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.