Johnson’s Shut-Ins: Jumping In with Fear, Enjoying the Ride

Johnsons Shut Ins title
(unknown person in this photo)

Johnson’s Shut-Ins: Jumping In with Fear, Enjoying the Ride

Some of my clearest memories, among my fondest and most thrilling times, are of the several visits I made while a teen and young adult to this amazing state park in central Missouri. I attended and then worked at several summer camps which made this wonderful location part of our overnight trip schedule, so I was privileged to go there again and again in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s when the water was clean, the river was running high and the place was mostly undiscovered.

What is it? What makes it so special? From a scientific/geologic/historic standpoint, there are these facts:

The story of Johnson’s Shut-Ins starts over a billion years ago when the igneous rocks, pink granites and blue-gray rhyolites, were formed from volcanic activity.

Igneous rock is one formed from molten rock, magma, and other volcanic materials (e.g., ash deposits).
Granite rock (a type of igneous rock) is formed from magma that cooled below the earth’s surface and then was exposed later.
Rhyolite rock (another kind of igneous rock) is formed from magma and volcanic ash and debris flows that spewed out onto the earth’s surface and then cooled.

Above the park the East Fork of the Black River flows through a broader valley formed in dolomite bedrock. Then the river hits the more resistant igneous rock and the valley becomes narrow and steep-sided or “shut in.” Along the banks of the stream, look for the Ozark witch hazel which blooms in late winter and early spring.

http://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/places-go/natural-areas/johnsons-shut-ins

There are the natural beauty and sensory pleasures of the cool but not freezing water, the rushing but not crushing rapids, the clean and clear water, the variety of smells, sights and adventures to be experienced which you’d have to go there to know. But, here are some photos and a few stories to help you believe you were there with me.

For the Walkers
For the less adventurous, those who’d rather sunbathe than swim, the large rocks offer plenty of opportunities to lie around and enjoy others’ splashing and yelling without moving much. My friends and I would divide into groups: walkers, floaters, swimmers and jumpers. The walkers usually stopped out and sunbathed a lot and didn’t go as far down the river as the others. Many of them barely got wet. Personally, I didn’t see the point of being a walker, but some people just didn’t want to get wet.

Johnsons Shut Ins 6

For the Floaters
Floaters enjoyed the water but weren’t great with longer swims and had no interest in climbing and jumping in from higher and higher plateaus. They would use the rapids to shoot down little ladders into shallow pools, climb back up and do that or another section many times and stay in the central “shut-ins” area for hours, whopping, hollering, splashing and laughing. I’d join the floaters for a while, but I felt the need to move on to more exciting parts very soon.

Johnsons Shut Ins 9

The walkers and floaters could see parts of where the swimmers and jumpers were going, but not all. Mostly, these first two groups were less willing to go deep, go high, go far. Walkers and floaters still had a blast and probably had no care for or interest in what they were “missing” because what they were doing was incredibly fun and went on for many and varied sections of the shut-ins.

Johnsons Shut Ins 8

For the Swimmers
Some of us swimmers and jumpers would re-visit the shut-ins sections to hang out with our walker and floater friends, eat our lunches, warm up, talk, shoot down the rapids for a while, then swim further on again. We’d do this back-and-forth for hours.

Johnsons Shut Ins 7

If you can imagine the sounds of the rushing water, the shouts and laughter of the kids and teens, the sweet smells of the trees, water, flowers and plants, the beauty of the rocks and formations and the rush of excitement we’d feel, you have some of the sensory pleasures swimmers and floaters especially enjoyed.

Johnsons Shut Ins 3

We swimmers, though, just had to keep going. Beyond the shut-ins sections were three ever-larger and deeper pools, kind of like small lakes, culminating in the pool with the three jumping platforms. The feeling of being pushed and pulled around by the rapids in the shut-ins for hours was with us until we got to the third pool. By then, the calm, clear water of the first two pools had changed our vibrations and soothed our nerves.

For the Jumpers

Jumpers are swimmers who can conquer, or jump in with fear. Jumpers had to be strong, enduring swimmers who could tread water, go deep and surface, climb and jump in repeatedly (or at least once) without flagging because there were no lifeguards and no easy way to get rescued if a swimmer or jumper got exhausted.

Johnsons Shut Ins 5

Some swimmers came through all three pools just for the love of swimming and some came to watch the jumpers. Maybe they were revving up to jump, but many swimmers never did. Or, some jumped, but only from the lowest platform rock (about 6 feet above the water). There was an intermediate platform rock, which we estimated to be about 20 feet above the water, which many jumpers used but most never went higher.

Then, there was the highest jump, from a rock area that was about 40 feet above the water. It was also set kind of far back, so jumpers not only had to be brave enough to climb up (clambering up a narrow trail without steps which was very slippery and had no handholds), foolish enough to jump off from 40 feet high, but also, we had to be skillful enough to jump OUT in order to clear the jutting rocks beneath this platform area so that we would get to the water and not break a body part hitting the rocks first. There was a small area to take a few steps (but not run) before jumping, or jumpers could just propel our bodies forward and out as we jumped: that’s what most did.

NOTES: The first photo, below, which shows a human-made diving board, was not the way it was when I was there. There was no diving board. We had to jump out to avoid those rocks and had no help from an extending board.

Johnsons Shut Ins 1

I remember climbing up to the highest jumping area for the first time at the age of fourteen, thrilled and frightened in equal measure. When I got to the top, I was so scared I could only sit and watch as several other jumpershurled themselves off the cliff. I let kid after kid go ahead of me, not daring to take a turn.

I felt that I couldn’t do it. I was panting, sweating, shaking from fear. I looked at the climbing trail and knew I couldn’t climb back down, either. It was incredibly treacherous with sliding pebbles, shifting dirt and narrow rock formations that made it barely possible to go up and impossible to reverse direction. There would be no going down except by jumping.

Each jumper hooted and hollered, making it seem so fun, I just ached to do it. But I was immobilized by my terror, hunched down behind the jumping area, for about thirty minutes. Luckily, no one paid me any attention and I could be in my own world, contemplating my fate.

I was up there so long my swimming suit felt dry. Finally, there was no one else up there for a minute. I felt the urge come over me to DO IT. I stood up, my legs shaking. I crept to the edge of the cliff and looked down, checking the exact location of the jutting rocks that I’d only seen from below before. They jutted out REALLY FAR.

This photo shows the perspective of that highest jumping area as I remember it.

Johnsons Shut Ins 10

I was only 5′ tall. How would I propel myself out beyond them? I imagined breaking my arm or leg, hitting the rocks if I misjudged my jump.

No way. I could do this.

A big whoosh of internal courage rushed into me. Grabbing onto it before it could disappear, I took a few steps back, then raced forward and hurled myself OUT, bicycling my legs as I’d seen others do to get more distance beyond the rocks below me.

It seemed to take forever to reach the water. I had time to think about how long it was taking. But, no one had told me and I hadn’t bothered to notice that I needed to keep my arms and legs close to my body. I hit the water with a smack, my legs slightly open and my arms out to my sides. IT HURT LIKE HELL! My inner thighs were on fire and my inner arms felt as if I’d hit walls with them.

I sunk down further in the water than I wanted to, then frantically kicked to get back to the surface, blowing out water and gasping for breath when I broke clear, hurting all over.

I felt exhilarated! I HAD DONE IT! My friends and a few strangers around me cheered and hollered at me. As my head cleared and the aching subsided, I looked around, smiled, and held up one arm high above my head, fist clenched. YES!

Now that I knew I could do it and had learned that I needed to keep my body more like a pencil after I bicycled out, I was eager to do it again. So, I did.

Several times that day, several times the next day, I clambered up and immediately jumped from that highest point. I learned to love the fall, letting time stretch out. Knowing the entry wouldn’t hurt, that I could get my breath and come up just fine, made it that much more enjoyable.

For several years after that, on each visit, into my early twenties, I made my first jump with tremendous fear and enjoyed the rest. It was one of my favorite things EVER to do.

At each summer’s visit, for my first jump I had to climb up and then let several jumpers go first as I got myself psyched up to jump again. I never stopped being afraid of that height. I just kept cimbing up and jumping anyway, feeling the fear while enjoying the ride.

What Lies Beyond
The Black River goes on from the third pool, but we couldn’t swim or hike any further safely. Some of it looks like this, from above, which seems as if it would be a fun ride down the rapids, like the shut-ins that came before, except there was no way to get back by climbing back up or around and up, the way we did in the actual shut-ins sections.

Johnsons Shut Ins 2

If you ever want to go
First of all, make sure the Black River is running well: not too high (from flooding) and not too low (from drought). Second, plan to camp out in the park and stay a few days. You’ll love it that much. Bring your own everything; there’s nothing much nearby in the way of restaurants, stores, etc.

The MO State Parks page states:
“This natural area is within Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park. The 2-mile Shut-Ins trail provides access to the natural area. Inquire at the park office about the hiking trail.
“To reach the park office: from the intersection of MO Highway 21 and MO Highway N north of Pilot Knob (Iron County) go west nearly 13 miles to the park entrance on the left (south). Follow the signs to the park office.
“Swimming is allowed in the shut-ins at your own risk.”
http://mdc.mo.gov/discover-nature/places-go/natural-areas/johnsons-shut-ins

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“Kindness Chronicle” and “Elephant Journal”: Humans Sometimes Do Good

I grow weary of bad news, humans’ behaving atrociously and other direct hits to my ever-decreasing optimism. To counter the effects of the inevitable daily doses of ugly, I subscribe to two great sources of “humans sometimes do good”: The Kindness Chronicle at http://kindnesschronicle.com and
The Elephant Journal at http://elephantjournal.com

Unfortunately, my life is somewhat fast-paced and my priorities are often elsewhere, so instead of actually reading these daily posts and clicking on their links, I stockpile them in a folder. Just knowing they are there gives me comfort, and since I also subscribe/ LIKE their public pages on Facebook, I often see some of the individual link posts, anyway.

However, I mostly had no idea what actual uplifting stories are in this folder…until this week. So glad that I scheduled time to go through them to prepare this post.

From this stuffed inbox of good news (not the Christian “Good News” kind), I share some of these inspiring anecdotes with you all.

Enjoy! Subscribe! Do some good yourselves!

From The Kindness Chronicle:

KC-Logo-150px-Blue-Yellow

Most of the posts are stories describing individuals or organizations who have made considerable (but not necessarily extraordinary, given how many of them there are, now) efforts to demonstrate gratitude, kindness, helpfulness, volunteerism, respect, support, encouragement and other forms of caring to humans, animals and the environment. So many of them are similar, with the main distinction being location rather than activity, I decided not to list them here.

Please visit the above link, or the link below, for plenty of ideas, examples and even some research results on outcomes for “Paying it Forward,” teaching empathy and compassion, and other actions taken in the name of Kindness.

The Write Place: Not-So-Random Acts of Kindness site http://goo.gl/mWZ5nk recommends, among other sites: http://randomactsofkindness.org

Below is one of hundreds of images that heralds this excellent “movement”:

InspireKindnessQuote
image from http://www.cbizschool.com


From The Elephant Journal:

EJ logo

The Elephant Journal is an online ‘zine and site that provides updates, information and opinion articles (warning: most of these are junk science, “New Age” garbage, and “affirmations” that aren’t worth reading) on a variety of topics related to living “a more mindful life.” This open-ended mandate allows The Elephant Journal to surprise me often with their choices of topics, perspectives and data.

TEJ‘s pieces include multimedia formats that can feature humor, health, relationships, nutrition info/recipes, politics and edgy/radical points of view (with the aforementioned exceptions), pulled from a diverse group of commentators. I don’t always agree with or even like what is posted, but I appreciate the range of opinions, which can veer way over to “totally ‘woo-woo,’ New-Age junk science” to well-researched, documented, data-filled info pieces.

I appreciate this compilation enormously and respect the people who work there and write/ create/ collate/ curate for TEJ a lot. TEJ also posts excellent images (photographs, logos, infographics, memes) that are inspiring, beautiful and informative separately or to accompany an article.

Here are some of my favorite recent examples of their offerings, which arrive in emails entitled: “A Daily Gap in the Inbox of Your Mind,” steered by Waylon Lewis, editor-in-chief, host of Walk the Talk Show.

Evan Silverman opens his heart and explores how we can do the same in “Blow The Roof off Your Heart” (a piece that originally appeared in the Shambhala Times) http://goo.gl/ppT30e

—Great resources for businesspeople who wish to incorporate more mindfulness into their work lives are in “Waylon & Blake’s Best Mindful Business Books & Resources for Entrepreneurs,” in which Waylon Lewis wrote:

“This is a list that would have saved me years of my life, made me hundreds of thousands of dollars and spared me (and my team) hundreds of mistakes.” http://goo.gl/z9wbo9

—What about something eminently practical? Shoes that grow! Awesome! http://goo.gl/v5BJst

Waylon Lewis (the editor of TEJ) also bares his soul (sensing a theme, here, of my faves?), in “Thank You for Helping to Break My Heart,” that richly moved and helped me: http://goo.gl/Lj928K

Most tellingly, he starts with this subtitle: “I am sorry I loved you so badly.” I have a list of people I should say this to….Sigh.

The ending is also worth quoting in its entirety, in case you don’t click through:

May our relationships teach us. May we improve, instead of merely defending our confusion. May our intention be to be of benefit, and not merely to “get what we want.”

Life is hard, sometimes. Sometimes it’s rich and dear. If we want to take it easy, we should instead wish to be stronger, and more vulnerable.

May our love life be as full of grace as our spiritual path, our right livelihood, and our friendships and family relationships.

True love is defined by correct intention.

Thank you, Waylon.


My email program just informed me: “Your ‘Kindness and Good Deeds’ folder is now empty.” I’m glad to know it will surely be filling up again.

This Changes Everything Title-Sharing: Thanks, Naomi Klein! Your Best-Seller is Boosting my Sales!

This Changes Everything Title-Sharing: Thanks, Naomi Klein! Your Best-Seller is Boosting my Sales!

A book can have similar titles or the same title as numerous other books, since titles can’t be copy-protected or trademarked, usually. Has any of you had the experience of having a book’s success (or failure…) influence your book’s visibility and/or sales/downloads due to its having a similar or the same title?

Well-known researcher, feminist and author, Naomi Klein, released her best-selling book on climate change about one year after I released my first ebook, using This Changes Everything as her book’s title, which is identical to MY Volume I of The Spanners Series‘ title.

Look what is happening on Amazon (this is a screenshot of what follows my book’s reviews section on my TCE’s Amazon book page. Click to see a larger image):

Screenshot (14)

Here is her book’s cover:

TCE Naomi Klein
BORING, right? But, hey, it’s nonfiction, so what does anyone expect?

Here is mine (from the great artist/illustrator, Aidana Willowraven) http://willowraven-illustration.blogspot.com/:

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks
Which one would YOU rather read? Sci-fi/aliens, right?

Plus, hers costs money and MY Volume I is PERMAFREE!
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFELTG8 
Smashwords link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197 all ebook formats, here.

The Spanners Series‘ Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, is only $3.99 and also available everywhere ebooks are sold.

Well, thanks, Naomi! I appreciate the blow-back!

Best of luck to you and me for our book sales!

Two in three weeks! “Versatile #Blogger #Award” also landed here!

versatile blogger award

Thanks, Inger D. Kenobi, upcoming guest for Episode 20 on 2/4/15 of CHANGES, and my sangha sister, for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award! I am so honored!

Here is her posting with all Inger’s nominations:
http://theviridescentconsumer.wordpress.com/2015/01/03/the-viridescent-consumer-receives-the-versatile-blogger-award-fist-pump-mandatory/

The rules are:

  • Show the award on your blog.
  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Share 7 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 blogs.
  • Link to your nominees’ blogs and let them know.

I am going to take the title of this award literally and nominate those whose blogs are versatile and fascinating (to me, of course):

Seven MORE things most people do not know about me…

  1. My first languages were Yiddish (no longer fluent, though) and English. I also speak/know Spanish as well as some Italian, German, French, Tibetan and Sanskrit.
  2. I won a competition and represented my school on the balance beam in 6th grade and continued to work the beam until I wrecked my ankle during a poorly spotted dismount in 10th grade. This injury prevented me from trying out for cheerleading as well, which greatly improved my intellectual and artistic lives and friendships.
  3. I have a negative physical reaction to roller coasters and anything mechanical that carries people to or across high places (ferris wheels, trams, ski lifts) which includes some acrophobia.
  4. I read about 1000 words/minute unless the text is very dense or complicated.
  5. I have some friends still in my life whom I’ve known since we were 5 years old. We are now 60.
  6. My first role in a play was in Kindergarten. I was cast as the rabbit. The day before the play, I sprained my ankle (not the same one as above), so my mother brought me to school in a red wagon (we lived across the street from the school) and I hopped my way through my part: best method acting ever.
  7. My grandmother (may she enjoy TV in the ether), my mother, and I have all spent way too much time watching a long-running USA soap opera, Days of Our Lives. Knowing this, one of my sort-of-stepchildren gave me a mug with the DOOL logo on it which I recently gifted to my mother.

First-Year Ebooks Author Stats: Sally Ember, Ed.D., and The Spanners Series

First-Year Ebooks Author Stats: Sally Ember, Ed.D., and The Spanners Series

Just completed my first full year (plus 11 days) as a published sci-fi/ romance ebooks author (2 pubs, Vol I, 12/19/13; Vol II, 6/9/14) in the 10-book The Spanners Series, on Amazon, Smashwords, iBooks, nook and Kobo (and Smashwords’ affiliates).

Thanks to all my readers, fans, followers, reviewers and downloaders as well as friends, family and connections in the global authors and readers communities!

Overall Stats, 12/31/13 – 12/31/14:
AZ Author Rank, overall: 182,741 – 468,671
AZ Kindle ebooks, all Combined Rank: 295,000 – 313,420
AZ Sci-fi/Fantasy ebooks Combined Rank: 23,167 – 25,127
AZ Sci-fi ebooks Combined Rank: 11,687 – 12,645
AZ Romance ebooks Combined Rank: 27,206 – 29,043

Sales Ranks and Stats:
Vol I, This Changes Everything (released 12/19/13; permafree since April 1, 2014)

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks

figures for 12/20/13 – 12/31/14
Total Paid Sales: 85
Total Free Downloads: over 1,100 (figures for free DL not available from all sites)
AZ Sales Rank: 129,665 – 12,539
iBooks: unrated rank (not enough sales)
nook: 481,550 – 471,792
Kobo: 1,429 – 8,732

AZ Actual Sales: 61
AZ Free Downloads: 940
Smashwords Sales: 4
Smashwords Free DL: 45
iBooks Sales: 6
iBooks Free DL: 85
Kobo Sales: 13
Kobo Free DL: 60
Nook Sales: 1
Nook Free DL: 8

Vol II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever ($3.99, released 6/9/14)

final cover print

figures for 6/30/14 – 12/31/14 only
Total Paid Sales: 10
AZ Sales Rank: 480,464-1,559,867
iBooks: unrated rank (not enough sales)
nook: unrated rank (not enough sales)
Kobo Sales Rank: 4,836 – 5,223
AZ Sales: 6
Smashwords Sales: 3
Smashwords Free DL: 12
iBooks Sales: 0
Kobo Sales: 1
Nook Sales: 0

ALWAYS appreciating REVIEWERS for both/any Volumes, especially Volume II/the newest.
Ebooks free to reviewers in any ereader format via coupon on Smashwords.
Contact: sallyemberATyahooDOTcom

Look for Vol III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, and
Vol IV, Changes in Attitude, Changes in Latitude, in 2015!

Thanks to my amazing cover artist for The Spanners Series, Aidana Willowraven

logoAuthorsDen

#Book #Marketing Buzz Blog‘s post: Happy Thanksgiving Day, Books!

BookMarketingBuzzBlog‘s post: Happy Thanksgiving Day, Books!
Posted: 26 Nov 2014 10:45 AM PST

Brian Feinblum posted this on his site, Book Marketing Buzz Blog, which I highly recommend that you subscribe to if you are an #author.

Brian’s blog is “A unique blog dedicated to covering the worlds of book publishing and the news media, revealing creative ideas, practical strategies, interesting stories, and provocative opinions. Along the way, discover savvy but entertaining insights on book marketing, public relations, branding, and advertising from a veteran of two decades in the industry of book publishing publicity and marketing.”

buy-books-and-feel-good

image from http://sentidodelamaravilla.blogspot.com

I link to the full post here and quote a bit of it. Thanks, Brian!

Brian offered his own intro, then asked: “How can we spread the word about the power of books?

Here are some of his answers. Read his post for the entire, excellent list.

· Start by gifting [books] this holiday season.

· Read more books

· Serve as a literacy tutor to young kids or ESL adults

· Keep buying books – don’t settle for free ebooks

· Form a book group or join one

· Attend author signing and speaking events

· Donate more books to schools, libraries, and chairties.

· Discuss books with others. Don’t ask your friends if they saw the latest movie. Ask what they’re reading.

· Read to your kids and then discuss what was read. Learning becomes fun this way.

· Reproduce your favorite book covers, frame them – and hang them on your walls

Link to full post: http://bookmarketingbuzzblog.blogspot.com/2014/11/happy-thanksgiving-day-books.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Bookmarketingbuzzblog+%28BookMarketingBuzzBlog%29

Brian Feinblum can be found:
on Twitter @theprexpert
via email brianfeinblum@gmail.com.

His post is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2014

#Book #Marketing Buzz Blog’s post: Happy Thanksgiving Day, Books!

BookMarketingBuzzBlog‘s post: Happy Thanksgiving Day, Books!
Posted: 26 Nov 2014 10:45 AM PST

Brian Feinblum posted this on his site, Book Marketing Buzz Blog, which I highly recommend that you subscribe to if you are an #author.

Brian’s blog is “A unique blog dedicated to covering the worlds of book publishing and the news media, revealing creative ideas, practical strategies, interesting stories, and provocative opinions. Along the way, discover savvy but entertaining insights on book marketing, public relations, branding, and advertising from a veteran of two decades in the industry of book publishing publicity and marketing.”

buy-books-and-feel-good

image from http://sentidodelamaravilla.blogspot.com

I link to the full post here and quote a bit of it. Thanks, Brian!

Brian offered his own intro, then asked: “How can we spread the word about the power of books?

Here are some of his answers. Read his post for the entire, excellent list.

· Start by gifting [books] this holiday season.

· Read more books

· Serve as a literacy tutor to young kids or ESL adults

· Keep buying books – don’t settle for free ebooks

· Form a book group or join one

· Attend author signing and speaking events

· Donate more books to schools, libraries, and chairties.

· Discuss books with others. Don’t ask your friends if they saw the latest movie. Ask what they’re reading.

· Read to your kids and then discuss what was read. Learning becomes fun this way.

· Reproduce your favorite book covers, frame them – and hang them on your walls

Link to full post: http://bookmarketingbuzzblog.blogspot.com/2014/11/happy-thanksgiving-day-books.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Bookmarketingbuzzblog+%28BookMarketingBuzzBlog%29

Brian Feinblum can be found:
on Twitter @theprexpert
via email brianfeinblum@gmail.com.

His post is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2014