The Woods Are Lovely Dark and Deep...
Jay shares thoughts on the inspirational strength of the human spirit in persevering, pushing forward and completing the journey!
‘But I have miles to go before I sleep.’ These are words from the famous Robert Frost poem – ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.’ It’s a great piece of work in that it describes a dilemma that nearly everyone faces at one time or another. You find yourself on a mission. May even be a lifetime goal. But it’s something dramatically important to your very being and what you feel you ‘need’ to achieve. Yet inevitably, there are hurdles along the way. The path is arduous and at times, exhausting. In these moments, the dark, still woods offer refuge, a place to rest and curtail your journey – perhaps even ending the quest. Yet, you summon up the energy – and awaken to the realization that there is no choice. You must move on. And so, you do. With many more miles to go before you sleep.
To put it in personal terms, have you ever set a goal for yourself and along the way either found yourself stuck, uninspired, distracted or just downright ready to give up? Perhaps things become a bit more difficult than anticipated, or we lose sight of our vision because something gets in the way, or we procrastinate and say we’ll pick things back up tomorrow. Whatever the case may be, it’s important that when we set a goal for ourselves, we remember that we’re not just setting our sights on something, but we’re also making a promise with ourselves to achieve something.
Throughout our lifetime, we work hard to build trust with others, demonstrating our integrity and reliability as a means of creating social bonds or maybe getting a long sought after promotion. Oftentimes though when we’re trying to demonstrate our competence and aptitude to others, it comes with a heavy price. Even when we may have built and kept a great reputation, we have to ask ourselves, have we been reliable to ourselves? While we’ve kept our word to others, have we kept to our own word and our own internal promises?
Life has a tendency to put things in our path that can distract us, knock us off course, or discourage us from achieving or attaining the things we want most. These can even be things that feel like the right thing to be doing in the moment but ultimately just get in the way of where we’re really trying to go. So, it’s essential to remember that when we set goals or dream about our future, while it’s ok to stop, take a break, and enjoy the journey, we must also be conscious that we made a promise to ourselves and that there is still work to be done in order to make good on that promise. Don’t let fatigue, distraction or issues of the moment get in the way – and rob you of your destiny. Keep faith with your mission and know that you have all that it takes to go those many miles before you sleep.
"The Second Greatest Show on Earth!”
That’s what circus showman P.T. Barnum proclaimed in 1869 as he marveled at the Mount Washington Cog Railway’s dramatic ascent to the 6288' summit of the highest peak in the northeastern United States. Today, more than 150 years later, the Cog Railway remains one of the world’s great rail adventures, and an exhilarating journey combining history, technology, and nature!
In 1857, not long after relocating to the Boston area, Chicago businessman Sylvester Marsh needed some adventure. Just two years earlier, he had left a successful career in the meat packing and grain drying industries and had accumulated a personal fortune sufficient to guarantee a very comfortable retirement. After a nearly fatal hike up Mt Washington, he decided maybe building a railroad up the mountain would be a safer way to get some fresh air. When he applied for a charter from the New Hampshire State Legislature in 1858 to begin the process of bringing his visionary project to life, he was nearly laughed out of the State House. They referred to him as “Crazy Marsh”, but awarded him the charter anyway, with the stipulation that once he reached the summit, he might as well keep going and build his “railway to the moon”. But Sylvester Marsh would eventually have the last laugh.
The Cog was the first mountain-climbing cog-and-rack railway in the world, and with an average grade of 25% (some sections approach 38%), it’s also the second steepest. Motive power is provided by a fleet of seven powerful biodiesel locomotives, each custom designed, built and maintained on site. And with a nod to its steam heritage, the railway also continues to operate a pair of its original coal-fired steam engines, both over a century old.
Located in the heart of the majestic White Mountains region of northern New Hampshire, the Mount Washington Cog Railway is a year-round attraction. Throughout the winter, when the summit is inaccessible, trains run daily up to Waumbek Station at 4000’. Visitors to Waumbek enjoy complimentary hot refreshments, comfortable warming huts, a blazing fire pit, and, in clear conditions, stunning views to the north and west.
We urge you to take a trip and enjoy this exciting adventure. For schedule, tickets and much more, visit thecog.com. Special thanks to Randall Armor, Mount Washington Cog Railway.
Alan Shepard - Reaching for the Stars!
A mere 50 miles above the Earth is space, and yet it was only 62 years ago that it was the first time man ventured into outer space and orbit the earth. Of course, as in many of our articles here in the Sunshine Report, there is a New Hampshire connection to those historic moments. In this case, the connection is Alan Shepard – a native of Derry, New Hampshire.
Alan Shepard was born in Derry in 1923 and was always fascinated by flight. Growing up, he would bike 5 to 6 miles to Manchester Airport and do odd jobs in exchange for a ride in a plane. Academically inclined, Shepard skipped several grades, and when World War II broke out, he easily passed the entrance exam to United State Naval Academy and joined the Navy. His time at Annapolis was cut short, as after a month of aviation training, Shepard was assigned to the USS Cogswell in the Pacific as a gunnery officer.
After the war, Shepherd went to flight school but was an average student and was almost dropped from the program. That did not deter him, as he took private lessons to supplement his training and earned his civilian pilot's license in addition to completing his Naval training. Shephard's piloting skills continued to improve, and he even became known for his courage and calm demeanor – including the successful completion of daring landings – including multiple landings at night on an aircraft carrier.
By 1950, he was selected to attend the US Naval Test Pilot school and eventually became an instructor. With the race to space ensuing, Shephard's skill and size made him ideal for the new space program. Even though Shephard was briefed on the hazards and dangers of the program, he still volunteered to proceed with the Mercury space program.
On May 5th, 1961, Shepard was the first American to cross that 50-mile mark into space. But he wasn’t finished, because in 1971 at the age of 47 he commanded the Apollo 14 mission and became the oldest and only one of the Mercury Seven astronauts to walk on the moon. That same year he was promoted to rear admiral, the first astronaut to reach that rank. Proving that with passion and perseverance, you can always go the extra mile – and in the case of Alan Shepard, while also literally ‘reaching for the stars.’
Positive Profile of the Week: Jeanne Gerulskis - Born to Explore!
This week we are delighted to highlight a leading contributor to our community in so many ways, Executive Director at McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center. Jeanne T. Gerulskis.
By way of background, Jeanne began her tenure at the Christa McAuliffe Planetarium in 1998 as its Executive Director. How she got there is an interesting story. Back when she was growing up in Norwood, MA, her family would vacation in NH. She remembers in 1969 sitting around a small black and white TV with family and friends at Tucker Pond in Warner, NH watching Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first humans to ever land and step on the surface of the moon! She graduated from Williams College in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and has a background in the museum field and the tourism industry. She was the Senior Curator of Programs for Ketchikan Museums in Alaska overseeing all programs and exhibits at a Native American cultural center and museum, Totem Heritage Center, and a history museum, Tongass Historical Museum, before joining the Planetarium.
After the passing of Derry, NH native Alan B. Shepard, America’s first astronaut, and while still in her first year, Jeanne worked with community leaders, educators, scientists, engineers, the State of New Hampshire, and NASA to transform the Planetarium into an amazing 45,000-square-foot science center dedicated to both Christa McAuliffe and Alan Shepard (check out the above article to learn more about one of New Hampshire’s most significant citizens of all time, Alan Shepard.) The newly renamed McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center opened in March 2009, featuring two floors of interactive exhibits on astronomy, aviation, earth and space science, an observatory, full-dome digital planetarium, science store, dedicated parking lot, and outdoor exhibits.
Jeanne currently serves on the New Hampshire Space Grant Board and on the Bow NH Rotary Club and Foundation boards as immediate past president. She is passionate about inspiring the next generation of space explorers, scientists, and engineers.
Learn more about the center at www.starhop.com and find out how they “bring the universe to you!” Thank you, Jeanne, for all that you do to make our community here in New Hampshire such a special place!
Quotes of the Week: Miles to Go...
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.” - Robert Frost
"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts." - - Winston Churchill
"The road to success is not easy to navigate, but with hard work, drive, and passion, it's possible to achieve the American dream." - Tommy Hilfiger
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." - Thomas Edison
"The only way to do great work is to love what you do." - Steve Jobs
“Life is a journey, and if you fall in love with the journey, you will be in love forever." - Peter Hagerty