Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

This morning started out with an unexpected twist.  I couldn't get in to the Skidmore gym, which was supposed to be open despite the fact that the college is closed for the day.  So, plan B. I decided to drive over to the Saratoga Spa State Park and walk the loop that encirlces the Avenue of the Pines and the Gideon Putnam Hotel.  I parked in the hotel parking lot and, for the heck of it, decided to bring my camera along for the walk.  I thought I might see some pretty flowers to try the macro setting on, or some squirrels playing, who knows...  Anyway, the light was just beautiful this morning.  I walked at a quick pace (I thought, until I heard "behind  you" by a woman who quickly left me in her dust) but stopped every now and then when I was inspired to shoot. 

The walk along the Avenue was just beautiful.  The sun was pouring through the pines in ribbons of light, and I realized how glad I was that the gym doors were locked this morning.  I heard a lot of barking as I rounded the South Broadway end of the paved walkway, and wondered if I was coming upon a dog show.  Nope.  Today it was X-games for dogs.  There were many breeds, but Border Collies seemed to be cleaning up.  Vans were lined all along the walkway, all the doors open, as dogs waited in crates for their turn to compete. 

Headed back toward the Gideon Putnam Hotel, along the old Avenue of the Pines, couples on bikes passed by.  I think the hotel must rent out bikes because there were many.  I stopped to admire the golf course, and further up I was reminded of one of my first jobs as I passed the entrance to the Saratoga Tree Nursery.  I spent one spring break there pulling up and bundling pine tree yearlings.  It was as close to working in the fields as I ever want to get (probably because of that unfortunate fall off the back of a pick-up onto the gravel road).  Not my fondest memory. 

What I did enjoy about being out this morning was how friendly people are.  Most said "hello" or "good-morning" with a smile.  Compared to how much of my life is indoors -- at work, at home baking, even inside at the gym -- it just felt good to be outdoors and aware of how beautiful this area of the world is in the summer.  One such friendly walker was someone I recognized, not a friend, but a long-established anchor woman on local TV.  I've seen her out shopping on occasion and she is sometimes bothered by "fans" but today, she beamed a warm and welcoming smile.  I took her picture from behind but decided I wouldn't want anyone to post one of me, so I'm not posting it.

When I left the park, I stopped by St. Peter's Cemetary to visit my parents and to remember my dad for his service in the Army from 1941-1945.  As usual, I had a little conversation with my parents, telling them how much I miss them, how much I admire them and my gratitude for my father's service but more for his unabashed love for his wife and children, and overflowing adoration of his grandchildren.  I told them how much they'd have loved their great-grandchildren.  

 It's always emotional, my visit to the cemetary.  Selfishly, I asked for help with specific life challenges, saying "I know you have connections up there (I guarantee they are "up there").  I left telling them I love them.  The cemetary was really beautiful this morning, with Veterans' flags waving in the bright sunshine.  I'm so glad it is such a lovely day,  and that my camera came along with me.

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