Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A Heck of a Job

I wish that this was a joke, but it's not. Turns out that FEMA is shipping ice for those affected by Hurricane Katrina to Maine.

Yes, Maine, the state way up in the upper right corner (looking up from Mexico). The one not even close to the Gulf Coast, which is all the way down in the center (again, looking up from Mexico). Not just some ice--200 trucks in one week. So many trucks that they can't all unload at once; they have to park them at the airport while they wait.

You're doin' a heck of a job, FEMA

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Little doggy

Just as we were about to walk into the movie, and just before I turned off my phone, we got this--the first picture of Shadow, Barky's new cousin.

Just about the cutest thing we've ever seen.

Little froggy

We walked Barky around in Ben Brenman park before heading out to see Junebug with Deborah and Dave in Shirlington. We stopped on the bridge to see the fish and we found a few little froggies, a little turtle swimming by, and this big guy.

Bye bye, b & b

We went up to the house as evening settled in, drove over for one last dinner at Tari's, and returned to meet our hosts at the River House. It was immediately as if we had returned to familiar friends after a long time away.

We stood outside, looking up at the stars, each picking out a constellation or two that we knew, staring at the band of the Milky Way, up over the roof of the garage, dropping down behind it into the trees on the banks of the river.

Trees that had just a few hours before been filled with the lemon light and plum shadows of twilight.

Beautiful by the river

We spent a few hours down by the river, drawing and reading. The river rolled by, the sun slipped away, and we sat silently.

Mr. Beekman

This is Mr. Beekman, who (don't tell Barky) slept with us at the River House.

We had closed our door and turned in for the night, but we heard a low meowing at the door. Connie and Kit had said that he was friendly and might try to join us. Sure enough, as soon as Wifey let him in, he hopped onto the bed and settled in between our two pillows.

Just like Barky, this cat. We left the door propped and he came in and out through the night. In the morning, he came in to wake us, then get some sun on the windowsill.

Down by the river

It wasn't a long way down, but it was steep. Fortunately, there was this lovely staircase down to the water.

This way. . .

We found the River House and the notes from our hosts, Connie and Kit, who were kayaking on the Cacapon River. Once we got our bags into our room, we thought we'd walk down to the river.

We walked out of and around the house, wondering which way to head, until we found this, lying in the grass.

A beautiful day. . .

. . .to drive to a B & B.

Overlooking into Maryland

On Monday we headed over to the River House B & B, which is on the Cacapon River. Between Berkeley Springs and the River House is this overlook, where Virginia is across the river, and you can see (on a clear day, as they say) into Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

At the Inn

This little piece of water, completed with fish and frogs, runs in front of the Inn where we stayed. There are several springs in the town, which provide approximately 1,000 gallons of water a minute. Wow, that sounds high. Hm. But, 1,000 gallons an hour sounds low, and I recall being struck by how much water rolls out of them.

Whatever, the rate, there's water running all over through town, making for lush scenery throughout and surrounding the town.

Antiques or not-so-subtle foofery?

Yes, we went antique shopping last weekend in Berkeley Springs, and yes we found this lovely collection of empty Santa snow globes.

No, we didn't buy any (sorry to spoil any Christmas dreams with that news).

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Really, not everything is overgrown here. I know that I just got done typing that, and here I am with another picture of something that's overgrown, but this sign was just too good to pass up, and it just so happens to be one of the things overgrown.

And, how appropriate that a sign about the town castle is overgrown? See, I told you that the things that are overgrown are nicely so.

Yes, Virginia, there really is a castle above town, complete with gargoyles. No, we didn't find out why or even look into it. There's just a castle up there. We did drive by it on our way to our next stop, the River House b & b, where we are now, with the cat who adopted us, Beekman (sp?).

Garage Apartment

OK, so I exaggerate a bit here. This was just a garage, not advertised as an apartment. We got up early on Monday morning--before the coffee shop was even open, what's up with that?--and walked around town.

Don't extrapolate from this that the whole town is overgrown, with paint peeling, but what is overgrown here is nicely so.

Time is a relative measure

When is "now"? It all depends on where in time you are standing. Apparently now is yet to come for this field in Berkeley Springs. Perhaps that's for the best. We didn't see too many skaters in town who would use a park here, although there is always the Field of Dreams argument: build it and they will come. There appear to be far more skinhead BMX types here than skaters. However, "far more" is also a relative number that translates to about 10 or so.

Time is a relative measure

When is "now"? It all depends on where in time you are standing. Apparently now is yet to come for this field in Berkeley Springs. Perhaps that's for the best. We didn't see too many skaters in town who would use a park here, although there is always the Field of Dreams argument: build it and they will come. There appear to be far more skinhead BMX types here than skaters. However, "far more" is also a relative number that translates to about 10 or so.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

In the garden

This garden doesn't appear to be of good and evil, although we haven't ventured out at midnight to confirm that. This one is of blossoming beauty, albeit with the steady rush of air conditioner exhaust nearby.

It is where we have spent the last few afternoons, rocking in our chairs, as one does, I suppose, on vacation. We've read--finishing one novel and several accounts of the disasters on the Gulf Coast, discussed our course through life so far and into the future, knitted a bit, and blogged some.

From here we headed down to Tari's Cafe last night, where we ate before catching The Fantastic Four at the Star Theater (for $3.50 each, and another $3.50 for a bucket of popcorn and candy--zoinks! such a deal!).

We're going to return to Tari's tonight, with more time to linger over our meal, and perhaps a drink afterward. Tomorrow we'll check out of here and head down to a B & B a few miles out of town, where we'll stay for just the night before heading back into DC.

Things have improved...

..since Washington's time...they put in rocking chairs.

George Washington Bathed Here

And that's really more than I need to know. Please, no pictures or, more likely, I suppose, artist's rendering.

Fortunately, the bathing facilities have been improved on somewhat since he took out his wooden teeth and lay down in what appears to be a shallow, watery grave.

And, at a crisp 73.4 degrees Farenheit, he wasn't bathing here for the comforting warmth. (He probably took his teeth out to keep them from cracking and shooting splinters into his mouth when the started to chatter uncontrollably.)

Perhaps this is where Bogie's lines come from, "I came for the [warm] waters...I was misinformed."

Country Roads, Take Me Home

Country roads will never take me home, since I grew up in the burbs, but country roads didn't bring us here to West Virginia, either. I-70 brought us here. Had we not turned off (and kept going for several days), we could've ended up in Silverthorne, where a quick exit and a right turn could've put us on the road to Steamboat Springs.

Instead, we turned off at exit 1B in Virginia. Shortly after exiting, we crossed the border into West Virginia, where we've spent the last few days in Berkeley Springs. We've spent much of our time watching the coverage of the disasters that have followed Hurricane Katrina and debating what we're going to do to help when we return. We've wondered about our place in the order of things, taking a vacation on our own for the first time since getting married, while thousands suffer and die.

What would or could we have done had we cancelled our vacation and stayed behind? What is the place of a vacation? What purpose does it serve us? What purpose does it serve others? The greater good?

If we don't use this time to reflect and react, to adjust our course to meet the shifting winds, what will it have been for?

And so we continue to debate, during our stay here, what good it will be for, our stay here. What will we do new and different when we return?We will be the same people, but will we conduct ourselves in the same way? Given that our souls will stay in these vessels, what course shall we steer them on? Keep them safe in the harbor, set a course that hugs the safety of the coastline of knowledge, or set off into the unknown depths?

We cannot tell from here where we will go. Only by looking back over our wake will we be able to tell where we have been.

Brenman Park Turtle

We spotted this guy as we crossed the bridge over the lake in Brenman Park last Wednesday or so. He came right up under us, but by the time I thought to snap a pic, he'd drifted off a bit, apparently no longer interested in us.

He and several fish came over to gaze up at us when we stopped to look down. Either it's a boring life living in that lake, and they need some entertainment, or someone tosses food to them. I'd guess the latter.

I suppose this guy eats more flora than fauna, but if I was one of those fish, I wouldn't have been hanging out so close to him. He's about a foot long and looks like he could've chased down some sushi pretty easily, if he got a hankerin' for it.


Exhibit A: This half-eaten muffin, left in the break room at work for anyone who was interested to eat.