How beautiful are these?
I’ve never see such beautiful Bottlebrush trees in bloom…magnificent.
Small blooms popping out of stone walls.
I can only hope our orange birds of paradise bloom like this one day.
When Catherine and I were in our mid 30’s and our 3 children were all still under 10 years old, we decided to buy a 4 acre lot in the country west of Richmond, VA. We later built a Victorian style home with a wrap around porch. It was a beautiful piece of land as the homesite sat high on a hill and the land trundled away from it on all sides. When we started to clear the land for the home, the smell of the red clay, red cedar trees and all the other wonderful smells of the earth were brought to a crescendo. We were moving from our first home, a small single family residence in the suburbs, so none of us…particularly our children, had experienced this earth moving experience. Catherine and I still laugh that our youngest, Meghan, didn’t want to be put down on the ground from her arms as she thought she’d get her white socks and sandals dirty. Little did we know that Meg would turn out to be the one who loved her hands in the dirt and go on to study sustainable development (agriculture), work at organic gardens, forage those vegetables to restaurants, and ultimately be a chef.
So when I left the seaside resort areas I had walked by and through the first 2 days out into the countryside and through small farming towns, the sights, sounds and smells brought back a flood of sweet memories of our 10 years in Boscobel Country. I can say without reservation that all 5 of us hold those years as treasures, where we learned the value of hard work and a love of animals and nature. When I passed by incredible spring blooms of birds of paradise, lemon trees, bottlebrush trees, roses and so many other species I hadn’t seen before, the memories of dogwoods and azaleas and the smells of wisteria and wild onions after a grass mowing popped back into my head. Thank you Lord for a wonderful trip down Memory Lane. I’m forever grateful.
I had dedicated my prayers on Day 1 to my Mom & Dad, and my bride Catherine on Day 2, so today was about our 3 adult children. I had 7 hours and 18 miles to think about each one of them, and was able to have enough solitude to say a rosary for each of them. Quality time personified.
Cristin is our oldest, and clearly the smartest in our family. Catherine introduced her and her brother & sister to reading at a very young age, and she remains a constant learner and voracious reader. I remember with fondness our rides in a golf cart with her on my lap with only a diaper and tee-shirt on when I was a club golf pro, and the smile on her face as we would zip around the course. Such a happy baby, and such a happy soul to this day. I will always think of her great smile when my thoughts are of her. Today she lives too far away in Atlanta, but she has found a kind and gentle soul in Travis as her partner as she puts the finishing touches on her training to be a court reporter (stenographer). I love you Cristin Tanner and I miss you dearly.
Matthew is our only boy, but man oh man did the Lord deliver a gift with him. I grew up 1 of 11 and with 7 brothers, so having guys around for all seasons of sports was the norm. You think Matt had a choice in that matter? Absolutely not, so I have a gifted athlete and tried & true Miami Hurricane fan as my best friend. Talk about a bonus! Matt was surrounded by women growing up as I was often on travel in my coal career, so he learned the skills of listening, empathy and compromise from 3 pretty good trainers. It’s no surprise he’s gone on to a career in social work, because his whole being is about helping others. He’s probably the most Christian person I’ve known, yet he doesn’t consider himself ‘religious’. Good thing, God doesn’t like braggerts who tithe or show good works for their own glory. Matt walks the talk…even if the talk isn’t there. About a year and half ago, Matt married an incredibly beautiful young lady named Kathy Lara. Kathy is also in the social work / counseling field. They are equally yoked on all things and make the perfect couple. We’re fortunate in that they live only about 3 hours away in Miami, so we get to kiss their faces from time to time. Mateo & Katiuska…I love you both so much.
That brings me to Meghan, our baby. Remember that story about being afraid to step in the clay with her sandals on? Well Meg turned out to be the most nature oriented of all of us. Go figure. Meg has always had a streak of independence growing up, from doing an Outward Bound trip to the woods in Maine, to going away to school in Boone, NC, and to marrying a young Argentinian man named Federico and ultimately moving to Córdoba while they continue their quest to move back to the US. Meg’s work ethic is second to none, and when she puts her mind to a task it becomes a matter of when, not if, it gets completed. Megie has added yet another skill to her resume, now a bonafide ESL (English as a 2nd language) instructor to corporate personnel in Córdoba. We pray she and Feddie can get back home soon. Megie…I miss you more than words describe and love you honey.
Today was an emotional day for me, so the post is long. Thank you for your patience. It’s just that I love my family dearly and pray for them constantly. I hope you enjoy the other photos from my walk today.
Guess there’s no doubt which way to turn!
Pilgrims exiting a handsome…and open…church after morning prayers.
The baptism of Jesus by St. John.
A wooded path carved out of a eucalyptus forest.
One of the more artistic Way markers I encountered.
Santiago looking very serious.
Soon to be grapes for local wine.
An Easter reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ.
A stone footbridge across a small river…no time to lose your balance!
This is what you’d fall in to if you’re not careful!
One step at a time pilgrim!