Tiny Houses Old Style

Tiny House 1.jpegTiny House 2.jpegTiny House 3.jpegTiny Trees.jpeg

Recently, we visited the Underground Railroad Experience Trail in Maryland. 


It simulates the route and challenges that runaway slaves had to face in seeking their freedom. 


While I am certain that the suffering endured was in no way captured here, I thought it was still beneficial to have people sensitized and thinking about these horrible historical events around slavery.


Aside from the hiking trail, there were these amazing tiny houses from the 1800’s.


The wood cabins and stone houses were so cute, but also so inviting. 


If I had to live in a Tiny House, these looked sort of incredibly charming. 


HGTV tiny living spaces–like the one we saw last night that had only 200 feet and was really awkward–have nothing on these tiny gems. 


The matching tiny trees were also a very nice effect. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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Ending Up As A Rock

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So some people would say ending up as a rock is not a bad thing. 


A rock symbolizes strength and something that weathers time itself. 


However, it’s one thing being alive and a rock and another being dead as one. 


Fidel Castro, the authoritarian Cuban President of 50 years, the revolutionary who defied the United State and brought us and the Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear war, the dictator who violated the human rights of millions of the Cuban people…and where does he end up?


Dead at age 90, cremated, with his ashed placed inside a 15-foot tall rock. 


That’s what’s left of the man. 


Of course, there is his legacy in Cuba that includes high literacy, universal health care, environmentalism, and competitive sport’s teams. But there is also mass poverty and economic dysfunction, gross repression and human rights abuses, and Island isolationism. 


So perhaps with Fidel gone, over time, Cuba will find itself on a path of greater moderation and reform. 


In the meantime, Fidel is gone–like every other living thing comes and goes–no matter how strong he acted or how repressive he ruled, what is he now but a big useless rock with a nameplate affixed.


(Source Photo: Associated Press Via Wall Street Journal)

The Cup Runneth Over

Fountain

I took this photo today in Washington, D.C. near the Capital. 


It’s a really nice fountain…actually 3 double-fountains in a row. 


The top fountains run over into the bottom ones, which in turn runs over into the larger pool basin at the bottom. 


I like the contrast between the grey and white stone, the gold fountain, and the pewter basin with the water overflowing between them. 


As the water (a symbolism of life) continues unabated to run over in the fountain, so too, I pray that our good fortune is abundant and overflowing, and that we have more than we than enough for our needs, and plenty extra to share with others. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Got To Be A Caveman

Andy At Crystal Grottoes Caverns
So this was an awesome caveman experience.



We had seen a sign a number of weeks ago from the highway for Crystal Grottoes Caverns.



Today, we decided to try it out, and made the trip to Boonsboro!



I wasn’t expecting much, since I had heard a lot about Luray Caverns in Virginia, but never anything about this one in Maryland. 



Well we were really pleasantly surprised.



Half an hour tour underground through a literal maze of caves filled with the densest formation of stalactites (hanging from the ceiling) and stalagmites (springing from the floor). 



These things grow only like a centimeter every 150 years, so when we saw literally countless that were meters long, we were really looking at thousands of years history. 



Incredibly, these beautiful mineral rock formations come into being from water seeping through the limestone a drop at a time, and we saw rocks sparkling with crystals, and in shapes ranging from hands to turtles and much more. 



The guide even showed us a special place (almost like a chamber) where a number of couples had gotten married down there…sort of an appropriate place to tie the knot ever so tight in those caves. 



It was also nice that we had our own tour guide for this thing, and that made this all the more interesting to ask questions and really get to see everything. 



At one point, the guide suddenly shut the electricity in the caves, and we were left in complete and utter darkness…it was so surreal and sort of scary, but peaceful to be in a complete void. 



The guide explained that if you were down in the blackness for 6 or 7 months, you would actually go blind from not using your eyes whatsoever. 



Overall, it’s sort of a oxymoron, but we just felt so alive down there…breathing this super pure and clean oxygen (no real carbon dioxide down there, because basically nothing grows there) and the cave is this marvelous perfect 54 degrees all year round.



The owner is third generation and you can tell that he truly loves owning this precious jewel of a cavern, and he meticulously cares for it and continues to expand and improve the spectacle. 



However, from a business perspective, I definitely don’t think he has took advantage or capitalized on this priceless property.



There were basically no concessions (except that you could buy some samples of the rock from a single display case under the front counter), and there was no cross-selling of t-shirts, pins, posters, hay rides, animal petting, hiking, boating, or food stands!



We took some (as in like 20) brochures from the owner on the way out to give out at Rebecca’s school (especially, since she is taking Environmental Science this year), but this guy otherwise doesn’t seem to even advertise. 



This place was a hidden underground gem…50 feet down underground, but no Starbucks. 😉