheryl notes, you can either press ahead or go home. That makes decisions very easy when she, for example, loses one of her boots over the side of the mountain. Or when she is traversing snow and ice in the high Sierras on hands and knees. Or when she stares into the face of a black bear. And always, she continues to put one foot in front of the other (sometimes sans boots). In that decision to move forward, she rewrites her fear story.
Here is a clip of an interview Cheryl did with Oprah where she reads one of my favorite passages in the book.
I would understand if you’re wondering how a book about could hiking be remotely interesting. I mean, for days and days, the trail stretches ahead of her with no one to talk to. But trust me when I say there is not a dull moment in Wild. Perhaps because there is somewhat of a monotony of the trail, it allows Cheryl the space to show how she is changing with each footstep. I’d like to write a longer book review because, for me, this was a seminal memoir, but for now, I’ll leave you with another favorite passage that exemplifies what I mean.
Miles weren’t things that blazed dully past. They were long, intimate straggles of weeds and clumps of dirt, blades of grass and flowers that bent in the wind, trees that lumbered and screeched. They were the sound of my breath and my feet hitting the trail one step at a time and the click of my ski pole. The PCT had taught me what a mile was. I was humble before each and every one.
Have a great weekend everyone! Are you reading a book that you can’t put down?