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Wednesday, May 15th, 2013 - 2:14 PM

"Richard Swanson, Breakaway Brazil"

Richard Swanson
John Swanson, Breakaway Brazil

I don't feel like I can do much justice to this subject without spending a ton of time collecting my thoughts and editing the snot out of my writing. I don't presently have that kind of time on my hands, so I'll be relatively brief.

Today I was given a link to an epic story, that of Richard Swanson. His life was much more than the few breaths I will exhale to write this post. I learned of his existence, his passion, his soccer juggling journey, and his death all in about five minutes. If only I would have known of him before that.

Richard Swanson set out from Seattle, Washington with the plan to walk all the way to Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, for the World Cup. All the while he would juggle a soccer ball and raise money for charity. Talk about awesome! That's about three or four of my own passions and dreams combined. Had I heard about all this before today, I might have made an effort to at least meet Richard as he passed through Oregon. I know I would have experienced significant temptation to do even more... join him in his walk!

It is pretty rare to find a fellow juggler. Well, some of the news articles describe his trek as "dribbling," which is different from juggling. Juggling or dribbling, either method of reaching Brasil is impressive! Only a few times in my short life have I found people to juggle a soccer ball with. Most people want to play a game instead, but I only like to juggle. It would have been an honor to juggle or pass a ball back and forth with Richard as he was passing through Oregon - and to hear a bit of his story firsthand. Of course I also have great appreciation for Brasil, having been there four times. A significant part of my short life story was wrapped up in those trips and the time surrounding them. The idea of walking or driving from Portland to Brasil has also occurred to me. The P.C.T. has immense appeal to get to Mexico, and then on from there. But it was never more than a dream for me. Here was a man living the dream!

The journey was not meant to be, at least, it had a far more tragic end than anyone would have wished. Richard was hit by a truck while still in the Oregon part of his trip. I was very sad to hear the news, almost as if it was a dear friend who passed away. I have enough interests in common with this man to feel this loss more than an average tragic news story. Mom and I were even walking along highway 101 a couple weeks ago, probably where Richard passed by days later. I can definitely see the danger. I didn't feel super safe walking on the nearly nonexistent shoulder. I can't even imagine trying to juggle or dribble a soccer ball in those conditions!

I wish Richard's journey would have been completed. Many, after hearing the story, have casually or officially pledged to help complete parts of his journey. I might not be able to make a significant contribution, but if I can, I might: maybe juggle a couple miles in his honor. Good Lork. 777.

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Thursday, February 26th, 2009 - 2:54 AM

"Greenway Nutria"

I encountered a nutria (aka coypu) on the way home from work Monday evening. I was surprised how tame it was. It was perfectly visible along the path, chewing on the damp blades of grass. I've not ever seen a nutria up so close. It looked like half beaver and half rat (because of the tail). I became fond of the animal, as I was able to approach and observe it very closely. Truth be told, I was less than 2 feet away, my camera lens probably a foot away at one point. It didn't even flinch. I guess I have a way with animals :)

Poor things. Nutria are considered invasive species to our continent, but it is our fault. We brought them here for the purpose of raising them for their fur. Now they are breeding out of control and considered a pest. Too bad, so sad. Greedy people. I don't care. I like my new friend, the nutria... even if he does have an ugly rat tail and weird orange teeth!

nutria

nutria

nutria

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Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008 - 12:00 PM

"A Scent For Aching Soul"

A smell just now reminded me of airplanes and airports in Brazil. Oh man, good memories. All those memories of waiting for the flights in Teresina, Fortaleza, Miami, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and so on... The times sitting in the Varig office in Teresina, waiting to see if we could change our tickets... the trips to Rio, Fortaleza, Recife, Porto de Galinhas, João Pessoa... the walks, the malls, the smiles and laughs, nieces and nephews, faces aglow... the camp where it all started in the outskirts of Teresina... juggling in the square... going downtown, self-service restaurants, renting movies at the nearby shop, the loud air conditioner on a blisteringly hot day... oh man... what bliss this smell. Like the one of the wooden sculpture... brings tears to my eyes, comfort to my heart. May it not all be in vain nor lost. May it come again. May we live again. Memories flood back to me I pray. The goodness of the Lord has touched me. My life is a journey of joy. I take the sorrows in turn, for the goodness far outweighs them! How I long to return to Brasil. I feel it more a home than here. Things more familiar and beautiful come from there. Only God knows if this is possible.

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Wednesday, September 17th, 2008 - 8:46 PM

"Bunny Habitat"

I don't think this is the bunny's natural habitat. Methinx it is a domesticated bunny. However, it is making due with its current location and has found covering in the tall grass. I took this picture a week and a half ago... a bit behind.

bunny along Fanno Creek Trail

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