National Trails Day

National Trails Day

Now, that’s one of my fave days, to be sure!

We do observe this auspicious day each year and I’m thinking of some of the trails I have known and loved.

The banner photo is of one tiny stretch of the Florida Trail. This was taken in the Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area three years ago.

Planning a trip back to that WMA before this year is over. Have covered many a mile and there are many, many yet to traverse.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Quick Trip Back to the Beach

Quick Trip Back to the Beach

It had been about three months since I had made a beach visit. And that’s way too long.

Because it’s been difficult — as well as risky, of course — to get to the shore, I’ve been eager to get some sand in my shoes again. And to get some good photos as well.

We got back Wednesday evening. The “explosion” of beach-goers we had been worrying about turned out not to be a thing at all. Well, especially since we timed our arrival for about 7 pm. Not too much danger of being being pressed together with a gaggle of other nature-lovers when the parking area was only about 1/3 full.

We knew that because Memorial Day was right around corner that if we wanted to get to the beach, our window of opportunity would not be open for very long.

So we arrived fashionably late, stayed for a bit less than an hour and had a good time.

Something that we did not expect: we saw first-hand how cruise ships are handling being idle while we’re all dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. We saw six cruise ships trolling around three or four miles offshore, basically just marking time.

Here’s a visual about that, though this photo caught only two of the six:

This seemed a bit odd at first but then I realized that I had actually read about how this is working out in the cruise industry. Because there are no cruises happening — and I mean none at all — there isn’t room in port for all of them at any one time. So we witnessed what must now be business as usual; six cruise ships a few miles out, doing absolutely nothing.

We were perfectly happy after and about an hour or so. I got a few decent pics, we both had some sand in our shoes and we were content to find some hot coffee and begin to head for home.

We will not be venturing out at all in the next three days or so. We’re certain that the Memorial Day weekend will have everything — including pretty much all of our favorite outdoor spots — completely covered up with visitors.

I’m not passing judgement on folks who may be crowding together in a thousand different spaces and places over the Memorial Day weekend. I just don’t feel comfortable being among them.

Best wishes to you and yours over the holiday weekend. I hope you have some memorable and life-enriching times.

And — above all — I hope you stay safe.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

National Arbor Day 2020

National Arbor Day 2020

Yes, it’s National Arbor Day today. But with most of America — and the world, for that matter — staying close to home, celebrating this auspicious day is just a bit different this time.

My celebration of the day this year includes two things. Small things, but things which nevertheless help the cause.

I just made a donation to the Arbor Day Foundation. This is something I look forward to doing each year.

If you would like to do that today, follow this link.

I’m also going to use today’s hashtag from the A.D.F. on my twitter account. And that is: #ArborDayAtHome. When you use that tag, the Foundation will plant a tree for your gesture of support and good will. Up to 50,000 trees.

That’s a wonderful thing.

One more thought: if you’d like to take a look at the blog for the A.D. Foundation, go right here.

A certified, hard-core tree-hugger, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Happy New Year to YOU!

Happy New Year to YOU!

We stand on the threshold of a new year.

And my wish for you is that 2020 will be a splendid year, indeed.

I have to say that 2019 was an awful year in some ways.

I have been–and continue to be–greatly alarmed to see our National nightmare unfolding.

And, yes, I most certainly hope to see a lot of that turmoil and tragedy be resolved in this year which is just around the corner as I write this.

For me personally, 2019 was a mixed bag, you might say.

The first half had some challenges and plenty of ups-and-downs.

The second half could be described as 99% bliss.

And I’m grateful.

I’m thinking that for many of you, 2019 may have been something like that. After all, life’s experiences are often a strange mixture of good stuff and the stuff you fervently hope you’ll never have to go through again.

So I wish for you a 2020 with more–way more–of the good stuff.

May it be so!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Mr Basile is not the owner of the banner photo and believes it to be covered under Fair Use.

A Christmas Wish for Everyone

A Christmas wish for everyone today

This has been a challenging year for me in a lot of ways, yet I find myself feeling even more than the usual holiday spirit right now as I sit at the keyboard, waiting for Santa to come down my chimney. Wait! I don’t have a chimney! Oh well, I still believe! Well, the part about Santa, who can say? The rest of it, I’m still pretty big on all the good stuff that we think about when the holidays roll around each year. No doubt a lot of you feel the same.

I’m real grateful for friends and family this year. I take a lot of that for granted a lot of the time, but right now I absolutely “get it”… Some of you know some of the background as i make that statement. It’s all about community, being “plugged in” or connected. It’s not a happy, festive time if you’re in this life all on your own. I do know some folks who are in that kind of a situation now, and it’s not a good thing. They’re not feeling particularly joyful right now, as you might imagine.

The Christmas story does hold a lot of meaning for me. I’m not quite sure if I still believe all of it, all the nuances and consequences and so on; not quite like one “believes it” when the assembled faithful say the Apostles Creed together at Midnight Mass. Some will be doing exactly that in just a few hours, perhaps some of you.

Yet it doesn’t seem at all “funny” to me that God comes to us whenever it suits his/her purpose. Not entirely sure if “he” did in that particular, historical way. Being raised in a Christian family and having gone part-way through seminary a few years ago, I do lean in that direction. But I’ve come to see some things in a different light now that I’ve spent a little better than a half-century on this planet. This planet where almost a billion people believe that God became incarnate, was born of a young woman who had never “known” her betrothed. And that his coming among us in that way was the beginning of a Divine plan to make it possible for all of his creatures to enjoy unending fellowship with him and with one another! In this life and in the next! Now that’s a story! One we humans have been telling one another for a very long time, and I’m quite sure we’ll be telling it for a long time to come.

I’ve been struggling for so many years now about exactly how much of the story still “works” for me and all of that. But what I’ve never doubted is that God, or the Divine, does come to us and among us all the time. And I’m finally in that phase of life where I’ve learned to look for it, to expect it and to embrace it. And I know that the other really big thing about Christmastime is to get a bit closer to my brothers and sisters who also bear the image of the Divine One in their souls and on their beaming faces. Some of them were raised on the same stories I was; this one about God being born of a virgin, and many others.

Some, of course, have heard and embraced and celebrated different stories. I’m not very inclined to quibble about the particulars at this point in my life. I’m quite sure that God would love to see us move a little closer together at this time of year, and to go on telling those stories; especially that one about God robed in human flesh, living and dying as one of us. And I’m quite sure that the heart of the Divine is pleased when we carry forward “his” mission to strip away that illusion that our sins, imperfections, and much less, our differences, should separate us from one another or from his Divine Heart.

Well, Christmas Eve has progressed, as it will, into Christmas morning as I’m wrapping up this little holiday message. And I’m sitting here, luminous and expectant, like a six year old waiting for Santa to appear. Like Simeon in the temple, waiting to bless the infant Jesus, knowing then that he has seen and embraced, quite literally, the Divine plan to end our sinful and deadly illusions of separateness. I’m expectant, waiting in earnest to see and to embrace the next manifestation of the Divine. In you, in her, in us. Perhaps–and wouldn’t this be a great story–perhaps in and across many countries and cultures, in four billion human hearts at once!

A wish, a dream, a fervent hope… Perhaps that’s all it is. But a hope to hold close to one’s heart on Christmas morning. God bless each of you today and throughout the year to come. May you be blessed to see the image of the Divine, of the Christ-child in yourself–and in one another.

Ben Lawrence Basile
Christmas morning, 2007

© 2007 Benjamin Lawrence Basile

National Cookie Day is here

National Cookie Day is here

You may not have realized that today is a very special day, but it is.

It’s National Cookie Day! Yes, I do keep my eye on such things!

Yes, you’re very welcome.

I hope you’ve done something special for this celebration. You might be like me and enjoy home baking.

Because of my work schedule and a boatload of other commitments, I may not be able to bake again before Wednesday rolls around, but I surely know what day it is.

If you’re not going to pop a batch into your oven in the next 24, Option B could be to stop by your favorite bakery and come back with a dozen or so delights of your choosing.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a celebration to get to! I just need to pour a glass of milk and I’ll be good to go!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

The “true beginning” of Fall

The “true beginning” of Fall

I think you know that the beginning of Autumn falls each year around the third week in September.

It truly does.

But for me, I really feel like it’s Fall when we get a week or so into the month of October.

So many good things happen at this time of year: the temps begin to moderate; that’s a really big deal for those of us here in the Sunshine State.

A few weeks in the season, NFL games begin to matter. Not to mention the start of the Major League Baseball playoffs.

Here’s a big one: we start to feel a sense of anticipation about all the holidays which we know are just around the corner.

There are many more good things I could mention here. The list is pretty long.

The bottom line is that I truly do love and take great delight in this time of year.

And I sincerely hope that Autumn brings a lot of wonderful things to you and yours.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit: Ben is not the owner of this fine photo and believes it to be covered under Fair Use.

Thought this day would never…

Thought this day would never…

I’ve been going through that awesome, suitably vintage-y Peanuts desk calendar I love so well, counting the days until… until TODAY!

Because it’s the 29th of September, National Coffee Day!

Yeah, it IS a big deal for this juiced-up java head! I loves me some stimulation in the mornin’ and a steamin’ hot cup o’ joe is just what the doctor ordered!

This post was going to be just a bit longer but I’ve got to cut it short.

I’m headed to Jeremiah’s Java Jungle over at 4th and Swizzle; for a mere $12.95, they’ll hook you up to one of those trendy, doctor-approved coffee IV’s!

It’s small-batch, cold-brewed, fair-trade Sumatran! The good stuff!

What are you waiting for?!

 

“Javadog Ben” Basile

 

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

National Public Lands Day

National Public Lands Day

Today is National Public Lands Day and it provides a good occasion to learn more about our National Park system and public lands in general. And to learn what volunteer opportunities there are to preserve and improve America’s public lands.

If you’d like to do any of that, this link would be a pretty good place to start.

The current administration seems to be pulling in the opposite direction. This is not a good thing. Not at all.

If you’d like to take a look at that issue, just follow this link.

Happy National Public Lands Day to all of you today. May we do all we can to keep our Country’s parks and public lands some of the best on the planet and pass this wonderful legacy on to the generations to come.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

 

Ben is not the owner of this splendid photo and believes it to be
covered under Fair Use

It’s Labor Day and you should…

It most certainly is Labor Day and you should take life easy today!

I’m off and I hope you’re not having to put in your eight hours today.

If you’d like to know a bit more about the history of this auspicious holiday, just follow this link.

I’m so aware that we have some time today to just chill and maybe fire up the barbie because of the sacrifices of so many workers before us.

I do not–and never will–take that for granted.

Enjoy the day and take a moment to reflect on the importance of remembering that the working people in this country are one of the main reasons that America is great.

Best wishes to all of you who may pass your eyes over this post today.

Especially those of you who work for that paycheck.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile