Saturday, October 9, 2010

# 16: Well, I am on the road again! After leaving the Hidden Valley campground near Jamestown NY, I parked two weeks in Bath NY. The first weekend I went to the UA NY – PENN 8th Annual Fall Conference in Waverly NY which is directly on the Pennsylvania state line. While parked in Bath I also went to Letchworth State Park which is a magnificent sight. From there I went east to I-81 south, stopped in Maryland one night and am now in a campground in Lexington Virginia. Maryland is the sixteenth state (plus Ontario) I have visited this year. I plan to leave here next week and will be in Ladson South Carolina next Thursday or so and expect to stay there for about five weeks.

The first meeting in Waverly was a social gathering Friday evening. I was driving down a narrow dark street in the Monster (Ford F350) looking for the street to turn onto, but was having trouble seeing the street signs which were covered by tree branches (they were even difficult to see in the daytime). I knew I was well past the turn and was looking for a place to get directions when I saw what appeared to be a woman and two small children walking along the dark street dragging suitcases. I wondered if they had been evicted from their home. I passed them by, but later I realized that I should have stopped and asked them for directions and offer to help them, that is the way Jesus would have handled the situation.

“The beauty and sublimity, the humanity and divinity, the simplicity and uniqueness, of Jesus’ life on earth present such a striking and appealing picture of man-saving and God-revealing that the theologians and philosophers of all time should be effectively restrained from daring to form creeds or create theological systems of spiritual bondage out of such a transcendental bestowal of God in the form of man. In Jesus the universe produced a mortal man in whom the spirit of love triumphed over the material handicaps of time and overcame the fact of physical origin.”  Urantia Book (2084.2) (195:10.2)

The Waverly conference was held at the lovely home of Ralph and Betty Zehr overlooking the beautiful New York state countryside.  As with all such conferences, it was attended by a wide variety of Urantians.  It is always a joy to meet and be with such people.  There were people from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New York State and Canada.  Gaetan Charland, president of UAI gave an interesting talk about his work assisting Urantia Book study groups all over the world.  There were also three workshop sessions.  Planning for and hosting a small conference such as this gives something for a study group to concentrate on besides just reading the book all the time.  These mini conferences are an excellent idea.

I spent one cloudy day exploring Letchworth State Park; I hoped to do more exploring there but the weather was wet and rainy most of the time I was in the area.  The park straddles a gorge formed by the Genesee River south of Rochester, in places the cliffs are nearly 600 feet high.  The leaves were starting to turn colors but they did not show up well because of the poor lighting.

One rainy day while I was still in Bath NY, a Pileated Woodpecker was looking for lunch on a tree next to my parking space. I tried to use my long lens to get a picture, but the light was too dim. In one photo it looked as if the bird had two heads because he was working the tree much faster than my shutter speed. Yesterday as I was returning from a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway here in Virginia, a Pileated flew in front of my windshield while I was waiting for the traffic light to change.
Monday I will drive to Lynchburg and visit Dick Bain and possibly some of his study group. I need to get better at timing my stopovers to coincide with meeting nights.

Friday, September 17, 2010

#15:  I want to finish describing my summertime travels before I set out next week. I plan to park the Wyoming (my ‘house,’ a fifth wheel) at Bath NY for a couple of weeks so I can attend a meeting in Waverly NY and also visit Letchworth State Park. From there I plan to get on I-81 south and make a quick stop near Williamsport MD before going on to Lynchburg VA. I would be glad to meet readers in the Maryland area so let me know as soon as possible if you want to meet, otherwise I will wander onward.

There is such a wealth of teaching in the Urantia Book, how does one choose a quote to include in a blog such as this? I don’t choose, so far the quote to include just becomes obvious.

"It is our sincere belief that the gospel of Jesus’ teaching, founded as it is on the father-child relationship, can hardly enjoy a world-wide acceptance until such a time as the home life of the modern civilized peoples embraces more of love and more of wisdom. Notwithstanding that parents of the twentieth century possess great knowledge and increased truth for improving the home and ennobling the home life, it remains a fact that very few modern homes are such good places in which to nurture boys and girls as Jesus’ home in Galilee and John Mark’s home in Judea... The love life of a wise home and the loyal devotion of true religion exert a profound reciprocal influence upon each other. Such a home life enhances religion, and genuine religion always glorifies the home.

"... As long as we teach the child to pray, 'Our Father who is in heaven,' a tremendous responsibility rests upon all earthly fathers so to live and order their homes that the word father becomes worthily enshrined in the minds and hearts of all growing children." Urantia Book (1922.4-1923.1) (177:2.6, 7)

I mentioned in the last blog that I flew to Charleston South Carolina, was met by three members of our Summerville study group and we went to Boone North Carolina for Michael’s birthday party.  They wanted attend the meeting, but also they wanted to see where I spend the summertime and to visit Niagara Falls.  I offered to be their chauffeur, although I suspect it has been nearly a half century since I was last at the falls.  That time we needed no passports, we were simply asked where we were born and waved on our way.

Bev Rogers, Cynthia Rogers, Manning Rogers
The shortest way north from Boone North Carolina was along the Skyline Drive, always an enjoyable journey. We arrived at the Hidden Valley Campground in Southwestern New York State where the Wyoming is parked and spent a couple of nights before venturing further.

We first went to Lockport New York to see a part of the Erie Canal and its locks. We had lunch there in a restaurant overlooking the canal. One of the waitresses had a pretty face and short blond hair, but she was dressed all in black and was so grossly overweight it would take at least three people to reach around her hips. I wondered what emptiness, what longings could drive her to such a state; was something missing in her family life when she was growing up? We see such individuals everywhere these days, a sad commentary on our times.

Another sad commentary came just as we were going through customs. The agent was processing our passports when suddenly he looked into the car and shouted “TURN OFF THAT PHONE AT ONCE!” I was expecting to see machine guns aimed at us at any instant, all because Manning answered his cell phone at the wrong time. What kind of society are we creating?
It was raining our first night at the falls so we did not see them lit up after dark, but outside of that the weather was perfect throughout.  The flowers were springlike and well tended (just for us tourists).

On a sudden impulse we got on the Maid of the Mist boat ride and were able to get a closeup look at the falls. A guide we talked to before boarding suggested I ride on the first deck as it would be less crowded than the top and he gave me pointers on how to keep my camera dry, sort of. It was a fun ride.

We had no set itinerary but we visited Niagara on the Lake and went on to Toronto.  There was some discussion about seeing the sights there, but I am not a big city person and there would be too much walking for Bev.

We drove along Lake Ontario and spent the night outside of Kingston. Not our favorite of motels, I didn’t even want to get on the floor to do my morning exercises there!
The next morning we went into Kingston which is at the end of the lake. We intended to take a boat ride into the Thousand Isles; there was one leaving at eleven which was an hour and a half long. I let the others off to get tickets while I parked the car but when I came back Manning shouted “Hurry!” It seems that the boat leaving at eleven was full but the one leaving at ten thirty had just enough spaces for us, it was a three hour tour and was leaving momentarily. It was fabulous! The shouter ride would miss the prettiest sights and our boat had a two piece band with live music!

In about a week I took nearly six hundred pictures and it was a wonderful excursion, except that we all came down with a bug of some sort afterwards. We all survived, but Bev needed a stay in the hospital. He has fully recovered now and we are all well and ready for another adventure.

By the way, in the last week a flock of about eight wild turkeys has wandered past my house several times; I will miss the wild life in this campground.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

#14:  Whew! Last night I counted how many states I have visited or driven through this year, it was fifteen states and one Canadian Province. No wonder I feel a bit drained; it is time to get my batteries recharged because it will soon be time to move my house once again. This has been a fantastic year already and there are more than three months left! I have many pictures and I would be glad to show them whenever.

The following quote from the Urantia Book will need a bit of explaining but I chose it because it relates to a thought I had during the meeting near Boone North Carolina which I will discuss below. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Urantia Book, one of its important teachings is that each of us is indwelt by a prepersonal fragment of God called the Thought Adjuster (it is also described by other names such as Mystery Monitor; one name which occurred to me is God’s Promise of Eternity.)

"The Thought Adjuster is engaged in a constant effort so to spiritualize your mind as to evolve your morontia soul; but you yourself are mostly unconscious of this inner ministry. You are quite incapable of distinguishing the product of your own material intellect from that of the conjoint activities of your soul and the Adjuster.

"Certain abrupt presentations of thoughts, conclusions, and other pictures of mind are sometimes the direct or indirect work of the Adjuster; but far more often they are the sudden emergence into consciousness of ideas which have been grouping themselves together in the submerged mental levels, natural and everyday occurrences of normal and ordinary psychic function inherent in the circuits of the evolving animal mind. (In contrast with these subconscious emanations, the revelations of the Adjuster appear through the realms of the superconscious.)"  Urantia Book (1207.2,3) (110:4.2,3)

I flew to South Carolina and met three members of our Summerville study group; we then drove to Boone North Carolina. The actual meeting celebrating Michael’s birthday was nearby at Valle Crucis, but the sleeping arrangements there were dormitory style so we stayed in Boone instead. This photograph gives an idea of the beautiful countryside and this building is where we had our meals.
The meetings were inspirational and varied: Dick Bain showed some of the Jesus videos he has done, there were musical sessions led by an expert hammer dulcimer performer and a workshop session, more on this below.
The leader of the group was Steve Law who is at the bottom left in this photograph. As usual, one of the most rewarding parts of the meeting was the time spent talking with other readers of the Urantia Book. There was also a small chapel next to the lodge, one evening there was a moving service using a fine pipe organ (unfortunately I managed to misplace my meeting notes so I cannot give the special name of this service.)
One afternoon we split into groups for discussions. I chose the one on outreach efforts since I have started doing something along this line. During the discussion the above quote was read to our little group. At that time I had the inspiration that such thoughts which arise suddenly could be tested as follows. If the thought or proposed action glorifies God then it might perhaps have originated from the Thought Adjuster but if it glorifies me or another person then it is unlikely to have a worthy source. It has happened more than once that the messenger gets glorified while the message becomes secondary.
One afternoon I hiked to some nearby falls. This young lady was not part of our group, but she has the proper meditative attitude for such a beautiful place.

There were a group of young students sharing the small facility with us who were singers from the Charlotte school system, frequently we could hear them practicing. On the final night our group gathered on the above porch for a short serenade. The singers filed in quietly and the director gave an introduction. The porch was in total darkness and it would have been better if we could have seen them, but their music, accompanied only by crickets and other night sounds, was heavenly.

After the meeting the four of us drove here to Hidden Valley and then into Canada, but that is the subject of another blog.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

#13: My pilgrimage to the Education for Outreach Conference in Boulder Colorado was a thrilling and high energy experience. Friday and Saturday’s meetings started at 9:30 AM and were not over before 10:00 PM. Thursday there were sessions in the afternoon and evening while on Sunday there was a morning session. In addition, on two mornings I got up early (leaving at 4:30 AM!) and went with Don Ware as he watched for birds and I soaked in the wonderful sights and got some great photographs, see below. The presentations at the conference were inspiring, interesting and informative, the discussions were lively but the most inspiring moment was experienced after the conference was over in the motel where most of us stayed.

Today’s quote is the last paragraph in the book.

"And God-consciousness is equivalent to the integration of the self with the universe, and on its highest  levels of spiritual reality. Only the spirit content of any value is imperishable. Even that which is true, beautiful, and good may not perish in human experience….. And all these things are a part of the Universal Father. The Father is living love, and this life of the Father is in his Sons. And the spirit of the Father is in his Sons’ sons — mortal men. When all is said and done, the Father idea is still the highest human concept of God." Urantia Book (2097.3) (196:3.35)

The above photograph gives only a small hint of the wildflowers, there can be no photograph of the experience of being out in His wondrous creation at dawn with the birds singing, the newborn day illuminating the hills and the wildflowers like gems in fresh green fields.

(Goodness, I thought I quit writing poetry!)

Saturday afternoon the featured speaker was Dr. Lyone Fein who is an Assistant Professor at Denison College in Ohio. She teaches a course on comparative religion, the last segment of which studies the Urantia Book; hers is the only course known to include such a study. In her presentation and later discussions she employed a rigorous scholarly approach which was certainly appreciated. There were also discussions about how to approach local colleges and universities in outreach efforts.

Friday there were presentations by representatives from the Urantia Foundation, the Urantia Fellowship, UAI and others highlighting outreach efforts. The announcement that most interested me is that there are plans to soon open a comprehensive online listing of study groups which will include all sources. That would be helpful to me in finding groups as I Wander.

Friday evening Roger Basset gave a fascinating account of his work with the image on the Shroud of Turin. As an artist he studied this image until he is able to perceive it as a three dimensional image. He has used computer processing to enhance this image and the result is stunning. Copies of the print are available from the artist (contact me for details).

Saturday there was a panel discussion titled “Booths, Multimedia, and Other Bold Maneuvers” which included yours truly. Since I was not a booth or a multimedia I suppose they thought I was a bold maneuver. My presentation was about ten minutes long and was well received, thank you everyone. I may post it on this blog when I figure out how.

Sunday after the conference was over I was sitting in the lobby of the motel with Don waiting for someone to join us for supper. While waiting we asked the young lady working behind the motel counter if she would get a copy of the Urantia Book. We had previously spoken to two of them, who were probably twenty-something, about the revelation. She said they already spoken to the motel owner about getting two copies for the small library at the motel. When we asked her why she replied that our group was the happiest group they ever had and she wanted to read the book and find out why. They recently had another group on spiritual retreat staying with them and some of them were really grumpy. Our group was the happiest group they had ever seen. That story sums up the conference quite well.

I delayed going back to Southwestern New York State by one day so I could get a short look at the mountains. I was privileged to accompany Dr. Fein as we took a hike and also drove into the mountains. Even though it rained in the afternoon it was still a great day.

Next week I fly to Charleston South Carolina to meet with our Summerville group so we can go to Boone North Carolina for Michael’s birthday, stay tuned to this station for updates!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

#12:   I have just returned from Boulder Colorado where I attended the Education for Outreach Conference which was sponsored by UB the News. It was a thrilling experience to be a part of it, even though I had to give a speech! A further description of the conference will have to wait until next time as the last blog left the canyon tour short of the best part, having just left Bryce Canyon. Starting with this blog I will include a quotation from the Urantia Book in each posting.

"To assume that the universe can be known, that it is intelligible, is to assume that the universe is mind made and personality managed. Man's mind can only perceive the mind phenomena of other minds, be they human or superhuman. If man's personality can experience the universe, there is a divine mind and an actual personality somewhere concealed in that universe." Urantia Book (30, 6) (1:6.7)

I am starting to research a report dealing with the mind based on the Urantia Book, if I can put it all together, it will be quite interesting and address concerns some have about the revelation. Now, back to the tour.

The next stop after Bryce Canyon was at the Glen Canyon Dam, which was OK if you like dams. After we arrived at our motel we had a bumpy ride in a Jeep with hard seats to Antelope Canyon which is a slot canyon, deep and narrow. The light was not good and getting pictures was difficult, but the above picture gives an idea of the textured limestone walls which in many places look like cloth curtains.

The next morning we floated down the Colorado from the base of the dam to Lee’s Ferry which is just above the rapids. This was one of the highlights of the trip. As the photograph shows, this was a magical time on the river. Midway through the peaceful floating excursion we stopped to view some old Anasazi cliff drawings at the base of the canyon walls.
One last stop before the Grand Canyon was at the Navajo Bridge across the Colorado where California Condors were in flight. They have a wing span of ten feet and are spectacular birds. One of the Wildlife Biologists watching the birds had her thumb in a thick bandage; apparently while handling the birds one decided to take a nip. Not everyone gets bitten by a California Condor while still alive!
The north rim of the Grand Canyon is so overpowering that there are no words for it, the picture cannot begin to portray the majesty of the view. One individual person can become swallowed up in the immensity, a vast arena of sculptured walls and canyons.
The next morning I started before dawn and walked to Bright Angel Point; I thought I was OK with heights, but this walk was a bit scary, the path was no more than four feet wide and dropped off sharply on both sides. The view of the first rays of the sun on the canyon walls is something to remember for a lifetime. It was almost magical to watch the shadows and colors shift and change as the sun slowly rose higher. While I was watching the light show I overheard two photographers talking nearby. One said he had a good vantage point but then “Those people from South Carolina ETV came by and made a lot of noise.” When I told him I was on that tour he did not seem happy.

From there we went to Sedona Arizona for the last night and on to Phoenix for the flight back to our mundane worlds. I only took about 1200 pictures on the tour, digital pictures are such fun!

Hopefully I will get out another blog soon telling about the Boulder Conference. I think I will be going to North Carolina for Michael’s Birthday and will tell y’all about that also.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

# 11:  I have returned after a fantastic tour of the western canyons. Then I washed the monster (Ford F350), washed the Wyoming fifth wheel and also scraped and painted my deck. Hopefully now I will settle down for a while and get caught up on a few things, including visiting readers of the Urantia Book and writing this blog more often.

South Carolina ETV’s “The Grandest of the Canyons Tour” arrived in Las Vegas on Friday June 4. Fortunately I had flown to Atlanta the day before and was on the same plane as the rest of the group as we flew west. The airline was overbooked and five tour members were not able to make the flight; they did not get to the hotel in St. George, Utah until about 1 AM the next morning. This was the only blemish on a truly Grand tour.
There were fifty on the tour including the ETV naturalist and his wife, a cardiologist, a pediatrician, a lady lawyer, teachers, a librarian and one retired chemist (me). During the tour I gave out several cards identifying myself as the Wandering Urantian and giving my blog address, but I had little success talking about the Urantia Book. After all the purpose of the tour was to enjoy our beautiful country and I didn’t want to be a pest, at least not yet.

At dinner the first night I sat next to the cardiologist and we had some discussions about the new revelation but the next day he did not appear to be interested in any further discussions. I talked to one man who was a retired Biology teacher and who said he was comfortable with teaching evolution, but that evening at dinner with his wife they said they were Southern Baptists and were not interested in further discussions.

Before we left St. George Utah we stopped outside the Mormon Tabernacle which had been the only one in the west for many years before the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City was built. The grounds were immaculate with lush grass and several large trees; this was one of the few green places in the region. In one tree across the road we saw a nest with three baby Cooper’s Hawks. I got a decent picture of them; the mother was in another tree but too far away for a picture.

The first stop on the tour was at Zion Canyon (photograph above). We left our bus at the entrance and rode a shuttle bus into the canyon. There were cottonwood trees along the stream at the bottom of the Canyon and the limestone cliffs rose on each side. The park has several interesting trails; one trail, called the Narrows Walk, left from an area called the Temple of Sinawava and went alongside the North Fork of the Virgin River. At one point there was water seeping out of the canyon walls and blossoming Columbine vines cascaded down the walls. As we left the park there were tunnels which were so narrow our bus had to go down the middle of the road (yes, the traffic coming our way had been stopped just for us).

That night we stayed at Ruby’s Inn which is a tourist town near Bryce Canyon which had several motels and even a small Rodeo. As I walked about after dinner with my camera trying to take pictures of cliffs in the distance, I could hear the announcer at the Rodeo. The next morning I found a small lake behind the motel and took a few pictures, including one of a Yellow Headed Blackbird. I only took about 1600 pictures on the entire trip.
At Bryce Canyon we drove along the top and occasionally stopped at overlooks to view the spectacular scenery spread out below. At one overlook there was a large Raven showing off, he would strut about and pose for pictures. I could almost imagine him doing a song and dance on Vaudeville. It did pay off for the bird when somebody fed him.
This entry is long enough for now, so the trip will be continued into the next issue, stay tuned!

Monday, May 24, 2010

#10:  I am now safely parked at my summertime spot in Southwestern New York State at the Hidden Valley Campground outside of Jamestown (stop by and see me!). The journey from Dade City Florida to Louisiana to South Carolina and on to New York State has been fabulous. I am working on a slide show of the trip which I hope to post on the web; how soon I post depends on how fancy I get with it. It has been a great pleasure to meet wonderful people at each stop. In a bit over a week I will leave the Monster and the Wyoming behind and fly out west to participate in South Carolina ETV’s “Grandest of the Canyons Tour.” This includes Brice Canyon, Zion and two nights at the north rim of the Grand Canyon!

Before I talk about the last stage of the journey northward there is more news. At the end of July I will be participating in the “Education for Outreach” conference in Boulder Colorado (for information see Conference Info); I have even been invited to be part of a panel discussion at the conference. To prepare for this I would appreciate it if anybody could send me suggestions for outreach activities. I recently had business cards printed which have my contact information, a picture of the Wyoming fifth wheel, and a picture of me with the caption “The Wandering Urantian.” I was at H & R Block in Summerville South Carolina getting my taxes done and another tax preparer overheard me talking about New York State; on my way out he told me that was his home state as well as his wife’s. I gave him my card and he promptly asked what a Urantian was. After a brief discussion I offered to give him a copy of The Urantia Book which he accepted. My next trip through South Carolina I will call him and ask how he is doing with it. This appears to be a natural way to introduce the topic, it is then up to our Thought Adjusters to motivate the individual to pursue the opportunity.

From South Carolina I went to Hendersonville, North Carolina; the journey was uneventful, though I had to wash out my mouth with soap when I got there. The parking spot at the Jaymar Campground was neat, it was the most perfectly level site I ever had and it is well situated to explore the mountains. About the soap, I have a small glass that I pour mouthwash into which I placed in the bathroom sink along with a soap dispenser while I moved from Ladson South Carolina. The next morning I thought the mouthwash tasted a bit soapy and discovered a large glob of soap in the bottom of the glass.

While in Hendersonville I went to Chimney Rock State Park and also drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway though the Smokey Mountains. I did not receive an answer to my email asking for a list of readers in the area so there were no meetings though I found out later there are readers in nearby Ashville. Possibly I can connect with them on another journey.

The drive on the Parkway was spectacular and the weather was perfect also I was able to take scenic walks. It is difficult to see in this picture, but in several places the hillsides were green at the bottom and brown at the top because the leaves were not yet out at higher elevations.
 From Hendersonville I went to a campground near Natural Bridge Virginia so I could visit Dick Bain and his group in Lynchburg. The drive to Lynchburg was an enjoyable 30 miles over the mountains. The first day I was there Dick gave me a tour of Lynchburg, including some well restored old houses and the local museum.

Other days I hiked around Natural Bridge and drove the Blue Ridge Parkway, this time in Virginia. The Bridge was an interesting sight, but I most enjoyed the walk in the woods; also the butterflies posed nicely for me, though I suspect this pair is doing more than just posing.
I made one more trip to Lynchburg for their discussion group. They had a meeting the week before so not all members could attend this one. We read paper 113, “Seraphic Guardians of Destiny,” and also discussed my chart of the stability of elements vs. atomic number which I mentioned previously.

Lynchburg May 16, 2010: Janice Bain, Dick Bain, Rhonda Richardson, Wandering Urantian
Thanks to Dick Bain for the new photo of me for the Blog, I was getting tired of the kayak.  I may try to get out a short blog while on the Canyon trip, see you then.

Monday, April 26, 2010

#9:  I am still in South Carolina, currently at the KOA in Ladson. I missed posting for a couple of weeks, guess I just needed to catch my breath. I had an enjoyable stay with Bev at his place in Ridgeville while the Wyoming was being worked on. Bev was a dairy farmer before he retired and the silos are a remnant of that time. They have the look of being left over from some ancient civilization. (By the way, Bev makes fine martinis!) I will be in Ladson until about the first week in May, and then I think I will visit the Smoky Mountains before wandering up north. Yesterday I talked to my brother who arrived at our campground in Southwestern New York State on April 13. They have had a frost every night and it has been in the 60’s only a couple of times so I will not be in any rush to get up there.

Once I had settled in at the KOA our discussion group had dinner together and then held a meeting in the Wyoming. We read Paper 75 “The Default of Adam and Eve” and Paper 76 “The Second Garden.” Chip is a new addition to the group and asks thoughtful questions. Bev had given him a book only a few months ago; a few weeks later he asked Chip what he thought. Chip replied “You know, it just makes sense.” After we finished reading Manning mentioned something he read on the UBthenews site. The article about Adam and Eve on the site (see Adam and Eve ) presents scientific evidence that a superior gene type was introduced about 37,000 years ago (see especially the section titled “Microcephalin haplogroup D research"). As you can see from the names, Bev has been active talking to his relatives about the Urantia Book and Joan gave him his first book many years ago. Except for one Sunday we have met every week while I am in town. We plan one more meeting before I leave.

Ladson SC, April 11, 2010: Joan Haye, Cynthia Rogers, Wandering Urantian, Manning Rogers, Chip Rogers, Bev Rogers

There are many beautiful gardens in this area; one that I especially enjoy going to in the spring is Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. The land was purchased in 1676 and the first house was built in 1680. The gardens are not as formal as the better known Middleton Place just up the road, but the reason I go there more often is because they have a swamp area which has interesting wildlife.

At one point I could see more than two dozen white egrets sitting on their nests! Some of them were still working on their nests and it was interesting to watch them. There was also a large alligator sunning himself. I had not seen the Little Blue Heron previously.

One last thought from The Urantia Book. When it was published in 1955 it stated that the chemical elements after number 100 would not be stable; at that time the heaviest element known was number 101, Mendelevium. In fact, the stability of the elements drops off rapidly after number 100; I am currently writing a short paper on this subject.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

#8: Ridgeville, SC. I have moved twice since the last posting when I was in DeFuniak Springs Florida. There was a reader’s group meeting in the Wyoming before I left the Florida Panhandle for Jacksonville. I stayed for a week at Jacksonville and I met more readers; then it was on to South Carolina where I expect to stay for a month or so. This swing through the south—Florida and Louisiana—has been a wonderful experience; never have I enjoyed so much meeting people and sharing stories as on this trip.

                                                DeFuniak Springs, March 16, 2010.
                               John Wilkerson, Bill Vasel, Carl Henderson, Wandering Urantian, Don Ware

Don Ware was interested in starting a Urantia Book study group someplace in the DeFuniak Springs area so I offered the Wyoming for a preliminary meeting. I had previously met John and Carl on my earlier stop in town and had attended Don’s meeting near the gulf. Carl convinced Bill who was not familiar with the Urantia Book to attend; Bill kept up a steady stream of questions, when he left I gave him a copy of the book. We did not read but simply talked about the revelation. They were unable to find a meeting place for the proposed group however.
This time the move was in the rain, at times along the way it rained rather hard but I managed to locate in the Flamingo Lake RV Resort which is just off I-295 near Jacksonville. The lake is not much more than a pond, but it does have a couple of water fountains and it must be nearly a mile around. The other day I did four quick laps and the time it took was about what I expect for four miles.

                                                     Jacksonville, March 18, 2010.
                                           Wandering Urantian, Pamela Burr, Jim Weatherly

The day after I parked in Jacksonville I drove to the other side of town and met Joe, who took me to his weekly meeting; usually there are two more, but the others could not attend that night. We read paper 123, “The Early Childhood of Jesus.” This is the paper following the one we read in Lakeland the last time I was there. I thought it touching how the paper described the playmates and games of Jesus as well as how torn Mary was between protecting her son of promise and allowing him space to grow in. During the meeting, a large green parrot in the other room would occasionally add his commentary. Near him there was a Rose Breasted Cockatiel showing off.

One day Jim took me to a used bookstore in Jacksonville where I found a book I had been looking for. Someday I will write a piece comparing and contrasting the writings of Gopi Krishna with the teachings of the Urantia Book; I find this comparison fascinating. The day before I was to leave Jacksonville I went to a tire store to have the tires on the monster checked, I thought one looked a bit low. Turns out one of the four rear tires was flat and had a nail in it! Apparently it had been that way for a while; I shudder to think what would have happened had I tried to pull the Wyoming that way! I don’t know if it is my Thought Adjuster or Guardian Angel, but often I have a feeling to check something and find that indeed it needs attention.

I arrived in South Carolina without anything exciting and left the Wyoming at Camping World for a few days to have routine maintenance done. In the meantime I will stay with Bev at his house in the country near Ridgeville.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

#7:  DeFuniak Springs Florida.  The Sunday before last I went to a study group meeting in Madisonville Louisiana. There were five of us and as usual the discussions were interesting. We read paper 34, “The Local Universe Mother Spirit.” It is remarkable that the last three groups have been reading in the same part of the book (Baton Rouge read paper 36 and Fort Walton Beach read paper 38); this is the same general area of the book I am reading on the Kindle. I am reading this version so I can store bookmarks for future reference.

During the meeting Ed mentioned the Null Hypothesis in relation to the Urantia Book which I found interesting since I have previously had similar thoughts. In Statistics, if you want to prove a theorem you state its inverse and determine the probability that the inverse, the Null Hypothesis, is true. (Not that I was ever very proficient in Statistics!) For the Urantia Book the Null Hypothesis would be that it had Earthly authors. Given its total internal consistency, rich complexity and variation in style between papers it is most unlikely that any Earthly authors could have penned it, but if they had put forth all the effort required to compose it then they would have wanted something in return, money or recognition perhaps. In this context, I have read that when William Sadler, Jr. was first told about the Urantia Papers his question was “Who is making money from it?” When he was told “Nobody,” he was interested. (I do not have the page number, but this is in “A History of The Urantia Papers” by Larry Mullins with Dr. Meredith Sprunger.) I believe that the Null Hypothesis is a powerful argument for the authenticity of the Urantia Book.

Last Wednesday I moved back to DeFuniak Springs; the weather report threatened heavy rain and wind but I saw little along the way. That night I saw on the weather report that the rain mostly stayed south of I-10 where I was.

The next day I went into the town and found the springs; there was a small lake which had more water than usual. As I walked around it, more than once I saw the top of a park bench sticking above the water six feet or so out from the shore. The pear trees were in blossom and it was a beautiful day for a walk. The building in the picture is the Chamber of Commerce; next to it is a plaque commemorating the Chautauqua meeting house which had been located there.


                                         A child picks a leaf, stares at it
                                         Hours on end, studying its veins
                                         Its edges, the pattern on the back,
                                         Studies and studies, then throws it away.

                                         A child studying a leaf, it has happened
                                         Over and over a million or perhaps
                                         A billion times before, a simple
                                         Moment of discovery in a growing mind.

                                        This leaf is a metaphor, its knowledge
                                        Is nothing new, it contains no secret
                                        Ingredients which will enlighten
                                        Mankind, thus ending our sorrows.

                                        But this child with mottled sunlight
                                        On its busy face and dirt between barefoot
                                        Toes has gained a process, has seen
                                        The wonder of life in a pale green leaf.

                                        And this process, this crystal moment
                                        Of discovery, if nurtured and given other
                                        Leaves of life to feed this growing mind,
                                        Could light our way in the darkest night.

                                        So look past the dirty feet, the wind
                                        Swept hair into the clear eyes which,
                                        Without knowing, seek to find the universe
                                        In a solitary leaf of the sycamore tree.

(Written May 2, 1992)

Monday, March 8, 2010

#6: Hammond Loiusiana.  I now have an email address to match this blog: future blog notices will come from that address. If you have questions you may send them to either address. With everything going on here in southern Louisiana it is difficult keeping this blog up to date. In the last week I participated in a web cast, had a tour of New Orleans and took a trip to the Louisiana Bayou. As I start writing this it is nearly time to get ready for a reader’s group meeting in Madisonville, which is east of Hammond.

Last Wednesday I went to Virginia’s for the web cast of their meeting. Since Peter could not make it, there was only Virginia, Charles and myself. When I arrived for supper, the piano tuner was at work with occasional comments from their dog; it seemed only certain notes made the dog unhappy. The piano tuner finished at exactly the time the web cast was to start; on it we read Paper 36, The Life Carriers. If anybody watched, please let me know how it looked.

The next day Peter took me on a native’s tour of New Orleans with the first stop at an old cemetery where he told me its history. Somehow it reminded me of the scene in the “Phantom of the Opera” where Christine visits her father’s grave, except there was thankfully no snow on the ground even though it was cold and windy.

The next stop was along the canal which had failed during Katrina. The wall along the canal appears about ten feet or so high and sits on a bank which is at least that or higher. Even now the water is nearly at the top of the restraining wall, far above ground level where the houses rest. Most of the houses have been restored; the one pictured above is about three houses in from the canal. It is difficult to see in the photograph, but the arrow near the right edge points to the high water line from the flooding.

We then parked the Monster and took a streetcar named St Charles downtown; we looked for the one named Desire which had been on display, but apparently it did not survive Katrina. By the time we neared downtown the streetcar was filled with both tourists and locals. Along the way Peter explained that wide green areas are called “Neutral Ground” here, a legacy from previous times when they separated French and Spanish areas from the Americans. We walked the Quarter and sampled tasty pastries covered with powdered sugar; I will not dare to attempt spelling their French names. While riding the St Charles back to the Monster I got two phone calls, one was from Anthony inviting me to Morgan City.
Morgan City is in the Louisiana Bayou, about a two hour drive south from Hammond so I got up early and was in Morgan City before ten. Anthony said his office is on the fourth floor of a bank building and I had the address but I could not locate it. Fortunately there are only two buildings that tall in Morgan City and the other one is the Hospital so it was just a matter of driving around to find how to approach the bank building.
Anthony is truly filled with the spirit and bubbling over with words. We had long talks about the Urantia Book and just things in general. Lunch was shrimp Po’ Boy’s (fried shrimp on French bread). His main job is AB Marine Consulting which inspects boats for insurance companies and owners.  He also rents out houseboats under the name Cajun Houseboats, allowing people from all over to have a few days on the Bayou. In the afternoon a movie producer from the Sci-Fi channel came enquiring about houseboats as he is planning to film a movie in the area. During the meeting I just sat there, not participating; later the director’s assistant left the room and Anthony went to get something so I was left alone with the producer. When he asked about me I launched into a discussion of my travels and the Urantia Book, I also gave him a flier about Sheila’s book and the address of this blog. He seemed to be personally interested, not professionally interested. We then went to look at houseboats and to see the Bayou. The egret was perched alongside the road; Anthony stopped his van in the middle of the road so I could take the picture. We also saw three Great Blue Herons and a Bald Eagle within a couple of miles. The last stop was to see a houseboat at a Bed and Breakfast run by a Cajun couple who have a broad Cajun accent. I took a couple of pictures of Jeff, his grandson and the Australian Shepherd dog which had been trying to herd the boy, but this is long enough already. After my first meal of Crawfish and a couple of hours of conversation it was time to head out; it was nearly midnight when I got back to Hammond.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

#5: Hammond Louisiana. The journey from Santa Rosa Beach to Hammond Louisiana was without incident. There was one surprise, somewhere along the way I saw a Wyoming fifth wheel going east, the first I have seen other than mine but I didn’t notice it in time to wave at them. Beginning in Mississippi, there were many areas along the interstate where bare tree trunks rose above new undergrowth, probably damage from Hurricane Katrina. Tomorrow I hope to get a tour of New Orleans with a resident who is also a reader of the Urantia Book. By the way, Hammond is east of Baton Rouge and north of New Orleans.

When I got situated in the campground I was pleased to find a good seafood restaurant right next door, Catfish Charley’s. It is situated on the shore of a large pond and my table was next to the window so while I was eating my catfish I could watch the Ring Necked Ducks begging just outside.

One evening I had an interesting thought. By supper time I pull down the shades so that as I am reading in the evening I have the same familiar surroundings and pictures on the wall, this is my house. But in the morning when I open the shades and look outside, the view frequently changes; I may see New York State, South Carolina, Florida, or now Louisiana. It is as if some celestial being has transported me new into a new region with new things to view and explore.

Baton Rouge February 26, 2010
Charles Yarbrough, Peter Callac, Virginia Yarbrough, Wandering Urantian
Last Friday I was invited to Baton Rouge for the evening. Virginia and Charles have a beautiful suburban house surrounded by trees; their circular driveway was a bit challenging to navigate in the Monster (Ford F350). After dinner I read the preface and introduction to “Heaven is Not the Last Stop” to the group and we discussed it and the Urantia Book. During the evening someone made the comment, “Where is George?”

The next day I went to Tickfaw State Park to get some serious walking in; on the way back I got a phone call so I had to unbuckle my seat belt and get the cell phone out of my pants pocket. As I talked, the seat belt alarm was going off. The call was from George inviting me to the Baton Rouge Unitarian Church Sunday morning; they were having what he called a Blues service.

On the way to Baton Rouge Sunday morning I worried (something I am frequently doing) how I would recognize George since I had never met him; I had visions of standing in the parking lot calling him on the cell phone. Silly me! I should have realized that not many people try to park anything like the Monster in the Unitarian Church parking lot! As I was surveying the situation he came up and introduced himself saying he thought I would need something significant to pull the fifth wheel.

The service was inspiring; there was a six piece band (drums, bass, piano, two electric guitars and a singer with a box of harmonicas) playing real Louisiana Blues. The most memorable song, Angel Eyes, was sung by a high school senior; her rendition was quite moving.

Pardon me, but I gotta run
  The fact's uncommonly clear
            I gotta find who's now number one
            And why my Angel Eyes ain't here.

                                    Lyrics by Matt Dennis

The homily by the Reverend Steve Crump was about the crucifixion when Christ said “Oh God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Fitting topic for Blues Sunday! His conclusion was this was an affirmation of faith and that Christ was reciting the Twenty Second Psalm which is in agreement with the description in the Urantia Book.

  They drew a circle and shut me out,
A heretic, a rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win,
 We drew a circle and took them in.

This poem by Edwin Markham inspired the circular window.

The service was well attended by a diverse congregation. Frequently I was struck by the view out the twelve foot diameter window in the front of the sanctuary. The sky was a crisp deep blue and the tree had knots and crooked branches. The view was again in harmony with the Blues theme but if you looked carefully there were buds at the end of the branches, spring will be coming.  After the service we had dinner at a nearby restaurant which had excellent barbeque chicken, there were nine of us at the table.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

#4: Santa Rosa Beach, FL. Last week I moved from DeFuniak Springs Florida to Santa Rosa Beach, less than forty miles, so I could be closer to other readers in Destin and Fort Walton Beach; there is also a group in Pensacola but I will miss their meeting night. I arrived with only a minor incident: I managed to chop my head off. I am at the Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. The sites are spread out more than some parks and it is within walking distance of the Gulf, about a mile or so. It is somewhat more expensive than I like, but five miles down the road I could park right on the Gulf and pay twice as much.

Almost forgot, a few years ago (1988!) while camping in Santee State Park in South Carolina I managed to catch a large bass (after which I no longer had an interest in fishing) and in honor of the event Laree (my brother’s wife) made a ceramic figurine of me (well, sort of like me) holding a large fish. It was this figurine that lost its head during the journey from DeFuniak Springs. She assures me it can be fixed when I get to New York State, but until then I will have a headless fisherman.

The other day, after doing a few chores I decided to take a walk along the trails in the park. I took my camera and left at about 1:30 in the afternoon. There was little chance getting lost even though the trail map I was given had no relationship with reality since new roads and been cut across the trails. With the Gulf of Mexico a mile to the left and US 98 a mile to the right I could just wander about. There was not much to take pictures of but I took them anyway. By the time I got to the beach it was about an hour to sunset so I took my time walking along the shore and got some interesting sunset pictures. It was after 6:30 before I got back to the Wyoming and I had taken 144 pictures; aren’t digital cameras fun!

Fort Walton Beach, Florida, February 17, 2010
Ron Shreve, Barbara Snow, Linda Burman, Donald Ware, Erika Anthony, Wandering Urantian, Joyce White, Alan Abel, John Dirian, B B Anderson

Wednesday night I went to the discussion group at Donald Ware’s house. Fortunately Ron drove me; I would have been lost a dozen times! As the picture shows, it was a well attended meeting; that is about the right number for interesting discussions. Some groups, like the ones in Lakeland and Brandon Florida like to read for themselves while others like our group in Summerville SC and this one in Fort Walton Beach prefer to use a recorded version. By the way, every group needs someone like B B to ask frequent questions and keep us on our toes; for some reason I have never been much of a question asker. They are an ambitious group; they started at paper 38, “Ministering Spirits of the Local Universe” and read into paper 39, “The Seraphic Hosts” up to section 5 “Planetary Helpers.” While reading page 420, paragraph 4 the question arose about Seraphim being negative and positive; what does this mean? As frequently happens while reading the Urantia Book, the answer came shortly thereafter, page 422, paragraph 2 where they state one Seraphim is energy positive and the other is energy negative.

Next week I plan to move to Louisiana, east of Baton Rouge where there are a lot of readers, none of whom have answered my emails yet.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

#3: DeFuniak Springs Florida. I chose to stop at DeFuniak Springs (more on this town in a moment) because it was about the distance I care to travel when I am pulling the Wyoming, actually it was 373 miles which is an ambitious day. The journey last Thursday was simple and without incident, just traveled north on I75 alongside extensive horse pastures and west on I10 alongside nothing in particular.

I spent Friday (after a heavy rain storm) with John at the Glendale Memorial Nature Preserve. Their idea is instead of filling people with chemicals and planting them in lead vaults, they use no embalming fluids and a simple casket made from cedar boards which are hewn onsite. A tree is planted instead of headstones; this pavilion is where services are held near the memorial plots. John gave me the grand tour of his property, including pointing out the various specimens of Rustasaurus who chance to inhabit the grounds. He expounded on the rich mythology of the species which apparently is unique to his property, someday hoping to fully document their mythical history.

Rustasaurus Jazz Band

When I got off the interstate the first sign I saw was for the Chautauqua Winery. (Honest, I noted ‘Chautauqua’ long before ‘Winery!’) My summer parking space is amongst the beautiful rolling hills of Southwestern New York State, in Chautauqua County and I was curious to find how that name made its way to Florida. In August 1884 members of the Chautauqua Institution (a cultural center founded in 1874 and located on Chautauqua Lake in Chautauqua County) came to Florida looking for a location to hold Chautauqua type meetings in the winter where the climate would be friendlier than in Southwestern New York. They settled on DeFuniak Springs and opened in February 1885. Some cultural events are still held here, this Saturday the Auburn University Singers are scheduled to give a concert; I found this surprising for a small (population less than 5,400) town in Northwestern Florida. It turns out the Winery was named after the Chautauqua meetings in town (they had interesting Muscadine wines).

When I get to my summer parking place in the Hidden Valley Campground I hope to start a Urantia Book study group at the Chautauqua Institution, if anybody has ideas about how to do this, please let me know.

Sunday I went to Destin which is on the gulf and met another reader, Ron. I liked the area so much that tomorrow I will move the Wyoming to a State Park (Topsail Hill) on the Gulf which is about a one hour drive from here. I expect to stay there at least ten days so I can attend a Urantia Book study group and hopefully meet other readers.

The following is a prayer I wrote October 29, 1991

                                                     There IS beauty, help us see it,
                                                     There IS love, help us feel it,
                                                     There IS faith, help us act it,
                                                               Sharing it with those in need,
                                                               Gently guiding them toward
                                                               The light of eternal truth.
                                                    May we seek Your will with the
                                                    Totality of our being, now and
                                                               Thank you.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

#2: February 3, 2010
Dade City Florida. I do not plan to write one of these every week, but I wanted to send this out before I leave the Town and Country RV Resort. This is a clean and well managed facility. I had planned to leave Wednesday morning, but it rained so hard Tuesday that I decided to wait a day longer to let things dry out a bit.

Sunday I walked the trail for the last time before leaving for the season. There was a cute little armadillo along the trail (OK, I know they are pests!). I did not have my camera, but I did have my cell phone. I got within three feet and took a close up picture, but later discovered I did not save it, so you are spared the armadillo! I planned to walk six miles, but just before I got to the two mile mark (each mile is marked on the trail) hunters somewhere near the trail started shooting so I turned around a mile early and only walked four miles. I didn’t know what they were hunting; I just hoped it wasn’t me! (Actually I wouldn’t mind seeing the Mansion Worlds, later.)

Lakeland, February 1, 2010
Walt Childs, Cindy Selph, Pamela Farr, Bill Beasley, Share Beasley. In front the Wandering Urantian.

Monday evening the Lakeland group met at the Mosswood center for Spiritual life at the Lakeland Westminster Presbyterian Church. Before starting there was a moment of silence followed by a prayer. We started reading at section 9 of paper 122. The first section contained the poem sung by Simeon at the presentation of Jesus in the Temple. Immediately Cindy obtained a Bible and found the account in the Bible (Luke chapter 2 starting at verse 29) and the two accounts were compared. The Biblical account only contained the last five lines of the version in the Urantia Book which has 23 lines. We had interesting discussions, one observation that was made, possibly more than once, was how real it all seemed, we could readily picture Joseph and Mary and their Son. In an earlier meeting, as we read about the trip to Bethlehem and the discussions Joseph and Mary had at night under the stars, it was remarkable how real it seemed as they talked about politics, current events and about their child to be just like countless other couples over the ages.

After the readings, we had a light snack and said good-bye. The readings were over by 6:30 or so, some had to leave soon thereafter, but the conversations went on for a couple of hours more. I do enjoy just being with good people.

When I had the people lined up for the picture I took a trial shot to see that everything was right; then I set the timer and got in the picture myself. Later I realized there was little movement between the pictures (except the Beasleys, they never stay still) so when I switched between the two pictures it looked as if I were just popping in and out of existence. Interesting effect; it would be neat to post it that way, but I don’t know how (if there is a Blog or Photoshop expert out there, let me know).

Many years ago I used to write a little poetry. I may sneak one in from time to time; the following was written November 8, 1991 (the last poem I have was written in September 1992).

                                                              Spiritual Rebirth
                                                   I have been a shadow on the wind,
                                                   No more than a passing breeze
                                                   Wandering in from some long
                                                   Forgotten swamp of days gone by.

                                                   But I feel myself awakening now,
                                                   A babe pink faced and naked, waving
                                                   Tiny fists, squalling in selfish pain
                                                   From New emotions, New thoughts.

                                                   Will the day come when I shall
                                                   Stand and face the world of Truth?
                                                   I’ll clothe myself within His will,
                                                   Singing His Praises evermore.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Dade City, Florida. I am going to try adding to this blog at irregular intervals as I set out traveling. If anybody does not wish to receive these, please let me know. There is no telling what I might discuss, but possible topics are: general observations as I travel, the Urantia Book, meeting with groups who study the Urantia Book, and Sheila Keene-Lund’s excellent book “Heaven is not the Last Stop.”

Those of you who do not know about the Urantia Book, it is a new revelation about the nature of God and the universe which was published in 1955. I find its teachings satisfying; I have found in them an inner peace which I never knew before. Sheila’s book correlates the teachings of this new revelation with current spiritual issues and the spiritual history of our world. Those of you in South Carolina or southwestern New York/ northwestern Pennsylvania who wish a copy of the Urantia Book, I should have copies to give out when I get there (hear that Mike?). (Colleen and Debbie, I have a copy of Sheila’s book for your mother.)

Urantia is the name of our planet on universe records. For more information about the Urantia Book, see the Urantia Foundation website. There are other websites, for example one discusses new scientific confirmations of statements in the Urantia Book and another explains how modern astronomy fits in with its teachings. I will add links when I get things set up. If you have specific questions I would be happy to discuss them.

Every other day or so I take a power walk of four to six miles on a nearby trail which starts near where I am parked and goes North for 46 miles. It is called the Withlacoochee Trail and was built on an old railroad line. The hawk photo was snapped from my front step, but I have seen similar birds along this trail. One day I saw six deer, the fauns would stop and stare but scampered away when mommy came along; afterwards daddy went across the trail in a hurry, he didn’t stop to mess around or gape at strangers.

Next Wednesday I will hit the road. When pulling the Wyoming I like to enjoy the trip, so I only go about 350 miles a day which would put the first stop at De Funiak Springs Florida. I was surprised to learn there is a reader nearby, in fact John lives only five miles from the campground—within walking distance!