Friday, January 30, 2009

LADY MOON GRACES THE EVENING SKY


Lady Moon made her first tentative appearance in the twilight sky last evening; a delicate, silvery crescent sitting gently upon the indigo shoulders of the the dusk. Venus was poised above, like a jewel about to alight in her crown. A few crows stayed behind their mates who had already flown off to roost--perhaps to admire this lovely evening spectacle like I did.


And then darkness began to fall, the crows were gone, and Lady Moon and I were left alone/together to contemplate each other...

[Composed while listening to: Tribe Pendragon "Calling the Spirit" and Lunatic Soul "Lunatic Soul" and "Waiting for the Dawn"]

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Arne Naess, Father of "Deep Ecology", Dies at 96


Arne Naess, the Norwegian philosopher whose ideas about promoting an intimate and all-embracing relationship between the earth and the human species inspired environmentalists and Green political activists around the world, died Monday. He was 96.

Deep ecology, which called for population reduction, soft technology and non-interference in the natural world, was eagerly taken up by environmentalists impatient with shallow ecology — another of Mr. Naess’s coinages — which did not confront technology and economic growth.

His ideas on ecology and ecosophy were developed in numerous books and articles, notably “Freedom, Emotion and Self-Subsistence” (1975), “Ecology, Community and Lifestyle” (1989) and “Life’s Philosophy: Reason and Feeling in a Deeper World” (2002).

Surveying the continuing destruction of the environment, Mr. Naess was pessimistic about the 21st century but optimistic about the 22rd. By then, he predicted, population control would show results, technology would be noninvasive and children would grow up in a natural environment. At that point, he said, “we are back in the direction of paradise.”

Many naturalists, ecologists, and other thinkers embraced this philosophy of interconnectedness, but one of the best takes on it is from none other than Albert Einstein:

A human being is part of the whole called by us universe ... We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

THE ANNUAL TRIP TO WASHINGTON STATE


Lady Moon was caught out in daylight one morning, and played peek-a-boo behind the fir branches.


Frost painted every leaf, branch, and fencetop in crystaline white.



Along the road, the sun glowed between the bare twigs and branches of the bog.


Finally risen, the sun painted the treetops in a golden light, though the air remained chill with cold.


Red berries coated with frost dangle from bare braches.


Dead leaves and grasses...


...look elegantly dressed when covered with frost.


Cattails slowly thawing as the sun clears the fence top.


The ones lower down in the ditch must wait a bit longer...


...for the kiss of the sun to free them of their ice crytals.


The woods on the hill were alive with birds and birdsong.


Tall, straight Douglas Firs stand like green sentinals overhead.

I wish I was able to blog every day, but unfortunately work and personal matters often have other ideas. I’ll try to fill in on a few interesting events that happened since the last post as I am able.

The holidays sped by, though it was nice to enjoy winter break at home this year. I decided to visit my folks in January so I could get some hiking in and also have time to relax. Good thing I did, too—Washington had really nasty weather and the airport was shut down a number of times due to ice, wind, and snow.

Just came back from that trip to Washington and it was really nice. The first few days were cloudy and cold, but the last three the sun came out. And not a single drop of rain fell during my whole trip, which is the first time that I can remember that happening, no matter what the time of year has been when I’ve visited.

There are some bird feeders on the side of the mobile home that is along the creek and it was busy with birds every morning. The poor dears had to gobble the food quickly to get their energy levels up after spending the night huddled against the cold. There are always Black-capped chickadees, Bushtits, and Dark-eyed Juncos, but this trip I saw a Northern Flicker, Townsend’s Warbler, and my first Varied Thrush. All of them took turns at the suet feeders, going for the high-energy snack.

The last two mornings were frosty, and I took the opportunity to get out early and take some photos. Frost creates such a magical world with the ordinary, a dream place of sparkling crystals and diamonds encrusting every leaf and branch. I walked up and down the road behind the mobile home park where my folks live, taking many photos of the red willow branches that cover the swamp, then headed up to the patch of woods on the hill.

These woods have become my refuge, my special place that I look forward to visiting each time I come up. I hope that they do not cut down this patch as they have done to so many others up here to make way for housing developments and shopping centers. The air was cold—only about 33-degrees—and I am paying for that two hour walk now from breathing in that frozen air, with what may be a bout of bronchitis. But worth every minute! On the morning I visited the woods the trees were alive with birds and their songs:
Black-capped Chickadee
Steller’s Jay
Bushtit
Bewick’s Wren
Brown Creeper

[Composed to my favorite band at the moment, Capercaillie]