by Riverdave Owen
August 21, 2019 

     Today marks the 40th anniversary of Riverdave's Journal. On August 21, 1979 I began a daily practice of keeping a personal journal which has continued to the present time. My only regret is that I did not start earlier! Through journaling I track and process my life; record work experiences, nature encounters, family life and dreams; mine it for essay material; and consult it as one face of my inner guru. 

     I have also shared selections from my journal in several different formats through the years. For the first ten years I wrote a bimonthly "Owen Family Newsletter" about my linguistic research and family life in the Middle East that I mailed to 500 friends around the world. Over the next twenty-five years I wrote a Nature column called "Riverdave's Journal" that was featured locally in Durham's Herald-Sun, News & Observer and several other publications. It can now be accessed in my online open ebook at  For the past five years my journaling for the public has morphed into a Nature blog (with an occasional anti-war protest rant) through Riverdave's Facebook Page. 

     Finally, I must acknowledge my journaling mentor, Henry David Thoreau, who gifted us with the most extensive personal journal in the history of journaling!


August 21, 1979

     "We left our Durham airport at 10:31 a.m. on August 20, 1979. Twenty-one hours later we walked into St. Andrew's Guest House in East Jerusalem. The plane was packed with families toting many restless children. It was not an easy flight. Upon exiting the airport we lost track of a suitcase for half an hour and frantically searched, thinking that one of the taxi drivers had grabbed it and took off. But in the crunch of the airport arrival hall, it had simply fallen off our cart and was found by security and returned to us. We paid a taxi driver named Rahiim, who spoke excellent Arabic, $25 to take us to the guest house ..."

Photo: St. Andrew's Guest House, East Jerusalem