These are the top 2 FTSE 100 shares I’d buy in a market crash

first_img Tom Rodgers owns shares in GlaxoSmithKline. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended GlaxoSmithKline. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Tom Rodgers | Wednesday, 26th February, 2020 | More on: BA GSK Image source: Getty Images “This Stock Could Be Like Buying Amazon in 1997” Click here to claim your copy now — and we’ll tell you the name of this Top US Share… free of charge! Enter Your Email Address I’m sure you’ll agree that’s quite the statement from Motley Fool Co-Founder Tom Gardner.But since our US analyst team first recommended shares in this unique tech stock back in 2016, the value has soared.What’s more, we firmly believe there’s still plenty of upside in its future. In fact, even throughout the current coronavirus crisis, its performance has been beating Wall St expectations.And right now, we’re giving you a chance to discover exactly what has got our analysts all fired up about this niche industry phenomenon, in our FREE special report, A Top US Share From The Motley Fool. Renowned stock-picker Mark Rogers and his analyst team at The Motley Fool UK have named 6 shares that they believe UK investors should consider buying NOW.So if you’re looking for more stock ideas to try and best position your portfolio today, then it might be a good day for you. Because we’re offering a full 33% off your first year of membership to our flagship share-tipping service, backed by our ‘no quibbles’ 30-day subscription fee refund guarantee.center_img Simply click below to discover how you can take advantage of this. These are the top 2 FTSE 100 shares I’d buy in a market crash Our 6 ‘Best Buys Now’ Shares Investors are feeling nervous and a 2020 market crash is now more likely than ever. Why? Fear of the economic fallout from the coronavirus has reached the US stock market. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 838 points on Tuesday, following a 1,031-point loss the previous day.It’s quite simple to get a sense of the shares that could ride out a bear market. All we have to do is look at profitable companies holding their value while their rivals fall.5G is here – and shares of this ‘sleeping giant’ could be a great way for you to potentially profit!According to one leading industry firm, the 5G boom could create a global industry worth US$12.3 TRILLION out of thin air…And if you click here we’ll show you something that could be key to unlocking 5G’s full potential…In my opinion, defence stocks and pharmaceuticals are your best options. These two FTSE 100 shares would be my best buys if I thought a market crash was on the cards.GlaxoSmithKlineGlaxoSmithKline (LSE:GSK) has been a staple of my portfolio for many years. It’s not super exciting, but it’s also not a crazy bubble.GSK is a market leader in retroviral and respiratory drug treatments. The market for these products has been steadily growing in the last 15 to 20 years.The British pharmaceuticals giant owns 914 patents across 57 countries. It has 134 trademarked drug names. Because of this, it can sell products to large international markets that no-one else is able to. This gives it a wide economic moat.What would Warren Buffett do?The investing world’s favourite billionaire explained this concept in an annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway shareholders.“We think in terms of that moat and its impossibility of being crossed as the primary criterion of a great business,” he said. “If the moat is widened every year, the business will do well.“GSK shares also support a rock-solid 5% dividend yield. It backs up that dividend with ever-growing earnings. And in the last 10 years, GlaxoSmithKline has made some of the highest dividend payments on the FTSE 100.BAE SystemsInvestors have reacted with delight to three high-tech acquisitions BAE (LSE:BA) has made recently. It swooped for UK firm Prismatic in September 2019, a company that makes solar-powered drones that can stay in flight for up to a year. This was BAE’s first takeover in more than two years. It suggests to me that the British defence and aerospace contractor will wait until real value presents itself before acting.The second pair of acquisitions in January 2020 were a $1.93bn cash deal for Collins Aerospace’s GPS division and a $275m buyout of Raytheon’s Airborn Tactical Radios unit. The first deal adds a highly-regarded military positioning and mobile communications satellite firm to BAE’s stable. The second expands its market share of military electronic systems.What the numbers sayBoth these deals represent strong long-term value for BAE. I’m not too concerned about a £1.9bn pension shortfall. It is certainly nowhere near the scale of BT’s pension crisis, for example. And BAE has told the market it will pay off more than half of that shortfall in a one-off debt-funded payment.BAE can afford to take on debt because its sales, margins and profits are all rising strongly. In 2019 full-year results, annual sales jumped 10% to £20.1bn while operating profits lifted 18% to just shy of £1.9bn.The US acquisitions mean 2021 will see the same kind of single-digit earnings growth as in 2020, chief executive Jerry DeMuro said.At current count, the shares also come with a relatively cheap price tag of 14 times earnings. I would like to receive emails from you about product information and offers from The Fool and its business partners. Each of these emails will provide a link to unsubscribe from future emails. More information about how The Fool collects, stores, and handles personal data is available in its Privacy Statement. See all posts by Tom Rodgerslast_img read more

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Baham / Moraira House / Antonio Altarriba Estudio de Arquitectura

first_imgManufacturers: CHE Cuerpos Huecos, Metra, Placo, Nideker houses Photographs:  Diego Opazo Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project Houses Projects Antonio Altarriba Comes Spain Save this picture!© Diego Opazo+ 16Curated by Clara Ott Share ArchDaily CopyHouses•Moraira, Spain Design Team:Rosa Lafuente, David López, Jesús Sancho-Tello, Raimon Espasa, Álvaro Méndez, Marta RamónClients:PrivadoCollaborators:Nideker HousesCity:MorairaCountry:SpainMore SpecsLess SpecsSave this picture!© Diego OpazoRecommended ProductsWindowsOTTOSTUMM | MOGSWindow Systems – BronzoFinestra B40DoorsSaliceSliding Door System – Slider S20DoorsGorter HatchesRoof Hatch – RHT AluminiumWindowspanoramah!®ah!38 – FlexibilityText description provided by the architects. Four volumes, three stony and one white slide on the hillside, generating an architectural tour that distributes the different spaces,and is fully integrated into the topography of the plot and its surroundingsSave this picture!© Diego OpazoSave this picture!Ground floor planSave this picture!© Diego OpazoThe white volume, with greater entity, and two floors, houses the double height access, the Living room, dining room, kitchen-laundry area, on the ground floor, and on the first floor is the main room that is accessed through the double height of the access.Two of the stone volumes are the secondary rooms that have a bathroom each, and are arranged on different levels following the orography of the land. The third stone volume is the hall.Save this picture!© Diego OpazoThe set is finished off with a concrete porch that gives shade and communicates the living room with the pool.Save this picture!© Diego OpazoSave this picture!North elevation and sectionSave this picture!© Diego OpazoIn the basement the machine room is located and a large space with direct access to a patio and natural ventilation, this patio unifies the access with the living room with the basement.The materiality is very basic, the natural masonry field stone, original from the Teulada area, the smooth white mortar, and the concrete for floors and interior cladding.Save this picture!© Diego OpazoProject gallerySee allShow lessArsenal 108 Building / SIA arquitectura + Manuel Aires MateusSelected ProjectsMax Milhas Office / TODOS ArquiteturaSelected Projects Share Photographs Area:  3347 ft² Year Completion year of this architecture project Baham / Moraira House / Antonio Altarriba Estudio de ArquitecturaSave this projectSaveBaham / Moraira House / Antonio Altarriba Estudio de Arquitectura “COPY” ShareFacebookTwitterPinterestWhatsappMailOrhttps://www.archdaily.com/930887/baham-moraira-house-antonio-altarriba-estudio-de-arquitectura Clipboard Arquitectos: Antonio Altarriba Estudio de Arquitectura Area Area of this architecture project ShareFacebookTwitterPinterestWhatsappMailOrhttps://www.archdaily.com/930887/baham-moraira-house-antonio-altarriba-estudio-de-arquitectura Clipboard “COPY” Year:  2019 Lead Architects: CopyAbout this officeAntonio Altarriba Estudio de ArquitecturaOfficeFollowProductsStoneConcrete#TagsProjectsBuilt ProjectsSelected ProjectsResidential ArchitectureHousesSpainPublished on December 27, 2019Cite: “Baham / Moraira House / Antonio Altarriba Estudio de Arquitectura” [Baham / Casa Moraira / Antonio Altarriba Estudio de Arquitectura] 27 Dec 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed 10 Jun 2021. ISSN 0719-8884Browse the CatalogPanels / Prefabricated AssembliesTechnowoodSiding Façade SystemWindowsMitrexSolar WindowMetal PanelsAurubisPatinated Copper: Nordic Green/Blue/Turquoise/SpecialMetal PanelsDri-DesignMetal Panels – CopperIn architectureSikaBuilding Envelope SystemsExterior DeckingLunawoodThermowood DeckingMembranesEffisusFaçade Protection – Breather+Metal PanelsPure + FreeFormCustom Metal Cladding – Legacy Fund 1 BuildingWood Boards / HPL PanelsInvestwoodWood Fiber Partition Walls – ValchromatDoorsLinvisibileLinvisibile FILO 10 Vertical Pivot Door | BrezzaSkylightsFAKROEnergy-efficient roof window FTT ThermoToilets / BidetsBritexToilets – Accessible Centurion PanMore products »Save世界上最受欢迎的建筑网站现已推出你的母语版本!想浏览ArchDaily中国吗?是否翻译成中文现有为你所在地区特制的网站?想浏览ArchDaily中国吗?Take me there »✖You’ve started following your first account!Did you know?You’ll now receive updates based on what you follow! Personalize your stream and start following your favorite authors, offices and users.Go to my stream Baham / Moraira House / Antonio Altarriba Estudio de Arquitecturalast_img read more

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Farmers and Trade Anxious for Crop Tour Data

first_img Facebook Twitter By Andy Eubank – Aug 21, 2016 Farmers and Trade Anxious for Crop Tour Data Home Indiana Agriculture News Farmers and Trade Anxious for Crop Tour Data SHARE SHARE Previous articleFeed Manufacturers Prepare for New RegulationsNext articleMorning Outlook Andy Eubank Crop tour previewTy Higgins and Steve FellureThe Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour is underway and the eastern leg is beginning to move west from Columbus, Ohio. Ty Higgins from Ohio Ag Net will keep us up to date the next 4 days, providing a close up look at the crops.The tour’s primary goal, is to provide the industry with accurate late-season information about likely corn and soybean yields during the upcoming harvest season at the state and regional level, and Pro Farmer’s Editorial Director Chip Flory says this year many will be watching to see if yield estimates on tour will match up with USDA’s August crop estimate figures.“When we talk with guys that are non-farmers, that are traders, there’s a high level of skepticism over that 175.1 for a national average corn yield and even over the 48.9 bushel per acre for soybeans. It’s not just farmers, it’s traders that are pretty skeptical about it too.”On the eastern leg of the tour teams of scouts will be taking samples of random corn and soybean fields and those scouts will be miles from home.“We’ve got 12 foreign countries on the tour this year. I think that’s a record and I believe the country that we’re adding is Australia. It’s become a global not just a U.S. event. We understand and respect that, and we are very careful about how we handle the data and do it in a very transparent way so that there isn’t any question about how we do things out there in the field.”Over the years, some things have changed on the Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour, but one aspect that has remained consistent are the routes taken across the Corn Belt.“This is the 24th tour that Pro Farmer has been managing out here. We’ve run basically the same routes now since 1998. The reason that we do that is you’ve got to have that consistency from year to year so that we’re comparing results from this year to last year’s tour, the 3-year average and the past tour results. By doing that and looking at the trends from year to year and from average it gives us a pretty good idea of what we should be expecting when the combines roll.”Follow the tour online at www.ProFarmer.com and see what some of the scouts are seeing by following along on twitter with #pftour16.Ty will keep you up to date here, at the HAT mobile app, and the HAT on Twitter and Facebook. Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

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AVID working well at Alternative Education Center

first_img AVID working well at Alternative Education Center Pinterest Pinterest Facebook Twitter Alternative Education Center logo Since starting the AVID program formally at the Alternative Education Center, Principal Charles Quintela said it has blended in seamlessly with the curriculum, which already included elements of the college preparation program.AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. Alex Ramirez, AVID coordinator at the Alternative Education Center, said there are eight to 10 students in the program currently. For prospective students, Ramirez said the student and parents are interviewed to see how much support there is from the parent.If things go well, the Alternative Education Center will contact the AVID coordinator on the student’s home campus and obtain a recommendation. Ramirez said the student doesn’t necessarily have to be in AVID on their home campus to be included at the AEC.Just before students took off for Christmas break, there were 125 students at the center. Quintela said youngsters range in age from 12 to 18. About 70 percent will be there for 20 days, 20 percent for 40 days and five percent for a semester to a school year.Students can be sent to the Alternative Education Center after committing a felony, being expelled from school, a third drug-related offenses and assaults, among other things. Quintela said some students make the transition from jail to the Alternative Education Center.Quintela said the entire Alternative Education Center is infused with the AVID culture. It teaches students how to take notes, how to stay organized, time management and incorporating college and career readiness, which he said are important skills for students to have when they return to their home campuses.The campus was already employing AVID strategies, among other programs and practices, before it officially started the program in fall 2017. The campus may be the first alternative education school in the country using AVID, Quintela said.“Without a doubt I think it’s enhanced the culture of our school within the instructional realm because we’re supporting our AVID strategies,” Quintela said.He added that teachers observe their peers in the classroom and talk about what needs to be tweaked, refined or reinforced. Quintela said all 27 teachers at the Alternative Center are using AVID.Quintela said you can see the difference in the students since AVID has started as far as confidence, the organizational skills and the data. He added that students at the center are traditionally below the mark academically, but AVID is helping with test scores and confidence.“We’re not only trying to build confidence, but competence. We have to figure out why they can’t function at the regular schools. If they can do it here, they can do it anywhere,” he added.Once some students attend AEC, they want to stay because of its small class sizes, structure and few distractions, Ramirez and Quintela acknowledge.Quintela said the skills students learn with AVID, especially the note taking, organization and knowing what they’re learning through their planners are the three biggest elements that will help students become successful because it’s showing in the campus data now.Quintela said a lot of students attending the AEC have experienced trauma, have drug issues and try to self-medicate because of their trauma. Chess is used to help counteract this.“It’s almost like therapy. It is therapy,” Quintela said.AEC helps transition students back to their home campus for three weeks.“They check on grades, attendance and discipline and make sure they’re following the rules. The lead teacher advocates for the student. They’re not paid for that,” Quintela said.Ramirez noted that teachers at AEC are required to contact at least five parents per week.“We’re kind of leaning toward a positive conversation. It’s not always the case, but for the most part it is so they understand and have some ownership over their kids’ education. When we do have a bad situation, we have that communication already it doesn’t get any worse. Parents understand where we’re at, so when it’s time to fix the problem it’s not very difficult for us to do,” Ramirez said. Local NewsEducation Previous articleBOYS BASKETBALL: Permian easily defeats Brownfield in Panthers’ first game of new yearNext articleTEXAS VIEW: Plan to protect public should be public admin WhatsApp By admin – January 3, 2018 Twitter WhatsApp Facebooklast_img read more

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Mixed views on future of Seanad

first_img LUH system challenged by however, work to reduce risk to patients ongoing – Dr Hamilton Facebook RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR By News Highland – January 4, 2011 Almost 10,000 appointments cancelled in Saolta Hospital Group this week Twitter Pinterest Twitter Newsx Adverts Previous articleMaureen McGinley’s post mortem injuries ‘an accident’Next articleDonegal FF councillor calls for all party agreement on Seanad abolition News Highland Google+ Google+center_img Calls for maternity restrictions to be lifted at LUH Facebook Business Matters Ep 45 – Boyd Robinson, Annette Houston & Michael Margey Mixed views on future of Seanad WhatsApp Guidelines for reopening of hospitality sector published Fianna Fail Senator Brian O’Domhnail says he would favour reform of the Seanad rather than it being scrapped altogether.The Defence Minister Tony Killeen has said a plan to hold a referendum to abolish the upper house on the same day as the general election would be discussed at Cabinet.The Green Party Chairman Dan Boyle has poured cold water on the prospect, but newspaper reports today say a number of Fianna Fail senators are far from impressed at the notion.Senator O’Domhnaill is warning against a knee jerk reaction: Pinterest WhatsApp Need for issues with Mica redress scheme to be addressed raised in Seanad alsolast_img read more

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KBC partners with AVGI to expand engineering simulation capabilities

first_imgUnder the collaboration, the Petro-SIM and COILSIM1D are integrated and data is exchanged to help refinery-petrochemical complexes maximise profitability Image: KBC intends to extend its engineering simulation capabilities to benefit oil refiners. Photo: Courtesy of Markus Naujoks from Pixabay. KBC, a UK-based software services provider, has announced the strategic partnership with AVGI, a simulation and optimization software provider for modeling olefin technologies.The collaboration is aimed at delivering capital efficient plant design and optimisation through end-to-end modeling of integrated oil refining, aromatics, and steam cracking complexes using advanced software solutions.KBC CEO Andy Howell said: “Integration of COILSIM1D with Petro-SIM will open up a wide range of steady state, online and offline simulation opportunities. Integrated models supporting dynamic real-time optimization will further mitigate the risk in transitioning to more petrochemicals in the product slate.”KBC intends to extend its engineering simulation capabilitiesAccording to the company, the demand for petrochemicals is growing rapidly, and the International Energy Agency predicts that petrochemicals would occupy more than one third of the growth in oil demand by 2030, and approximately half by 2050.In addition, using reactor simulations for feedstocks, furnace and coil geometries, and operating conditions are expected to optimise yield and energy.Under the collaboration, the integration and data exchange between Petro-SIM and COILSIM1D would enable integrated refinery-petrochemical complexes to maximise their profitability.Petro-SIM is a process simulator that combines data and science through a digital framework which is not only scalable but also accessible to offer the capability to solve problems in real time.COILSIM1D is a simulation and optimisation software for the ethylene industry. It is designed to increase the profitability of steam crackers and optimising the process, through accurate reactor simulations for a range of feedstocks, furnace and coil geometries, and operating conditions.AVGI managing director Kevin Van Geem said: “Through our research capabilities with Ghent University, we are continuing our extensive research into steam cracking technologies. We value this new partnership with KBC for expanding industry access to our know-how and intellectual property.“We know a large proportion of the oil refining industry get a lot of benefit from KBC’s Petro-SIM. Its interoperability with COILSIM1D and use in end-to-end simulation for petrochemicals will unlock even more value for them.”last_img read more

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SVA sells 90% of lots

first_imgHome » News » Agencies & People » SVA sells 90% of lots previous nextAgencies & PeopleSVA sells 90% of lotsThe Negotiator21st May 20180885 Views SVA Property Auctions, Scotland’s independent property auction company, sold 90 per cent of the auction lots at its March auction raising £4 million from 31 lots.Lots for sale by the Scottish Government, included a new housing development with land at Fairways Drive in Dunoon.The lot, an incomplete development of six flats, two houses and around 1.8 acres of land, sold for £450,000, almost double the guide price. Bought by a building company, it is expected that the flats and houses will be completed for sale, followed by the building of new homes on the rest of the site.The March auction was one of SVA Property Auctions largest ever auctions. Shaun Vigers, auctioneer, said, “We had to postpone this auction because of the snow disruption and I am grateful to everyone who accommodated the change and turned out for the re-arranged auction in such large numbers.”SVA Property Auctions auction auction lots Scotland’s independent property auction company May 21, 2018The NegotiatorWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021last_img read more

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TPFG is first major multi-branch corporate to join Boomin

first_imgYet-to-launch portal challenger Boomin has signed up its first major multi-branch corporate and hinted that its huge advertising push due to start soon will give agents leverage when their other portal subscriptions come up for renegotiation.The Property Franchise Group, which operates 375 franchised branches across the UK including national brands Martin & Co and Ewemove, has signed up to the platform and secured founder member status for all its franchisees.This is a significant coup for Boomin. TPFG’s agents let some 32,000 properties a year and sell approximately 11,000, adding a huge potential inventory to its platform.So far Boomin has signed up small and medium-size regional agents with the exception of Hunters and Foxtons, who are comparable with TPFG by turnover and reach.“We are delighted to have partnered with Boomin,” says Gareth Samples (pictured), CEO of The Property Franchise Group.“The customer focused proposition is compelling and a major leap forward from anything else currently in the space; we believe it could redefine the way portals are viewed by consumers.”Boomin has also claimed that it will provide “provide them with a fairer and more balanced playing field when negotiating the best venue to advertise for them and their customers,” it says.It co-founder Michael Bruce adds (left): “The new tools on our platform such as Sneak Peak, Matchmaker and 24/7 will support their digital marketing strategy and alongside Property Playground will enable their franchisees to earn new and long term revenue streams.”Agents joining Boomin can use it until January 2022 for free.Boomin Gareth Samples Martin & Co Michael Bruce TPFG EweMove November 10, 2020Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles Letting agent fined £11,500 over unlicenced rent-to-rent HMO3rd May 2021 BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Home » News » Agencies & People » TPFG is first major multi-branch corporate to join Boomin previous nextAgencies & PeopleTPFG is first major multi-branch corporate to join BoominMartin & Co and its Ewemove, CJ Hole, Whitegates, Ellis & Co and Parkers stablemates at TPFG are to all feature on the portal when it launches.Nigel Lewis10th November 20200845 Viewslast_img read more

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Borderland Music Festival Adds Oteil Burbridge & Friends To Inaugural Lineup

first_img[H/T JamBase] Borderland Music + Arts Festival, a new two-day event set to take place on September 22nd and 23rd at Knox Farm State Park in East Aurora, New York, has announced an exciting addition to their inaugural artist lineup. Oteil & Friends, the copiously talented solo project from Dead & Company bassist Oteil Burbridge, will take the stage at the new festival. For this Oteil & Friends performance, Oteil has tapped Scott Metzger (Joe Russo’s Almost Dead), John Kimock (Mike Gordon Band), John Kadlecik (FURTHUR/Dark Star Orchestra), and his brother, Kofi Burbridge (Tedeschi Trucks Band).Oteil Burbridge Gathers His Talented “Friends” For A Pair Of Standout Sunday Sets At The Peach [Full Videos]After debuting the project with a brief tour late last year coinciding with the release of his latest studio album, Water in the Desert, Oteil has added a handful of festival appearances to his Friends’ schedule. With Dead & Company taking the rest of the year off the road while Bob Weir mounts his first-ever tour with new trio Bob Weir and Wolf Bros, we hope this is the first of many Oteil & Friends dates that will pop up to fill that timeframe. For now, we can be excited about one more appearance at Borderland. For a full list of Oteil’s various upcoming performances, head to his website.Burbridge and company join an already-solid Borderland artist roster that includes The Revivalists, John Oates & The Good Road Band, Sam Roberts Band, Dr. Dog, Margo Price, The Infamous Stringdusters, Sam Bush Band, The Barr Brothers, Fruition, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, Priscilla Renea, Upstate Rubdown, Folkfaces, PA Line, Leroy Townes Band, The Observers, and more to be announced.Tickets for Borderland Music + Arts Festival are available now. For more information, or to grab your passes today, head to the festival website.Borderland Music + Arts Festival Initial Lineup Announcement Videolast_img read more

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Mountain Medicine Part 5: Labyrinth

first_imgAppalachian Ecotherapy and Why We Need it Now At the center of the labyrinth, I searched for a stone to represent what I wanted to fill the void I’d created by leaving my pain behind. It wasn’t difficult. From the very top I plucked a smooth blue stone, clearly worn down after a millennia of water erosion. A river stone, like the ones my father and I would search for when we’d skip rocks on the lake. “Life’s not fair, kiddo.” “It’s not fair.” As a science geek I’ve always been skeptical of things I cannot explain, and I’d never really given much thought to the merits of sage smudging. Still, I was determined to take this exercise one hundred percent seriously and, truth be told, something about the whole affair felt ceremonial. Official. (And, with a quick Google search after the exercise, I learned she was right.) With bits of sage tickling my nostrils, I took a deep breath. — Regret. Regret that I didn’t come see him on Father’s Day, the week before he died. He said he wasn’t feeling well, and didn’t want me to bother with the trip. I should have gone. I’d bought him a card with a drawing of three kids in the backseat of a van, dad in the front with a speech bubble that read, “Kids, remember when someone cuts you off, it’s okay to use your special finger!” Inside the card: “Thank you for teaching me the important things in life, Dad.”  He broke into a wide grin. “Yeah, just like that.”  Eventually, my list of things to do ran out. By then, it felt too late to grieve, inappropriate. I’d missed my window. In the stillness of everyday life, inconvenient emotions loomed in the foreground: anger, regret, sadness, confusion, fear, disappointment, resentment. And now I was finding them harder to ignore. In that moment I felt awkward and stupid. To me, all the stones looked basically the same. What made one better than another? It wasn’t logical, half of my brain yelled at me. Who cares what rock? Would it really make a difference? The other half of my brain berated me for being such a rigid square. Suspend the disbelief a little, why don’t you? My competing halves squabbled while my eyes scanned. When I returned to the room, I found the curtains drawn. Sweeping them to the side, I was accosted by the sight of my father completely naked on the hospital gurney, sending me backpedaling to sit outside the door. The nurses emerged to explain he had vomited on himself and needed his gown changed. As the father of three girls, the man had been painstakingly modest about nudity, and somehow, after twenty-seven years of success, I bungled it on the last day. Small indignities of watching someone you love die. Forty-eight sleepless hours in the ICU. I was getting dizzy from scanning doctors’ faces as they passed, hoping for liberation from the purgatory of not knowing. The nurses were cheerful, but they always were. It was put on, of course. How could anyone be cheerful in this place straddled between life and death? Patients groaned in agony behind pink, plastic curtains, every room full of alien instruments, wires, and tubes. He chuckled but gave me a subdued smile. “Me too, but someday I won’t be around.”  As a man with chronic road rage, he would have loved it. I’d planned to give it to him the next time I saw him, but I never got the chance. It burned with the rest of him at the crematorium. “My dad,” I told her. One step forward. But this didn’t take away all the horrible memories. Like cracking Pandora’s box, snippets of horror rushed to the forefront of my brain. When I agreed to try one of her therapeutic exercises, she asked me to think about what no longer serves me in my life. What is holding me back? “So what do you want to let go of?” she asked. For months after my father died, I buried myself in the busyness of death — making calls to relatives and the utility companies, negotiating with the funeral home, writing the obituary, designing memorial cards, transferring car titles at the DMV, yelling at the HOA for harassing me about mildew on the side of his house.  His tongue. The image of my father’s purple, swollen tongue came into my mind. Poking between his lips when they removed the ventilation tube, dark in contrast to his pallid, lifeless skin. My heart ached at the memory. I didn’t want to remember him that way. I pictured the image seeping like a toxin from my fingertips into the rock. One step forward. What did I want to release? No right or wrong answers, I reminded myself.  I held the blue pebble in my closed palm and pressed my fists into my pocket to warm my cracked, dry hands. Between my thumb and index finger, I rubbed its smooth surface like a prayer bead. And, in my own way, I prayed. — My lip poked out in a pout, as though this fact were his fault. He nudged my chin with his knuckle, lifting my face to meet his gaze. “At the end of the day, we’re all worm food, and that’s the circle of life.”  “Good,” Cheeks encouraged. “Trust your instinct, but think about it carefully.” — The nurses left me again. I was determined this time to maintain my post, listening to the rhythmic click and sigh as the respirator filled his lungs with air. The balloon pump kept his heart beating. IV bags perched on shiny chrome racks dripped drugs into his bloodstream. So many damn machines — I wasn’t sure how much man remained.  One of my first memories was through the bars of my baby sister’s crib. My mother had placed the three of us there while the EMTs hauled my father out of our apartment on a stretcher after his first heart attack. I was 4, he was 53.  “Now,” Cheeks instructed with a gentle voice, “Look around and choose a rock that represents what you want to release from your life. There isn’t a right or wrong answer.” Cheeks nodded and produced a box from which she retrieved a lighter and a bundle of dried sage. Despite five minutes of joint effort, we weren’t able to keep the lighter aflame against the wind. Undeterred, she held the sage to my nose and told me to inhale. It was a grounding exercise, she explained. An effort to engage my senses and prime my brain to be mindful and notice the sights, sounds, and smells of the forest. “Plus, it’s cleansing,” she added.  And with the wind whipping hair against my face, I crossed the threshold. The beeping of the EKG machines were testing the last remnants of my sanity. Chinese water torture in the form of sound, a shrill metronome marking the growing distance between myself and reality. In theory, it was a rather simple exercise. But I was out of my depth and pre-occupied with the execution. How fast should I walk? How does one walk and meditate at the same time? Should I close my eyes? “Just watch me,” I’d snapped. I stood, straightening my back, feeling the relief in my muscles, the tension in my shoulders melting with my newfound lightness.  Here, in the wind and quiet, I took a moment with that heavy rock and placed a hand over its surface. Cold, rough. “Goodbye,” I whispered.center_img For a moment I stood still and silent, cradling the rock to my chest. Icy air leeched into my lungs as I steadied my breath. It smelled faintly like Christmas, splintered branches bleeding their sweet, piney scent into the atmosphere. The staccato thrum of a woodpecker echoed from the distance.  And sitting in plain sight, there it was. The stone was large, asymmetrical, gray, and ugly. Squatting to lift it, I cradled it in my forearms like an infant. A fat one — somewhere around 15 pounds. With its shape so ungainly, I found it difficult to hold, resting it partially against my pelvis for stability. Something to represent all those icky emotions I’d been avoiding for over a year. This thing would be hell to carry — it was the one. At some point the beeping from the monitors indicated that his heart was racing. I looked over to the bed and his eyes met mine, opened for the first time since I arrived. He tried to speak, but the ventilation tube silenced his voice, his tongue swollen and purple from biting it when he hit the floor. His expression was one I’d never seen him wear: fear.  “My ticker’s just not very good,” he explained when I was older.  Learning to skip stones with Dad. I needed air, but I settled for nicotine. I stepped out for a punishing cigarette — smoked fast and burned hot. Maybe I needed it that way. Click here to read the whole article The sound of a jackhammer in the distance interrupted my thoughts, ricocheting inside my skull. Anger bubbled inside me. How unfair, I thought. How am I supposed to immerse myself in nature with all that damn noise? Life’s not fair, came my father’s voice. One of his favorite phrases.  Stepping over newly fallen trees, I trekked through the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum until I reached a clearing hidden by pines and lined with rocks. Carefully arranged, they formed a winding labyrinth for walking meditation. At the entry stood ecotherapist Pat Cheeks, who had arrived an hour before to clear fallen brush, collect litter, and tidy stones. We greeted each other and made small talk about last night’s crazy storm, soon circling back to the reason we were both standing out here in the cold. At age six, the notion that life wasn’t fair didn’t seem good enough to me. “I think you should be here forever,” I told him, crossing my arms. A year and a half later on a frigid February day, I braced myself against blustery gusts of air, kicking myself for forgetting my hat and scarf in my truck. A brutal windstorm had torn through the Shenandoah Valley the previous night, bowing the windows of my apartment to the point I thought they might crack. Though the storm had passed, today’s windchill made the 40 degree air feel closer to 25. When the doctor told us he was braindead with no possibility of recovery, my sister had reached for my hand. I shook my head ‘no,’ recoiling from human touch. I didn’t want to carry anyone else’s pain, I could barely manage my own. ’Bad sister’ flashed across my mind, though I’d long since apologized and been forgiven. Into the rock and one step forward. “Why not?” I demanded to know.  After her experiences with survivors of trauma, Cheeks found surprising solutions for pain management besides the use of medication. Asking burn patients to imagine their body covered with cool river water, for example, took away some of the heat and pain. Eventually, Cheeks opened her own small business, Natural Transitions, to help clients adjust to major life changes using nature as a healing tool. With gravel crunching beneath my feet, I let it all go. In the last few years of his life, we’d grown distant. I had become tired of his nagging, prodding, pushing me to get a career, make something more of myself. “What are you doing with your life, Sarah?” he’d asked me. “You can’t kick the can down the road forever.”  During my winding walk towards the center, I’d only heard the wind through dry branches and an occasional woodpecker. But now, the woods were alive with sounds of life that I’d been too preoccupied to notice — gentle chirps of female cardinals, returned by the more rambunctious twitter of the males. The rapid chip of the sparrow, the quick-fire, five-beat note of the Carolina wren. Squirrels skittered in helter skelter spirals around the trunks of oak trees, their barks and squeaks intermingling with birdsong. Even in winter when the world seemed shriveled and dead, life sprung from every tree hollow. Stone from center of labyrinthPhoto credit: Sarah Vogel By the time I reached the center of the labyrinth, my forearms and biceps were shaking from fatigue. I was ready to put it down. In a way, it felt more final than when they put my father’s remains in the ground. At the funeral, my mother had hired photographers who stalked in the background, shutters clicking in my ears while I tossed a rose on top of his urn. My rage trumped my grief, unable to feel anything in the spotlight of spectators. I tried my best to understand. “Like the Lion King?” I asked.  “When you get old, things just wear out,” he said with a sigh. The cold raked my knuckles, white from carrying the heavy stone. It stole the heat from my fingers until they were completely numb. He was right, I thought. Life isn’t fair. I didn’t need that resentment, guilt, anger, and regret anymore. I didn’t need it leeching my warmth. A gust of wind rustled the branches of the evergreens above like the swish of long, sweeping dress. I closed my eyes and felt tears and sun on my face. They said he collapsed on his way out of the office to battle his way through rush hour. Some bystanders had given him CPR and used the defibrillator twice to get his heart started again. I hated thinking about him like that — surrounded by strangers from the vantage of the floor. Scared, confused. At least he wasn’t alone, I told myself. Cheeks is a woman who has spent her entire life dedicated to helping relieve pain — first as a nurse at the burn center at UVA hospital, as a volunteer for the Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA), and later as a psychiatric clinical nurse specialist.  I walked with shoulders back as I left that labyrinth behind, my dad’s voice still in my head. “Life’s not fair,” he’d said. And as I reached the end of the maze, I paused before crossing back over the threshold. The rest of our conversation flooded my mind. One step forward. I didn’t know who I was praying to. Maybe the universe, maybe myself. It didn’t matter. I prayed for the strength to be a better sister, to take their hands the next time they needed me. I prayed for the patience to tackle my life’s problems even when I felt I had no one to call. I prayed for the wisdom to recognize I could be resourceful and perseverant, and that I did, in fact, have people who would pick up the phone when I needed someone. I prayed for forgiveness from myself. The jackhammer stopped, but my heart was racing. I was furious. What did the man think he was doing having kids at that age? Didn’t he realize he wouldn’t be there when I needed him? When my truck was making that clanking noise, when I’d had a bad day at work, when I was proud of myself for life’s small accomplishments. Didn’t he realize I’d have no one to call? She pointed to the pile in the center of the labyrinth. “Once you can leave that stone behind, choose another to represent what you’d like to fill the space you’ve created by letting go of what no longer serves you. Meditate on that as you walk the same path out of the labyrinth.” “We’re going to set an intention now,” Cheeks explained. “As you walk through the labyrinth, focus your mind on what you want to release and visualize pouring it into that rock. When you get to the center of the labyrinth, place it down and give yourself permission to let it go.” Click here to read the whole article At the threshold, my hands now warm again, I felt the smooth stone in my pocket and filled it with the memory. With one last lungful of harsh but life-giving air, I stepped over that pine branch and back into the world. I didn’t know what to say, so I said nothing. Mom was back — when did she get back? — and held his hand and told him that we were here and we loved him. The nurse told me to hold his leg so he wouldn’t rip out his catheter. He looked hazy and sedated but he saw me. We saw each other. And then he closed his eyes for the last time. And without warning, singing a barely recognizable rendition of The Circle of Life, he snatched me up by the armpits like Simba on Pride Rock. I’d laughed until I cried. I nodded. At the entrance of the maze, Cheeks had laid a thin pine branch along the ground. It was the “threshold,” she explained, a physical barrier to represent the beginning and end of this emotional ritual. “Begin when you’re ready,” she said. Immediately, I was drawn to a small pebble of black granite with stripes of white quartz scored along the surface. Holding it between my fingers, I considered it, admiring the contrast of colors, the strangeness of minerals cracked and reformed over millions of years. I placed it back on the ground. “That’s not it,” I said. I liked it too much.last_img read more

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