St. John Muir, Pray for Us by Corinne Keener

In my last post I shared photos from a trip to Muir Woods National Landmark. It's an incredible, ancient place with trees bigger than what feels like anything I've ever seen, though I've been near buildings just as tall. It's named for John Muir, John of the Mountains, an early naturalist and preservationist (and also an immigrant) who's passion was responsible for our National Parks. There is nothing I could write about him that hasn't already been said, but I think I've thanked his memory every day since we visited Yosemite and even more in these last couple of weeks. 

Here are some of his words:

"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike. "
The Yosemite, John Muir

"Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away; and if they could, they would still be destroyed -- chased and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides, branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones. Few that fell trees plant them; nor would planting avail much towards getting back anything like the noble primeval forests. .. It took more than three thousand years to make some of the trees in these Western woods -- trees that are still standing in perfect strength and beauty, waving and singing in the mighty forests of the Sierra. Through all the wonderful, eventful centuries ... God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand straining, leveling tempests and floods; but he cannot save them from fools -- only Uncle Sam can do that."
Our National Parks, John Muir

Looking on the Valley and Half Dome from Columbia Rock I said, "John Muir is a saint."

If you get the opportunity, visit a national park. Read about climate science. Get concerned. These lands are our Nation's greatest asset and we owe it to our children to have a place to play in and pray in.

Here are my photos from our trip to Yosemite, a place where every turn felt like the most incredible thing I had ever seen.

new orleans by Corinne Keener

In which we get engaged, hop on a plane, eat some gourmet pork rinds, pay too much for a hotel room above the loudest bar in the world so we don't sleep, but we do get to listen to a genuine Cajun janitor attempt to fix our toilet, get on a bus to Alabama, hang out on the beach with my mom, eat all of the seafood, hide out from a tornado, get on a bus back to Louisiana, move into an old Greek revival bed and breakfast with slanting floors and a thirteen inch CRT TV, meet some cats, walk all around the French Quarter three or four times, order beignets and coffee (twice - Café Beignet is the superior choice, btw), visit a pharmacy museum, take 500 photos with my camera's faulty focus, listen to great live music, ride a tandem bicycle, and fly back home.


(Also, Michael Pollan's four-part documentary Cooked on Netflix is so great and has almost nothing to do with this post except for that we watched it during this week and I feel like I need to tell you to watch it instead of Fuller House because Fuller House is an abomination and shouldn't exist. I just read somewhere that it's getting a second season and I am outraged. I haven't been this mad since someone promised to bring Sandy's Donuts to work and instead showed up with Dunkin'. So, I really need you to watch the good things that Netflix comes out with or they're going to reboot Step by Step or - god forbid - Saved by the Bell, and honestly, I don't think I could survive that.)

Any way, New Orleans is a great time. Maybe even the best time.

Now to plan a wedding.

Welcome, Us. by Corinne Keener

I've decided to make 2015 a good year. Not that anyone goes in to any particular year hoping for anything but good, but in 2015 I'm not just hoping, I'm making. And this is going to be my first real step. A website. So we're here, and I'm welcoming you just like I've welcomed myself to the good.

I recently spent a week with my mom while she snow-birds it down in Orange Beach, Alabama. It's an area I was familiar with all throughout my childhood and it was great to go back and experience it as an adult. It was my first trip back since my father passed away and the nostalgia hit hard. My mom and I had a great week, spending time together, relaxing, sharing memories, and exploring some new places. And going to zoos (that's right, plural).