October color

IMG_7883.JPGThe birthday hike’s becoming a tradition.

This year’s was at a new corner of Beaver Lake, the Lost Bridge trail at its north end. Sunday was bright and warm. Acorns pelted the layer of fallen leaves. A southern wind whistled through the rigging and clanged the bells of the ships floating in the cove. A busted pier or two littered parts of the shore, with tiny pieces of Styrofoam lining the water. It would’ve been almost creepy if it weren’t such a beautiful day. I guess that’s fitting for October.













IMG_7889.JPGThanks for lookin’.

Going downtown

_C1_8688.JPGIf you ever find yourself in a fire or medical emergency 13.1 miles away from the nearest road, never fear: Several firefighters around here can run that distance with a helmet, an air tank and other gear weighing 40 or 50 pounds.

About half a dozen of them proved it Sunday in Fayetteville’s Hero Half Marathon, a fundraiser for the Fayetteville Firefighters Scholarship Fund and other charities and a commemoration of the many firefighters who’ve died doing their jobs. One or two hundred other participants joined them on a route around Lake Fayetteville and south to the heart of town.





I expected to find people a couple hours later lying totally exhausted at the finish line, but most of these weirdos were talking and walking around as if it were just a normal day. The firefighters, including the first woman firefighter to complete the race, showed a little more fatigue after it all, but even they were soon joking around — after ripping off the gear.





_C1_8986.JPGWell done, everybody. Thanks for looking.

Using your feet

_C1_8553.JPGNothing like the salsa under a clear sky.

We’re two-thirds of the way through Hispanic Heritage Month, which in part commemorates the independence of Central America after centuries of Spanish rule that stretched back to the conquest of the Maya. The city marked the celebration with a two-day festival this past weekend near Lake Fayetteville. It wasn’t as colorful as I hoped — apparently I should’ve been there at the very beginning — but the air was filled with good spirits and zestful music, and a few brave people from the U.S., Venezuela, Mexico and other countries ventured out of the shade for some competitive dancing. A day-long fútbol tournament carried on up the hill.




_C1_8433.JPGI’ve realized recently I should’ve stuck with the Spanish practice. I studied it for six years, including two semesters in college, but it’s a use it or lose it sort of deal, and I haven’t used it. Plenty of Latino people speak English just fine, but many don’t, and whether I’m trying to write stories about them for work or take their picture for this blog, I’ve wished many times I could explain and have a conversation in the more comfortable tongue. Same goes for the Marshallese around here, though that seems a much steeper challenge. We’ll see if I can get back in the Spanish saddle.



_C1_8663.JPGThanks for lookin’.