Hobbies and some things I like...

Despite the fact that my work is in some sense one of my hobbies, I also have many other interests, and am only sorry that there are not enough hours in the day to pursue them all as often as I'd like... Among them are playing music on the fiddle and mandolin and anything else I can get to make a decent sound, drawing portraits, landscapes, and other kinds of things that strike my fancy, whether animate or inanimate, art and music in general, and of course, reading and writing, as well as photography, and movies. Having been an athlete (basketball, football, track, etc.) until an ankle injury ended my formal career early in my freshman year in college, I still enjoy all kinds of sports: many as a spectator, and some as a participant. (A later severe knee injury during intramural football at Johns Hopkins University finally caused me to decide that some sports are better for watching since I'd still like to be able to walk and move about well!) I also still enjoy hiking and camping a great deal, and of course, since I've been fortunate enough to travel a fair amount all over North America (to all 50 states, and to 11 of the 13 Canadian provinces and territories - all except Newfoundland - which I've flown over lots of times - and Nunavut - up by northern Greenland - and to most several times), as well as all over much of Europe and South America, I do enjoy travel, languages, and learning about different cultures and their history and customs and their ways of cultural and artistic expression, etc. I also am very fond of archaeology, geology, paleontology, and history in general, and during a number of visits to Italy, was very happy about touring around Pompeii and Herculaneum (Roman, 1st Century A.D.), and Paestum (Greek - also known as Poseidonia - 5th-7th Century B.C.), plus seeing ancient Hawaiian heiaus and other Polynesian archaeological and cultural and natural sites in the Hawaiian Islands while visiting the Big Island of Hawaii, plus Maui, Oahu, and Kauai, Inupiat and Arctic culture and life in and around Barrow, Alaska (even getting a short trip of a few hours out on the Arctic Ocean with an Inupiat family in 2005!), plus going from Skagway, Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, to Dawson City in the Yukon, and again north of the Arctic Circle, over the mountains and Mackenzie River to Inuvik, Northwest Territories, and Tuktoyaktuk, NWT (on the Arctic Ocean by the Mackenzie River Delta), and back in the Yukon and Alaska, seeing examples of Athabaskan culture south of the Brooks Range, flying around up close to the high peaks in the Alaska Range (Denali, Hunter, Foraker, etc.) near Talkeetna, going out on the Chena and Tanana Rivers in Fairbanks, and the beautiful Matanuska and Susitna Valleys north of Anchorage. On other trips, I've been up the Dalton Highway, over the Yukon River to Coldfoot and Wiseman, then over the Brooks Range via the Atigun Pass to the North Slope and down to Deadhorse and Prudhoe Bay, as well as over by the Bering Sea to Nome and out to the end of the road at the village of Teller, and up once again above the Arctic Circle to Kotzebue. I was supposed to fly up to Anaktuvuk Pass, as well, but I was the only passenger, and so they wouldn't fly that day. Seeing some Native American and early European and colonial sites in the U.S., Canada, and South America has been a very interesting thing that I've gotten to do, also. Places containing early South American native artifacts (Inca, etc.) like the good Museo Pre-Columbiano in Santiago, Chile have been a lot of fun to visit, as has been seeing a bit of the Andes of Equador, Peru, Argentina, and Chile, and visiting places like La Serena, Vicuna (home of Gabriela Mistral, the poet) , and Portillo in Chile, and in Europe seeing Celtic and pre-Celtic mounds in Ireland and Britain and visiting places such as Galway and the west of Ireland, the mountains and coast of County Donegal in Ireland, the mountains and glens of Northern Ireland, and also seeing various remnants of the European medieval, Renaissance, and later periods - places like Venice, Florence, Bologna, Cremona, Rome, Naples, Granada and its medieval Arabo-Andalusian gem - the Alhambra, Cordoba, Merida, Caceres, Sintra, Paris, Epinal, Montpellier, Antibes and the Riviera, Genoa, Milan, Zurich, Munich, Innsbruck and the Alps, Salzburg, Prague, London, Stirling, Loch Tay and other beautiful lochs, Glencoe, Fort William, the Isle of Skye, Inverness, Aviemore, Pitlochry, and the Scottish Highlands, Dunkeld, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dublin, Holyhead and the coast and mountains of North Wales, and the views in the English Lake District plus cities like York and Durham, and hosts of other cities and towns and the often-beautiful countrysides and small villages surrounding such places - all fascinating places to see for someone whose family has, except for a relatively short stint in Canada in the 1920s, been in North Carolina and Virginia since around 1695-1718 on one side and probably around the 1750s-1760s on the other! I also have very much enjoyed getting to take part in paleontology field work in the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming with a group from the Johns Hopkins University, and exploring other places in the North American West like Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, Bridger Tetons (Wind River), and Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming, Glacier and Waterton Lakes National Parks, and Banff and Jasper National Parks in the Rockies in Montana and Alberta, Vancouver Island and the southeast coast and islands and mountains of British Columbia and Washington State, Mount Baker and the North Cascades and Olympic Mountains and coastal rain forest of Washington State, Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, Crater Lake, and Mount Shasta in the Cascade Mountains of Washington, Oregon, and northern California, the Coastal Range and Sierra Nevada of California and Nevada, the mountains of southern California, and the mountains and deserts of the Four Corners area and all around northern and southern Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and Idaho, plus the mountains and coasts of Eastern North America from the southern tip of Key West, Florida, to the Outer Banks and high Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, to Meat Cove at the northern tip of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, among many other places in between. Working around my house and lawn take up some of my time, and I usually enjoy that as well, though like any homeowner, there are times I'd just like to pay someone else, and sometimes I do! I do, however, like to design and build things for my house out of wood, as well, though I've only rarely managed the time to do it. I also like to cook for friends on those occasions when we can make the time. I'm fond of my family (mother, brother, and my late father), too... And though I can manage to make myself extremely busy at times, I also realize that there are times when its very important to take a break and just watch the sunlight and shadows change on the side of a hill, or the clouds as they drift by overhead, or the moon and stars as they rise and set through the changing of the seasons, and the coming and going of the leaves and all kinds of weather, or to just play with my cat, or watch him as he plays, or to have a conversation (I'm not quite sure about what!) with him in his own language... (NOTE: He died in 2004, but was a true cat to the very end - trying to get me to chase him and play only 2 minutes before he was felled by a blood clot through the heart. He was a great cat and likewise is missed greatly!)

Photo credits: Dorret Oosterhoff (Top L); Dave Schott (Top R); Dave Schott? (Bottom L); Amy and Harry Braun (Bottom R)
Playing music with friends (and STScI colleague Harry) and Meg Ferguson at the wedding of an Irish astronomer and friend, Brian Espey (L), and playing solo fiddle to the waves on a stony beach in Nova Scotia (R).
Playing at a concert in Nova Scotia (L) and at a festival in Chapel Hill, NC (R).

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Ray Lucas