Nine Miles of Memories

Just outside of the world famous city of Saratoga Springs, NY, known for the inventions of the club sandwich and potato chips, the oldest horse racing track in the United States, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), the mineral springs, and the famous mineral baths that used to attract royalty and celebrities alike, lies a stretch of road nine miles long.

If you drive this nine mile stretch of road, you’ll pass through fields, over and along streams, and through wooded areas that seem to come alive with a past two centuries old. You won’t pass any convenience stores, but you’ll certainly see your share of wildlife; rabbits and deer call this place “Home.”

When you finish your drive through this landscape, you will be able to say you have driven through nine miles of the most historic pieces of land in America. You’ll step on some of the same grounds that helped shape our nation, breathed life into our independence from Great Britain, and where the turning point of the American Revolution took place.

I am talking about the Saratoga National Historical Park and the Battles of Saratoga. It was here where American patriots fought the British, defeating them and bringing the largest military force in the world closer to surrender. It was here where Benedict Arnold fought and was wounded. Yes, it’s along this road, that I not only relive history from colonial America, but also memories from my youth.

These grounds are not only home to deer, rabbits, and other wildlife. They’re not only home to centuries old trees that speak to you as you walk amongst them. They’re not only the burial sites of thousands of Continental Army and British soldiers. These grounds are home to some of my greatest memories in life.

It was along this road that I remember bike riding as a child. It was always a treat for us growing up, to load the bikes into the car and head to “the battlefield,” as we call it around here.

It was along this road that we used to come for a quiet drive, windows down (no matter how hot it was), radio off, and driving below the 25 mph speed limit on the one-way tour road. Even when I drive it today, I still turn off the radio and roll the windows down. It’s a land that although once soiled with blood, now demands peace; a land that once echoed with cannon and musket fire, now demands quietness. A land which was once filled with the battle cries of freedom, now asks for only whispers.

It was along this road that I learned to drive. My Dad once had a Ford Bronco stick-shift, and it was along these nine miles that I stalled and jerked the engine over and over. It was along this road that I learned how to push in the clutch, shift, stop on a hill, and come to a stop. It was also here that I learned the patience of a father.

Along this road I learned how to cross country ski, how to approach a deer from upwind, downwind, and everywhere in between. Along this same road is where I began to train and condition my body before joining the Air Force; running and walking the miles of pavement on cold March days in 2001.

Along these roads is where I returned in 2017 when I retired from the military. No longer a boy on a BMX bicycle, no longer a teenager learning to drive, and no longer a young man seeing how fast he could run a couple miles. I returned as an older man, weathered and experienced from life and death, war and peace, joy and sorrow. I returned to these grounds for one simple reason, and it’s the reason I keep going back.

From the very first day I rode my bike there, to the days I learned to drive, to the days my feet pounded the pavement, until now, the grounds remain the same. I return and can go to the same exact spot I went three decades ago, and it remains untouched. I can tell stories, or I can remain silent and just remember a day from years past come alive in the moment.

Nine miles of road. History shaped. Memories made. A life transformed.

For more information about this area, visit the Town of Saratoga Historian’s blog.

We’re Alive, They’re Not, But We Have This In Common.

A cemetery located in Queensbury, New York at dusk.

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

Abraham Lincoln

I went for a walk yesterday. I’ve been on a mission to try and lose some weight before winter, and it was a beautiful fall day for a walk outdoors. I wanted to check out a pond that’s located inside a local cemetery, and take the opportunity to photograph some of the ducks and geese there. As the rain is falling here in Warren County, NY and a whopper of a rainstorm is inbound for our area, I am glad I took the opportunity to get out yesterday.

I started with a short walk around. Have you ever walked around in a cemetery? It’s quiet! I mean, it doesn’t matter what time of the day you’re there, it’s quiet! Walking around on the narrow blacktop road, it was like walking around inside of a public library. You pass people but you greet them and in return are greeted with a head nod. Maybe it’s something about cemeteries that keep people quiet. Like if you smile or speak more than a couple words to those you don’t know, you’ll be perceived as disrespectful. Needless to say, I had a lot of time to think as I walked around.

Without coming across sick, morbid, sinister, or any other choice word, I want to ask a very real question. What does every person in a cemetery have in common? Other than the obvious here folks. Think a little bit outside the box on this! What does everyone inside a cemetery have in common with everyone outside a cemetery?

They all, like us, had or have one shot at this life. There’s isn’t a single person buried in a cemetery that had a redo. There isn’t one single person that had multiple chances. They had one life. From the moment they took their first breath, until the moment they took their last, each and every person (like you and I) had or has one shot to make it count!

Making it count…

For the next couple of days, I’m going to dive a little deeper into this thought. Tomorrow, in Making It Count, Part I, I’m going to talk a little further about my experience while walking through this cemetery yesterday evening around sunset. I can tell you I wasn’t alone. I’ll tell you what I heard and what I felt. On Friday, I’ll wrap it up in the second and final part with what I left the cemetery with.


Hey, hope you enjoyed today’s entry. I only know you’re here if you drop me a note below, leave a message, give this a rating, subscribe, and so on. Basically, I only know you’re here if you interact with me! Go ahead!

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The Journey Begins

Enjoy the journey and try to get better every day. And don’t lose the passion and the love for what you do.
Nadia Comaneci

You’re reading the first of what may be many entries. What you’re reading right now is the beginning of a journey. My exodus. Although I may not be a published author or very eloquent at putting my thoughts down and expressing myself through words, writing has always been good for me. It’s allowed me to process emotion. My daughter is great at drawing, while I on the other hand, am still stuck on stick figures.

So why a blog?

Honestly, I need something to get me through the cold winter months while photography season is slow. Writing is therapeutic and I hope it is able to reach someone else.

What can you expect while you read our blog? To be quite honest with you, I don’t really know at this moment. I know, that isn’t exactly a clinching statement that makes you want to come back and read more. What I can tell you…what I can promise you, is that anything I write and that you read will be real. No hidden emotion, no hidden agenda, no ulterior motive behind the words; just real emotion from myself to you. You can expect to read about some of the veterans I come in contact with through the “Faces of Veterans” photography project. You can expect to read random thoughts to different things happening in my life and around the world. While this isn’t a blog focused on politics, it is a blog of emotions and feelings about all the madness and darkness in our world today. It’s my answers to those things; an attempt to shine a light into the dark shadows that try and envelope you and I on a daily basis. Again, I can’t guarantee much, but I can guarantee my truthfulness and the passion I put into photos, will be put into writing.

Thank you for embarking on this journey with me. I hope that my words will reach someone who is searching for answers. I hope that even just one of my entries will reach one person. Please feel free to place your comments below and I will do my best to answer any questions.

  1. Great message!

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