Rare Air Episode 7: Boone Woods

An original March 2015 desktop calendar appears below.

I’ve mentioned recently that we have a new mission as a family, having chosen to relocate to a new city this summer and now, seriously looking forward to spring. Anyone watching the news lately has seen that the East Coast has been experiencing some intense winter weather, and certainly that’s been true for us. Temperatures have been especially cold and we’ve also received enough snow to cancel school most of the past two weeks. It seems like we used to celebrate snow days outdoors more often, and I’ve missed some chances to enjoy winter weather of late. But I’ve also embraced a couple of them.

First, on one snowy February night, Riley had his buddy Elias Hamm over for a sleep-over, and the conditions were prime for night-sledding. Both boys suited up with me despite it being pretty late in the evening, and outside we went with a wide assortment of sleds in our arsenal. There was some debate over which worked best, but I chose the tried-and-true “Blue Thunder” to get some tracks packed down. Read more


Rare Air Episode 6: Sol Duc River

An original January 2015 desktop calendar appears below.

We just enjoyed the most wonderful Christmas at home, and it looks like it will be our last one in Boone, at least from the near-term perspective. In the months ahead, we will move forward on our plans to relocate to Asheville, which is bound to be very exciting but also extremely bittersweet; the memories we have made here since arriving from Los Angeles have generally been wonderful, and with each passing day, they just keep getting sweeter. Still, there is a lot of optimism drawing us toward our family’s next adventure, and since we plan to keep our Boone real estate in our portfolio moving forward, this lovely town is certain to be part of our future as well.

Looking back at our 2014 National Park Tour – and even our 2012 one – I can see the new-growth roots of our kids’ willingness to “get up and go,” and this notion gives me some pride. Read more


Rare Air Episode 5: Bradley Lake Trail

An original November 2014 desktop calendar appears below.

Thank you for following along here friends. I appreciate any interest in my projects, and this footage representing Grand Teton National Park’s Bradley Lake Trail is very special to me, even though it doesn’t represent my best work. This is one of the first times I set a camera down for a minute to take-in nature, where I had a vague idea of how I’d use the footage to help bring you along. The cameras I had available the day I recorded this (7 July 2012) were a Sony DSC-W290 compact and a Droid Razr. Below, I’m sharing more of my snaps from that spectacular day. The Rare Air footage was taken on our hike up the mountainside, not too far past the crossing of a welcome creek, where Riley and I had cooled off, and I had paused John Muir-style to admire the world’s upness. We achieved an especially lovely spot, and I parked myself with the Sony while Beth, Amelia and Riley took a rest.

Right then, it struck me that I had started something new… and that day, there were a couple more times when I repeated the one-minute documentary session. Unfortunately, at that time, I had not yet learned the very important lesson about disabling a camera’s auto-focus settings. So, even though I had started getting into the habit of methodically capturing good footage, much of what I shot that day and for months afterward isn’t really usable, because of camera auto-focusing. Read more


Rare Air Episode 4: Fort Flagler State Beach

Time in nature = sacred saturation. Free September 2014 desktop calendar below.
“Rare Air” is my original series of short travelogues intended to immerse us all in nature, if only for a minute, and this episode is my fourth. I captured the footage on June 25, 2014, on the Olympic Peninsula in the state of Washington. Here’s a note from my journal that day.

The day was sunny and warm in monumental ways… so that the vacation seemed to have turned over a new leaf. Read more


March 26, 1988: Grandpa’s Gold

Today I went looking through my writing archives to find something written on or near this date in the past, and I found a poem written about 24 years and a week ago. It’s not particularly great nor too profound, but it does connect me with an important moment going even further back, to a golden day spent with my grandfather, Urban Lee Ridings. The day was sunny and warm, I remember, and I must have been somewhere around five or so. Grandpa instructed me to go and shake his money tree, and I could still walk you right to the very spot where the young sappling had stood at that time. As I shook, the sound of metal rained around me faintly, and pops occurred in the dirt and grass. Exploring them with my fingers, on my hands and knees, I found coins, and looking up into the dazzling sunlight there was Grandpa’s face beaming, too. We kids really knew he loved us, due to special moments like that one, which I will never forget.

Grandpa’s Gold

by Roger Darnell Read more


Oct. 13, 2013: The Perfect Record

The Perfect Record
by Roger Darnell

The most elegant and seemingly effortless leader rests now,
in a state far beyond anything we followers ever imagined.
Without giving it a thought, it has always seemed certain
that this presence would endure, and rise to protect us

in any time when life had worn us down. Strength appears
in many forms, but I have seen the supreme rendition within
the warmest, readiest, deep-hearted contentedness that is so
profound, it has made stability, security, light and goodness.

Of course, at its best, this is what nature has required to
support life: The essential caring foundation of motherhood.
The loving leadership appears in every act of nurturing
between a life-giver and a life-receiver, and eventually,

the receivers can come to stand alone, where the cycle
can spin on and on, adding waves of leaders from those
powerful seeds of love and care. What a challenge we face,
knowing how far we’ve come and by what miracles,

when we look for that strength and it turns up missing,
or even when it is evidently absorbed in struggles we can
hardly comprehend, deflect, postpone, mitigate or vanquish.
In so many ways, to us, our leader has built a perfect record.

In our heart of hearts, our fear and sadness gravitate to
places so low, drowning seems inevitable: How to carry on?
With that vital record woven into our very blood vessels,
our hearts beat on, filling the fabric so expertly sewn.

(Copyright 2013 Roger Darnell, All Rights Reserved.)


Fifty words

My family members and many close friends are participating in a special project where words are essential. An early version appears here with more updates coming soon. This one is written by Lila Ridings-Darnell, Heather Turner, Bud Ridings, Tiffany Eakle, Cheri Wynn and yours truly and designed using http://wordle.net.

And here is the final version, featuring additional input from Bob Bingham, Connie Bingham, Riley Darnell, Bernice Lurkins, Jim Darnell, Peggy Darnell, Mike LaHood, Joel Ridings, Nell Thacker, Ann Kiefert, Kristianna Bursa Myus, Sherry Ridings, Laura Darnell, Speed Jenner, Victoria Lynn Soden, Molly Gaffner-Jones, Richie Ridings, Linda Ridings, Bart Ridings, Mike Stoecklin, Liesl McVey Gaffner, Jane Davidson Zappia, Denise VanTassel Smith, Dianna Darnell Rist, Marti Reeser, Sara Jacobs Contevita, Beth Darnell, Judy Davis, Sandy Holzhauer, Michelle Munich, Terri McClung, Jane Hilliard, Cristy Willman, Barb Davis Ridings, Rachel Ridings, Jerry Gaffner, Daniel Ridings, Janice McFarland, Kalonie Farley Caulk, Martha Smith, Melissa Schumacher, Teri (Cruthis) Boehm, John Darnell, Marshall Mollet, Carla Mollet, Susan Darnell, Amelia Darnell, Claire Bowling, Dorothy Ridings, Dan Clotfelter and Nancy Clotfelter.


Let’s keep the world beautiful

We are very proud to be joining 10,000 like-minded friends in Washington, D.C., next Sunday (“President’s Day” in America), to be part of a peaceful demonstration. Why? For me personally, I can say for sure that a key reason is the deep emotional connection that occurred in me when I watched the above ad, and another more famous one named “The Crying Indian”, as a young boy about 42 years ago. “Keep America beautiful,” it requested of me, and on some level, I have been trying to do that ever since. Now more than ever, we are aware that the Earth’s interconnected ecosystems cannot withstand all the pollution we can throw at them, and what impacts one area plays out worldwide. This is just the beginning of an ongoing discussion, as you know, friends. We hope you will join us, in DC or where ever you are, in this common and most imperative cause… to keep the world beautiful.


Thanks friends

Originally published in November 2011. After joining in the November 6, 2011, demonstration against the Keystone XL (KXL) Pipeline in Washington, D.C., we have been celebrating good news for the past two days. Courtesy of Professor Harvard Ayers, Ph.D., co-author of “Arctic Gardens: Voices from an Abundant Land,” it’s my pleasure to share the following news about KXL.

“A landmark decision was made yesterday by Mr. Obama — HE PUT OFF ANY DECISION ON THE KEYSTONE XL TAR SANDS PIPELINE FOR 12-18 MONTHS, probably killing this horrible project for ever. The incredible forces lobbying him to approve it LOST!!! There had been huge threats from the boosters of this project. But in the end, our President came through for common sense and for the average person. Mainly, the questionable environmental study — by a company closely attached to TransCanada, the project pipeline company — commissioned by the State Department was the reason for this decision. Questions about Climate Change potential as well as inevitable spills of this pipe-corroding, toxic tar sands oil were two of the major considerations. Does this great victory have larger implications for concerns with the environment, climate, etc.? Yes!! No matter how much money they plow into lobbying for a terrible idea, there can be sanity in the end. Cooler heads prevailed.”

Professor Ayers also shared a request from The Sierra Club asking us all to send a thank you message to President Obama for putting the brakes on the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Here’s where to find the template for sending that message if you share our appreciation: http://bit.ly/ThankBO

Cheers friends!

November 6 2011

Keystone XL Pipeline Demonstration on November 6, 2011.


There we went: 2012 National Parks Tour

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been publishing stories on universal positive, beginning with Ken Burns, Dayton Duncan and PBS: Thanks for the documentary, each of which provides some background on the recent National Parks trip we’ve just completed. I’ve shared many photos on Facebook during and since wrapping up the trip, and I’m also embedding a Flickr slideshow above. I hope you’ve had a wonderful summer so far and that you are also creating some excellent memories.

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