Some Personal Interests
I am blessed to have such varied interests. My attention to them moves in cycles: at times I give extreme attention to one of the interests and then totally neglect it, while other times I involve myself with a variety at the same time. Doors of creative thinking seem to open and close at will. One day's intense writing session might be followed by a week long absence of activity. Nonetheless, all of these interests are part of my story. As for my writing interests, check out my Works in Progress webpage.
In addition to being an avid photographer I do have many other interests in art. I find that I enjoy the art (painting and sculpture) that was created between the Early and High Renaissance through the Impressionism and the Post-Impressionism movements the most. Living rather close to Washington, DC, I have easy access to three wonderful collections of art from these periods; The National Gallery of Art, The National Portrait Gallery, and the Phillips Collection. A visit to any of these three will refresh my soul. When I can't manage to be there I have a few books to turn to for viewing pleasure, but it is not nearly as wonderful as standing in front of the actual art. If I were to pick a favorite it would be Vincent van Gogh, followed by Degas and Vermeer.
My favorite painting is Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus.
Beyond the music that I grew up with, classic rock, and adult contemporary, I grew into a strong liking of classical music. I consider myself a simple classical listener; enjoying the music which I describe as most easy to enjoy. The cello and the violin are soothing instruments. Mozart tops my list of classical composers that includes Bach, Vivaldi, Schubert, Brahms, Beethoven, Chopin; the typical top composers. Vivaldi's Four Seasons could be my favorite classic music, but many other are so close in comparison one should not have to choose, and I don't. The piece of music I feel is the most beautiful of all the great music written is from Puccini's Madame Butterfly, Un Bel Di (One Fine Day). For me it is the most moving piece of music ever written and performed.
Hiking & Backpacking
Living in MD places me close to the Appalachian Trail....
I enjoy day hikes, and miss actual backpacking (multiple days hiking, sleeping by the trail). My hiking and backpacking practice is that of being what is called an ultra-lightweight hiker. My pack, tent, sleeping bag, clothes, accessories, and food for a week weigh in at around 12 pounds. Being ultra-lightweight allows for you to hike easier since you are carrying less. Carrying less means you also eat less, which helps you to carry still less.
The AT is a hiking trail, enjoyed by an estimated 4 million people each year. It is within a day's drive of 2/3rds of the U.S. population. People of all ages and abilities enjoy short walks, day hikes, and long-distance backpacking journeys. It offers a variety of opportunities for viewing spectacular scenery, for exploring, for adventure, for exercise, for nature study, and for renewal.
The AT is managed cooperatively by the National Park Service, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), volunteers from 30 local AT Clubs, the USDA Forest Service, and other public land-managing agencies. Within this partnership, thousands of volunteers do much of the work each year to keep the Trail open for all to enjoy. The Trail is on more than 75 different federal and state forests and park lands. Visit them at www.appalachiantrail.org.