Monday, July 31, 2006

Tonight I went to a meeting of the Syr Progressive Coalition, held at the Syracuse Labor Council building. I almost didn't go because I was up to my ears in work at Peace Action, but I was motivated when I remembered there was going to be free pizza. Well, it didn't turn out to be entirely free, as we all pitched in to pay for it, but it still made me think of TAA days in Madison when I lived at the TAA office and tried to join every committee I could just so I didn't have to worry about finding my own dinner. The pizza at TAA meetings was awesome. I almost forgot about it until tonight. So many of us were vegetarians that I never had to worry about whether I could eat it. The varieties were delicious -- margarita, greek, couch potato... and usually we had enough money in the budget to cover the costs with no problem. Well, tonight's pizza was just fine and the company was interesting. The group represents a variety of local progressive groups -- Peace Action, Syracuse Peace Council, Partnership for Onondaga Creek, AFL-CIO, Syracuse Greens, People for Animal Rights, Sierra Club, NOW, Planned Parenthood, League of Women Voters, and Caribbean Latin American Coalition are some of the groups I can remember off the top of my head. The group is mostly working on issues related to the elections right now -- fair voting machines is a BIG issue -- also there is much interest in educating voters on where candidates stand on issues.

On my way back home I stopped by my office. When I got there, a petite older lady dressed in a tank top and shorts was standing in the middle of the driveway looking for her cat. She came over to my car window to ask if I had seen him. The cat was sitting on a recessed part of brick on the building on the other side of the car. I told her I did see him *right there* and she was relieved. He was pretty much a rag doll that flopped in her arms when she picked him up. A big long haired cat -- mostly white with some black on him. I've seen him stretched out on the front steps of our building several times before. She spoke to me at some length about how her grandfather designed the building I work in, which used to be a Jewish temple. She interrupted herself several times to tell me that she wouldn't lie about such a thing. She finally decided to go back inside "to watch Jeopardy" and I told her to "keep cool", after which she told me she has no air conditioning in her building and it's really hot in there. That worried me a little, because it is really hot and she is an older lady, so I asked if she thought she had enough water and she said she did. She said it was nice talking to me and went inside. I went into my office to turn off the computer and put off my work until tomorrow. I left feeling a little sad for older folks who have no air conditioning. I mean, in general I'm not for using it, but there are some people who really need it. There are so many places that are air conditioned to the point that the building becomes a veritable refrigerator. Wouldn't it be nice if there was some way they could share a little of it with people who need it?

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sometimes, when I want to get out of the house,

I like to take a walk down the street,

past Sherman Park with the little league baseball diamonds,

past the mailbox with the big puddle,

past all the neighbors' pretty flower gardens,

over to Barry Park, which lies on the other side of this Dead End.

Barry Park is a place where I can walk on a sunny path,

or a path in the woods.

It's good to take a walk and clear my mind.

According to Wikipedia, Syracuse has 890,000 trees.
I am tempted to preface this with "This is not for the weak at heart", but frankly, the truth of much of what goes on in this world is not for the weak at heart. I am tired of hearing others say, "Don't tell me about it. I can't stand to hear it." I am ashamed of having said those things myself. This world is full of violence -- most of it affecting those who are helpless to prevent it. But isn't there more we can do than to ignore it? Am I wrong to say that that is what most people in the US are doing?

Friday, July 28, 2006

You HAVE to watch this:

Stephen Colbert vs. Congressman Lynn Westmoreland
So, since my mom

went to the Adirondacks for the weekend, she asked me to check the tarp over where the roof is leaking to make sure it doesn't fly off.

I discovered that the roof is a nice place to be.

The War is a Lie
If you haven't seen this cartoon from Ben Cohen, one of the founders of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, you must. It's fantastic:

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

So it turns out that Kate, the girl who used to have my job until she said "Make me Executive Director or I quit", is going to Madison this weekend for some sort of community radio convention to represent Syracuse's community radio station. I asked her if she was driving and if so if she had room in the car, but it turns out that she's flying. So sad. I had to think about whether or not to ask her to bring me something back, but I realized the only "things" I would have wanted her to bring me are people. So, I just told her she should make sure to visit *Revolution Books* and *A Room of One's Own* on State Street. I was tempted to mention a few restaurants, but again, it's not like she could bring me take-out or something, and there are lots of good restaurants -- it doesn't really make sense to insert my influence. Strangely, it turns out she is staying with the composer who wrote the opera I sang in when I first got to Syracuse -- the one about Leonard Peltier. I didn't even know he lived in Madison. I thought he lived in Seattle. But I shouldn't be surprised. From the moment I meant Kate, I have been continually surprised by all the coincidences. She lives on the same street I do; she has 3 cats; she runs; she's a vegetarian; she's an artist; she drives the same kind of car I do. It's almost like we're two versions of the same person. I should ask her how old she is. Maybe she was born in the same hospital at the same time. No -- I think she's at least a few years younger than me. Anyway, I won't be in Madison this weekend, but someone who is something like me will be.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Well, I did a google search for courses on environmental literature and compiled a preliminary list of books for my reading venture based on the most common books listed on those syllabi:

A Sand County Almanac - Aldo Leopold
Walden - Henry David Thoreau
Silent Spring - Rachel Carson
Desert Solitaire - Edward Abbey
The Monkey Wrench Gang - Edward Abbey
Refuge - Terry Tempest Williams
Into the Forest - Jean Hegland
Our National Parks - John Muir

I'm also going to look at a few others that I only saw listed once, but looked interesting to me:

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek - Annie Dillard
Soft Energy Paths - Amory Lovins
Stuff: the Secret Lives of Everyday Things - John C. Ryan and Alan Durning
Thinking Like a Mountain - Johanna Macy

I guess I'll see what's available at the library first and check some of this stuff out. We just had a pretty loud thunderstorm, but it seems to have tapered off. The backyard was a beautiful emerald green -- I took a picture, but the color didn't really come out. Oh well.

Here are some other pictures I took earlier. There were these two squirrels that must have been siblings that used to play and wrestle around at the bird feeder -- they were so cute -- but I haven't seen them since I've been back. Maybe one of them bit the dust or moved to another tree?? It's interesting to see how different the squirrels look here than in Michigan.

I love this photo of Vana. Again, the color didn't come out as well as I thought it would.

I am reading an awesome book called *The Great Work* by Thomas Berry that has got me thinking I would like to start a book club/ discussion group on environmental literature, because I haven't read the great works of Thoreau, Muir, Rachel Carson, etc. and I think it would be great to have motivation to get through them this summer/fall. This spring/summer I have managed to read a potpourri of science essays/books that are environmentally friendly in nature, but I'd like to expand that into something that could serve as a basis for intelligent discourse on environmental issues and change. If you have any suggestions for books I might put on my list, please let me know! And if you have any suggestions for how to turn an overwhelmed brain and heart into coherent, intelligeable writing/conversation/activism, I'm all ears!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Well, my contacts are pretty much shot, so I have had to wear my glasses for the last four or five days now. Unfortunately, my life is in such disarray that I still can't seem to find my prescription to order new contacts, so I guess I'll have to get used to my new Margaret-from-Dennis-the-Menace look:

Could be worse, I guess.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

So, here are some pictures from the Peace Action National Congress at Wayne State University in Detroit, where I spent Friday through Sunday of last weekend. Here are two of our key volunteers in one of the classrooms where most of the presentations took place:

And here are some interesting statues from the campus near where we met:

Here's one of my favorite Peace Action people, Jerry Lotierzo, with representative Lynn Woolsey of California:

And here I am with rep. John Conyers of Detroit:

These are all the folks that showed up from New York State -- from Staten Island, Manhattan, Buffalo, and Syracuse:

Some of my favorite folks -- Colin Eager, who is Executive Director of Peace Action of Western New York in Buffalo, Melissa Van, who is Executive Director of Peace Action of New York State in Manhattan, and Jerry Lotierzo, who is co-chair of Peace Action of Central New York here in Syracuse.

Tonight I went with Aly, who is an intern at the Syracuse Peace Council, to a pot luck at Jessica Maxwell's house. Jessica is on staff at the Syracuse Peace Council and her house is a co-op of 8 (?) people. We had a delicious vegetarian meal and very interesting conversation. There were about 10 of us in all who ate together outside on two tables we pushed together. The conversation included the following topics: Israel/Palestine, vegetarianism/killing animals, white male confidence, the green party, the unification of the peace movement, economics, environmentalism... maybe more, I can't remember. I think I succeeded in drinking the entire bottle of wine I brought. Someone else made some sort of mixed drink that most people were drinking, so I don't think anyone else was drinking the wine. I guess they have a pot luck every Sunday -- woo hoo!!
Well, just when I thought I had finally arrived in an air-conditioning free zone, after a week of non-stop A/C, it turns out that my mom has now installed an A/C unit in the main room downstairs. The fact that this bothers me just goes to show how I am set in my ways. I have noticed a lot of other people are set in their ways, too, and this often means keeping the air temperature really, really cold! I have always hated air conditioning, except in cases of extreme heat, even before I knew about the environmental impact of it. It makes me sneeze -- and I love fresh air and natural breezes!! Luckily, my mom feels pretty much the same way. She says she only put the A/C unit there because it was really hot a couple of days ago. I guess this is a good segue to my list, as suggested by Susan (

Ten Things I Hate:

1. Air conditioning (most of the time - see above)
2. Disposable products - There are SO many of them now!! Paper towels, napkins, paper plates, plastic silverware, razors, small yogurt containers, other small packages of food, cameras, cleaning cloths, "to go" coffee cups and other packaging, plastic and paper bags, etc. etc. A person who uses disposable products every day can generate a heap of waste that is TOTALLY avoidable. We've become so dependent on convenience that just about everything seems difficult and inconvenient now. Where does all this garbage go that we're creating? What would happen if we all made a concerted effort to reduce, reuse, and recycle??
3. Air fresheners - sprays, plug-ins, candles, etc. - with the exception of the natural ones made from orange peel or other citrus fruit (this goes back to my preference for natural smells -- fresh air being #1)
4. Household products that are highly toxic, but look pretty and are advertised to look safe and appealing (especially those that don't list ingredients).
5. Television commercials
6. Rat poison and other methods of killing animals slowly and painfully
7. Strip malls/commercial development - too much pavement, not enough green space
8. Housing developments - everything looks too perfect -- there's not enough character/individuality
9. Parking lots -- let's turn more of them into gardens
10. Lawn mowers; lawn products. I recently read that America spends more money on lawn than on ANY other crop. Why?? I'm an advocate of using "freedom lawn" everywhere!! (See *Suburban Safari* by Hannah Holmes)

This list probably makes me sound super judgemental and opinionated. Yeah. That's me. My problem is not really with the people who use these things, but with the culture that has created them without a thought to their impact. And now it's up to individuals (and corporations) to take on personal responsibility for creating less waste, creating less CO2 emissions, increasing green space, etc. Who else is going to do it? The question is, why would people want to make their lives LESS convenient? Why would companies want to spend time and energy to change ways of doing things that they think work just fine? They don't! The only way people will change what they're doing is if they can see that it will make their lives better -- and corporations won't change unless they see that the change will be profitable. This is an area that needs creative minds and ideas for problem solving. The first thing that needs to change is the definition of profit -- from one that is purely based on dollars to one that is based on the health and well-being of everyone and everything living on the planet.

I'd like to suggest that the next list be 10 things I love. I'll have to start thinking about that one. To start off, here are some squirrels (and squirrel-related things) from Paw Paw: (Notice the black squirrel with the black and orange striped tail)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I'm about to go to bed -- I am SO beat, but I wanted to post a couple of photos. We left Kalamazoo (or Paw Paw, rather) at 7:00am this morning and arrived in Syracuse at about 7:30pm. It was quite a trip and took some work to keep Andrew entertained enough to survive sitting in a car seat all day. When we got here my mom had already left for her concert, but she left us all delicious homemade mac and cheese (the kind with broiled bread crumbs on top), which we enjoyed immensely. Also, Andrew enjoyed running around the backyard quite a bit. It's going to be hard for me to sleep tonight, because it's hot and I am wired from all the caffeine I drank to stay awake to drive. I'll try to catch up with life in Syracuse tomorrow. Here are a few pictures of Andrew:

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Well, I finally have a chance to blog because Julia and Andrew are taking a nap. Whew! This has been an interesting week. I don't have the proper equipment to include pictures here, so I'll have to play catch up when I get back to Syracuse, but I'll start by saying the Peace Action National Congress in Detroit was really interesting. There were a couple of really engaging speakers, most notably Tom Hayden and John Conyers, and my new hero, Greg Speeter, who is the founder and executive director of National Priorities Project. Tom Hayden and John Conyers had a lot of great ideas about strategies for the peace movement, but Greg Speeter impressed me because he has been working for 25 years now to develop great *tools* for the peace movement -- facts and figures about how our government spends our money -- details for every state, many big cities, and soon every congressional district. For example, someone who is insistent that our nation spend money on defense is hard to sway, but when you tell them, for example, that the city of Detroit spends more money on the Iraq war than on its own fire department* (*I can't remember the specific numbers, but both are in the 200 million range -- the total amount of money Detroit sends the Pentagon is something like 975 million), they start to realize that the defense budget is not really designed to defend them. Anyway, more on that later. The best part of the conference was definitely meeting the people who run SPAN, the Student Peace Action Network. First of all, I didn't realize that the people who run SPAN are in the same office and also work for Peace Action National. This inspires me to make SPAN more a part of my job -- or at least suggest to our board that that's what should happen. SPAN is run by some really terrific young people with really great ideas and terrific materials. It was great to get a chance to vent about our frustration in working with older peace activists who don't see the same connections between issues as younger activists do. It was great to meet other peace activists who are equally interested in labor issues, environmental issues, and animal rights, and that we need to work a lot on coalition building and less on strengthening the ways in which we are different. It was also great to hear others acknowledge that young peace activists are not necessarily getting jobs or working as "peace activists", but are living in a way that reflects their values or are choosing professions that they feel are for the common good -- and that that is something really important that we bring to the movement as a whole.

I have to admit it was a little bit of a culture shock to go from Peace Action to Kalamazoo suburbia, but it has been good to have time to think and write. Julia and Edwin's new house is great and I counted fifteen oak trees surrounding it -- I finally saw three squirrels today. I was starting to wonder, but I think maybe the heat kept them in the shade. It's cooler today -- maybe in the 80s. I have much sympathy for all mothers of two year olds. Whew! Andrew is something else to keep up with! He is learning all sorts of words that he likes to repeat over and over. His favorites seem to be, "Big tree", "Crane", "Big truck", "Bug", and of course "Mommy" and "Daddy". He calls me "Pa-la". Andrew's second birthday is coming up on Friday, so today we went to Toys-R-Us. I picked out 3 books that seemed appropriate for him -- one about numbers, one on letters, and the other about trucks. Julia picked out some parts of a train set, a game called "Lucky Ducks" and a bubble mower. Hopefully the trip to Maine won't be too traumatic. Julia says that he is still getting used to the adjustment to the new house. Must be tough to be 2. I'm finding it challenging to break out of my usual habits, especially in finding space that isn't air conditioned, but in some ways it's good (and educational) to get a feel for how things go in suburbia.

I will be here until Saturday, when we drive as far as Syracuse. I'll have to work on taking more pictures of adorable Andrew so I can include them in my next post.

Peace, friends!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Well, I'm off to Michigan for the weekend. Jerry, Jess, and I leave for Detroit tomorrow morning at 7am for the Peace Action National Congress at Wayne State University. I'm excited to get away for a little while and also to get a sense of what this organization is like on a larger scale. It should be interesting to meet people from other chapters -- especially the more radicals ones, like California and Maine. On Sunday, my cousin, Julia, her husband, Edwin, and their two year old son, Andrew, are picking me up and bringing me back to their new house in Kalamazoo (or actually some suburb of Kalamazoo with an even weirder name), where I will spend the rest of the week. Then Julia, Andrew, and I will drive together back east, because she's teaching violin at New England Music Camp in Maine for the last part of the summer. I might try to post from the road, if possible, but I'm pretty sure Julia doesn't have high speed internet, so you might not hear from me for a while.

Peace, friends!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I really don't like to drive, unless it's on the highway -- and even then, it has to be during daylight with clear viewing. In the city, I much prefer walking to any other mode of transport. This might have part to do with my fear of killing squirrels and other animals, but mostly it actually has to do with the fact that I like to walk, although I'm sure I haven't given bicycing enough of a chance (and I had to leave my bicycle in Madison due to a lack of space in my u-haul trailer...). I have always prefered to live somewhere where I could walk to most everywhere I needed to go -- the grocery store, coffee shop, bars, friends' apartments, etc. I'm finding that Syracuse could be a place like that for me, but I would have to move a little closer to work, I think. Still, I miss those days of living in a city where I could go for months without thinking about driving at all. During my two years in Boston without a car I actually grew to miss driving a little bit, but only those long stretches on the open road -- definitely not Boston traffic. There are actually lots of things I miss about living in a city... most of them are music-related, but there's also the amazing variety in restaurants and other cultural things to do, indy bookstores, public transportation that works (most of the time), ... but Syracuse is ok. I have met some really great people here... and squirrels...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Our freshman year of college, my roommate, Lara, and I decided to put magazine pictures of hot men on our dorm room door. I think one of them was a Calvin Klein "Obsession" model and another might have been an underwear model. I can't remember for sure, (although I know one of us has pictures somewhere) but what I do remember is that I took down one of the pictures Lara originally put up on the door and re-cut it with scissors and put it back on the door the way I wanted it, saying that it wasn't straight or that it didn't look right. At the time I was sure I had every right to straighten up those pictures in a way that I thought would look better, but I soon found out that what I had done was actually offensive to Lara, which took me greatly by surprise. This was probably the first of many important and difficult lessons I learned about how to actually get along with other people. I can only imagine Lara's surprise that the girl who couldn't seem to keep her side of the room in any sort of order had a cow about how things appeared on our door. How does a person manage to be super laid back and nonchalant about some aspects of her life and freakishly anal about other aspects of it? I have been told by people who care about astrology that I have a taurus sun, but have virgo rising, meaning that the core of my personality (sun sign) is that I am down to earth and relaxed, yet the way I choose to present myself to the world (rising sign) is as a perfectionist. Though I don't put much stock in astrology in general, I have to say, I think this is pretty true of me. As a musician I can tell you I would never go into a performance situation presenting anything less than what I think is a perfect performance, yet on a day to day basis, I can't manage to practice regularly or keep up with remembering when auditions are held or keep my bio and headshot somewhere memorable so that I know where they are when I need to send them out, unless I'm surrounded by others who constantly remind me that's what I need to do because that's what they are doing. And I think that's why I spend most of my time in hiding -- because I figure somehow that if I show up in public I need to be put together and present myself well, but since I'm hardly ever that way, I need to just not show up. There are a number of people who actually think I am someone who is very organized and has everything together in my life. These are people who don't see me very often, like my voice teacher in Madison. You have to know me really well, I guess, to know about the chaos in the center of my life, because I like to make sure to present my illusion of perfection on the outside as much as possible.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Well, I'm at work and I promise I'm not on the clock, but I had to see if the form for creating a post was different on this PC than it is on my Mac at home. Now, I love Macs, but I have to say, on the Mac above this post I only have the option to "spellcheck" and "insert picture", whereas on this PC, I get "bold", "italic", "insert link", "quote -- I don't know what that is", and also "spellcheck" and "insert picture". What the heck??! So I guess if I want to insert links, I'd better do it while I'm at work. What else am I to do? But, I'm not on the clock, and don't you forget it... especially if anyone asks.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

My friend, Lara, hates birds. Come on, Lara. How can you hate such beautiful animals with such pretty songs? Well, I guarantee you, Lara will NOT be moved. She HATES birds and that's that. I'm pretty sure it has a lot to do with the fact that she saw a bird peck another bird to death in a cage -- an image she will never forget, and if she's reading this, something she will not be too happy about re-living (Sorry, Lara!!). Maybe she also watched Hitchcock's "the Birds" at a young age not long after that. I can't remember. But we can't help the stuff that makes an impression on us at a young age -- and those things seem to stick the most and take the most time and perspective to clear up. Death, particularly, is something that doesn't fade fast from our young memories. I started thinking about this because yesterday afternoon I found a decaying mouse in the bottom of a pile of laundry that had been sitting in the basement for a week or so. I don't know how it got there, although I have some idea who might have killed it:

suspect #1: Jezebel

suspect #2: Vana

suspect #3: Bear

I tend to be pretty calm in the kind of situations in which other people usually freak out. I was surprised at myself, though -- surprised at just how calmly I looked on this decaying animal, with tiny maggots navigating its tissues. I swept it into a dust pan and put it outside under a tree and covered it with a pile of decaying leaves. I think something has happened to me in terms of how I view death. I have come to terms in some ways with the fact that decay and decomposition are a natural part of the life cycle -- that my body, too, will someday become part of this beautiful earth. This is totally new for me and perhaps is the result of -- or was the cause for a change in philosophy. I've come to think it's important, especially when you become attached to animals who have short life spans, to appreciate this cycle.

But this isn't just about the ability to accept death. Nature is cruel and it's hard to accept the reality of one animal killing another for the sake of its survival. Much harder still is death that seems senseless -- like the death of that bird in the cage or the death of the mouse in the basement, though not many humans would see it that way (for the mouse anyway). We humans have a tendency to look at things as though we own the space we inhabit and everything else that happens to be there is in our way and we have the right to get rid of it. We don't largely have a tendency to appreciate the fact that we share this earth with a multitude of other creatures, most of whom were here long before we ever got here and did just fine without us. And that brings me to another point. Every day, I seem to decide more and more that humans are actually the cruelest animal. I hate to have you take me too seriously and think that I'm some kind of misanthropist, because there are many humans who I love very dearly, but I am pretty constantly appauled at the human race's disregard for the suffering of other humans and of every other creature who inhabits this planet.

Here are a few examples:

Deforestation, which is done primarily, I think, to make room for cattle to graze so that Americans can eat their precious beef (but also for the production of lumber and paper products), has devastated vast forest dwelling ecosystems for centuries and continues to do so at the risk now of our planet's very survival.

In the name of our "way of life", which uses up the majority of the world's resources and produces the majority of the world's pollution, our government wages war, which is a travesty in itself, but more tragically includes the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.

Humans sit back while millions of animals are kept in deplorable conditions and slaughtered inhumanely in factory farms, for the sake of meat that is cheap and conveniently packaged. And we routinely do cruel experiments on animals, not just for the sake of essential scientific knowledge, but to test cosmetic products.

I could go on about how cruel I think humans are, but I'll spare you but one more example. I was watching a program on PBS about the history of Niagara Falls. Did you know that in 1827, William Forsyth, of the Pavillion hotel, with the help of John Brown and General Parkhurst Whitney, proprietor of the American Eagle Hotel, staged the first tourist stunt at Niagara Falls by sending the lake schooner "Michigan" with a cargo of live animals over the Falls? The victims included: two bears, a buffalo, two foxes, a raccoon, an eagle, a dog, and 15 geese. One bear and one goose were the only ones to survive the fall. This was considered "the ultimate in entertainment".

So, that was almost 200 years ago, and you'd think nothing like that would happen today, thanks to organizations like the ASPCA, but groups who hope to protect the welfare of animals and the environment are still endlessly bombarded with cases in which their vigilence is the last hope to save those in need and often is in vain. I hope there are shifts to come in the way the mass culture views our role on this planet... that perhaps more of us can see the value in protecting and caring for (or at least not continuing to systematically destroy and abuse) our fellow earthly inhabitants. Well, and I guess I also have a little hope that someday Lara will like birds again. Not even the chickadee, Lara, who sings, "Chick-a-dee-dee"??

Saturday, July 08, 2006

What rolls down stairs
alone or in pairs,
and over your neighbor's dog?
What's great for a snack,
And fits on your back?
It's log, log, log

It's log, it's log,
It's big, it's heavy, it's wood.
It's log, it's log, it's better than bad, it's good.

Everyone wants a log
You're gonna love it, log
Come on and get your log
Everyone needs a log
log log log

(from Blammo)

Please excuse the Ren & Stimpy reference. I couldn't resist.

Today my mom and I went to the Erie Canal in DeWitt to take a walk.

I actually haven't been to the Erie Canal in the Syracuse area in a long time. I used to run on the canal in Rochester and being on the trail in Syracuse might just have been enough inspiration to get me running again. It's a great place to run or ride your bike because there's no motor traffic and, for a runner anyway, the gravel path is much nicer for your knees than pavement or sidewalk.

There are also lots of pretty wildflowers and interesting bugs to look at along the canal.

Here are some wild strawberries.

I don't know what kind of bugs these are, but they looked really neat flying around -- they're really shiny.

This honeysuckle tree picture didn't come out that great, but believe me, it smelled amazing!

All in all, a very nice walk!