Sunday Morning Sunrise

After reading “this several days ago, I’ve been unable to shake it from consciousness. “This” is driving the underlying current of my blog post shares of African animals.  Even this herd of elephants who wake to the morning sun and march in Tsavo National Park, seem to be doing so solemnly.


Blue Planet II: Take a Deep Breath.

Heartbreaking? (No, worse)

This Heartbreakbreaking Photo Reveals a Troubling Reality.  A small estuary seahorse, Hippocampus kuda, drifts in the polluted waters near Sumbawa Besar, Sumbara Island, Indonesia. Photographer Justin Hofman‘s image of a seahorse swimming with a discarded cotton swab illustrates the issues of pollution in our oceans. (Source: NationalGeographic.com, Sept 19, 2017)

Can’t read. Can’t watch. Can’t bear it.

8:30 p.m. Wednesday evening. I’m in Texas on assignment, Dallas thankfully. The planned evening workout at the gym has been canceled without much fuss.  I’ll need to carry the fuel of three consecutive days of nutritious Chick-fil-A, home fries and Kit Kat bars into a fourth day. You’d say, not possible to eat Chick-fil-A, home fries and Kit Kat bars three days in a row, and I would tell you not to bet against me.

I’m fully reclined on the bed leaning against the headboard.

A long day.

The MacBook warms my lap.  The TV remote control rests on my right.

I start with the day’s RSS feeds, rifling through the posts.  And stop.

The Headline shouted: Fishermen jailed, fined millions for massive shark massacre off Galapagos IslandsThe Ecuadorean navy made a shocking discovery earlier this month when, at the request of Galapagos National Park officials, it investigated a Chinese-flagged vessel cruising through the marine reserve off the Galapagos Islands. They found more than 6,600 illegally caught sharks lying in piles onboard the vessel known as the Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999.”

The Galapagos Islands. A protected area.  6,600 illegally caught sharks. Wow.

I set the laptop down and grab the remote.

CNN: Houston. Hurricane Harvey. Levees topped out. Mothers’ clutching babies. The aged being hauled out of Nursing homes. Flood waters rising.

Click.

FOX: North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and missles over Japan.

Click.

MSNBC: Trump and Russia.

Click.

BRAVO: The World Wildlife Fund commercial. 60 seconds, and I can’t avert my eyes.

I turn the TV off.

I twist in my ear buds, grab my iPhone and turn to Apple’s Coffeehouse playlist.  The first tune on the list is Glen Campbell’s (RIP 8/7/17) Gentle on My Mind:

I still might run in silence
Tears of joy might stain my face
And the summer sun might burn me till I’m blind
But not to where I cannot see
You walkin’ on the back roads
By the rivers flowin’ gentle on my mind

Lights out…

~ DK


 

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week


Source: Marlon du Toit (via Cheetah Camp)

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

~ Hanna Lang, World’s Slowest Animals Prove Speed Isn’t Everything.  Incredible photos show the earth’s most sluggish—but maybe most determined—animals on land, air and sea.

 

Sit down. Shut up. Pay attention. Repeat, hundreds of times over.

I found that trees are full of sound. Wind reveals the architecture of branches and leaves, and every tree has its own wind sound, emerging from the particularities of its physiology. For example, the Ponderosa pine trees in Colorado sound different from the same species in California. Each has needles adapted to the local environment, so each sounds different when the wind blows. Broad-leaves trees are likewise diverse in their voices. City trees have rumbles of buses and trains running through them, changing the form of their wood. Birds sing from branches and insects gnaw on inner wood. Then there are tree sounds that are too high for our ears, but by listening with sensitive microphones I heard water pulsing through branches and ultrasonic clicks of distress in drought-stricken twigs. These sounds combined with the voices of market vendors working in the trees’ shade, birds singing amid traffic noise, and surf sucking at palm roots on an eroding beach. Sound is a great way into tree lives: it passes around and through solid barriers, revealing what our eyes cannot see.

~ David George Haskell, in an interview by Caspar Henderson titled: David George Haskell recommends the best books on Trees (fivebooks.com, July 13, 2017)


Notes:

  • Other notable statements in this interview by David George Haskell: “Smelling the soil, talking to other people, holding an acorn in your hand, coming to know the sounds of birds and trees: these have great power once we wake to them, partly because they are such multi-sensory activities, engaging mind and emotion… (Yet) Our modern dependence on trees is mostly hidden from our senses. We don’t hear the rain passing through forest canopies on its way to the reservoir. We don’t smell the wood pellets and coal chunks that power our computers and homes. The wood that frames our houses, holds up our furniture, and gives us paper arrives with signs of its ecological history purged. So we imagine that we’ve transcended our ancestors’ close relationship with trees. But this is illusion. There is no good future for Homo sapiens without forests. Yet forests are in crisis. We live in an age of great diminishment. In just the first dozen years of this millennium, 2.3 million square kilometres of forest were lost – cut, burned, drowned, desertified – yet only 0.8 million regrew or were replanted.
  • Photo: François Vigneron with Four in a Square (via Newthom)

 

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week!


Photo: Daniel Cummins with Perched Pongo at Rio Grande Zoo, in Albuquerque, New Mexico (via Your Eyes Blaze Out)

Drip. Drip. Drip.

airconditioning

“There you are, turning the ignition of your car,” he writes. “And it creeps up on you.” Every time you fire up your engine you don’t mean to harm the Earth, “let alone cause the Sixth Mass Extinction Event in the four-and-a-half billion-year history of life on this planet”. But “harm to Earth is precisely what is happening”. Part of what’s so uncomfortable about this is that our individual acts may be statistically and morally insignificant, but when you multiply them millions and billions of times – as they are performed by an entire species – they are a collective act of ecological destruction. Coral bleaching isn’t just occurring over yonder, on the Great Barrier Reef; it’s happening wherever you switch on the air conditioning. In short, Morton says, “everything is interconnected”.

~ Alex Blasdel, ’A reckoning for our species’: (Timothy Morton) the philosopher prophet of the Anthropocene (The Guardian, June 17, 2017)


Photograph: Residential house in Shinagawa, Tokyo by Jan Vranovský, 2016 @ Parallel World. Jan Vranovský (*1986, Prague) is a Czech born architect, graphic designer and photographer, currently living in Tokyo.

Angels in our Midst

No wild animal lives so freely and in such variety and numbers among humans as do birds. For that reason alone, our relationship to them is unlike our connection to any other wild creature. But there are other reasons, too. The intellect of birds is arguably the closest in the animal world to our own. Birds charm us with their ethereal songs, which are profoundly different from the sound of any other animal; in fact, some of the natural world’s most beautiful sounds emerge from the tiniest of birds. They are found virtually everywhere, from the Arctic and Antarctic to the tropics and deserts to the concrete labyrinths at the heart of the world’s cities and the green patches of grass in front of our homes, and they are nature’s exclamation point, adding an unequaled burst of vibrancy to our lives. Birds came to the earth, an Australian legend has it, when a rainbow shattered and its shards of color turned into birds as they fell: the glowing, jewel-like reds, greens, and blues of the hummingbirds; the bold red, white, and black of the woodpeckers; the deep blue of bluebirds and indigo buntings; the slash of red on the shoulders of red-winged blackbirds and the full suit of red worn by cardinals…

One of the most important things birds do is remind us of our deep and abiding emotional connection to nature…What is going on in our hearts and brains when we observe these creatures? What moves people to spend hundreds of dollars a year feeding birds in their backyard, or thousands to travel the world to watch them? Throughout history, birds have been strongly allied with mystical properties. Might birds, then, also have things to tell us that science has yet to consider?…

In the end we will only conserve what we love, we will love what we understand, and we will understand what we are taught,” wrote Baba Dioum, a Senegalese forester. This book is my humble attempt to write about how a wide range of people interpret birds and to offer a few interpretations of my own, to teach something about this marvelous planet we call home and the fellow travelers with whom we share it, creatures who are able to fly halfway across the globe nonstop, dive ten times deeper into the ocean than a human, or fly backward and upside down and do many other things we cannot begin to comprehend…

I am in awe of birds.

~ Jim Robbins, The Wonder of Birds: What They Tell Us About Ourselves, the World, and a Better Future,  Spiegel & Grau (May 30, 2017)


Notes:

  • Post inspired by book review in wsj.com titled Angels in our Midst: “For mankind, birds are mediators between heaven and earth; they make our spirits soar. Bernd Heinrich reviews ‘The Wonder of Birds’ by Jim Robbins.”

    …In 19 chapters, some focused on individual species, others more general, Jim Robbins flits about the avian world, exploring the marvels of birds’ biology, the insights they offer into our own species and the history of their interactions with humans. His goal is “to help change the way we perceive birds, to move them from the background of our lives to the foreground, from the quotidian to the miraculous.” He shares his own “soul-stirring wonder” at birds’ “miraculous nature,” hoping to reshape our relationship with them and thus with the earth. The book is a must-read, conveying much necessary information in easily accessible form and awakening one’s consciousness to what might otherwise be taken for granted. Mr. Robbins, a reporter for the New York Times, says that he became a bird lover in 1980 while interviewing a falconer in Idaho. Together they watched as a falcon “dove, soared and wheeled. . . . I, too, felt I had, for a brief time, soared with the peregrine.” “The Wonder of Birds” reads like the story of a kid let loose in a candy store and given free rein to sample. That is one of its strengths: the convert’s view gives wide appeal to those who might never have known birds well. Most of us have lost the everyday connection that all humans once had with birds. We now have it mainly with the chicken in our McNuggets.”

  • Photo: wsj.com – A man feeds birds on the banks of the Yamuna River in New Delhi. (Prakash Singh/Agence France-Presse, Feb 3, 2017)
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