Monday, October 20, 2014
Fincastle (10/17/2014 and 10/18/2014)
This past Thursday, Friday and Saturday I took part in a stormwater workshop that was put on by the Virginia Association of Professional Soil Scientist (VAPSS). It was held at Camp Bethel in Fincastle. Camp Bethel is in a great location and a well thought out camp/retreat. As a Unitarian Universalist I will not comment about the religious background of the camp, but in no way was there any evidence of a religious message, maybe with the exception of the “no alcohol” rule. But that was ok; my liver got a break.
The first day of the conference I gave one talk and I served on a panel. The second day I gave two talks. Being good soil scientists the third day it was time to look at soil pits, which was great. I needed to participate a little, but it was a long time ago that I looked at soils in this way. But truthfully, as one of the major contributors at the conference, you are always on, and people constantly approach you with questions or to start a discussion.
The best thing was that my wife came with me for a change (she is a soil scientist), and regardless of all the teaching and exhaustion, we were able to sneak away after the meeting for a hike to peep at some leaves, enjoy nature, and just decompress. There are some great trails at the camp; although the marking of the trails can be done better than just pulling a paint brush over the bark of a tree. Regardless we had a wonderful time, being away from the hustle and bustle at the office, being in nature, but also being with peers; people with similar interests, who are pretty darn intelligent and just plain fun to be with.
It was great to recharge the batteries and enjoy life; although it did nothing for the internal debate we both have about what to do when (and sometimes if) we retire: do we want to stay where we live; do we want to move to the mountains and keep our boat as a free motel room in the Tidewater; or shall we move back to New Mexico? This all came back up during our drive home. We love them all and honestly, we came to the conclusion that you can only stay (mentally) young if you have a variety of interests and hobbies and foster that in each other.