Posted in Uncategorized

Chasing Rainbows


If a tree falls in the woods and I don’t photograph it, did I really see it?

Last week, amidst the throes of last-minute packing for spring break in Hawaii, I was mentally outlining the next chapter of my manuscript. That’s the only excuse I can give for walking out of the house and onto an airplane…

Without. My. Camera.

So Thom gave me charge of his new toy, a Pentax underwater camera, for use in or out of the water.  My hero!

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Its zoom wasn’t as powerful, but I was grateful.  As they say, “Any port in a storm!”


I snapped a handful of shots before it died. We changed the battery and…nothing.  Arrrrgh!  I thought about buying a new camera, but it seemed wasteful; I’m happy with the one at home.  Maybe just a one-use camera, a single roll of film in a recycled plastic case?  No, those photos always look washed out. Then I thought, I’ve been to Maui, and I’ll be back.  How many sunsets do I need in my archives?

I don’t need to chase rainbows

I decided to make a clean break of it, go cold turkey.  Perhaps my travel experience might even improve without a lens between me and my world.

Look, Ma!  No cams!


I confess, I felt the pangs of withdrawal.  My photographs help refresh memories I might otherwise forget.

 With my camera, I am never alone.

I anticipate with pleasure the sharing of pictures with friends, family, my blogging community.  Even sans camera, I was constantly framing shots in my mind’s eye. Sea turtles gliding in ocean currents.  Two hotel maids walking arm-in-arm down a deserted hotel corridor.  The underwater service station run by a pair of enterprising Cleaning Wrasse, with bigger fish lined up like cars at a car wash, patiently waiting their turn to be picked clean of parasites.

Oh, yes, and the kid in neon snorkel gear who shouted, “Mom!  Dad!  I can hear the whales singing!”  Eli and I smiled indulgently at his vivid imagination.

The next morning we were snorkeling off that same beach when Eli said, “Mom! Dad! I can hear whales singing!”  I thought he was teasing, but I ducked under the waves, held my breath, and listened.  And I could hear them too.  For an hour or more, we held perfectly still, just letting the whale song wash over us. I’d been coming to Maui for twenty years, but had never heard them. Had they been there all along? I was an astronaut, observing an alien planet from my little floating bubble, and was unexpectedly invited in for tea!  And inside my snorkel mask I cried.

When we staggered onto the beach and looked out at the water, we saw them spouting, teasing us with glimpses of their fins and shiny black backs.  We also saw the whale watching boat hounding them. Had they been communicating distress or just watching out for each other?  Finally the boat left.  And the moment it did, the whales began breaching and splashing, showing their big white bellies, time and time again!  I suspect they were jumping for joy and shouting,”Woo hoo!  We ditched ’em!”

It was like discovering your house is haunted with friendly ghosts going about their business, oblivious to that other world, except on those occasions when your worlds intersect.  I decided the rolling ocean is The Poker Face of the World, and just beneath the surface, a swirl of emotions, life and death struggles, joy, pain, drama, and countless stories play themselves out.

There was no way a camera could have recorded that breathtaking experience, and no way I would ever need the help of a camera to recall it.  Just when I resolved and resigned myself to a camera-free existence, Eli and I went for an afternoon walk.

And he taught me how to take photos with his Smart Phone.

Okay, forget everything I just told you about a camera-free life.  Because then Saint Eli indulged me completely, taking me back to revisit all the beautiful sights I’d admired.  We snapped all these pics and more with his Smart Phone.

Pretty pictures of stationary subjects…

 …that practically come when you whistle for them.

Other photos depended upon conditions like weather.

Or light.

Or where our feet happened to take us.

 My favorite shots are the unexpected ones, that dropped like ripe fruit falling from a tree into my lap.

Sweet.

Sweeter.

Sweetest!

As we sat on the beach watching the sun set, directly ahead of us a whale leapt out of the ocean so close I could see the lines on its belly.  It thrust one long fin into the air and waved goodbye. Exhilarating! A flash of wonder!  A glimpse of the sacred just for us! It is forever engraved in our memories and upon our hearts.

But I’m THRILLED that Eli caught it on his Smart Phone!

 

Okay, time to come clean.  I ADORE chasing rainbows…

…and I will ALWAYS go for the gold!

WOO HOO!

All images and words copyright Naomi Baltuck (and Eli Garrard!)

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 Bloggers in Planet Love, Corina L. Ravenscraft, General Interest

BLOGGERS IN PLANET LOVE hosted by Corina of “Dragon’s Dream”

Editor’s note: This evening we celebrate Valentine’s Day by demonstrating our love and concern for planet Earth. Directions for linking your post are at the bottom of this evening’s post.

TRASH

How many of you are aware of your carbon footprint?

HERE is a handy-dandy calculator for those of you who don’t know but would like to.

Bizarro comics "The Evolution of Trash" image borrowed from earthisland.org
Bizarro comics “The Evolution of Trash” image borrowed from earthisland.org

How many of you consciously try to make less of an impact on the amount of things you consume and the subsequent amount of trash you generate?

HERE is an easy sheet to fill out to get a general idea. Of course, it takes a bit of work to sort the things you throw out in one day.

Being aware of it is enough to give anyone pause in this day and age. The amount is staggering. Truly. Unfortunately, there is just no getting away from trash. Every person creates some, and those of us fortunate enough to live in non third-world countries (hell-bent on rampant consumerism) produce more of it than others. A LOT more of it. Recycling is great and I encourage anyone and everyone to do what you can! But it’s not enough; there is SO much more that needs to be done!

Do you know about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? How about the North Atlantic Garbage Patch? Well, guess what? These aren’t the only ones. There are FIVE of these “islands” between the U.S. and Japan! These are basically gigantic islands of plastic and man-made debris waste that have collected over the years from both land-based and sea-based human pollution. The one in the Pacific alone is estimated as twice the size of Texas with a mass of roughly 100 million tons. Think about that number for a minute: 100 million TONS. And it gets larger every year.

Captain Moore’s Description of the
North Pacific Garbage Patch:

“It was and is a thin plastic soup, a soup lightly seasoned with plastic flakes, bulked out here and there with ‘dumplings’: buoys, net clumps, floats, crates, and other macro debris.”
– A quote from the book,
Plastic Ocean, by Captain Charles Moore

“Remember, plastic doesn’t biodegrade, it only gets broken down into smaller and smaller bits of plastic, and if you’re in the Pacific it all ends up getting pushed into this massive floating garbage pile. ” – Planetgreen.discovery.com

Photograph from the Algalita Marine Research Foundation. Obviously, this happened when the turtle was young and it grew this way. 😦

Are you upset yet? Angry? Are you more aware now?

In June, I will be joining with the Ocean Conservancy to do my best to be “trash free” for 30 days. It won’t be easy and I probably won’t succeed 100%. But I’m going to try. I invite all of you to join with me and take the Trash-Free Challenge. 🙂

Here are some things you can start doing NOW to help keep your trash out of the ocean(s). For those of you already doing your part, THANK YOU!!! 😀 I believe in the power of 1+1 into infinity = anything is possible. Together, we can all make a difference. It’s the only planet we’ve got…there is no “Plan”-et B. It starts with you and me.

From Squidoo.com:

What Can Be Done?

Plastics are so integrated into so many people’s daily lives that this is clearly a global problem. Change needs to happen through awareness and education. Start with yourself. Evaluate your daily routine and assess exactly what you use plastic for, and more critically, what plastics are you throwing out every day? Systematically try to minimize the amount of plastic that you use and throw out. Here are some ideas to help.
  • Buy in bulk, and bring your own cloth or recycled grocery gags to the store.
  • Keep litter, leaves, and debris out of the street gutters and storm drains.
  • Stop drinking plastic bottled water! If you live in an area with safe tap water, drink it! Tap water in the United States is much more strictly regulated than bottled water. If you need bottled water, get a reusable bottle that can be refilled
  • Reuse whenever possible.
  • Choose products which have been packaged in recycled materials.
  • Buy local products whenever possible because this reduces the amount of fuel and plastic packaging used to ship materials to you.
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Refuse!

From the Ocean Conservancy site:

Number 1 Reduce your carbon “finprint.” Our ocean is on the front lines of climate change — absorbing half the carbon dioxide we’ve pumped into the atmosphere. Use mass transit, carpool, and find other ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
Number 2 Take only pictures. Choose vacation spots working to protect endangered sea animals. When snorkeling or diving, take pictures and tell stories but never stand on coral reefs or touch the marine life.
Number 3 Be a green boater. Protect the boating experience along with the ocean. A little spill makes a big difference; be especially careful with oil, gasoline, solvents, and sewage. Bring your trash back to shore. Join Ocean Conservancy’s green boating program Good Mate.
Number 4 Ask for sustainable seafood. Let chefs, wait-staff, and the folks behind your fish counter know that sustainable seafood is important to you.
Number 5 Sign up for Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. Volunteers remove trash from beaches and shorelines, and data collected by these citizen-scientists help inform solutions that keep trash out of our ocean in the first place.
Number 6 Reduce. Since packaging materials account for much of the trash we generate, they provide a good opportunity for reducing waste. Consider items with less, reusable, or recyclable packaging.
Number 7 Reuse. More than 60 percent of the litter collected during the 2009 International Coastal Cleanup consisted of disposable items. Choose reusable shopping bags, coffee mugs, and food containers.
Number 8 Recycle. If you can’t reuse it, recycle it. Check online with your local government to see what you can and can’t give back, and recycle everything possible.
Number 9 Prevent contaminated runoff. No matter where you live, the ocean is downstream. Don’t use chemical fertilizers and pesticides on your lawn. On the driveway, avoid harmful cleaning products, and take proper care of spilled oil.
Number 10 Vote Blue. Urge your elected representatives to support ocean-friendly policies that protect our ocean. Stay informed through e-alerts from Ocean Conservancy and share your passion at facebook.com/oceanconservancy and twitter.com/OurOcean

© 2014, essay, Corina Ravenscraft, illustration, Ursula Vernon All rights reserved

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s 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’s 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’s 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’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

BLOGGERS IN PLANET LOVE

JOIN US!

We invite you to join your voices with Corina and the other members of The Bardo Group by linking one of your own post’s on nature and its beauties, environmental protection, animal welfare (which is Earth welfare too), global warming and so on. The work can be anything essay, video, music video, poem, photography, photo essay, art or craft. At the bottom of this post you will find Mister Linky. Click on it to paste in the url to your post. It does not have to be a new or recent post, just one that is in the spirit of this event. Jamie will visit and comment and we hope that you will all visit one another to comment and support and connect. Thank you!

Posted in Naomi Baltuck, Photo Essay, Photography/Photographer, Story Telling, Photo Story

The Irish Coastline

In Ireland, the ocean is everywhere.

Sometimes hiding in the mist…

History hangs heavy in the ocean air, like breath moistened by a story.

In rough weather…

Or calm…

Whether watching intently…

Or only vaguely aware of it…

You can still smell the salt in the air…like a ghost.

You can feel it like a heartbeat…

And hear it like a lullabye…

Copyright 2012 text and photographs 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