wander project declining birds

The first pictures today are a few pictures from my parent’s old house in Bloomington Indiana around ten years ago. The interesting pictures are at the end. The reason I shared these was because of the subject of the pictures. My parents had a screen porch off the back of their kitchen/dining room. Max was their cat. They got max and mac’s brother when they moved to the house. The brother ran away within a week of moving in and was never seen again. Max stayed; his job was to catch mice. He wasn’t very good at his job. In fact, in all the years I was around Max I am not sure he ever caught a mouse. But, I realized watching CarolDM’s posts, that Max, like her cats, watched birds.


Sitting in the screen porch trying to convince the birds that nothing bad would happen if they came in the dog door and joined him in the screen porch. My dad had created a sanctuary for birds and wildlife in the back yard. It was a recognized Indiana habitat, and he had a plague on the front and side door of the house. The reason for the plague was to notify anyone coming to the house that they could not spray pesticides. The loss of habitat is a huge contributor to the loss of birds over the last 40 years. It is, not the fake news that wind turbines are killing birds. The studies released over the past two weeks show in fact since 1970, North America has lost 3 billion birds.

That staggering number is scary. For some reason, the US Government is telling people that wind turbines are the primary killer of birds. Sadly, based on the issues around the world, wind turbines are not even in the top five. In fact, there are two human activities that are far worse.

What is killing North American Birds:

Climate change

Encroachment on habitats

Domestic Cats

Wild or Feral cats

HUMANS (cars, windows, and hunting)

The reality is 3 billion birds are gone. To put that in perspective, that represents 25% of the total bird population in North America.


Wander project a drift…

Time is an interesting paradigm. It is something that all of us chase. It is something that we sit at our desks and ponder. It is the one thing we never have enough of, that we always want more of, but is also fleeting and quickly passing. Still, we stop, from time to time, and ponder. We ponder the pam tree gently moving in the breeze. As the wind gently moves the palm fronds we watch them. Each frond has independent motion. In the moment of watching, we are mesmerized by the palms. We watch them moving and stop all the pursuits.


That is time after all. The recognition that we are missing something. The reality of seeking that missing and watching the palm frond. I know in each piece, in each moment, in each second of standing their other things are piling up, other things are appearing for me to consider and do. But watching the palm trees, I cannot stop.

The problems of today wash away with the wind. Like the beach and footprints that we lose with the arrival of the high tide, each problem is slowly erased, not from the world nor us, just from that part of us that is a conscious thought.

I love those moments when things seem to always and ever flow away from me. To push my thoughts to the edge of what and where.  I wonder if the wind gently blowing the palm fronds knows that it is changing things around it?


wander project penguins are not cute…

I shared these pictures many years ago, but in a different order and honestly, these are n response to the Penguin Pictures shared by Pam. These are not cute wild penguins. They are wooden penguins in a front yard. Designed to annoy and frustrate. Designed to make someone regret going outside. My mother and my wife did this to me, more than once. Thirty-five black balloons delivered to my place of work when I turned 35. A singing gorilla, that arrived at my place of work when I turned 36. And these, 40 penguins gathered around a sign wondering poetically, who was now 40. The poem, words phrase whatever it is rings loudly on many lawns, in many countries.


Lordy, Lordy look who is 40. Or sadly as in the case of the sign my mother and wife picked “oh no say it ain’t so, Scooter is the big 40.”

No, one, not in my entire life ever called me scooter. Not even the two people that put the sign in the front yard, my mother and my wife!

Our we  can do the same for all the milestone birthdays. 40 was a tough one for me, mostly because of the Penguins. It is hard to see that as you pull into the driveway. I should have been suspicious, my wife wanted to go shopping before we were meeting my family for dinner on my Birthday and my Parents Wedding anniversary. I should have known there was a game afoot. We wandered to the mall so that the penguins had time to get settled into the snow. Then we met my parents and sisters for dinner. Coming home, the sun was down, and the headlights shared those annoying birds in the driveway. I suspect given how I remember it now, and I wasn’t happy then.

Now that I think of it, I still haven’t gotten payback for this.

Now, the game is truly afoot!


wander project an event…

The pictures today are from an event we went to back in Indiana. I’ve been wandering short, small trips and events the past couple of days. In part because I need to get a few other things done. In part because I don’t want to share nay more wedding pictures right now. I felt like I spent three weeks on the wedding as a theme and that was enough. It may not be enough for my wife and daughter, but it is enough for me.  The wander project is a way for me to bring together the many pictures we have, and the memories I have of the pictures. Although, in fairness, the majority of the wander project is more of my wandering from where the pictures start my memories.


Sometimes, when we hold pictures when we remember we don’t always remember the actual events of the pictures. The picture represents a window, a view of something that was. I spent a lot of time talking about the fact that what we capture isn’t always what we saw/ often in part because the camera is not there at the exact moment. But often also that what we see, isn’t the light we can capture. The shutter of the camera, even digital takes an intentional amount of time to depress. I am even holding the shutter for high-speed pictures. There is a lapse of time there from what was originally seen to what we can share with the world. Some are much better at the process than others.

The journey from where I started with this wander project to where I am has taken more than ten years and four different blogging sites. I have posted in the travel section here on Virily for three years. Before that, I posted for two years on Niume. Before that I posted for four years on WordPress. Before that my original blog was actually on Live Writer. That one was started in 2005 — 14 years of blogging. I have been shared, reshared and reposted many times. Some of my early posts had more grammatical errors and spelling errors that they should have. I often posted then from my smartphone, which now I never do. But for a time I did, and there were errors galore. Now, there are still errors but I can’t post before I post!


wander project organizing pictures…

I found some more Nashville pictures they were in another folder. One of the things I need to do is reduce the number of spanning folders. Sometimes, when I take a lot of pictures I forget to do the second part of my process. The first part, like everyone, is taken the pictures. My second part was always taking the pictures out and putting them in a folder. There are times when I am in a hurry that I forget the second step. I end up with pictures that are disconnected overall. In the case of our trip to Nashville, the pictures were in three different folders. Now they are in one folder, but for someone reasons, I had created multiple folders. I am sure there was a great reason in the beginning.


What I need to do is go through the 4200 wedding pictures and organize them also into different folders. I have two events (the pre-dinner and the courthouse wedding) pictures, and then I have five folders that are called Wedding 1, Wedding 2, Wedding 3, Wedding 4 and Wedding 5. I suspect the naming structure of the last five folders is what I will change. One I can do right now (wedding video) as its content is different than the other folders. The remaining folders have pictures. Then, when all of that is done, I need to go back to redo a bunch of the family history project pictures. I have pictures stuck in folders and need to start going through the folders and putting them into a more logical structure.

Of course, that takes time, and time has to come from somewhere. I have no idea how much time this will take. Luckily I have the long winter months when there aren’t a lot of other activities going on around us. That said, there are always things that will come up. I have copied the wedding pictures to my two online backup locations as well to make sure we have lots of copies.

I realize that with digital pictures we are not alone. I know that many people have many thousands of pictures in their various home locations. I won’t hop on my backup soapbox. Instead, I will wonder how many thousands of pictures will have in the next ten years?


wander project footprints in the snow…

The pictures today are Nashville at night. Just a bit away from the convention center where we had been for the event we attended, we drove through the city at night. The pictures as a launching point, taking us to the lights of cities and the sounds of night falling.  One of the rules I had, when I was traveling, never arrived in a new place at night. Why would that be a rule I followed?  Because a few times early in my traveling career when I landed at night, I was lost in the morning. I had no frame of reference to understand where I was. When I had daylight, I could see where I was, understand the relative location of the many sights and things I would see.


That concept is very similar to what is our world here on Virily. I know at times that Virily for me feels like fresh snow. When snow falls, there is a moment, a time, when you first see it, that there are no tracks. The answer isn’t’ always that the footprints will lead you on a journey. Simply a covering, a layer of snow that lays upon the ground. There comes a time, when, as the first footprints appear, you can follow those footprints. Sometimes that is the way of the internet is it not. That we, as authors, can for a time walk in the footsteps of others. Or, perhaps we walk near the footsteps of others, knowing that they are blazing a trail. Knowing they were going somewhere and that if we followed, we might arrive.

It is, however, a choice and a path. We fling out ideas into the world. Sometimes they are tiny paper airplanes thrown into a hurricane wind. Or mighty spacecraft launched into the atmosphere to rise ever higher and further. But in each case we are both those that follow the trail of others, but then as well blaze a new trail. At the moment we see the footsteps in front of us, beside us in the snow.

Then we know we are not alone.

In our lonely writer’s garret, we are watching for the rising sun. The only footsteps in our homes, ours in a world of quiet. As we authors reach out to the universe to share our dreams.


wander project rock climbing

The kids love rock climbing. It is something that I honestly haven’t been interested in for many years personally. More from a fear of falling than the reality of the effort to climb the wall, I enjoy trying new things. I don’t know that I am a good fit for that activity. I did. However, I love taking the kids to rock climbing. Originally a gallon store in Indianapolis Indiana (actually Greenwood) then Dicks bought Galyons. Then Dicks because of lawsuits took down the rock walls all around the country. There are stores that still have Rock Walls, REI, and the place called outdoor adventure in Maryland. Called outdoor adventure, but the entire thing is indoors.

rock wall

It is the old warehouse of a furniture company. The walls of the building are very high, so rock walls of various types and heights could be built. They also had a padded floor to make it safer. The kids in the first pictures we’re getting their initial lesson. There is, of course, a risk when it comes to climbing a rock wall. Things happen, and it is possible to get hurt. But it is also something that I wanted to make sure I was there the first couple of times. To make sure that things were safe. I have many years ago, had the opportunity to repel down the walls of an old quarry. I wanted to make sure that the place the kids wanted to go to was a little safer then repelling down a 40-year-old quarry wall.

I also wanted to see what they had done with the building. It is an intriguing urban renewal project. It took a lot of imagination to reuse old buildings for new things. It was also fun to walk around the building, and the furniture store was still open in ½ the building they just no longer needed the huge warehouse.  When I repelled down the quarry wall we had the old style harnesses. The kids got the newer style, and there wasn’t a chance they could slip out of the harness. They were also learning with someone belying the rope. It makes for a safer experience.  The kids did very well; even the twin that doesn’t like heights much did well. It was a lot of fun, and we’ve been back some times!