30 July 2011

Expectations

Worry, frustration, fear, sadness, and rejection, all words of ones expectations, felt tangibly in ones heart and soul.

Some friends left on a cross country move last week. They said they'd keep in touch, it was a promise. No calls, nothing. Should I be worried? Sad? Fearful? I feel all of that and then some. But how to express it without seeming churlish?

I didn't want to anticipate those brief calls this week, but I did ... anticipate.  In some ways, I wanted to to share their journey ... to re-live, remember where I had been in the past, through their words, their eyes, a fresh perspective of what is different, so I can remember too. Nothing is lost except the joy of hearing their voices, knowing they are safe and have arrived where they should be.

I don't quite understand why I feel this way. I really thought I'd hear from them during their journey. What did I expect? Updates?  Did I assume something that was not there? I don't have the answers, but somehow I feel ... I don't know ... left out, abandoned ... and/or did I truly know (in my heart) I would not hear from them again as they drove out of the driveway last Sunday morning? I do miss them.

Running the roads

I began "A Travelers Thoughts" in 2009 as a way to share my experiences with a variety of people, not just those in trucking, but those who are in my everyday life. I wanted the opportunity to meet and share experiences with new people outside my comfort zone via a different sort of media, blogging. It's still a work in progress.

This week, I scanned old pictures from my years on the road, posting them here so others can enjoy the fabulous scenery across the nation as seen through the camera lens at the end of my fingers. I've been reliving those memories through these old photos.

The camera didn't always capture what I saw (or the way I thought I saw whatever I was focused at)... and in many cases I was pleasantly surprised and pleased with the results.  I am not a professional photographer not will I ever claim to be. There was no luxury of immediately being able to review what I had pointed the camera at. There were times when I headed home, after being out nearly a month, with ten rolls of film to have processed. It might be weeks before I would see the results of my efforts.

Some years ago, the loneliness and an aging parent drove me home again. It was a choice made out of necessity. I missed the animals (there were horses, dogs, and cats) waiting patiently for my return. I missed being home (at the kitchen table) chatting with family and friends.

I've crisscrossed the United States more than once, albeit in a big rig with access to fuel and services routed for me; with someone on the other end of a 'Qualcomm' (a kind of GPS tracking and communications device); with an 800 number memorized to call for help or just to talk to someone friendly, and/or to call home to someone I know is missed, misses and loves me, too.

A lot of someones always knew where I was within 1/2 mile of my actual location even if I was uncertain where I was. I was never quite alone even though I was by myself in the rig. I used to quip ... "I'm a paid professional tourist. I get paid to drive the truck, deliver the freight, and see snippets of the country at the same time."

Seeing these old photos again has made me want to head out again, like some friends have done just recently. I envy their journeys. I loved seeing the United States. I enjoyed my time as an over the road driver, too, in spite of the loneliness. It's likely I'll have the opportunity to 'run the roads' again very soon.

Escape the heat

A northern Arizona camping trip. Mum had made a reservation for us at Circle Pines KOA near Williams, AZ mile post 167 on I-40.


Our hosts were warm, friendly and welcoming even with Bear and Smudge (our dogs) along. They would have to be on leashes and right with us at all times. We were directed to this wonderfully shady site and in a short time we had everthing set up and were ready to explore the rest of the campgrounds, which offers all kinds of amenities for all kinds of visitors.


The next day instead of heading to the Grand Canyon ... which is only about two hours away, we decided to head over to Snowbowl.


I considered getting on the chair lift and riding it to the top for some shots, but since we had the dogs with us, one of us would have had to stay behind. Instead we hiked a little way up and I shot these pics.


Great escape from the heat in the Valley of the Sun. There's so much more to do around northern AZ. It's time for another road trip, I guess..

28 July 2011

Where are the jobs?

I never expected to be facing the hardships the lagging economy has placed in my path. There's little coming in to do anything with, including keep a roof over my head. I know I'm not alone in this. There are many others nationwide who face the same issues I am facing.

Many years ago, I learned trucking jobs would get harder to get in the coming years, employers would become more selective about who they hired as far as 'experienced' drivers go ... I believed it then. Today, I live it!

I have a Class A license I've held for 16 years. It isn't much good to me except maybe in road construction trucking. In this circumstance, road construction trucking is sorely lacking as well. I blame the economy for that, too.

Any 'over the road experience' I had is well over ten years old and isn't acceptable for employers hiring 'over the road'. I am qualified, and I can do the job, if someone, some company would give me a shot. I'd even take less pay and ride with a 'trainer' (co-driver) for a month to prove myself.

Being away from my three kitty's and Traveler for three weeks to a month at a time?  This can not be an issue any longer. I can make arrangements for them. I need the work, I need to earn a living, I need to make money to feed them, too ... if I could just have a job.

When I came off the road in 1999, it was to care for an aging parent, something I think my generation feels a need to do for their parents. I found a decent job as a 'driver manager' for about a year and a half until the company moved it's terminal out of state. I couldn't justify the higher cost of living in a different state even for the additional increase in pay I would earn if I relocated. I chose to stay put. If there is any hindsight .... I made the right choice.

I climbed back into a big rig.... I did some five state regional running, some local P&D (pick up and delivery), learned my way around the metro area pretty well. When construction trucking presented an opportunity, I jumped at it. Moving dirt, aggregates and asphalt to/from/on road construction sites. I loved it! I could be home everyday.

The economy collapsed! The company struggled to bid jobs and keep drivers working, we worked less and less. They closed their doors... laid off 100 drivers, including myself, with little warning, yet not totally unexpected.

Unemployment in Arizona doesn't pay much. In fact, Arizona is ranked next to lowest in benefits with only Mississippi lower. These benefits ran out late last year. Job searching in a bad economy? I was blown away.... nothing for months upon months.

Then 2010 .... An unknown blood disorder ultimately resulting in major surgery to remove my spleen and weeks of recovery. Thankfully, I have friends who would come to my rescue. I moved in with a friend less than a week before the surgery. Today, I am healthy, fully recovered and I want to go back to work!

I've been doing a variety of things ... A Travelers Thoughts, baby-sitting caring for an elderly gentleman who has been more ill than I the last year ... I persevere. The ongoing search for a job continues and is a major priority. I try to stay busy every day.

Salt Flats

Just what the sign says...."Welcome to the Bonneville Salt Flats".  
A  semi-rest area/wide spot on I-80 west of Salt Lake city a few miles before the Nevada State Line.
It was a perfect day for a few pics. Clear and cloudless sky over head, though off in the distance the building of perhaps a summer thunderstorm for later in the day?
I couldn't stay to wait and see, I had to go... was on my way to Fremont, CA.

26 July 2011

Pier 39 ... San Francisco, CA

I really liked spending time along the wharf at Pier 39. I especially enjoyed seeing the sea loins. According to the wall boards posted along the wharf, these are young male sea loins. They come to rest during the winter months. The floating piers seemed a bit sparse this day, though I counted more than a hundred ... which at the time seemed a lot. I would later learn ... the piers could sometimes be so overloaded there would be fighting for a spot to sleep.

 As I recall, since it was some years ago when I last visited, the weather was rather damp and gloomy that day. The city skyline is evidence of this fact.
I'd come into the city this day with my co-driver.  We'd been laid over with no likelihood of securing a load for another day or two. We' d taken the train from Hayward station across the bay and rode the trolley from State Street over the hill to the Embarcadero.

We walked and walked ... along the piers and other wharfs, stopped into some shops on the Embarcadero and then walked to Chinatown for something to eat. I'd eat in one of the 'fishouses' on Pier 39 on another visit.

I don't know what it costs today to take the train from Hayward into the city, ride the trolley, and have a meal either on Pier 39 or in Chinatown, but back then I could do the entire day for $20.00.

Ozark Trails Tent

I have had a lot of visits from people looking for tents in the last few weeks. So, I thought I would answer some questions I left unaswered when I posted the first article.
This is the Three Room XL Vacation Lodge by Ozark Trails. When I orginally posted (3.2011) about this tent, it was with intention of camping with my horse, having enough space to store all the 'stuff'  I need to take along with me, and still have room for others who need a place to put their heads down. This tent is advertised to sleep ten comfortably, but if you have a lot of  'stuff' like I do, then I'd think four others with all their gear, too, would be very comfortable.

I did notice after one particularly windy storm I had small tears where the fabric walls and floor separated at stake points. These small tears were easily repaired by restitching the fabirc to the floor, then repositioning the tent floor and not staking it so taughtly to the ground. Note: These repairs were something I did after the tent was down.

I can honestly say, the 'rain fly cover' over the mesh roof will keep the rain out as long as the wind is not gusting to excess. The tent will move in the wind but will not uproot when secured properly.

On the set up ... as I posted in the first article ... the directions were slightly confusing and are located on the front of the carry bag that comes with the tent. I asked a friend to help me with the original set up, but since have been able to set it up by myself .. Yes, it takes a little longer to do it alone, but it can be accomplished!

I still consider the tent an excellent value for the money I spent.

23 July 2011

Job search coming to an end?

Yay! WooHoo! Hooray! My job search may be coming to an end...

Yesterday I responded to a post on Craigslist for a belly dump driver, locally. I rarely get 'call backs' from anything I've responded to on Craigslist, so I was pleasently surprised  to receive a call and so soon.

I don't want to jinx myself before the fact. The interview isn't until Monday morning, but I'm kind of excited. Tha gal I spoke with was pleasent and informative. I sense she takes care of the dispatch and hiring process, probably much more, too.

What's a belly dump? In layman's terms, its a big dump truck that releases it's load from the bottom rather than lifting the bed to dump. The dumping process is done by switches in the cab.
I borrowed this pic to give you an idea. The rig I could be driving won't be nearly as fancy or clean as this one. This particular setup will load and carry 23-25 tons of material from the pit to the construction site. When it dumps it will leave a neat windrow a grader or other heavy equipment can move more easily.

Soooooo, wish me luck ... I'll keep you posted on developments.

21 July 2011

Liking the fly spray bottle

Traveler doesn't like the fly sprayer, especially around his head and eyes. I can't blame him, I don't think I'd care for someone pointing and spraying some unknown liquid around my face, either. Unfortunately, it's something that has to be done, so he tolerates. I have a couple of products I like to use for keeping the flies at bay.

Early in the fly season when it's not so hot and the flies haven't begun their relentless attacks on Traveler's eyes, ears and body, I like the Bronco Equine Fly Spray plus Citronella Scent . It's a non-oily fly repellent product I  can use everyday. Since he doesn't like the sprayer around his head, I can spray a little on a soft rag and wipe his ears (inside and out), his forehead, and avoid getting too close to his eyes.

In lieu of using the spray around his head, I use Swat Fly Repellent Ointment , too. This repellent is a clear or pink ointment easily applied around eyes and ears. I've also used it on healing surface cuts and abraisons to keep flies from infecting the area.

Best product I found for use during the hot, hot summer months is Endure Sweat-Resistant Fly Spray for Horses . It will create a repellent barrier for up to fourteen days even when it's wet and the horse is sweating. This reduces the need to spray everyday. It also provides repellency and a quick knock down of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are pests no horse owner wants to have around.

All of these products can be found at your local feed store. If by some chance your local retailer does not carry them, you can find them on line at Farnam Companies, Inc.  The site provides links to on-line retailers, and much more on product information.

20 July 2011

Time for TLC ...

It's time for Traveler to have his hooves trimmed and be wormed. I try to get this done every eight weeks without fail. I have a guy who comes out to care for Trav's hooves. I really like this guy. He's good with Traveler and in return Traveler behaves well for him which makes the process a whole lot easier. It takes about an hour.

While the farrier is working on Traveler, I like to be there with them.  I can ask questions about the condition of his hooves. For instance, are they too soft, too hard, if there is a crack or tear I need to keep an eye on, or if there might be some infection. I generally get a clean bill of health on Traveler's hooves.

I take care of worming myself. Traveler gets this treatment the same day the farrier is out. This way I don't have try and remember when the last time I wormed was, it's done on the same schedule with the visit from the farrier.

Some horse owners prefer to use a dry wormer which is fed daily with their animal's feed and other supplements. Since I don't often supplement Traveler's feed with oats, bran or other supplements, I prefer paste wormer. It's easy to use on an eight week cycle giving the horse complete protection against parasites.

16 July 2011

Dawn

My routine is pretty much the same everyday. Get up, throw on some clothes, wash my face, shuffle to the kitchen in the dark. Retrieve the food dishes along the way... into the sink with water to soak. Start the coffee pot. The pot gurgles, I forgot to put water in it last night. ARGH! It's hard to have coffee without the water. It's a little after 5 AM. What's this? Still dark? No, not dark, just a little after daylight. Duh! The days are getting shorter. I had to peek through the curtain to make sure the clocks weren't all wrong...

Nilly has left me a present, this morning... hairball in the dry food dish. Nothing new. How do I know it's Nilly? Caught her in the act a few times. EW!

While I wash their food dishes, Gibby is around my legs and under foot, a sure sign I'd better get his food down as soon as possible. He's likely to get stepped on if he doesn't quit. Smart kitty that she is ... Puzzle sits just out of sight (out of the way, too) where she can watch. She's more patient than Gibby is. Nilly? Well, she's disappeared, not much interested, tho I know she will surface eventually.... Little kitty meows... saying hurry up, we're hungry!

Yay! Food is ready, dishes down... Gibby's first, then Nilly's. Puzzle and I hurry, hurry, hurry to the bedroom with hers. She scoots in front of me (Maybe waddles quickly is a better way to describe it? She's rather large sized). She prefers to have her food on my dresser in privacy, but she won't begin to eat until I rub her head and back. Think they're spoiled? Yup, it's a safe bet they are....

Back in the kitchen, Nilly is waiting, but I don't know what for, she looks at me lovingly and meows quietly ... most mornings she can't decide if she wants to eat; wiggle, wiggle on the floor; play the zoom game, or eat the plants. Sometimes, I think her 'sniffer' doesn't work, so I set the dish under her nose ... she can decide for herself. I think she eats the plants just to bug me...they're all torn up. I grow kitty grass for them to nibble on, too. The other day I found her sleeping in the kitty grass conatiner, it's time to plant some more, I guess... I can't understand Nilly's fascination with the other plants, though...

Pour the first cuppa, sit down at my desk to enjoy while my computer boots up. Check email, the news, Facebook, Blogs, and start a list. A list? Things to do... what definitely needs to get done today, and what might get done today, and procrastination projects...

I'm clock watching while I do this 'list thing' ... time to feed Traveler and have to finish dressing. He likes his breakfast right after daylight, too. Search for sneakers, rummage for socks and a crappy 'T' to wear ... don't have to look pretty to muck a pen. Find keys, cell phone, wallet, camera ... can't go without the camera, just in case I see something neat to snap a pic of along the way.

Out the door. Off and running... Traveler is a few mintues away. He whickers as I pull up. Meets me at the gate to say 'hello'. Quick rub on his nose, he's impatient and letting me know. Check his eyes, the flies bother him. He continues his whickering as I gather his feed, watches closely and follows me to where I'm going to throw it...he's right there when it lands. Yummmmmm!

Check the water in the barrels. Trav has trashed the shorter barrel but it's still half full so he will drink it down. I make a mental note to clean them later in the day, (have to bring bleach to clean them). The bigger one smells musty. He won't drink from it if it's musty.

Gather the rake, shovel and wheelbarrow, into the pen I go. Pen raked, poo shoveled, ready to dump. Dump the wheelbarrow, put away the tools, find the fly spray. Traveler doesn't like the sprayer, but tolerates, because he knows it keeps the flies off him all day long. He's happy.

I like the peace and quiet around this place. I can hear the horses kicking the fences next door. It's their daily game to get attention/fed too. There were two little bunnies munching on new shoots of grass in Trav's pen. I'm surprised they're not scared of me. I think they're bellies tell them to keep munching. I won't hurt them.

The dog came to greet me, too. Her name is Calie, I don't know what breed she is.. she looks like a basset hound. I think she's lonesome most of the time, though Chuck's grandkids do play with her when they are around. She's not allowed in the house.

There's little traffic on the street, but it's still early, too. I hear coyotes calling in the distance.. unusual this time of day....I surmise they're on a last hunt before disappearing into their dens for the day.

One last check to be sure I haven't forgotten anything, Trav has enough water until later.... heading back home again. Litter boxes! If I don't do them right now, I will be haunted until they are done. They all (Traveler included) know how to push my buttons! and I'm more than agreeable to see after their needs, otherwise why would I have them?

Now, what's on my 'to do' list? Too much... nothing worthy of mention, 'cuz it probably won't all get accomplished ... not today, anyway... it's Saturday! Day off? What's that?

14 July 2011

Fragments...

So peaceful, so tranquil. The water was glass clear, the trees reflected around it's edges. It was like looking into a mirror. A tiny ripple would distort everything and flashes of long past memories skittered away with the ripples...

As I dropped my charge at her last day of summer school this morning, it struck me she's made very few comments about the trip she's about to embark on next week. I see nothing in her eyes, no excitement, no sense of adventure. I supposed she's resigned. This is what is going to happen. It's almost as if she's bottled it ... closed herself off. Something like this is really hard for me to see. I feel her anguish. I wish I knew how to reassure her ... everything will be all right, she will be safe, this is a good change in her life. I don't know how to reach her.

I remember when Mum and Dad moved our family from New Hampshire to Massachusetts. I was (or would turn) 12 in the fall that year. The day we were all packed up, ready to leave, all of our friends came to say their goodbyes .... I watched out the back window as we drove away .... tears rolling down my cheeks which blurred seeing their waving at me and calling well wishes. I never heard the well wishes over the hum of the motor.

I cried all the way to Massachusetts and hiccupped myself to sleep long after the tears had dried streaks on my face. I was terrified, sad, heartsick. Leaving childhood friends, the old neighborhood school, the house I grew up in ... The fear was overwhelming ... the unknown, a new house, a new school, new friends? Would I make new friends? Would they accept me?

It seemed as if Mum and Dad weren't there or were too busy to notice my anguish. I didn't know who to talk to. They were so engrossed in other things. I would never have considered talking to grandparents or an Aunt. So, like my little friend, I bottled it inside.

It's not like this trip, for my young friend, is a day trip ... which mine was all those years ago. It's a long trip, four or five days riding in a car across country, and along the way ... sleeping in a strange bed every night, and everything else that goes along with a move of this kind.

I'm not going to be by her side to share the adventure, encourage her along the way, but I want her to know, I'll only be a phone call away. If she wants to share anything at all with me, I'll be there to listen.

10 July 2011

Travel, maps and things...

Good or bad navigating the highways and byways of the United States is something learned. I was curious enough to want to learn. Through some really good teachers and many others, I learned how to read maps ... route myself.

Before I started trucking, I'd been limited to travel between New England and Florida. My sense of how large and awesomely beautiful this country is was limited. I love to travel (even if it's just imaginary or some long time dream to accomplish).

Going to truck driving school, going on the road, seeing the United States from a big rig, gave me a sense of the enormity of the United States, how intertwined the US Highway/Interstate/Freeway system really is.

I've had an advantage, though. I've been all across the United States in a big rig and though our routing was done by the fuel department ... it was necessary to be able to read a map, too. In a leisure situation, routing is not so pressing though no less important. Conversely, fuel/gas stops on a cross country move/relocation is absolutely necessary.

Over the years, I've used Rand McNally. I keep an updated 'Motor Carriers Atlas' and a 'nationwide' fuel stop directory around my desk at home. Both can be found in most large truck stops or in a local map store. Of course, if/when I'm traveling, the laptop, and these two books go with me.

'The Motor Carriers Atlas' (also by Rand McNally) is detailed by state and includes major interstates, US highways, and scenic routes not meant for big rigs or other 'high' profile vehicles. It includes pages for low clearances, and restricted routes. It's the complete traveler's map book, I  think.  I like the 'National Truck Stop Directory', too. This valuable resource includes information relating to fuel/gas stops, parking, restaurants, motels, repairs, and more. Like the Motor Carriers Atlas, the truck stop directory is designed in an easy-to-read format and is an invaluable tool for anyone making a long distance trip.

I still enjoy routing 'imaginary' trips. Where would I go? Would I choose the shortest route possible, or would I choose a slightly longer route to avoid construction, major metropolitian areas, toll roads? What's my hurry? Do I need to get from one place to another in the shortest amount of time? Do I have the luxury of leisure? Do I want to take side trips or spend a day or two somewhere I've never visited?

Have a place you want to go? Real or imagined? Let me know.....



Posters note: The opinions, observations, and personal preferences shared in this post are 100% mine.

09 July 2011

Counting the days ....

I'm originally from New Hampshire and Massachusetts. A close friend will be leaving Phoenix and the desert southwest in a couple of weeks. We've begun to count the days. They are busy with the final details of planning. They're on the move to Massachusetts ... fresh beginnings and a new home. I'm going to miss them terribly.

I know the change will be good for them, a huge adjustment, especially transitioning to totally different weather and the seasonal changes of the northeast United States versus the dry desert climate of the southwest. This first winter they will make the climate transition. I imagine them huddling together on wet fall and snowy winter mornings... the little dogs sniffing the wet icy porch and snow ... ultimately to turn away from going outside ... for the warm confines of kennels and newspapers on the kitchen floor.

I shouldn't chuckle ... I'd be huddling, too! I've become aclaimated to the warmer climes of the southern half of the United States. Truth be told, I'd have adjustments to make, too, but I was born a hardy New Englander and I would re-adjust just as will they.

The memories...the transition from summer to fall, the leaves in their breathtaking beauty and color; what seems to be a long drawn out winter; then as if by magic... the buds and blooms of spring, and again into summer. The seasonal cylce. Yes, thirty years later I do remember....

I can imagine Traveler in the first snow. He'd be classic to watch. He doesn't know about snow. The cold air billowing from his nostrils before he lowers his head to snuffle the snow and jumping back when it billows into his face. His heavy winter coat would be extra shaggy, the hair tipped with copper highlights making him seem as if there is a halo around him in the sunlight. My imaginings ....

I'm envious, very sad to see them leave on this 2800 mile trip across country. This isn't goodbye .. this is a 'see you soon' kind of thing. There will be lots and lots of tears when the day arrives. The rental truck will be packed, the pick up will be loaded, the moment of actually driving away will be delayed while we hug and say whispered final thoughts and farewell to each other.

We will keep in touch. There is email, we've swapped addresses. We have our Facebook pages where we are friends, we can see what's happening, but it won't be like being able to see each other face to face.

God speed and safe trip!

03 July 2011

Just for today

Just for today ... I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle my whole life problem at once. I can do something for twelve hours that would appall me if I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

Just for today ... I will be happy. This assumes to be true what Abraham Lincoln said, that, "Most folks are happy as they make up their minds to be."

Just for today... I will adjust myself to what is, and try not to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my 'luck' as it comes, and fit it to myself.

Just for today... I will try to strengthen my mind. I will study. I will learn something useful. I will not be a mental loafer. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.

Just for today.. I will exercise my soul in three ways: I will do somebody a good turn and not get found out; if anybody knows about it, it will not count. I will do at least two things I do not want to do - just for exercise. I will not show anyone my feelings hurt; they may be hurt, but I will not show it.

Just for today... I will be agreeable. I will talk low, act courteously, criticize not one bit, not find fault with anything, and try not to improve or regulate anyone but myself.

Just for today... I will have a program. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it. I will save myself from two pests; hurry and indecision.

Just for today... I will have a quiet half hour all to myself and relax. During this half hour, sometime, I will try to set a better perspective of my life.

Just for today ... I will be unafraid. Especially I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful, and to believe as I give to the world, so the world will give to me.

a mantra

02 July 2011

Watching clouds

It's sooo hot here today, expected 116 degrees around 5:00PM local time.
I'm watching the sky for signs of the monsoon, aka a thunderstorm.


There are reports of some rain arriving to the east, and yes the clouds are indicitive of that. I doubt the heavens will indulge me and open around my house, but I can wish and hope.

Favorite shots from 'over the road'

Pier 39 was a favored spot just to enjoy a day.


I spent a lot of time layed over in the San Francisco area in 1997 and 1998. I used to take the train from Fremont or Hayward into the city and ride the cable car trolley.


I didn't care much for the 'pull up' to Donner Summit on I-80 between Reno and Sacramento, but the spectacular vistas were worth the 'slow-slow pace' to get there, and well worth taking a break at either of the rest areas. This pic is the contrast between summer and winter.


The sun was getting ready to set ... (somewhere down there, not seen, in the shadows is Donner Lake). Our truck was headed eastbound and we would take a break in Verdi, Nevada at the Boomtown Truck stop.

Another gift of wisdom

"Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence: as far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons ... speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story and avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue is there; many persons strive for high ideas; and everywhere life is full of heroism -- be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself -- you are the child of the universe, no less than trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universie is unfolding as it should -- therefore be at peace with God, whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul -- with all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful, strive to be happy --"

Posters note: These words of wisdom were found in Old St. Paul's Church, Baltimore, Maryland 1692