"Put him into the garden - to dress it, and to keep it - Horticulture, or gardening, is the first kind of employment on record, and that in which man was engaged while in a state of perfection and innocence. Though the garden may be supposed to produce all things spontaneously, as the whole vegetable surface of the earth certainly did at the creation, yet dressing and tilling were afterwards necessary to maintain the different kinds of plants and vegetables in their perfection, and to repress luxuriance. Even in a state of innocence we cannot conceive it possible that man could have been happy if inactive. God gave him work to do, and his employment contributed to his happiness; for the structure of his body, as well as of his mind, plainly proves that he was never intended for a merely contemplative life" -- Clarke's Commentary of the Bible
Genesis 2:15 is just before the introduction of Eve into the world, therefore God instructed Adam to till the ground and look after the garden even before he had a life mate. Adam's house was a garden. Before sin came into the garden, there were no clothes and no houses and no need for either. Adam's residence had a richly-laid earthen floor, an open blue-sky ceiling and plush shadows in which to lounge. God Himself planted the Garden of Eden on the third day, when the fruits of the earth were made. This was truly paradise, sweet, with the choicest trees planted there. It was beautiful with every tree pleasant to the sight, every tree that yielded fruit sweet to the taste and useful to the body.
Who countest the steps of the sun;
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller's journey is done
-- William Blake
My wife and I did a 2700+ mile road trip to Boston recently and along the way we spent time driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway [which goes from Cherokee, North Carolina to the Shenandoah National Forest, Virginia [where it becomes Skyline Drive]. The Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian Trail [a 2200+ mile footpath from Georgia to Maine] intertwine through Virginia. Every time the parkway crossed the Appalachian Trail [AT] I had to stop and take pictures and hike on the trail. It took us a long time to get through that section because of this. We were near the Harvey's Knob crossing taking pictures and hiking on the AT, talking about past times on the this trail, thinking about future times, and saying how great it would be to talk to a thru-hiker [someone who is hiking the entire trail all at once], when we see this young man coming up over the ridge toward us. He stopped and talked to us for a while. He's right in the middle of his 6-month trek. He started at Springer Mountain on March 31, 2012. What an adventure.
You can follow River's adventure on his blog, takeoffyourshoes
 Which do you prefer: yellow, blue or red?
 Which do you prefer: green, purple or orange?
 Which do you prefer: black, white or brown?
I prefer yellow, green and white.
Yellow: Finding common ground is the game you play best. You calm troubled situations and bridge differences. Your awareness of others' perspectives and points of view is a very powerful tool. It enables you to express contrary, unpopular feelings without offending anyone. People feel they know where they stand with you, and are willing to let you help them. And consequently, you are happy when you are able to give of yourself. By keeping people listening, you establish a forum for solutions and possibilities unfold.
Yellow + Green: You have a realistic perspective on life that creates comfortable and secure environments for yourself and your family and friends. You carefully listen to what others say and try to see things from others' points of view. By questioning what's really needed, others become more realistic and find better ways to manage and direct their day-to-day routines.
Yellow + Green + White: You're the best at recommending how to make products, systems, services, or environments fit others' needs. The suggestions that you tactfully present actually make others feel more comfortable in their own skin. When they hear your concerns, they realize better ways to take care of themselves. Your ability to make fact-based suggestions is your greates talent. Even in the most difficult situations, you enable others to appreciate different perspectives and new approaches.
The results of this test for me proved to be spot on. If you would like to find out who you really are, take this test and send me a comment. I'll post your results.
the crossing, a photo by Argon[one] on Flickr.
We had been walking for hours. An electricity filled the air. My wife saw the flash first. Startled, she grabbed my arm and squeezed. I looked into the sky, just above Burney Mountain as the explosion occurred. Fiery boulders scattered in all directions. Although we were more than five miles away from the blast, we could feel the wave of heat as it screamed past us. The ground beneath our feet trembled and rolled. Our instinct said run but our curiosity said investigate. Without a word between us, we wound our way through the forest toward the blast, making sure to stay on the trail, our only sure means of retreat. The closer we drew to the base of the mountain, the more dense and dark the air became. There was an underlying smell of soot and ashes. We slowed to a snail's pace, covering our noses with our hands, planning each step, surveying the land, listening. The bridge was now the only thing between us and the trail to the top of the mountain. The small stream which normally flowed beneath the bridge was now only a steaming, bubbling trickle of water. This was decision time. Step onto this bridge and there was no turning back. Crouching low, hanging tight to one another we hesitated, but only for a moment. One deep breath, one first cautious step and the die was cast. The earth trembled. The bridge shook. The air crackled. Hair on my arms and neck stood on end. We were almost to the other side. I feared the worst. Whose decision was this anyway, to make the crossing......
I took this photo of Michael and his dog in 1979. It was taken not long after I returned to civilian life after serving in the Air Force. I returned home in the fall of 1976 and immediately began looking at catalogs from colleges, universities and art schools all around the country. I already had a degree in Mechanical Engineering but after working as a graphic artist in the Air Force I decided to go back to school and get a degree in art or graphic design or photography. It took me a year to decide on a college. During that time I worked as a graphic designer and production artist. I also got involved in Boy Scouting during that time as an assistant scoutmaster. Combat training in the service, combined with years of experience hiking and exploring in the mountains provided me with capabilities well suited for teaching boys scouting skills required for merit badges like camping and hiking, and some newly created merit badges like emergency preparedness, wilderness survival and orienteering. Although backpacking wasn't a merit badge in those days, I did a lot of backpacking with the Carolina Mountain Club and as I learned new backpacking skills in that club, I could pass my knowledge on to the boys in our troop. Michael was a member of the scout troop. Even though I moved away from that area in late 1978 to go to college, for a long time I went back once a month, fitting in a camping trip with the old crew as often as possible. One of the first classes I took in my new college career was photography. I had a new Canon AE1 and I totally got into photography, including darkroom processing. So not only did I shoot this image, but I processed and printed it as well.
Nor priest nor sibyl vainly learned;
On Grecian shrine or Aztec mound
No censer idly burned.
That power the old-time worships knew,
The Corybantes' frenzied dance,
The Pythian priestess swooning through
The wonderland of trance.
And Nature holds, in wood and field,
Her thousand sunlit censers still;
To spells of flower and shrub we yield
Against or with our will.
I climbed a hill path strange and new
With slow feet, pausing at each turn;
A sudden waft of west wind blew
The breath of the sweet fern.
That fragrance from my vision swept
The alien landscape; in its stead,
Up fairer hills of youth I stepped,
As light of heart as tread.
I saw my boyhood's lakelet shine
Once more through rifts of woodland shade;
I knew my river's winding line
By morning mist betrayed.
With me June's freshness, lapsing brook,
Murmurs of leaf and bee, the call
Of birds, and one in voice and look
In keeping with them all.
A fern beside the way we went
She plucked, and, smiling, held it up,
While from her hand the wild, sweet scent
I drank as from a cup.
O potent witchery of smell!
The dust-dry leaves to life return,
And she who plucked them owns the spell
And lifts her ghostly fern.
Or sense or spirit? Who shall say
What touch the chord of memory thrills?
It passed, and left the August day
Ablaze on lonely hills.
John Greenleaf Whittier
You'll find it nice,
The quickest way to paradise.
When you practise,
Here's the thing to know,
Simply say as you go...
I'll build a stairway to Paradise
With a new step ev'ry day !
I'm gonna get there at any price;
Stand aside, I'm on my way !
I've got the blues
And up above it's so fair.
Shoes ! Go on and carry me there !
I'll build a stairway to Paradise
With a new step ev'ry day.
Then I taught the third in a series of photoshop classes at work. It's funny. It was almost like talking to the fourth graders, except most of the class was in their mid to late twenties. These students were eager to learn about photoshop and how they can use it to create background images for powerpoint presentations.
Then to top the day off, my wife and I taught an art class this evening. It was the third in a series of six classes. Tonight's class was contour drawing as a warm-up exercise and then on to drawing from photographs. Next week we will begin creating pen and watercolor wash paintings from tonight's drawings.
What a great day! Did I say that already.