Immediately after retiring from the United States Navy Frank started a blog he named On The Road With Frank. The purpose of which was to share the travel experiences he and his wife were to have as they wandered around North America in their motorhome. While On The Road With Frank certainly fulfilled that goal, it also provided a venue to display some of Frank's photography. With the emergence of Frank Madia Photography, it was fitting to move the blog to FrankMadiaPhotography.com. After the summer season of 2018, Frank and Connie gave up the RV lifestyle. They now travel the country and hopefully the world by car or plane. Frank remains passionate about photography. However, he has come to the decision that his long-standing policy to avoid politics in his blog may not have provided the best use of his voice. Starting in September of 2019 his blog will contain the traditional travel posts complete with photographs, but there will also be opinion pieces on the state of politics in the United States of America.
I have been thinking a lot about my blog the last several days or weeks and trying to decide what to do about it. I have contemplated hanging it up. I have thought about trying to catch up. I have wondered what the next phase of retired life will offer in terms of bloggable material.
The truth is I have not written a word since last February. That said, I have continued to document our travels and adventures via my photography. I have also collected a treasure trove of information to help jog my memory of the places we have visited, and I have photographed.
So, I have decided to try to continue this blog by setting aside specific time slots each week to revisit and research places and events since my last post. The hope is that I can become more consistent in pushing posts out to those who may still be interested in what I have to say and the images I have captured.
My last post ended with a promise to share our winter trip to Yellowstone National Park. There could be no better place to restart the effort than with that trip.
However, this post will not include that chapter. I want to re-enter the realm of the amateur writer with a bit of an explanation of what I believe to be the factors that contributed to this long absence.
To date, my life can be defined as a good life, leaning towards great. I am married to my best friend. I enjoy great health. I have many friends. The lifestyle Connie and I have undertaken has afforded us many opportunities to pretty much do what we want and like.
As can easily be gleaned from reading my blog, I am very interested in the conservation and the preservation and improvement of the environment we enjoy. During our travels around the country and volunteer time in state parks, a military RV park, a wildlife refuge and of course Yellowstone National Park, we have witnessed thousands of positive steps taken toward conservation and environmental protection at the local level.
Unfortunately, we have also witnessed too many events of willful destruction or defacing of natural and historic treasures. We have been yelled at and threatened by people breaking the laws intended to protect wildlife and ecosystems.
Since January of 2017, we have watched our government establish policies that, if left in place, will accelerate the destruction of our national heritage. For me, this is absolutely unacceptable.
However, in my most humble opinion, things are much worse than what I have been witnessing in the formerly protected lands of the west. The current administration has been on a course to undo nearly every treaty and international agreement that has made the country and world as safe as it has been since the end of World War II.
I spent my entire working life in service to this nation and I no longer recognize the country my modest efforts served to protect. I can only wonder what the brave men and women who negotiated agreements or gathered intelligence from our enemies in dangerous places around the world must think of what is going on within our government today. Then there are countless families who have lost sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts, and cousins in defense of our nation and its long-standing principles. What must they feel about those sacrifices in the current climate?
With all I have witnessed and absorbed from the real news, I have quite frankly found myself to be depressed. I believe it is this rather deep state of depression which has stolen my written voice.
Since returning home this last fall, I have returned to running and walking. I have lost a bit of weight and my physical conditioning has improved a good deal. I feel I am now in a better place mentally, as well. I intend to use my writing as a tool to move out of the funk I have been in for so long.
As has been my practice since the inception of this blog, I will endeavor to keep politics out of my writings. This post is the obvious exception.
I also suspect that some who have followed me all these years will not agree with the last several paragraphs. That is okay. You have the option to have your email address removed from my list. I would hope, however, that, unlike our politicians, we could agree to disagree on the things we do not share while continuing to enjoy the balance of my content.
Should you wonder why I have shared this I will only say that I feel very strongly that my personal path to normalcy requires a public admission of my personal suffering.
In my desire to become a little less wordy, I am going to end this post at this point. However, I think I should leave you with something to look forward to. As mentioned earlier, when I last posted I promised a discussion of our winter trip to Yellowstone National Park. I will, therefore, end this post with a few images captured during that great trip. There are a lot more to follow, so stay tuned.