A (Fun) Memorial Day Reflection in the Woods

Who could resist being peaceful in this setting?

Susan finds the proper yoga post in the creek.

Memorial Day represents a time of reflection for me, one where I question the costs of war, the illogic of going to war, the lost lives of young people spent preserving the fortunes of American oligarcs.

In my 72 years on earth, America has been at war upon 14 different occasions, not a single one of them necessary or justifiable. You can argue that the incursion into Afghanistan following 9/11 was justified for a brief time, but that turned into the longest U.S. war and an invasion of Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11.

As with so many holidays that fall on Sunday, the traditional American day of reflection and spiritual renewal, I went to the woods with my friend Susan yesterday to be surrounded with the wonder of our country and not its failures.

Apparently, a lot of other people felt the same way (about being in the woods, not necessarily about war), judging from the size of the crowd at Camp Alta Mons and Stiles Falls in Shawsville. This is a relatively brief hike–maybe 3.5 miles round trip–but it has a good bit of climbing and negotiating of rocks when crossing the stream to get to the falls. It is a beautiful hike, even when crowded, and the payoff at the falls is impressive and refreshing to those who get in the water. Stiles Falls and its pools simply invite a swim (which I have done naky-naky in the past), but not Sunday when there were more than 25 people crowded onto the rocks during the time we were there. They didn’t need to see a fat old man in all his lost glory.

The forest offers lovely sculptures, some nude.

Even with the crowds of happy people, the hike and the falls provided the deep spiritual lift I needed and I think Susan would agree.

We topped the hike off with a picnic that I put together, featuring new creations (for me): a corn chowder, roast tomato-julienne cucumber-sweet onion salad in agave vinaigrette, sweet potato Waldorf salad, spinach-red bell pepper humus and watermelon/cantaloupe. It was chilly, healthy, light and delicious.

The photos are by Susan and me. I took the naked woman tree. You likely would have guessed that.

There is a smidge of triumphalism in all this.

The crowd ignored instructions.

Wildlife was everywhere.

And here, ladies and gents, is Stiles Falls.

Pampa celebrates celebrating by celebrating the celebration.

Susan’s impression of the falls.

My view of the falls.

And a meal at the end of the hike. Yum. (Note the lovely dinnerware.)

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