Only Yesterday: To the Moon & Back, 50 Years Later

NOTE: Imagine sitting in a front‐row seat to land a man on the moon. Kay Cox lived that as a family adventure with her NASA engineer‐husband, Ken, and their children. In this special edition of RoadBroads, we honor that first lunar landing a half‐century ago with Kay’s extraordinary memories of what is, no doubt, the wildest journey of all: space travel.

Guest blogger Kay L. Cox writes poetry and stories from her San Antonio home. She’s an experienced blogger (check out her writings on www.picklesandroses.blogspot.com). Earlier, Kay worked as an art and family therapist, teaching graduate‐level art therapy classes in the US and abroad.

Thank you, Kay, for crafting this powerful creation: our first‐ever RoadBroads poem!


When the Moon Calls

Kay L. Cox

Only yesterday
the last space shuttle went up mid crowds and cheers
but I feel a door closing
leaving me with only memories of the challenging times,
of the countdowns, the takeoffs, the fires, explosions and splashdown celebrations,
the Gemini, Apollo, Soyuz, even the more recent shuttle programs.

Only yesterday
I was 27 years old with a two year old and a nine month old baby
in a one and a half story Olde English style home,
white cottage curtains on the windows
in a neighborhood devoted to space exploration
beginning what I perceived as a very ordinary life.

Only yesterday
tour buses drove down my street
pointing out astronaut homes
while I changed diapers, made Kraft mac ‘n cheese lunches
peeled shrimp, ironed my husband’s shirts
and took the children to the pediatrician.

Only yesterday
I valiantly tried to give NASA office parties
but after 3 different fires…
in the oven one year, a chafing dish the next,
and finally the table décor that went up in flames, I gave up.

Only yesterday
I somberly drove home from the grocery store
around hordes of TV cameras and journalists
camped out in front of Roger Chaffee’s house
after the tragedy at the cape,
a terrible reminder of the immense danger in going for Earth’s orbit.

Only yesterday
on Christmas Eve my dad made eggnog in my kitchen
while I stood anxious and breathless with astronaut friends
in front of the TV waiting for communication
from Apollo as it circled around from the back of the moon.

Only yesterday
my ordinary life was feeding the dog
while waving to astronauts in helicopters
buzzing over their wives and kids
around the corner in their own ordinary lives.

Only yesterday
I put the kids to bed
with stories and kisses
while their father was having dinner in L‐A
after a long day at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory
and I spent another night alone with TV.

Only yesterday
I watched our neighbor, Buzz Aldrin,
follow Neil Armstrong down a ladder
and plant a U.S. flag on the pale and dusty surface of the moon.
Now he dances with stars.

Only yesterday
the phone rang at two a.m.
calling my husband into work
telling him Apollo 13 was in big trouble,
not telling me I wouldn’t see him again for days.

Only yesterday
with only a 30 minute warning,
my husband brought a Russian delegation home for drinks.
I plied them with vodka,
made a run for much more
while a sympathetic neighbor supplied sausage, cheese, and crackers.

Only yesterday
I sat with my engineer husband on a hotel room floor at midnight
sipping Armenian brandy through the smoke of Cuban cigars
watching Russian and American delegation leaders
sign an agreement to collaborate on the Soyuz mission.

Only yesterday
I watched Challenger disintegrate shortly after launch,
Columbia fall apart and scatter over a Texas countryside.
I wept for the loss of crews I cared for as President Reagan
greeted grieving Challenger families in my husband’s office.

Only yesterday
with great joy and relief
I celebrated with friends,
successful flights
with wild splash‐down parties
at the Flintlock Inn, Maribelles, and the Outback.

The space program, like me, has aged and dwindled
but I have come to realize that my ordinary life
might be considered extraordinary,
leaving me to hope someday
other young families will participate
in another planetary project,
something much bigger than themselves.

A Road Broad Launch: Up Close & Memorable

Below me, the ground rumbled.

Above me, the sun burned.

Before me, a fireball rocketed the space shuttle Discovery skyward.

Around me, came—nothing.

The fireball’s flash of light came instantaneously,. But, sound travels much slower at ‘only’ 1100 feet per second.

I stood a mere mile from the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Delay had been the morning’s buzzword.

As the shuttle shot into the atmosphere, I crossed my fingers, held my breath, and waited.

Ears begged to hear what eyes saw.

Silence answered, round two.

Re‐living this event from March 13, 1989, I remember it as a Life Highlight. Third on my list, after meeting DH (#1) then marrying him (#2).

Discovery’s launch memory soars partly as a rebel’s reaction. It’s been a windy build‐up to this week’s Apollo 11 anniversary.

Houston, where I live, is celebrating the Big 5–0, too. First word spoken on the moon, after all, came courtesy of us. It’s beyond mere space travel. It’s jobs, lives, friends, and families. Plus, we answered a presidential call.

As DH and I describe our shuttle launch trip three decades later: answering a call, creatively.

Conjoin a Miami business trip with radio reporting gig. Our respective stations said yes.

We launched, neither of us prepared for the overwhelm.

On launch morning, we encountered an unexpected geomagnetic storm then extended launch delays. To Kennedy’s Visitor Center, we went. Pent‐up energy needed a new home. We played astronaut. We reread mission manuals. We interviewed other reporters.

Anything to relieve nerves that multiplied. Minutes morphed into hours.

Underlying the emotions were tough memories. The space shuttle Challenger had blown up two missions before.

Many of us at the cape that March morning had worked the Challenger tragedy in some capacity.

We were space junkies. Our press passes provided sensational seats to the shuttle ride. But, three years earlier, we’d learned those seats can hurt.

Still, we gathered again, some in the media grandstand and others along the camera riser. Ahead of us, at the horizon, stood the shuttle launch pad, heating up. To the upper right, do you recognize the iconic mission countdown clock?

Nine minutes to launch, we reporters settled down. It’s our ride, too, a journey of sensory overload magnified and delayed by pressure and sound waves. Physics I still don’t understand.

Finally, Discovery launches.

I eyeball the countdown clock and begin to pray. Under my breath, my mantra becomes “please get us past “Go to throttle up.’ ” Those became NASA’s last words before Challenger exploded.

As I pray, the ground rumbles as if a thousand trains are heading our way. The roar booms, threatening to raise us all up. I cup my ears. Teeth chatter, toes digging into floorboards. Where’s terra firma?

The winds arrive next, engulfing us in sensations that collide like shipwrecks, stacking one atop another. I brace my feet, clasp my desk space with both hands. My shirt billows in and out against my chest and stomach. The hair on my arms jerks to standing as my head curls vanish.

As quickly, it’s 75 seconds, we’re past go to throttle up and now, it’s all a memory. Giddy with overwhelm, I reach for my pocket camera, hands shaking. The professional must transcend the personal.

After the camera’s film is developed, I spot the blackbird flying close to the space shuttle

How did she survive Discovery’s launch?

Later I realize the bird was probably flying as far from the launch pad as where I was standing.

Perspective matters.

Isn’t that why we journey? To feel and to see?

A Labyrinth Speaks

Friday’s first e‐mail, the “Message of the Day,” began “Open to the New…”.

It closed with “See things with a beginner’s attitude of wonder.”

Those words buzzed in my head as I drove before sunrise to Rothko Chapel’s Summer Solstice observance.Two key differences this season:

1) Because the chapel is under renovation, the event moved to the Gueymard Meditation Garden at the University of St. Thomas, and

2) Because that garden includes a labyrinth, we—60 strong—walked the Chartres‐based path together.

Joining us before/during the observance were persistent Southwest Airlines jets and a receding full moon.

Sweet and sour — both unexpected company.

But the noise and the vision reminded me: we’re all on a journey of some kind.

Every day. We’re either coming or going but j‐o‐u‐r‐n‐e‐y‐i‐n‐g all the same. Am I too much the Pollyanna, suggesting we must all remember this?

The music of flutist Laura Lucas and guitarist John Edward Ross muted traffic passing by on West Alabama. All the color sang, too.

As only red roses and orange dresses can. 

A trio of water fountains bubbled to life at eight a‐m.

A blanket of comfort fluttered down: water’s best offering when it springs forth in such peaceful solace.

With a crowd this large, we bumped, turned, reversed, and paused our way along the four quadrants of the labyrinth.

Even so, we disappeared into our internal worlds as we traveled. No words spoken anywhere. None needed on this circular path.

Amid steady turns along the single‐lane path, we progressed toward the labyrinth’s center point. There, we each paused, reflected, then headed back out to where we each had started.

Before we began, our walk facilitator, Jay Stailey, had suggested using the words release‐receive‐return as touchstones. One word for each phase of the three‐part labyrinth journey. 

The notion intrigued: that’s how we’ve been programmed to think of our lives. Three parts. Beginning‐middle‐end. I wonder: have I been using using the wrong words for 62 years?

Truth is, there’s no ‘wrong way’ to live — or labyrinth. How can there be when both still confuse so many?

Labyrinths exist globally, crossing cultures and centuries, religions and governments. They’ve survived because these pathways offer a universal place for meaning and healing.

Scholars such as Jean Houston consider the labyrinth a powerful tool for suspending left‐brain activity (logic, analysis, structured thinking) in favor of tapping our right‐brain gifts of intuition, creativity, and imagination.

That concept roared in my ear after I finished my labyrinth walk.

Heading to the car, I walked by the Chapel of St. Basil and a burst of sunlight beamed right onto my face.

With it came the words — “good walk, messages received, new season, better days.” 

That green dot of light?

You tell me. It’s not a laser because no one was aroundThe labyrinth stands on the opposite side of this building. The campus is closed for the summer.

Woo‐woo, indeed. 

A solstice to remember.

Oops! When Gadgets Crash Good Intentions

On the flight home from Nashville, I outlined today’s blog post.

It included somber details from a military funeral in Chattanooga followed by a pescaterian adventure with pulled pork, Moon Pies, and Tennessee kale.

A rowdy swing at the Grand Old Opry collapsed in comparison to the quiet intimacy of The Bluebird Café and a Sealy‐bred guitar player named Jamie Lin Wilson.

Touring a Southern plantation presupposed cotton fields and grim living conditions for African‐Americans. But, now it’s a museum honoring its differences: raising thoroughbred horses (as in Secretariat’s dad) and distilling Tennessee whiskey. Another frame of reference blown apart.

Seventy‐two hours in Tennessee ended with more life learnings. But you’ll have to wait to read them.

My iPhone—the brand new one that I bought a week ago today—crashed into blackest black yesterday. Ergo—no pictures to share.

Who in today’s on‐line world wants to read a blog sans images or sound? Our eyes and brains operate differently now, thanks to successful rewiring from small screens. Thank you, techies.

A black screen also means no texting or calling or news‐surfing. Forced LOMO offers opportunity, always a good reframing for antiquated habits.

The hardest learning centers on my encounters with the phone’s creator. Dealing with Apple feels like stumbling around blindfolded at three in the morning. From deep inside the Rocky Mountains.

Between recent RoadBroad excursions to New York City and Nashville, I’ve met Apple staff six times via telephone, online, and in‐person.

It began as my familiar iPhone 6s began to crap out in Manhattan. Constant battery pack offers its only survival. I called Apple from DH’s device.

During the twelve‐hour, H‐Town spend‐over, I bought the new unit. It’s a fancy Xr: “our latest and greatest! ” the millennial teen vowed.

Now, I’m awaiting Tuesday’s Genius Bar appointment. In the dark.

Meantime, I’m drafting a report for Mr. Tim Cook.

A writer always has a Story.

Bedtime with My Cousin Vinny, Version 2.0

NOTE: Ghost fingers posted a rough draft of this blog post last night. It’s been replaced with this final version. Enjoy! 

Vincent Van Gogh always seemed a nut case.

You don’t chop off an ear if you’re sane.

But I met the artist this week—via his letters, etchings, sketches, and paintings—and realized he’s my long‐lost cousin. What else do you call someone with whom you share three great loves: books, shoes, and colors?

My personal trifecta grants Mr. Van Gogh an irreverent nickname: Vinny.

Isn’t that the gift we give family members?

Coincidence that the moniker matches Joe Pesci’s 1992 movie, My Cousin Vinny.

All this discovery unfolded at Houston’s Museum of Fine Arts (MFAH) and its fantabulous exhibit titled Vincent Van Gogh: His Life in Art. This one‐city show runs through June 27th; attending is beyond worth‐your‐time. From Houston, the exhibit returns to its Amsterdam home.

Since childhood, I’ve visited countless museums and art galleries. All around the globe. This show was different.The day became profound. Art, when married with words, can do that.

My skin actually t‐r‐e‐m‐b‐l‐e‐d when I viewed Vinny’s work. A first.

Around me, I heard tears and sniffles. Another first.

The floor‐to‐nearly‐ceiling sketches stopped me in my shoes.

This image was drawn in the late 1800s. My mind struggled with its how‐to. As in: how do you create something this large—on your hands and knees? Where do you find, in 1888, paper this big? How do you store it?

Questions raced through my mind. Then I saw the clogs.

I gasped. Something about the yellow background and the plain pair of shoes screamed strength, confidence, and power.

How could that be?

Vinny’s strong brushstrokes—around, over, and through the tightly‐shaped shoes—transformed the leather into something more than a simple something you walk in.

Art critics disagree on Vinny’s intent with A Pair of Leather Clogs. They cite specific walks, spiritual wanderings, or life paths.

How much more RoadBroad can you get?

Perhaps Cousin Vinny was a RoadDude. He did live all over Europe.

In these clogs, I saw myself. These weren’t, after all, ordinary shoes. They were clogs, the only type of shoe I paint. See my February 18th post to refresh the hobby details.

No way am I suggesting that I reside in Mr. Van Gogh’s league. Instead, I believe there’s an artistic universality in painting shoes.

Call it magic juju. His painting offers a question, a reflecting point, ahead of any journey. The shoes beg you to ask, in advance: are you ready? 

But how often do we consciously ask? Do we save the preparation for the bigger roads only? How about in the middle of the journey—do we consider our observations? After we leave the road, do we look back to ask: what did I learn? 

Creation resides with the artist. Interpretation belongs to the observer. What freedom, for both!

Shoes, regardless of who paints — or walks in — them, offer preparation, experience, or wisdom. We choose our takeaway(s).

The exhibit ends with a delight‐filled interactive play area.

When I spied Van Gogh’s Bedroom at Arles, I had to get between the sheets.

Cousin Vinny called me. Or, maybe, I’m half‐crazy after all.

Seeking Books, not Avengers

I returned to my primary, and first, love twice this week.

Credit the over‐rated, over‐hyped, over‐long, and over‐done Avengers: Endgame movie. Its over‐abundant onslaught of k-pow, k‐bang, and k‐boom bored me to sleep.

I attended the film because of an ancient promise made to DH: for every movie I choose for a Mate Date, he selects our next one. I’ve seen every new James Bond movie since 1984. He’s slept through Amélie, Mamma Mía, and others.

The cinematic misadventure sent me to the bookstore. Not one, but two book readings. In less than a week. A first.

Monday delivered Delia Owens reading her When the Crawdads Sing. It’s topped the New York Times bestseller list since January.

I admired Owens’ lyrical writing and her treatise on loneliness and isolation. However, I grimaced at the formulaic and, ultimately, predictable plot.

Yes: both an unpopular and ornery stance.

When I read fiction, I seek some degree of escapism. This novel sent me, instead, to paroxysms of “no‐young‐girl‐could‐manage‐this‐way‐this‐long‐no‐way‐ever.”

By attending Owens’ Houston reading, I hoped to observe and learn what a bestselling author’s reading offers. Surely, there’s elevated air for both readers and authors in the big leagues.

Held at a west Houston church—thanks to an expected large crowd—I snapped a single picture then heard a warning: no recordings of any kind, pictures included.

Why?

While reading from a prepared script, Owens explained her novel’s themes of isolation and loneliness. According to her website (www.deliaowens.com), both have been lifetime challenges. Owens offered that we all land in the swamp sometime in our lives but “we can all do more than we think we can.”

At week’s end, author Jennifer duBois asked at her reading for The Spectators, “what haunts you and why?” In her novel, duBois explores what we look at, and why. She uses the frame of 90’s reality shows (think Jerry Springer) amid fallout from the AIDS epidemic and the gay rights movement.

In a relaxed question & answer session after her reading, duBois referenced what she calls The Big Question, something she said must prompt a novel’s birth. And the Big Answer? duBois admitted that, invariably, multiple viewpoints arise. Perspectives from many voices. 

Now, that, I thought Real Life.

I returned to my studio, pumped.

And, I’ve returned to my novel.

The Big Question seeks The Big Answer as I cross fingers that, soon enough, I’ll stand in my own story shoes. Publicly.

Spring Trips: As Simple as A‐B‐C‐D

A random burst of spring decluttering (aka: anything‐but‐writing‐That‐Scene) led to rediscovering this relic.

From a bygone era, it’s an engraved sterling silver baby cup. Look closely and you’ll recognize the name.

When I first opened the box, years of accumulated tarnish hid the baby’s identity. Extended elbow grease reminded me of two things: 1) why I’d stored away this boxed cup, and 2) why I do not use, collect, and will‐never‐in‐any‐way amass pretty, shiny, high‐maintenance metal things.

Even so, the oddest experience unfolded as I admired the newly‐cleaned silver piece. Words dropped in—A Baby’s Cup of Dreams. As simple as A‐B‐C‐D.

Messages from other places. That happens sometimes. It’s a weird writer, woo‐woo thing.

When the voice speaks, I listen. Then launch.

To my writing space, I ran. My fingers grabbed specific tokens, all stand‐ins for my authorial adventure. I moved intuitively. No second‐guessing permitted.

Items included a miniature Christmas ornament, Novelist pin, a Glimmer Train magazine, a TRHOF pin, a tiny silver shell engraved “Touch Hearts,” a gratitude blessing circle, and a “Let’s Go on a Road Trip” sticker.

A few days later, my dear friend Pat Clark (a fellow Road Broad who you read here last summer) gifted me a most groovy Road Bag.

That two‐lane highway is only part of the bag’s glory. Check out those colors! Every character in my novel is represented.

Ahem, and uh, no. Most writers don’t color their characters. I’m not every writer. I am my mother’s daughter, my own person as she was herself. 

Such an attitude matters in this world of color-by-other’s-numbers.

What also matters is recognizing the road signs that arise on the journey.

I see signs daily, each echoing springtime on my four mile walks. When the ancient baby cup resurfaced, I recognized the sign of something old, granted in a new season.

The zipper bag landed as a sign from an old friend, a woman I’ve known since 1984 as journalist and now, fellow writer. I recognized her gift as something new for how I’ve long traveled: on many roads.

Arriving home, I realized the new bag needed old supplies. Not mere symbols of meaning but useful tools to bring dreams to life through renewed storytelling.

Journals.

Pens.

A closet dive reminded me I’m well‐stocked. Embarrassingly so.

There’s nothing I need.

I’m ready.

I’m supplied.

A‐B‐C‐D is going places this spring season, journeying into my field of dreams.

How about you?

When the Road Goes #&$^%!!

Sometimes, the road fails a broad.

A weekend excursion to a Houston‐area arts market beckoned. A knee‐high pile of to-do’s flashed yellow. Is this really what you need to be doing today?

I printed a cursory Google map—home to market—and announced, “we’re set.”

We parked at the recommended parking garage—free parking! I turned us left onto the street, chatting like a bird as I followed my phone’s blue line.

Ten minutes later, DH‐with‐the‐built‐in‐satellite‐dish‐in‐his‐head asked, “We’ve been walking a long way for the short walk you promised.”

I shoved my iPhone in his palm. He coughed.

We were 10 minutes in the wrong direction.

Twenty minutes after we began, we spied the art market.

And spotted a block‐long row of walk‐this‐way cones.

Another half block and more orange soldier‐cones later, navigation time arrives. The electrical cords on the sidewalk offered one challenge.

But the power saw laying on the concrete only ten steps later?

Across the street—where the multi‐colored tents stand—we found one food truck for the multiples promised on the website.

The art was well, bleh!

That’s tough truth coming from a woman who loves to support local artists. None of it—acrylic paintings, drop earrings, and enlarged photographs—was what either of us wanted, needed, or craved.

The best site was this sculpture. What is it? A vertical bike offering a ride to…? And those bonus parts are…?

I smiled.

Sometimes a single piece of art can turn around a moment‐in‐time.

Turning to my right, I spied something to widen that smile.

The wall’s simple, powerful message bettered an entire day. A fierce reminder for each of us, if we choose to see it.

Leaving the art market, we spotted a heretofore hidden parking lot across the street. One left turn and 30 seconds later, we stood before our car. Well, duh!

DH mentioned hunger. 2:30 in the afternoon. He chose a burger bar nearby for linner—as in a lunch/dinner combo. It was millennial‐loud. He ate what they advertised. I chose greens

We reviewed how south the excursion had gone. How do you rescue a Road Trip Gone Bad? We embraced four learnings:

Rescue your Emotions. Slow down.

Revise your Map. Double‐check details.

Reorganize your Agenda. Get flexible.

Return to your Passions. Find new haunts.

To close the day, we relaunched with that last learning. A final round of googling and we discovered a rebranded tea bar. There, we read novels for the rest of the afternoon.

Delicious details on that part of this road trip next Sunday. And it’s a first.

A to‐be‐continued blog post.

When Sex & Allergies Collide

When the Yankees take on your pollen count, you know the joke’s on you.

Houston’s pollen count — 2536 spores for oak trees alone — led the nation last week.

That translates into more sneezers and wheezers in the Bayou City than anywhere else in America.

Nowadays on my daily walks, I see sights like this pile of oak tree pollen on every sidewalk and driveway. Emphasis on every sidewalk, every driveway. For four miles.

These piles congregate to pollinate. In other words, it’s plant sex.

Holy moly, are they promiscuous!

The yellow wormy, stringy things are called catkins, also known as the flowering male of the tree. They morph into pollen then ride the wind, hunting receptors known as stigmas and pistils (the flowering female of the tree).

When male pollen grains meet female flower stigmas, voila! Acorns (as in: nuts!) sometime result.

That Mother Nature recreates this act every spring amazes, in and of itself. But that She, concurrently, creates allergic misery for so many of us humans strikes me as the epitome of irony.

Who’s in charge, you say?

Copyright, Sig McKenna Izbrand

My San Antonio friend Sig McKenna Izbrand dubs this year’s agony “Pollengedden.”

One photo from her backyard illustrates why.

Would you want to swim in those inviting waters after seeing that line of pollen?

The line resembles a crossing‐of‐the‐Rubicon of sorts: what’s in the water, what can I not see?

What’s a RoadBroad to do?

Pack eyedrops, an extra wad of tissues plus sore throat drops then hit the sidewalk.

Sagging senior thighs outrank four miles of sniffles.

Ball of Beauty…or Beast?

The sight at the top of the hill caught my eye.

How many bird’s nests in that tree?

Walking closer, I notice it’s not bird nests I see.

Those are amalgams of twigs, needles, sticks, and gray grassy things clumped together in round balls, all nestled atop bare tree branches.

I walk this path every day, and have for seven years.

How did I never see this?

A second question springs forth: what is this T.h.i.n.g.? 

My writer mind imagines an alien deposit left every Tuesday after midnight.

Ah, Story begins. I smile.

Four miles and five Siri e‐mails later, I arrive home.

Google informs the mass is ball moss, or tillandsia recurvata. Botanists call it an epiphyte—fancy way of saying it’s a non‐parasitic plant that lives on other plants. More bromeliad than moss; a percher, not a sapper. Translation: ball moss sits on tree branches but never sucks away its host.

Some people disagree, claiming ball moss kills every tree it nests.

I don’t care. I see beauty lurking in these branches. This tree carried 45 ball moss clumps. At least where I stopped counting. 

Some nests looked massive, others teeny as embryos. To my virgin‐noticing‐nature‐eyes, each pom‐pom appeared glorious.

I looked down and cheered. An orphaned wad lay on the ground. The sticks felt spiky and sharp but strong. The natural world excels. Again.

At home, I placed the ball moss in a vase. Within weeks, it b‐l‐o‐o‐m‐e‐d. To my endless surprise and utter delight. Melanie and home‐grown flowers = a first.

Our most recent Yule featured ball moss as the table centerpiece. It lasted from Christmas and well past New Year’s Day.

The petals eventually devolved into white wispy things. Carrying them outside one windy afternoon was not a good idea.

I waved them away then realized three things ball moss taught me:

My thumb’s not black.

Growth offers pleasant possibility and an expanded life, especially for a strong ego.

Noticing nature changes a life.

Poet Mary Oliver nailed it with this: “there are moments when the veil seems almost to lift and we understand what the earth is meant to mean to us.”

I’ve held onto this story for three months, awaiting Spring’s arrival. Now, she’s waking up, winking green in our oak trees.

She’s also birthing yellow tree pollen. Which delivers allergy agony.

That’s next week’s blog post. Today, I sniffle, dab my eyes and walk on, watching as beautiful ball moss disappears into nature’s arms.