Posted in 100,000 Poets, Musicians, Artists and Activists for Change, 100TPC, Artists and Activists for Change, Corina L. Ravenscraft, Environment/Deep Ecology/Climate Change, General Interest, Nature, poetry, trees, Writing

It’s Not Too Late, a poem by Corina Ravenscraft

This quarter’s BeZine, we are joining with 100TPC (100 Thousand Poets (and others) For Change. We’re celebrating in solidarity with Greta Thunberg, the amazing 16-year old climate change activist traveling by ship to attend two important global events: The Climate Action Summit in New York on September 21-23 and the UN Climate Conference in Santiago in December of 2019. Please read the September issue and enjoy the creations of artists, poets, musicians, writers and all manner of creative activists as we speak up for the planet! ūüôā Please join with us on the 28th for our Virtual 100TPC.

Natural Splendor
All photos in this image are mine except the smoky mountains at dawn, which is “Silhouette Of Mountains During Dawn” by cmonphotography from the free to use site Pexels.com. Link to photo: https://www.pexels.com/photo/silhouette-of-mountains-during-dawn-1809644/

I have been awestruck into silence beneath towering, emerald

Tree cathedrals. In shallow, turquoise, warm waters I’ve dived,

Swimming in shocked delight with giant, graceful, green turtles.

Navigating a steep cliff face with a foot-thick ship’s rope, I’ve

Observed the surf-pounded stones and sea lion caves below.

Thundering waterfalls have temporarily deafened me, as they

Transformed to swollen streams with cold, clear, melted snow.

Oh, fresh breaths of clean, mountain top air, taken away,

Overlooking panoramic views of violet and blue-fogged hills.

Listening to late evening concertos of crickets and frogs,

Awakens gratitude for Nature’s dynamic set of skills.

Tell all that Earth’s destroyers must now be Her demagogues!

Engage with more than platitudes and lukewarm dialogues.

~ © C.L.R. 2019

 

Posted in Culture/History, Environment/Deep Ecology/Climate Change, Naomi Baltuck, Nature, ocean bliss, Peace & Justice, Photo Story, Photography/Photographer, Spiritual Practice, story, Story Telling, Photo Story, Sustainability, Teachers, TheBeZine, trees, Writing

Hope Floats

 

On my last visit to Juneau, my Alaskan sister Constance, told me a story. It began over fifteen hundred years ago, when a small band of Pacific Islanders, plagued by overpopulation and the depletion of natural resources, set sail across the Pacific in outrigger canoes to seek new islands to call home.

 

They were the ancestors of the people of Hawaii, Tahiti, Samoa, and other Polynesian islands.¬† Their only guidance was gleaned from the stars, the wind, ocean currents, the swell of the waves, the birds and the fish, the movement of the clouds. This ancient system of navigation, known as ‚Äėwayfinding,‚Äô enabled them to travel thousands of miles across vast stretches of ocean to remote tiny islands.

My sister told me she had volunteered at an event in honor of native Hawai’ian, Nainoa Thompson, who had come to Juneau to tell his story, and to celebrate the strong bond between the First Peoples of Alaska and Hawai’i.¬† It began in 1976, when Nainoa wanted to follow in his ancestors’ wake by sailing from Hawai’i to Tahiti with only traditional navigation as guidance.¬† He had a double-hulled outrigger canoe named Hokule‚Äôa, ‚ÄėOur Star of Gladness‚Äô.¬† At that time, ‚Äėwayfinding‚Äô was in danger of being forever lost.¬† Hawaii‚Äôs wayfinders had all died, and only a few elderly wayfinders remained in Micronesia. One of them, Mau Piailug, barely spoke English, and the trip from Hawaii to Tahiti longer than any voyage Mau had ever made.¬† But Mau‚Äôs children, like the children of so many Native Americans, had been taken away to boarding schools, robbed of their culture, and any interest in learning the ancient art.¬† He agreed to mentor Nainoa.

Under Mau’s tutelage Nainoa completed the trip, and became a master wayfinder, helping to preserve Hawai’ian culture.¬† But the Hokule’a was built from modern materials, and Nainoa wanted to build a ship of traditional Hawai’ian materials.¬† For almost a year, Nainoa searched throughout the Hawai’ian Islands for two koa trees to use as hulls.

Between the devastation of ranching and logging, he couldn’t find a single koa tree tall or thick enough to serve.

It was noted in Captain George Vancouvers journals in 1793–that some Hawai’ian canoes had hulls of Sitka Spruce.¬† The logs had been carried three thousand miles from Alaska by ocean currents, tossed up on Hawaiian beaches, and were considered gifts from the gods.

Nainoa asked Alaskan tribal elders for two Sitka Spruce trees to build an outrigger canoe.¬† He was told that he could have the trees “so you can build the canoe to carry your culture.¬† But we won’t take their lives until you come see that they are what you need.”

The Sitka Spruce trees were beautiful; 200-feet tall, eight feet in diameter, over 400 years old.¬† But Nainoa realized that he couldn’t take the life of those trees before dealing with the destruction of his native Hawaiian forests.

Nainoa returned to Hawai’i to launch a restoration program. People worked together, old and young–some traveled from Alaska–to plant thousands of koa tree seedlings, creating forests that will one day have tree big enough to make canoes.

Only then did Nainoa feel he could return to Alaska to accept the gift of the Sitka Spruce trees.

Nainoa called the new canoe ‘Hawai’iloa’, after the ancient wayfinder who first discovered the Hawai’ian Islands.

Those first Polynesian voyagers coped with overpopulation and depletion of resources by migrating to other uninhabited islands, but that’s no longer an option on our crowded planet.¬† Nainoa’s expanded mission has become ‘Malama Honua’, which means ‘caring for the Earth.’¬† Last year the Hokule’a completed a three year tour that circled the planet, building global community, and promoting earth care and sustainability as well as Polynesian culture.

I believe we have strayed, and lost sight of the world we want and need to live in.  But, as Nainoa discovered, and now teaches, if one is willing to listen and learn, there are wayfinders who can show us the way home.

All images ©2019 Naomi Baltuck


NAOMI BALTUCK (Writing Between the Lines)~ is Resident Storyteller at The BeZine. She is a world-traveler and an award-winning writer, photographer. Her works of fiction and nonfiction are available through Amazon HERE.

Naomi presents her wonderful photo-stories ‚Äď always interesting and rich with meaning and humor ‚Äď at Writing Between the Lines, Life from the Writer‚Äôs POV¬†(her personal blog) as well as on The BeZine.

Naomi conducts workshops such as Peace Porridge (multicultural stories to promote cooperation, goodwill, and peaceful coexistence), Whispers in the Graveyard (a spellbinding array of haunting and mysterious stories), Tandem Tales, Traveling Light Around the World, and others. For more on her programs visit Naomi Baltuck.com.

Naomi says, ‚ÄúWhen not actually writing, I am researching the world with my long-suffering husband and our two kids, or outside editing my garden. My novel, The Keeper of the Crystal Spring (Viking Penguin), can be read in English, German, Spanish, and Italian. My storytelling anthology, Apples From Heaven, garnered four national awards, including the Anne Izard Storytellers‚Äô Choice. I am currently working on a contemporary women‚Äôs novel.‚ÄĚ

Posted in Environment/Deep Ecology/Climate Change, Essay, Nature

Indian Summer

After the frost, warmth returns. We are now in Indian Summer, that period between first frost and the true onset of winter. The name ‚ÄúIndian Summer‚ÄĚ seems to be of contested origins. I was always told that the name came from the colonists‚Äô observation that Native people intensified hunting and gathering during the quiet time leading up to winter. Subsistence practices in colder temperate climates require that as much food and wood be put away as possible before the freeze sets in, yet the simple fact that much food is perishable means that food must be stored as late in the season as possible. Indian summer is, therefore, one of the few uses of the term ‚ÄúIndian‚ÄĚ that refers to our perseverance and foresight, rather than being derogatory.

As climate change accelerates, Indigenous people around the globe are speaking to the dramatic shifts in the seasonal round, and insisting that these changes portend hard times to come. Perhaps it is simple racism, or greed, or both, that stops so many from hearing the truth in the lived experience, and the vision, of those who live close to the land. Perhaps it is just the human condition to ignore that which threatens us but is not yet dramatically altering our lives.

In the Autumn, traditional people, and people of many cultures who live on and with the land, have traditionally worked together to secure the harvest and assure the well-being of one another and the community. We are indeed in Indian Summer, both here in New England, and around the planet. This time, rather than raging winter, we face an unprecedented time of climate upheaval for which there is, for many, no way to prepare. May we yet find a sense of community and work together to bring ourselves, and the world, back to balance.

© 2017, essay and photograph, Michael Watson (Dreaming the World), All rights reserved; Michael is a member of The BeZine core team

Posted in General Interest, Nature

Rob’s Morning Glory …

 

“The harp at Nature’s advent strung

Has never ceased to play;

The song the stars of morning sung

Has never died away.”

The Worship of Nature by John Greenleaf Whittier

Posted in memory of Robert Rossell one of the three original Bardo Group members.

Nature’s Gifts

by

Robert Rossell, Ph.D.

This morning I had an amazing encounter.¬†¬† After¬†a sleepless night,¬† I woke up late and decided to go for my morning walk in the local nature preserve behind my house.¬†¬† It was drizzling slightly— a very gentle spring rain.¬†¬†¬† I was deep in an intense internal reverie as I entered the park.¬† I looked up and found myself¬† looking at three deer slightly ahead of me on the trail.¬† I instinctively calmed myself and walked slowly forward.¬†¬† They didn’t seem in any hurry to leave as they often do when I encounter deer in the preserve.¬† It may have helped that I caught one of them, a two year old buck, in the middle of “doing his¬†business.”¬†¬†¬† He turned around and looked at me head-on but didn’t move because he wanted to finish.¬† The others, perhaps encouraged by his unwillingness to stop what he was doing,¬†were in no hurry to leave either.¬† They just¬†managed to ¬†keep ¬†themselves at a safe distance as I slowly moved forward.¬†¬†¬†¬† Very slowly, I walked forward.¬† The buck kept me in his gaze but didn’t move.¬†¬†¬† I was able to get maybe within six or eight feet of him, almost within reach.¬†¬† Finally he finished his business and slowly¬†walked away from the trail, still keeping me in his gaze.

Then while walking further, I encountered a mother quail and ten teeny, teeny, babies  walking into the tall grass on the side of the trail.   It was like a cartoon, the last little straggler trying to negotiate and jump over strands of weed and grass, mother scolding/encouraging them all to come along.  The little chicks must have been no more than a day old, very small, very cute.

Then I arrived at a farm in the middle of the preserve.¬† The farm is for families with children—goats, pigs, chickens and ducks to enjoy, and a cow, named Luna.¬†¬† I have become very fond of this cow over many trips to the farm–perhaps because of my bovine heart valve.¬†¬† She knows me now and accepts my touch, and will occasionally give me a big affectionate lick. (I haven’t brought myself yet to lick her back).¬†¬†¬† Anyway, she has been away for a while so they can repair her paddock and I haven’t¬† been able to see her.¬†¬†¬† But to my great delight she was there this morning, nursing a¬† baby bull and calf.¬† Even while occupied with her nursing babies, she recognized me and let me give her a few scratches and nuzzles.

I felt so gifted this morning by Nature.¬†¬† It was as if in the inscrutable wisdom of nature the Gods found a way of bringing me out of my funk and deep reverie and welcomed me into the world.¬†¬† All of my efforts at self-care in a painful, sleepless, night had utterly failed me.¬†¬† But somehow Nature’s magic managed to touch me and bring me out of my funk and ¬†reverie.¬†¬† It¬†amazes¬†me ¬†that this happens over and over again in my life.¬† When I seem to most need it, Nature finds a way to touch me.¬†¬†¬† I am grateful. I am also grateful that I am still able to be touched!

¬© 2011, Rob Rossll, All rights reserved; photo credits¬†–¬†California Quail in Golden Gate Park courtesy of Mila Zinkova under GNU Free Documentation License; the duck is in public domain and courtesy of¬†Arpingstone;¬†cow courtesy of Mandie Lancaster, Public Domain Pictures.net.

 

Posted in 100,000 Poets, Musicians, Artists and Activists for Change, Environment/Deep Ecology/Climate Change, Jamie Dedes, Nature, poetry

the smell of wood, the scorch of fire … and a writing prompt to help you prepare for 100TPC

stumpsthis rough-barked sequoia stump, sitting in majesty
in its coastal home, victim of wildfire, burned down
to its gnarly roots, its nicks, holes and char, eons
of scars, life seemingly cut off, goddess snake alive
inside the concentric circles, the smell of wood and
scorch of fire, at the verge of our infinity, in its truth ~

pristine

rugged

pulsing

haunted by the geometry of limbs, the calculus of green,
the algebraic eloquence of a world within a world  ~

So present.

So essential.

So primal.

it sings to itself in the marrow of our bones

– Jamie Dedes

WRITING PROMPT

In preparation for The BeZine 100,000 Poets (and Friends) for Change

Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016

Theme: Environment/Environmental Injustice

This poem was originally written¬†in 2014 for Wilderness Week. There were then and are now a number of fires raging in the western United States.¬†Wildfires are a natural occurrence but since the 1980s they’ve been increasing due to human-caused climate change. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists . . .

Wildfires in the western United States have been . . .¬†occurring nearly four times more often, burning more than six times the land area, and lasting almost five times as long (comparisons are between 1970-1986 and 1986-2003) …..¬†many of the areas that have seen these increases‚ÄĒsuch as Yosemite National Park and the Northern Rockies‚ÄĒare protected from or relatively unaffected by human land-use and behaviors. This suggests that climate change is a major factor driving the increase in wildfires.” MORE

We tend to look at these fires in terms of the expense incurred fighting them and the cost of lives, homes, habitat, wild life¬†and so forth.¬†However, there’s one consideration we may tend to forget:¬†Nature teaches us, comforts us, feeds us and is the ebb and flow of our spiritual and physical lives. The loss¬†– the environmental injustice – is¬†profound¬†on more than a material level.¬†This is what¬†the smell of wood, the scorch of fire¬†seeks to illustrate. “Nature” is who we are. Nature is us.

Write a poem or creative nonfiction piece on what the natural environment means to you and perhaps the sense of loss you feel as you note plants, animals, insects and wilderness that you’ve seen damaged or destroyed by climate, industry, overpopulation and whatever else has effected the area in which you live.

¬©¬†2014, poem, Jamie Dedes (The Poet by Day), All rights reserved;¬†Photo credit ~Bay Nature.org: “The Bay Nature Institute, based in Berkeley, California, is dedicated to educating the people of the San Francisco Bay Area about, and celebrating the beauty of, the surrounding natural world. We do so with the aim of inspiring residents to explore and preserve the diverse and unique natural heritage of the region, and of nurturing productive relationships among the many organizations and individuals working towards these same goals.” Read more HERE.

You are invited to join The Bardo Group Beguines at The BeZine¬†blog on Saturday, September¬†24 for 100,000 Poets (and friends) for Change. ¬†Below is a list of more features to provide you with information. We hope you’ll join us.

RELATED:

Posted in Environment/Deep Ecology/Climate Change, General Interest, Nature, Photography/Photographer

Celebrating Wilderness

We’re getting ready¬†to bring you the March issue of The BeZine on the 15th. Priscilla Galasso is the lead, and the¬†theme is¬†The Joys of Nature: Wilderness, Gardens and Green Spaces. To whet your¬†appetite, we bring you a repost of Priscilla’s 2014 feature article celebrating the¬†50th anniversary of the1964 Wilderness Act.¬†J.D.

It’s a time for celebration! 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act, the landmark conservation bill that created a way for Americans to protect their most pristine wildlands for future generations.¬† The 1964 Wilderness Act…created the National Wilderness Preservation System, which protects nearly 110 million acres of wilderness areas from coast to coast. This anniversary is a wonderful chance to celebrate all that’s been achieved for wilderness in the past 50 years and remind Americans of all that we can achieve in the next 50.‚ÄĚ (from The Wilderness Society website, http://www.wilderness.org)

wilderness

I read this call to celebration with great delight. My partner Steve is also turning 50 this fall. We’d been searching for a way to live out the next half of our lives more intentionally embodying all that we’ve come to value. He’s been reading up on ‘Deep Ecology’ lately and examining his own philosophy of land ethic, relationship to the Earth, and living responsibly. It can all be a very thick soup to me, but at the mention of ‚ÄúWILDERNESS‚ÄĚ, I began to find a kind of clarity. Images, feelings, an intuitive sense of freedom and sanctity began to emerge from the murky definitions and contradictions. Yes, I value ‘wilderness’. I need it. I know this, deep in my soul. What is this recognition about? What does ‘wilderness’ mean, and what do I learn from it?

‚ÄúA wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.‚ÄĚ The Wilderness Act of 1964

tent

What is our relationship to wilderness ‚Äď or to Nature, for that matter? Are we visitors? Are we managers, stewards, masters? Conquerors? I hear the ‘beep, beep, beep’ of construction vehicles in reverse and the thud of jack-hammers that are currently tearing down the green space near my home and widening the interstate highway to create a Research Park, and I know that a large part of my culture is dedicated to conquering and altering the land and calling it ‘development’.

playing house

I am drawn to the prairie, to the woodlands, to green space wherever I find it, but I don’t want to be a mere visitor. I belong to this planet. My ancestry is here. When I was a little girl, I used to play in the Forest Preserve across the street from my house. I would duck beneath the shady boughs of a bush and sweep out some floor space with a stick. I would set up rooms and fashion utensils of twig and bark. I played House for hours on end, staking my claim, perhaps, to domesticity within that habitat. I want to live on the Earth, with the Earth, not in dominance or enmity, but in peace and harmony. In order to live in peace, however, I have to know when to leave well enough alone. I know this in my relationship with people, and I know this in my relationship with animals. It’s called Respect. Why shouldn’t this be true of my relationship to land and sea and air as well? Let it do what it wants to do. Let it enjoy autonomy, as I do. Let it be ‚Äúuntrammeled by man‚ÄĚ.

¬†If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.” – Lyndon Baynes Johnson, President who signed The Wilderness Act into law.

secondary wilderness forest

Is it naive to think that there exists any place on Earth that is truly pristine? Perhaps. And that need not be grounds to dismiss the idea of wilderness with a cynical roll of the eyes. I believe there is merit in creating what I call ‘secondary wilderness’ by allowing areas that have been previously used and even exploited to return to a more natural state. There is much to be learned by observing what time and non-human agents will do in a particular environment. Steve and I found a section of secondary wilderness right here in Wisconsin. Although most of the 110 million acres of federally designated Wilderness is west of the Mississippi in mountains, deserts, and Arctic tundra, there are forests in the North that have been abandoned by logging operations and allowed to return to wildlands. The Headwaters Wilderness in the Nicolet unit of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is 22,000+ acres of previously logged forest that has been left wild since 1984. There are 2 Forest Service roads that divide the area into three sections, but enough contiguous acreage to qualify still for wilderness status. Backpacker Magazine’s site has given it the distinction of ‚Äúdeepest solitude‚ÄĚ within that Forest. We headed there just after Memorial Day.

wilderness map

wilderness:(1)¬† a tract or region uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings (2) :¬† an area essentially undisturbed by human activity together with its naturally developed life community (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary)

We found a dispersed campsite across the road from the designated wilderness on the banks of Scott Lake. As we set up camp, we were greeted by two trumpeter swans on the lake, a raucous chorus of frogs and a host of mosquitoes. That night, we had a bit of rain. In the morning, a bald eagle perched high in a dead tree on the far side of the lake, illuminated by the rising eastern sun. Staring at him through my binoculars, I imagined him enjoying an aerial view like ones I’d seen in pictures of Alaska. Could I really be in the wilderness, finally? My rational brain convinced me of the disparities, but my romantic soul glowed. Even here, in Wisconsin, there can be solitude, common-union with nature, and a wild hope.

 

swans 2

‚Äú…in Wildness is the preservation of the World. Every tree sends its fibers forth in search of the Wild. The cities import it at any price. Men plow and sail for it. From the forest and wilderness come the tonics and barks which brace mankind…I believe in the forest, and in the meadow, and in the night in which the corn grows. We require an infusion of hemlock, spruce or arbor vitae in our tea…‚ÄĚ Henry David Thoreau, ‚ÄúWalking‚ÄĚ 1862

We found a hiking trail into the edge of the wilderness, marked by a series of white diamonds on the trees. The trail was maintained, after a fashion, but not with meticulous interference. I preferred it to those wide, paved ‚Äútrails‚ÄĚ in city parks where cyclists, boarders and baby strollers whiz by all weekend.

trail 2

The inevitable down side of climbing the wilderness mountain is returning to ‘civilization’, re-entering the spaces that humans have altered and asking a million critical questions about our involvement. Was this action necessary? Was this change beneficial and for whom? How is this decision going to effect this environment, this habitat, this life? How do I take responsibility when my ignorance is so vast? How do I do my best to learn and choose and be aware? What do I do when I see individuals or systems causing destruction?

.

I learned the 4 pillars of Environmental Education while volunteering at a local Nature Center: Awareness, Appreciation, Attitude and Action. My experience in the wilderness took me on a journey past those milestones: being aware of the solitude, of the multitude of interconnected lives as well; being awed by the variety and majesty of all that I saw; feeling a deep desire to protect, to respect, and to serve Life; and finally, deciding to make changes and choices in my own life and lifestyle, to learn to embody the experience, not just as a vacation or a change from habit, but as a daily practice.

wilderness sunsetSteve & I are planning to attend the National Wilderness Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico this October. We are eager to explore the sacred space of our common ground, the Earth, with like-minded people who are also interested in fostering the understanding of our life in proximity with each other and with the life around us. I look forward to feeling the refreshment of wilderness in my soul and encountering new ways of expressing the spiritual aspect of this quality of life in art, morality and intellectual discourse.

 

‚ÄúBen Jonson exclaims: ‘How near to good is what is fair!’ So I would say, How near to good is what is wild! Life consists with wildness. The most alive is the wildest. Not yet subdued to man, its presence refreshes him. One who pressed forward incessantly and never rested from his labors, who grew fast and made infinite demands on life, would always find himself in a new country or wilderness, and surrounded by the raw material of life. He would be climbing over the prostrate stems of primitive forest-trees. Hope and the future for me are not in lawns and cultivated fields, not in towns and cities, but in the impervious and quaking swamps.‚ÄĚ Henry David Thoreau, ‚ÄúWalking‚ÄĚ 1862

.

© 2014, essay and photographs, Priscilla Galasso, All rights reserved

.

004PRISCILLA GALASSO ~ started her blog at scillagrace.com to mark the beginning of her fiftieth year. Born to summer and given a name that means ‘ancient’, her travel through seasons of time and landscape has inspired her to create visual and verbal souvenirs of her journey. Currently living in Wisconsin, she considers herself a lifelong learner and educator. She¬†works part time for a conservation foundation¬†and runs a home business online (Scholar & Poet Books, via Amazon,¬†eBay and ABE Books) with her partner, Steve.

Posted in General Interest, Nature

In Memory: Robert D. Rossel, Ph.D.

062One of the first of three (the others being Buddhist poet Ann Emerson and Methodist Minister Terri Stewart) to be invited to share work on this site was Robert D. Rossel, Ph.D. who passed away on Sunday, July 26, surrounded by his family. He¬†participated here for about two-and-a-half years. Below –¬†in memory – is a piece Rob wrote and shared here in 2011. We know many fondly remember Rob and his work. Enjoy!

Photograph California Quail in Golden Gate Park courtesy of Mila Zinkova under GNU Free Documentation License via Wikipedia.

Nature’s Gifts

by

Robert D. Rossel, Ph.D.

This morning I had an amazing encounter.¬†¬† After¬†a sleepless night,¬† I woke up late and decided to go for my morning walk in the local nature preserve behind my house.¬†¬† It was drizzling slightly— a very gentle spring rain.¬†¬†¬† I was deep in an intense internal reverie as I entered the park.¬† I looked up and found myself¬† looking at three deer slightly ahead of me on the trail.¬† I instinctively calmed myself and walked slowly forward.¬†¬† They didn’t seem in any hurry to leave as they often do when I encounter deer in the preserve.¬† It may have helped that I caught one of them, a two year old buck, in the middle of “doing his¬†business.”¬†¬†¬† He turned around and looked at me head-on but didn’t move because he wanted to finish.¬† The others, perhaps encouraged by his unwillingness to stop what he was doing,¬†were in no hurry to leave either.¬† They just¬†managed to ¬†keep ¬†themselves at a safe distance as I slowly moved forward.¬†¬†¬†¬† Very slowly, I walked forward.¬† The buck kept me in his gaze but didn’t move.¬†¬†¬† I was able to get maybe within six or eight feet of him, almost within reach.¬†¬† Finally he finished his business and slowly¬†walked away from the trail, still keeping me in his gaze.

Then while walking further, I encountered a mother quail and ten teeny, teeny, babies  walking into the tall grass on the side of the trail.   It was like a cartoon, the last little straggler trying to negotiate and jump over strands of weed and grass, mother scolding/encouraging them all to come along.  The little chicks must have been no more than a day old, very small, very cute.

Public domain photograph courtesy of Arpingstone.

Then I arrived at a farm in the middle of the preserve.¬† The farm is for families with children—goats, pigs, chickens and ducks to enjoy, and a cow, named Luna.¬†¬† I have become very fond of this cow over many trips to the farm–perhaps because of my bovine heart valve.¬†¬† She knows me now and accepts my touch, and will occasionally give me a big affectionate lick. (I haven’t brought myself yet to lick her back).¬†¬†¬† Anyway, she has been away for a while so they can repair her paddock and I haven’t¬† been able to see her.¬†¬†¬† But to my great delight she was there this morning, nursing a¬† baby bull and calf.¬† Even while occupied with her nursing babies, she recognized me and let me give her a few scratches and nuzzles.

I felt so gifted this morning by Nature.¬†¬† It was as if in the inscrutable wisdom of nature the Gods found a way of bringing me out of my funk and deep reverie and welcomed me into the world.¬†¬† All of my efforts at self-care in a painful, sleepless, night had utterly failed me.¬†¬† But somehow Nature’s magic managed to touch me and bring me out of my funk and ¬†reverie.¬†¬† It¬†amazes¬†me ¬†that this happens over and over again in my life.¬† When I seem to most need it, Nature finds a way to touch me. ¬†I am grateful. I am also grateful that I am still able to be touched!

Photograph courtesy of Mandie Lancaster, Public Domain Pictures.net.

© 2011, words, Robert D. Rossel, All rights reserved; photos credits as indicated above.

Posted in Environment/Deep Ecology/Climate Change, Naomi Baltuck, Nature, Photo Essay, Photography/Photographer

Jungle Law

 

Thank goodness for window screens! ¬†But as demonstrated in my last post on the Amazon, screens don’t always keep the wildlife out.

For instance, we shared The Hammock Room at the Research Center with this tarantula. ¬†He wasn’t as interested in us as we were in him.

We named him Tomacito, or “Little Tommy.” ¬†Tomacito served as a reminder to shake out our shoes each morning before getting dressed. Insects and critters found their way into our little sanctuary, but it was the ones I couldn’t see that bugged me.

That first morning we ventured into the jungle with Orlando, our amazing guide, the Eighth Natural Wonder of the World. ¬†(I will tell you more about him later.) ¬†In spite of the heat and 90+ percent humidity, we covered as much skin as possible, and sprayed whatever body parts we couldn’t cover with repellant. ¬†Nighttime mosquitoes carry malaria, daytime ones dengue fever, and I can’t remember which carry yellow fever, but I didn’t want to be the breakfast special for any of them.

Below are a few of my own unofficial rules of the jungle for the timid traveler.

Rule of the Jungle #1– bring mosquito repellent!

Fallen trees and leaves, mud, and overnight storms in the tropical rainforest made hiking challenging.

We wore rubber boots to keep our feet dry.  Bea stepped in a puddle deeper than anticipated, and water poured into her boot.

Rule of the Jungle # 2–Watch your step!

Orlando uprooted several small trees, and cut the trunks off with his machete to make tea from the bark to relieve his mother’s arthritis. ¬†He replanted the roots in the fertile soil, so the tree would survive. ¬†Maybe the tea really was for his mom, but I believe it was also his tactful way of providing the Gringos with walking sticks to help balance on slippery walkways.

Rule of the Jungle #3–Take the hand extended to you, and be grateful for kindness in any form or guise.

So many trees and leaves were poisonous, covered with harmful insects, or had razor-sharp edges. ¬†Another guest at the Research Center slipped and braced herself on a porcupine tree. ¬†It left dozens of venomous barbs in in her hand, which swelled up painfully. ¬†There was no doctor there–her guide Fernando cut the barbs out of her hand with pins and a knife, and she took a course of anti-biotics.

Rule of the Jungle #4–Don’t touch ANYTHING!

Rule of the Jungle # 5–There are exceptions to any rule.

Orlando saw an Olive Whip Snake, and quickly caught it with his bare hands.

He showed both kids how to handle a snake without getting bitten…

Orlando’s grandfather was a shaman. ¬†Orlando said, “My grandfather used to say, if you can get a snake to wrap around you, it will become gentle and give you its energy.” ¬†As soon as it wrapped around him, the snake calmed down, and then Orlando released it into a tree.

Rule of the Jungle #6–Be as open to new experiences as you can without endangering yourself or others.

Rule of the Jungle #7–Bring your camera!!

We caught many tantalizing glimpses of wildlife, but by the time I could focus the camera, the creature was almost always natural history.

However, some critters obligingly held still for the camera.

Occasionally I would be rewarded with a shot like this.

Or this….

Or this…

 

Or this…

¬†Or this…

Rule of the Jungle #8–Only you can know what it requires for you to glean the most meaning and satisfaction out of your jungle experience or your life. ¬†Do no harm, but make up your own damn rules, and break them whenever necessary.

All images and words copyright 2013 NaomiBaltuck

NaomiPHOTO1-300ppi51kAqFGEesL._SY300_NAOMI BALTUCK ~ is a Contributing Editor and Resident Storyteller here410xuqmD74L._SY300_ at Bardo. She is a world-traveler and an award-winning writer, photographer, and story-teller whose works of fiction and nonfiction are available through Amazon HERE. Naomi presents her wonderful photo-stories – always interesting and rich with meaning and humor – at Writing Between the Lines, Life from the Writer’s POV. She also conducts workshops such as Peace Porridge (multicultural stories to promote cooperation, goodwill, and peaceful coexistence), Whispers in the Graveyard (a spellbinding array of haunting and mysterious stories), Tandem Tales, Traveling Light Around the World, and others. For more on her programs visit Naomi Baltuck.com

With this lovely post, we bring Wilderness Week to a close.

THANK YOU for joining us!

. . . and thanks to Priscilla Galasso (scillagrace) for hosting this event.

Posted in First Peoples, Nature, Poems/Poetry, Victoria C. Slotto

Flight Off of Half Dome

 

Half Dome--Yosemite
Half Dome–Yosemite

 

 

Flight Off of Half Dome

An etheree

Walk
alone
in autumn
below the blue
canopy of sky.
Leaves crunch beneath your feet.
Where do crickets go on cold
fall days wrapped up in brilliant hues?
Why do the horses romp in sunlit
fields of green with wind whipping through their manes?

Where do crickets go on chilled winter days?
Yosemite-place of the gaping
mouth-belonged to the Miwok
until the white man came.
‚ÄúManifest Destiny‚ÄĚ
they called it‚ÄĒGod‚Äôs will.
The valley was
theirs to romp
in sun-
light.

Mi-
wok fled
in autumn
under the black
night sky in silent
flight off Half-Dome or through
wet leaves that could not crunch. Their
tears fell into the dark chasm
drowning the crickets who hid beneath
scarlet shrouds of all that came before death.

The Miwok Indians, guardians of Yosemite and Tuolome Meadows were driven from their homeland under the guise of “Manifest Destiny.” There was an etching at the Nevada Museum of Art when we had a Yosemite exhibit titled “Flight Off of Half Dome” depicting their “eviction” as falling from the rock.

“Etheree” is a form in which the poet increases from one to ten syllables per line and then in reverse for as many stanzas as desired.

– Victoria Slotto

© 2014, poem and photograph, Victoria C. Slotto, All rights reserved

2940013445222_p0_v1_s260x42034ff816cd604d91d26b52d7daf7e8417VICTORIA C. SLOTTO (Victoria C. Slotto, Author: Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) ~ is an accomplished writer and poet. Winter is Past, published by Lucky Bat Books in 2012, is Victoria’s first novel. A second novel is in process. On Amazon and hot-off-the-press nonfiction is Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria’s ebooks (poetry and nonfiction) are free to Amazon Prime Members. Link HERE for Victoria’s Amazon page.¬†Victoria’s poetry collection is ¬†Jacaranda Rain, Collected Poems, 2012.

Posted in Film/Documentaries/Reviews, Nature, trees, Video

John Muir, Patron Saint of the Backwoods

“The gross heathenism of civilization has generally destroyed nature, and poetry, and all that is spiritual.” John Muir (1838-1914), Scottish-American naturalist, conservationist and author

The Biography of John Muir

Posted in General Interest, Guest Writer, Nature, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

The Wild

640px-Adult_Florida_scrub_jayWhite foam rides the churning
river and a Red-Shouldered Hawk
cries out as he drifts overhead;
a meadow vole takes cover.

In an ancient, towering pine,
lies an enormous aerie, home
to a Bald Eagle couple and their
two fledglings who take turns
flapping wildly, strengthening
their wings before take-off.

A feeding herd of White-Tailed
deer wander calm through the
open forest, several fawns
leap and kick in play and sometimes
bleat for their mothers when they
wander too far.

The armor-plated armadillo can be seen
snuffling through low brush and dirt
searching for grubs, worms and beetles.
Berries, nuts and seeds are the choice
of food for the Florida Scrub Jay seen
flitting through the low, spindly oaks,
and hiding in the scrub when feeling shy.
Their lives lived in extended-family colonies
helps assure them survival even while
their habitat is being threatened.

A dirt colored and plain patterned
garter snakes through the underbrush
before coming to rest in a sunny patch
on the forest’s floor…taking time to
absorb some warmth before moving on;
a gopher turtle stirs from his day’s nap.

All the animals hear when the humans
approach and they watch with
curiosity and then fear as monstrous
machines can be heard revving their
engines preparing once again for
their encroaching.

– Gayle Walters Rose

© 2014, poem, Gayle Walters Rose, All rights reserved; photo credit ~ Florida Scrub Jay by VvAndromedavV under CC BY-SA 3.0

unnamed-2GAYLE WALTERS ROSE (Bodhirose‚Äôs Blog) ~ has contributed¬†to The Bardo Group blog several times since its founding in 2011. Gayle has actively blogged since 2010, writing¬†about family life, things of the spirit, and her ashram-life experiences. In this relatively short time, her sincerity and authenticity has earned her quite a large and loyal following. Gayle is a regular participant in¬†d’Verse Poets Pub.¬†This¬†poem was written in response to Victoria’s Wilderness Week writing prompt posted on¬†Wednesday.

Posted in Environment/Deep Ecology/Climate Change, Essay, General Interest, Michael Watson, Nature

In Wilderness Is the Preservation of the World

Tidal-Marsh I came of age with Eliot Porter. Not literally of course. Rather, my adolescence and young adulthood were accompanied by his books and photos. He taught me how to look. Even now, his photographs influence my writing and visual work.

A few weeks ago we were in Downeast Maine, north of Bar Harbor. Every few days we drove south, down Penobscot County way. Eliot Porter spent much time in the Penobscot region, as well as out West. Out West, his photos were panoramic. Downeast, they were more intimate, capturing a brook, leaf, or pod of berries. If memory serves me, his iconic book and homage to Thoreau, In Wilderness is the Preservation of the Earth, drew heavily from his Penobscot experience.

People tend to think of wilderness as vast tracks of untouched ecosystems. Yet in ourWater_Striders time, there are few such places. Climate change and other forms of pollution reach the farthermost corners of the earth. Here, in North America, fossil fuel mining takes place in the midst of former wildlands. Our population has grown so large that we fill the back country with people on many weekends.

The elders taught me to treasure wilderness, and to remember there is another wilderness, the one that lies within each of us. Those vast spaces can be imposing, even terrible, in their beauty and harshness. I was taught there is another danger in focusing on the wilderness inside us: we may ignore the needs of the Planet that supports us, and the innumerable beings that accompany us. To successfully journey into wilderness requires forethought and balance.

For many, the inner wilderness seems most inaccessible, even dangerous. There are daemons within, and sea monsters, waiting to devour us. As shamans everywhere have long known, there is also the ever present threat of madness. Yet there is also the promise of renewal.

Mossy_LogShamans journey into this wilderness to seek aid for others, to return souls to their owners, and to accompany the dead to the other world. They travel for visions of the future, to learn where game will be tomorrow, and to correct imbalances in the world, imbalances most often created by people. Sometimes shamans travel and fail to return home; this is a always a risk.

When Europeans arrived in the Americas, they brought imbalance to our people in the form of illness, alcohol, and social chaos. Faced with this, the shamans and Medicine people sought cures in the inner and the everyday worlds. They were resourceful and connected to the spirits of things, and were often successful in finding ways to heal those afflicted. Yet, eventually, the sheer volume on illness overwhelmed many of our cultures, killing great numbers of healers as they cared for others. Much knowledge was lost in those dark days.

Downeast, Eliot Porter focused on the small, the everyday. He reminded us that wilderness is a matter P1080565of scale and attention, that we can find wilderness wherever we are. We can, in turn, look closely at the minutia of the world around us, journey deep into the forest, or turn inward. Sometimes we do all these, simultaneously. Such moments form a sort of vision quest.

Eliot Porter taught me that as we look through the camera’s lens, we sharpen our attention, and open to the magic of the unexpected. Perhaps, for just a moment, we discover ourselves reflected in the world around us, and are returned to primal wholeness and balance. In such moments we may know that we are the salmon swimming home to reproduce and die, the leaves settling into the litter, preparing to nurture the next generation, or the eagle that flies above the world, capturing visions of wholeness. Then we may understand that wilderness is indeed the preservation of the world, and of the soul.

Buch_Berries

– Michael Watson

© 2014, essay and photographs, Michael Watson, All rights reserved

michael drumMICHAEL WATSON, M.A., Ph.D., LCMHC (Dreaming the World) ~ is a contributing editor to Into the Bardo, an essayist and a practitioner of the Shamanic arts, psychotherapist, educator and artist of Native American and European descent. He lives and works in Burlington, Vermont, where he teaches in undergraduate and graduate programs at Burlington College,. He was once Dean of Students there. Recently Michael has been teaching in India and Hong Kong. His experiences are documented on his blog. In childhood he had polio, an event that taught him much about challenge, struggle, isolation, and healing.

Posted in Corina L. Ravenscraft, Environment/Deep Ecology/Climate Change, Essay, General Interest, Nature

Putting the “Action” in “Activism”

It’s Wilderness Awareness Week at The Bardo and scillagrace is heading up lots of amazing posts about the planet to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act being signed into law in the U. S.

Image borrowed from https://www.facebook.com/workingwithoneness Carving by Bruno Torfs ©
Image borrowed from https://www.facebook.com/workingwithoneness Carving by Bruno Torfs ©

As technological civilization diminishes the biotic diversity of the earth, language itself is diminished. As there are fewer and fewer songbirds in the air, due to the destruction of their forests and wetlands, human speech loses more and more of its evocative power. For when we no longer hear the voices of warbler and wren, our own speaking can no longer be nourished by their cadences. As the splashing speech of the rivers is silenced by more and more dams, as we drive more and more of the land‚Äôs wild voices into the oblivion of extinction, our own languages become increasingly impoverished and weightless, progressively emptied of their earthly resonance.” ~ David Abram

I wanted to write a brilliant piece of poetry for this event, but my efforts kept coming out with a negative bent, so I decided to instead make this post a mish-mash of things. It can be really hard to try and stay positive and find hope in the face of so much apathy in the world, with so many corporations hell-bent on destroying the planet just to make a profit. It can be terribly disheartening as a champion for the environment when you look at the way the odds are stacked against us, and how very much work there is to do.

On the other hand, it means that there are plenty of opportunities for all of us to find something to DO. Find an environmental cause that speaks to you, personally, whether it’s saving the rainforests, trying to keep trash out of our oceans or making sure that more tar sands pipelines don’t get built. The thing about activism is that it requires action. If you can’t be part of a climate march (Like the one coming up in NYC on 9/21/14), if you can’t get out and pick up litter in the parks, there are still lots of things you can do to help. The important thing is “action”. Whether your action is donating time, money, ideas, space, spreading the word via social media or blogging about it, taking pictures…however you choose to do it, just find a way to get involved. The more people we have taking action, the more our efforts can create a ripple effect that can move mountains (or save them from mountain-top strip mining, as the case may be).

Image borrowed from piecefit.com
Image borrowed from piecefit.com

Here’s a list of the Top 100 Environmental Websites to get you started. From animals rights, to deforestation, to environmentally friendly energy solutions, to recycling, to ocean protection to whatever else you can think of regarding the environment and wilderness, your cause is out there…you just have to find it. ūüėČ Speaking of which, here’s a handy, dandy test to help you figure out your Environmental Worldview , which is defined as “collective beliefs and values that give people a sense of how the world works, their role in the environment, and right and wrong behavior toward the environment. Environmental worldviews dictate how we interact with nature and our attitude toward how we use the natural resources it contains.” ~ Source

 

Image borrowed from http://indulgy.com
Image borrowed from http://indulgy.com

In closing, I’d like to leave you with a video by one of my favorite celebrity environmental activists, Woody Harrelson.

– Corina Ravenscraft

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fdragonkatet¬†(Dragon’s Dreams) ~¬†¬†Regarding the blog name, Dragon‚Äôs Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It‚Äôs another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that‚Äôs my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it‚Äôs also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It‚Äôs all about ‚Äėconnection(s)‚Äô and I don‚Äôt mean ‚Äúnet-working‚ÄĚ with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L‚Äôs: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

Posted in Charles W Martin, First Peoples, Nature, Photography/Photographer, Poems/Poetry, poetry

younger brother’s blindness…

younger brother's blindness

dry grass burns
like a funeral pyre
in the river bed
the river
is dead
cattle kneel
as if in prayer
bowing a parched head
the river
is dead
it flows not
nor holds any life
older brother said
the river
is dead
mother earth
will shed no more tears
filling river beds
the river
is dead
man hears not
wealth’s his only thought
a thirst for silver
but death’s
the river

678ad505453d5a3ff2fcb744f13dedc7-1CHARLES W. MARTIN (Reading Between the Minds) — earned his Ph.D. in Speech and Language Pathology with an emphasis in statistics. Throughout Charlie’s career, he maintained a devotion to the arts (literature/poetry, the theater, music and photography). Since his retirement in 2010, he has turned his full attention to poetry and photography. He publishes a poem and a photographic art piece each day at Read Between the Minds, Poetry, Photograph and Random Thoughts of Life. He is noted as a poet of social conscience. Charlie has been blogging since January 31, 2010. He has self-published a book of poetry entitled The Hawk Chronicles and will soon publish another book called A Bea in Your Bonnet: First Sting, featuring the renown Aunt Bea. In The Hawk Chronicles, Charlie provides a personification of his resident hawk with poems and photos taken over a two-year period. Charlie’s lastest book, When Spirits Touch, Dual Poetry, a collaboration with River Urke, is available through Amazon now.

product_thumbnail.phpCharlie’s long awaited Aunt Bea Collection is out. He says, “Bea In Your Bonnet: First Sting is a collection of germinal poems featuring Aunt Bea. Aunt Bea‚Äôs voice is one I‚Äôve heard almost every day of my life. Family observations, lessons, and advice given to me and every other family member who had the good sense to listen. Her homespun philosophy most likely will not be found in any collegiate textbooks or for that matter in any local town crier newspaper catering to city dwellers. Indeed, she has a different way of viewing the world; a bit old fashion, sassy, and steely at times but a viewpoint which has engaged my imagination and heart. I sincerely hope you too will find some morsel of wisdom in her personal observations and interpretations of life‚Äôs events, but do watch out for her stingers.”

Posted in Essay, Film/Documentaries/Reviews, General Interest, John Anstie, Nature

Enthusiasm and Optimism vs Entropy … Part 2

As the title of this post suggests, as referred to in Part 1 of this essay, it is not only about entropy and thermodynamics, but is also about enthusiasm for and optimism about life. It is, therefore, about human endeavour, from the smallest and least significant to the most admirable and life changing endeavours ever achieved by the human race. Whatever your accomplishments, however great or small they are, or however great or small a part you play in greater achievements, they still represent progress in both time and towards order and, according to Newton’s second law of physics, this tells us that matter can neither be created nor destroyed; it can only be converted from one form to another. Therefore, each breath we draw, each word we speak, each action we take, is never lost; it remains as a small quantum of energy, an echo of which will exist forever, somewhere in the cosmos.

I just love the mere thought of this concept, let alone that it could actually be true.

The other principle put forth by astrophysicists, which seems to be irrefutable, is that time is irreversible. Professor Cox referred to this as the arrow of time, always pointing and moving in one direction, never going back. He does give lip service to the possibility that this cannot be said to be true with absolute certainty, but that it is extremely unlikely or, in statistical terminology, there is a very low probability that time will reverse. So it must also be with human enterprise, in whatever field of endeavour it may be, there is need for us to accept that we will always move forwards, never backwards; onwards and, preferably, upwards in our understanding of life, our world and the universe. Otherwise, there is a tendency toward disorder, mentally, physically and maybe spiritually too. We can read about the past, we can look at pictures of it and we can learn from it, but we live for the future.

Trying to persuade a teenager to tidy their bedroom is impossible without a carrot; and even then it is still difficult. Maybe they could be persuaded by the thought of ‚Äėblack dwarves‚Äô imploding and evaporating into nothingness as a consequence of not keeping their bedrooms in order and halting the ‚Äėtendency toward disorder‚Äô. May be, may be not! But our every move, motivation and impulse is driven by the march of time as well as this tendency in our everyday lives –¬†let alone what is happening in the world at large –¬†toward disorder, whether that disorder has natural or man-made causes. But I don’t think we should feel any less relaxed about the march of time than we would otherwise feel. On the contrary, I suggest, as a result of this thesis, this comparison with the enormity of the universe, that, provided we can get our minds round the huge timescales, we should allow its perspective to comfort us: that there is no panic or rush. As much as we can sometimes enjoy the moment, life is really a journey into the future.¬†Technically,¬†we cannot stand still; we have to accept that even¬†standing still and enjoying the moment is, still, moving and progressing into the future. It is deeply ingrained in our being.

So, I suppose it depends on whether we are an optimist or a pessimist, an enthusiast or less eager, as to whether we find it easier or harder to push the outside of the envelope and re-order the disorder in our lives. But push we must. There is an enduring lesson that I take from this particular perspective. When I compare the huge amount of time that will have elapsed between the beginning and ending of the universe to the minuscule timescale of our own existence on Earth, our own small little part of the world, which is an even smaller (by a trillion, trillion, trillion, etc orders of magnitude) than the great big cosmos, then the feeling I am left with is that we have plenty of time. Did you know that, since our forebears first evolved on our earth, in Africa about two and a half million years ago, our own solar system has revolved around the galaxy (the ‚ÄėMilky Way‚Äô) by only one percent of a complete orbit of the galaxy; and the galaxy itself is only one of billions in the universe. So, hey, if things didn‚Äôt¬†quite¬†go to plan today, whatever; “am I bovvered’ as Catherine Tate would say!

I‚Äôm not sure to whom the quotation is attributed, but Professor Brian Cox, in the process of concluding the first episode, said that ‚ÄúLife is the means by which the cosmos understands itself.‚ÄĚ Obvious on one level, but extraordinarily significant on another. There might be other, similar life in another solar system in our own galaxy or in another galaxy farther away, but we are unlikely to find out if they do exist. We truly cannot know even the probability of the human race co-existing along with another civilisation, somewhere else in the universe, because – as Vlad, The Astrophysicist tells us – the enormous distances and time scale that the universe represents, make this probability extremely low. This being the case – in spite of an imperfect world, which sometimes seems to be broken – perhaps we should stop trying to escape from our Mother Earth, stop trying to dream the impossible (or improbable) dream, and start trying to fix what we have broken; stop breaking what we have left.

Copyright 2012 John Anstie
Supermoon over Torquay [Copyright 2012 John Anstie]

To be the remarkable, intellectual, innovative and industrious animals that we are, where we are right now, is still very special and continues to give me hope that we can reverse the destruction of our very small part of the universe, that is our Mother Earth.  I hope that, in spite of sometimes awesome uncertainty and the depressing way in which some members of the human race behave towards her (not forgetting the entropy, of course), you will agree that we do still have the capability to meet our future together on this planet with optimism and enthusiasm?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

John_in_Pose_Half_Face3

JOHN ANSTIE¬†(My Poetry Library¬†and¬†42) ~ is a British writer and poet, a contributing editor here at¬†Bardo, and multi-talented gentleman self-described as a “Family man, Grandfather, Occasional Musician, Singer, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, Apple-MAC user, Implementation Manager, and Engineer”.¬†He¬†has¬†participated in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and is a player in New World Creative Union as well as a being a ‘spoken-voice’ participant in Roger Allen Baut’s excellent ‘Blue Sky Highway‘ radio broadcasts. He’s been blogging since the beginning of 2011.¬†He¬†is also a member of The Poetry Society (UK).

*****

product_thumbnail-3.php

51w-rH34dTL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_John has also been involved in the recent publication of two anthologies that are the result of online collaborations among two international groups of amateur and professional poets. One of these is¬†The Grass Roots Poetry Group, for which he produced and edited their anthology,¬†“Petrichor* Rising. The other group is¬†d’Verse Poet Pub,¬†in which John’s poetry also appears¬†The d’Verse Anthology: Voices of Contemporary World Poetry, produced and edited by Frank Watson.

* Petrichor Рfrom the Greek pɛtrɨkər, the scent of rain on the dry earth.

 

Posted in General Interest, Nature, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry

Summer Dreams

photo-24Seasons for all themselves don’t mean
What they once did. I’ve not grown
Out of them, rather more into and a part
Of them with a deepening I’ve not had.
Not to be dramatic, only matter of fact.
A time when each season meant differences
In things needing to be done is done for me.

Those needings now need to be hired out
To those whose labor is not tenuous
But filled with stamina and a resilience
More nimble than my unsteady willingness
To mount a ladder and repair a rotted soffit.
I am not enfeebled by a long way yet. It’s just
My work’s more now a tooled thought inside.

I.

Autumn is my season of perfect cadences.
In it the heart and mind are at peace.
The slender line of equinox orchestrates
In harmony circumspect participation
Of the four elements that make us part of
An earth fully aware the year is growing late.
Each day a ballet full of import in the air.
Walking, my feet in step with my breathing.

The feel of the first chill-quicken’d bite
In my lungs, holds my concentration close
To what matters. ‚Äď The wideness of the sky,
The attitudes of clouds, the ‚ÄėV‚Äô of flocks flowing
Rather than just in flight, how trees enflamed
Allow a lone evergreen among them to be seen,
The moment, at sunset, when the countryside
Gives the day over to night in sighs
And all the secret names of things are revealed
Then quickly forgotten by the feel of a world
About to relax and make itself ready.

II.

Winter has become a year all its own.
It tastes on my tongue of a cello
Playing cascades of suites by Bach,
Continuing one after another without stop,
Each deep lowing expresses the joy
Of a universe still expanding in awe.
Yet, still I’m rooted firm to earth’s orbit,
Knowing it would be simple to only let go
And suddenly traveling at light’s speed,
Leave all fears behind, bound by gravity.

I think it’s what it must have been like
To be Einstein embraced in his reveries,
Questioning the knowns and doubts,
Accepting the unknown and finally,
Having no doubt about coming back,
Slipped the thin atmosphere surrounding
The world delicately drifting in space.

III.

Spring’s a flowery mutation all primed up;
A glandular mix of the sacred, the profane
And the pagan; Mardi gras madness‚ÄĒbeads
Thrown out to bearing breasts with drunken ease;
Carnival gluttony stumbling into Lenten ash, and
Sacrifice. Ending lined up for the confessional
Ritual of Good Friday, still hungry yet, for more.

Yes, the rest’s more like a note left by winter,
The ground saturated with meltdown, into mud;
For me a season of cynics and sarcastic smiling.
When I was young in the sixties and it was all
For politics and sex, love bruising imaginations
Cut to the heart with the hot knife of living,
All caught up in the under currents of renewal
Expecting the world would change by our love.

Though, too, to be honest, my appreciation of
This season, is how it binds the rest with promise.
Always, some part of its fertile dance is woven
Into the cloth of days unfolding of what’s to be;
Always, with the thread of hopes to come.

IV.

Summer’s world is seen from the pitcher’s mound
Long before the crowd arrives. Slightly raised,
Closer to Home than any base, surrounded
By the green grass and raked red clay of possibility.
It is warm roundness and all light rolled out
Into lengths of days. An awakening of all there is;
Opens with clear fields of vision, mowed wind gusts
And dark thunder. A dry in your throat that is not
Thirst, but unquenchable anticipation.

Summer is body time ‚Äď inside, outside, under
The fingernails dirty. It is Walt Whitman singing
America, while imagining the sweating bodies
Of young men, watching them swim naked,
Diving off a Brooklyn pier. It is a season
Demanding no quarter and giving none back
Except the secrets of Pleasure’s alchemy
Turning spun gold into the smell of memories.

It is a world of short close nights tipping
On a horizon’s infinity, gentle and tender. Full
Of all one can take from this earth if one chose
To leave it‚Äď more than, much more than that.
It is the season we first learn how dreams
Become the things they are, books opening,
Revealing every page at once; all the things
We can do and cannot do and can do them anyway.
Above all other importants. Above all else,
Summer dreams it is summer; it dreams itself.
What it is about, with a great consciousness
‚ÄĒAll of its sinews, bones, muscles and blood in focus,
To see the object of all its exertions at night’s end
And the next day’s beginning; deep breaths filling
The heart, mind and soul with a pure, deep sleep;
The un-desperate, quiet sleep of summer dreams.

Mr. K.A. Brace
Excerpt from: To Travel Without a Map: Poems; Mr. K. A. Brace, 9781493643004: Amazon.com: Books

© 2014, poem, portrait (below) and bookcover art, K.A. Brace, All rights reserved; flower photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

annotating_1390673386_98Unknown-3K.A. BRACE (The Mirror Obscura) ~ With this work we introduce a new guest poet. K.B. (as he is popularly know among bloggers)¬†is 61, lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his three dogs and four cats. He is a graduate of The State University of New York at Buffalo where he received both a Bachelor and Masters of Arts degree in English. While at the University he worked with Mac Hammond and Irving Feldman and was winner of The Arthur Axlerod Award for Poetry. After graduating he entered the hospitality industry and did not write for the next 35 years during which time he never considered himself not a poet stating that ‚Äúa poet is one who has written a poem and may never write another.‚ÄĚ Coinciding with his turning 60 he suddenly began writing again and is in the midst of finishing his eighth collection of poetry. He works assiduously for at least 10-12 hours 7 days a week at his writing. To Travel Without a Map is his first publication of a book length collection. His style is eclectic and his interest in modern myths and the tiny filaments of our humanity that connects us to one another are the centerpieces of his work. His poems are always surprising both in their crafting and their messages. He considers himself a ‚Äėreaders‚Äô poet.

To Travel Without a Map: Poems; Mr. K. A. Brace, 9781493643004: Amazon.com: Books

Posted in Bardo News, Environment/Deep Ecology/Climate Change, Essay, General Interest, Nature, Photo Essay, Photography/Photographer, Priscilla Galasso

BARDO NEWS: Wilderness Week coming up….

Editor’s Note: Please join us for this event sponsored by The Bardo Group and hosted by Priscilla Galasso (scillagrace).

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004PRISCILLA GALASSO ~ started her blog at scillagrace.com to mark the beginning of her fiftieth year. Born to summer and given a name that means ‘ancient’, her travel through seasons of time and landscape has inspired her to create visual and verbal souvenirs of her journey. Currently living in Wisconsin, she considers herself a lifelong learner and educator. She gives private voice lessons, is employed by two different museums and runs a business (Scholar & Poet Books, via eBay and ABE Books) with her partner, Steve.

During the week of August 31 – September 6, The Bardo Group will post¬†essays, photos and poems on Wilderness to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act being signed into law in the U. S.¬†¬† You are encouraged¬†to add your voice to ours on this site via Mister Linky¬†or by sharing a¬†link to your work in the comments section of any post that week. ¬†Although this is an U.S.¬†event, we recognize that there are places all over the world¬†that are still wild and that are protected by naturalists, scientists, governments and concerned citizens. Hence, we invite participation from everywhere. We think it would be a good thing for us to share information and insights about the world’s many wild places¬†though poems, essays, photographs, music and videos. Please mark your calendars and plan to join us.¬†¬†

‚Äú…in Wildness is the preservation of the World. Every tree sends its fibers forth in search of the Wild. The cities import it at any price. Men plow and sail for it. From the forest and wilderness come the tonics and barks which brace mankind…I believe in the forest, and in the meadow, and in the night in which the corn grows. We require an infusion of hemlock, spruce or arbor vitae in our tea…‚ÄĚ Henry David Thoreau, ‚ÄúWalking‚ÄĚ 1862

 

wilderness sign‚ÄúBen Jonson exclaims: ‘How near to good is what is fair!’ So I would say, How near to good is what is wild! Life consists with wildness. The most alive is the wildest. Not yet subdued to man, its presence refreshes him. One who pressed forward incessantly and never rested from his labors, who grew fast and made infinite demands on life, would always find himself in a new country or wilderness, and surrounded by the raw material of life. He would be climbing over the prostrate stems of primitive forest-trees. Hope and the future for me are not in lawns and cultivated fields, not in towns and cities, but in the impervious and quaking swamps.‚ÄĚ Henry David Thoreau, ‚ÄúWalking‚ÄĚ 1862 wilderness campFind some solitude and some wild land and let your spirits explore!¬†

cranesWe’re looking forward to hearing from you!

© 2014 photographs by Priscilla Galasso, All rights reserved

Thank you to all who share their extraordinary and diverse works here, to those who read and comment, and to those who spread the word and reblog posts. Thanks to the Core Team for their consistency, commitment, and professionalism. You rock!

In the spirit of peace, love and community,

THE BARDO GROUP

The Bardo Group, Facebook Page

bardogroup@gmail.com

Posted in Art, First Peoples, folk tale, General Interest, Nature, Spirit Animals, story, Story Telling, Photo Story

“Who Speaks for Wolf” … a Native American Learning Story …

Our thanks to Gretchen Del Rio (Gretchen Del Rio’s Art Blog) and Mary Burns (Seeker of Truth and Beauty) for this lovely video.

Gretchen is much appreciated by us for her beautiful spirit as expressed through her spirit animal paintings. Below¬†is one of her watercolors, War Bonnet,¬†which notes that “Wolf is on the warpath. Many of his kind have been destroyed.”

If you haven’t already “met” Gretchen and Mary, we recommend a visit to their blogs.

Original watercolor by Gretchen Del Rio (c) all rights reserved; posted here with permission
Original watercolor by Gretchen Del Rio (c) all rights reserved; posted here with permission

21A6GA4TWSL._AA160_T

The book, Who Speaks for Wolf was
written by Paula Underwood and
illustrated by Frank Howell.

Posted in General Interest, Naomi Baltuck, Nature, Photography/Photographer

The Mistery of Life

One of the most breathtaking places I’ve ever been is Switzerland, and not just because of the high altitude.

How can someplace be so wild and rugged…

…and yet so tidy and tame and settled?

You can take an escalator to the top of the mountain…

…and just when you think you’re alone in the most remote place in the world…

…you stumble upon a chalet where you can buy a cup of Ovaltine.

Or you hear cowbells and realize you are not alone after all.

When you‚Äôre looking straight up at the sky,¬†where no mountain ought to be‚Äďsurprise!‚Äďyou realize its¬†just playing peek-a-boo from behind the clouds.

We went for a hike, but the landscape seemed so domestic that we felt we should really call it  a stroll.

We stopped to make a friend or two along the way.

And belted out the words to The Sound of Music because…why not?

Unlike the deliberate and well-defined cable car ride up to our little village, there was no clear threshold, no magic doorway from domestic to wild.  The landscape changed so gradually we hardly noticed.

No cowbells here.

And then a shroud of mist descended so swiftly.

The path was obscured and maps were useless.

We couldn’t see the landmarks described in the guidebook.

It would soon be dark.  We had no choice but to put one foot ahead of the other…

…keep walking…

…enjoy the mystery and adventure…

…And trust that sooner or later we would get where we were going.

That’s life.

All images and words copyright 2014 Naomi Baltuck.

 

NaomiPHOTO1-300ppi51kAqFGEesL._SY300_NAOMI BALTUCK ~ is a Contributing Editor and Resident Storyteller here410xuqmD74L._SY300_ at Bardo. She is a world-traveler and an award-winning writer, photographer, and story-teller whose works of fiction and nonfiction are available through Amazon HERE. Naomi presents her wonderful photo-stories – always interesting and rich with meaning and humor – at Writing Between the Lines, Life from the Writer’s POV. She also conducts workshops such as Peace Porridge (multicultural stories to promote cooperation, goodwill, and peaceful coexistence), Whispers in the Graveyard (a spellbinding array of haunting and mysterious stories), Tandem Tales, Traveling Light Around the World, and others. For more on her programs visit Naomi Baltuck.com

Posted in Nature, Poems/Poetry, Victoria C Slotto

The Seed–a Sestina

Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies it bears much fruit.
John 12, 24

Photo: women24.com
Photo: women24.com

The Seed

Such joy we find, in spring, to plant a seed,

to tuck it deep within expectant earth
to wait, in hope, for summers verdant growth,
the offspring of apparent winter death,
a promise that we, too, shall know rebirth
when we, at last, have spent this fragile life.

You ask me why we long for lasting life?
Perhaps you’ve never sown a lowly seed
then seen that nature nurtures its rebirth
unnoticed, ‚Äėneath the skin of Mother Earth.
So small this grain‚ÄĒdefying endless death
while flaunting its capacity for growth.

Each seed, endowed with all required for growth
still needs attention to sustain its life,
thus lending meaning to apparent death.
They languish for both sun and rain, these seeds,
and nutrients‚ÄĒthe gift of fertile earth,
then time is all that’s wanting for rebirth.

Does not your soul expect its own rebirth?
Does grace not foster spirit’s gentle growth?
And it is not our goal while here one earth
to search for meaning in these days of life?
Tend carefully the soil that bears the seed
and have no fear of your impending death.

The seed, itself, surrenders to its death
so that a flower or tree may know rebirth.
Such beauty shall be born of humble seed
embarking on a journey of new growth.
Thus is the cycle known to every life
that’s clothed in form while dwelling here on earth.

Too short the days we wander here on earth,
too soon we face inevitable death,
so each and every moment of this life
give cause to ponder our sublime rebirth,
to free ourselves for such abundant growth
that we fulfill the mission of the seed.

While here on earth prepare for this rebirth,
for it’s through death we shall achieve new growth.
In losing life you flourish, tiny seed.

The Sestina:

A sestina is, for me, a fun, but challenging form to play with. It is a double tritina, using six, rather than three line-ending words. The secret is to choose words along a thematic line, then see where they take you. Should you want to give the form a whirl, this is the pattern: ABCDEF; FAEBDC; CFDABE; ECBFAD; DEACFB; BDFECA. A tercet concludes the rhyme scheme: ECA for ends of lines, BDF in the middle‚ÄĒthus, BE, DC, FA. Just for fun, try writing it using a meter, such as iambic pentameter.

– Victoria C. Slotto

© 2014, poem, Victoria Slotto, All rights reserved; photo credit as indicated

2940013445222_p0_v1_s260x42034ff816cd604d91d26b52d7daf7e8417VICTORIA C. SLOTTO (Victoria C. Slotto, Author: Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) ~ is an accomplished writer and poet. Winter is Past, published by Lucky Bat Books in 2012, is Victoria’s first novel. A second novel is in process. On Amazon and hot-off-the-press nonfiction is Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria’s ebooks (poetry and nonfiction) are free to Amazon Prime Members. Link HERE for Victoria’s Amazon page.¬†Victoria’s poetry collection is ¬†Jacaranda Rain, Collected Poems, 2012, Beautifully done.

Writers’ Fourth Wednesday prompt is hosted by Victoria from January through October.¬†Victoria’s next Fourth Wednesday writers’ prompt will post at 12:01 a.m. PST on July 23. Please join us. Mister Linky will remain open for seventy-two hours so that you can link your response to this blog. If you find Mister Linky too cumbersome to use, please feel free to leave your link in the comments section on Wednesday. Victoria and Jamie will read and comment and we hope you will read each other’s¬†work as well, comment and encourage.¬†