Cliff-hanger pt. 2


Is there a part one? I don’t know. I wrote a post like this once before, but I can’t remember what I called it. After I write a post, the story continues. At times, I want to fill in the blanks, write about the outcome. Here are a few on my mind today.

Man-Crush: Remember this? I wrote about best selling author Jamie Ford doing a live Zoom reading and interview to benefit my library. This happened Friday night. I sort of dreaded it. I expected it to be dull even though the last time I heard Jamie speak I all but fell in love. Dreaded it! But no, Friday’s Zoom was as good as the last time.

I think it’s weird that we rely on celebrities to put things into perspective. There’s no reason a historical fiction author should know more about covid-19 then me, but he does. Asked his impressions about the pandemic, he said: This pandemic is a dry-run, a practice session. The next pandemic will be a real disease, a fast spreading hemorrhagic disease. Highly contagious and far more fatal. This was our chance to see how we will perform when that happens. We failed miserably.

Gaia GPS and Dead Woman Hollow: Actually, these two stories are different chapters of the same book—my obsession with running. For the past year, my Saturday mornings all started the same. I slept until eight and then did nothing for three hours. By nothing, I mean I drank coffee and read the news; drank coffee and read blogs; more news; more coffee; and then scrolled through Facebook. Nothing. When I finished doing nothing, I ate lunch. Around one o’clock I motivated myself to start my day—usually by going for a run.

Recently my runs have been on a wooded trail system in a forested area called Dead Woman Hollow. It’s a forty-minute drive from home. After my drive-time and a ninety-minute run, I arrive home at four o’clock. What did you do this weekend, Jeff? Well, I only had time to go for a run.

This weekend, expecting temperatures in the eighties by afternoon, I left home at 7:00 AM. By leaving my house so early, I took the pressure of efficiency off of myself. I had all day. I decided to epic-ize my run. I’m sure that makes it seem like I doubled my distance and took along a picnic lunch, but really what I mean is I ran trails I never saw before. I made my run an adventure.

This spring I began running with the cellphone app Gaia GPS. Before I run, I download a trail map, and then GPS technology puts a dot on my cellphone screen showing me exactly where I am at all times. I can’t describe how freeing this is. I just run. I can’t get lost. I take the turns that feel right, and ultimately when I look at my phone, I can’t plot a route back to my car. Hmmm, that’s a lot of faith in technology, you say. What if your phone dies? I carry a compass. At Dead Woman Hollow, if I head south, I’ll eventually hit a road.

Yesterday, I actually got lost. My tight, eighteen-inch-wide trail suddenly opened up into a sunken dell with dappled sunlight and a bridged stream. I pulled out my phone to take a picture (something I rarely do), and I saw that my phone had no idea where I was. The steady line that marks where I’ve been on the map had turned into a scribble. The forest density didn’t allow the GPS to get a consistent reading on where I was, and my dot jumped around over a couple-acre area. My map-route looked like it was drawn by a pissed-off toddler.


Here’s the awesome part. I didn’t get nervous. I just headed south, across that pretty bridge, and ran until I hit the road. Out of the woods, my GPS worked again. I wound up about a mile west of the parking lot.

The role of cars during covid-19 for the people of tomorrow:

SophieSophie graduated. Just like teenagers all around the world, she slipped from being a high school student to a high school graduate without pomp and without circumstance. We snaked in a line of cars through the high school parking lot, pulled up to a stage, Sophie hopped out and grabbed her diploma, and then we came home for cake. The teachers lined the parking lot with signs and woos and air-high-fives, and the whole thing felt more special than settling into an auditorium for hours of speeches and a diploma parade. After dinner we tuned in to live-streamed valedictorian speeches, and afterwards we browsed an album of senior photos submitted by all the graduates. A relaxing and happy occasion all around. I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes the model for future graduations.

As bloggers, we open a window and offer a glimpse into our lives. Often that’s just a snapshot, a moment in time. No one but me knows what came next. You’re left with a cliff-hanger ending, one that’s never resolved. Thanks for taking a few minutes to catch up with me. I now feel ready to move on to new stories, new narratives. I hope you join me for the ride.

22 thoughts on “Cliff-hanger pt. 2

  1. Congratulations to Sophie and her parents! As an introvert, I think her graduation “ceremony” sounds perfect.

    Your running adventure sounds perfect as well. I quit using GPS tracking years ago when I got results similar to yours. I’m almost always running under big trees that interfere with getting a consistent signal.

    I hope Jamie Ford’s prediction is wrong but I fear he’s right.


    • I’m so directionally challenged that having a general idea where I am is better than none at all. We’re a family of introverts. We were all pretty pleased with graduation day. We went for a hike to get photos.


  2. Congratulations to Sophie! I think the ceremony sounds perfect. Well, I’m tired of waiting in a line, and a line of cars sounds no different. But I would have loved to skip standing on a stage and would love to hear the teachers cheer and whoop from their cars. Sounds really special! We are expanding our outdoor activities to kayaking. Well, we got one for Bob to try with Catelyn (right match up of weight for an inflatable two person kayak) and the big question is – if I drop them at point A, where are they going to end up? I am by no means good with directions – but if I can GPS them then I could find them. Glad the Jamie Ford talk was as enjoyable as the last. I can’t imagine doing this all again and having it be worse. But, I never thought this was possible in the first place. So, anything is possible! I guess, in general, that is what 2020 has taught me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kayaking sounds perfect for social distancing. We haven’t launched our yet this year. Fortunately we have a couple of close (1/2 hour away) lakes we can kayak in. Don’t need to worry about the whole “where will they end up” thing

      Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s a great burrito of ingredients there Jeff, thanks for penning and sharing it. I never once got lost. Congratulations to Sophie too, that’s lovely…sounds like a good time there. Here’s to just running without fear of getting lost. You’re inspiring me to get out…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your daughter looks absolutely beautiful and intelligent, and what a gorgeous setting. You must be so proud. She must have good genes. ;)) Also a good fashion sense. :)) Thanks for sharing bits of your life. 😊🙏💛🌿🌻👯‍♂️


    • Shophie and Susan were out hiking a few weeks ago and as they hiked past this bridge, Sophie said “we’re coming back here for my senior pictures.” About that dress. Sher ordered a white dress online and she couldn’t believe how cheap it looked. So she went back and rented this one. Pretty smart. It’s not like she’s going to wear a white dress again this summer. She’s a bright girls.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I love love love hearing these details… the background and dress are perfect with her. And smart indeed – white is nigh impossible for any active gal to where pristinely most days. ;))


  5. Ugh! I hope your Man Crush is wrong about the type of the next pandemic. I believe there will be more. We’ve already had so many. People forget history…polio, smallpox, Spanish Flu…etc

    Sophie looks ready to change the world! She’s had great teachers! Congrats to her AND her wonderful parents🎉
    No cliffhangers in my life lately. I’ve been blogging the madness that is my Soap Opera life. Today’s post will be number 80😲 an unbelievable number to me.

    Your Saturdays sound like heaven! I’m usually up and doing peasant labor before sunrise🙄😫😴

    Liked by 1 person

    • And of course AIDS. I suspect he’s right and perhaps, if we can’t get on top of this one, it will be bad enough as it is. There’s a sense in our country that we’re moving beyond the pandemic now and that just isn’t right. If the cases don’t escalate dramatically now (which I believe they will) they certainly will when all activities move indoors in the fall.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Loved all these little snippets into your world. Little *normal* snippets of normal, peaceful life, in the midst of current chaos.
    But your ending, are you going somewhere? Don’t stop writing of your adventures here, please. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m glad to hear the conclusion to your stories. Sophie’s graduation really does sound more personal and meaningful than the normal auditorium graduation. She looks sophisticated and ready to conquer the world.


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