This is a small but heartfelt tribute to all who consider me family or friend or both.

I think many will agree that the 2020 US presidential election and the issues it has raised has been particularly challenging with respect to extended relationships. Most of us know a lot of different sorts of people who hold a broad range of views about politics, religion, racism, sexism, LGBT rights, gun violence, abortion, societal norms, American history, and on. As someone who actively tried to steer clear of conversational mine fields for much of my adult life, I reached a point this year where “keeping the peace” became much less important to me than declaring my allegiances. So I declared. I weighed-in publicly and passionately and in a couple of instances disappointed myself by being judgemental of others.

[Sidebar: I was away, distracted for the past 30 minutes, watching a private Wild Kingdom outside! We live on the third floor with a large ponderosa pine adjacent to our bedroom window (could nearly touch the closest branches if we removed the screen). There are two fierce crows, a massive horned owl and a surprisingly calm little red squirrel all hunkered down in the tree. The crows clearly object to the owl’s presence and have been shrieking for backups for 10 minutes or so- presumably in a bid to oust the owl- who sits defiantly unmoved except to swivel his head in my direction each time I “hooo”.]

Same owl, same tree, taken the following day after a fresh snowfall, 10/23/20

Anyway, I was reflecting on 2020 and some challenging discussions on thorny topics and I wanted to wish all of you (family and friends who happen to be reading this) the very best. Sincerely. I’m certain that in many cases- perhaps most- what we ultimately seek is virtually the same. I don’t think I know anyone personally who opposes the ideas of liberty, equality and justice for every person, so hopefully we can all reclaim that as a common denominator and move forward. We may never agree on our assessment of the current president and that’s OK, regardless of what happens in the election.

2 Replies to “Cheers to Family and Friends”

  1. Hi Michael, Hope you are doing well. Just checking in to see how your trek is progressing… Rick Parks

    1. Thanks for the note Rick! I ended up shifting from a Northbound hike to a Southbound one in order to give my foot more time to recover from surgery. I’m scheduled to begin on June 25th from the Canadian border and have been hiking locally to rehab my foot. It’s looking ok but will likely have lingering soreness and pain so we’ll see how that goes.

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