Archive for July, 2012
Friday, July 27th, 2012
one of the tomato plants on our deck
As I am enjoying the bright red, delicious tomatoes we’re growing on our deck, I think of Pablo Neruda’s wonderful Ode to the Tomato. Enjoy.–April Moore
ODE TO THE TOMATO
filled with tomatoes,
through the streets.
it enters at lunchtime,
its own light,
Unfortunately, we must
into living flesh,
populates the salads
happily, it is wed
to the clear onion,
and to celebrate the union
child of the olive,
onto its halved hemispheres,
salt, its magnetism;
it is the wedding
of the day,
of the roast
at the door,
the table, at the midpoint
star of earth, recurrent
its remarkable amplitude
no leaves or thorns,
the tomato offers
of fiery color
and cool completeness.
Monday, July 23rd, 2012
As I sit here in our bedroom, with the laptop on–the usual place–my lap, I am completely distracted by an avian drama unfolding just a few yards away, outside the sliding glass door that opens onto the balcony.
The hummingbird feeder hanging next to the doorway is the place, hummingbirds agree!¬† Five or six of the little guys¬† are darting about, up and down, all around, perching on nearby branches between feedings.¬† Somehow, these little guys caught on, within minutes of my filling the feeder, that this is the spot for tasty nectar.
How can I not set aside what I’d intended to write, with so much buzzing going on? The dainty look and diminutive size of these little creatures is belied by the loud, bee-like buzzing¬† their wings make when the birds are in motion.¬† In fact, they sound like warlike little commandos as they dart about.
The buzzing sharpens with hostility as one of the tiny warriors chases another hummingbird away from the feeder.¬† Clearly, ‘share and share alike’ is not the hummingbird’s mantra.¬† Instead, these tiny birds seem to embody an ethic of ‘look out for number one.’¬† Even though the feeder is equipped with 10 feeding holes, a hummer who has the feeder to itself for a time will almost always chase off an approaching fellow hummer than tolerate its presence at one of the other nine holes!¬† Only occasionally do I see two birds drinking from the feeder at the same time.¬† And it’s usually not long before one of them decides to chase the other off.
In fact, hummingbirds spend so much time running off their fellows, darting this way and that, and hovering above, below, and beside the feeder, I’m surprised they don’t use up more energy in all that movement than they take in at the feeder!
In the last few minutes, as I’ve been writing, it has begun to rain, and there was just a loud clap of thunder.¬† Suddenly, the buzzing has stopped, and I see no hummingbirds.¬† Where did they go, I wonder.¬† Did they find their way to their usual nighttime retreat?¬† Or are they huddled, unseen, on some branch nearby or under some leaves?
In any event, I must remember to refill the feeder so that tomorrow I can enjoy the same distraction from my work!–April Moore
Friday, July 13th, 2012
One of the planet’s most important nesting sites for the endangered leatherback sea turtle has just been protected!
Puerto Rico’s Governor Luis Fortuno recently signed into law a measure that will protect almost 2,000 acres of the island’s coast from large-scale development.¬† The protected area, part of an area known as the Northeast Ecological Corridor, has been designated a nature reserve.
The Northeast Ecological Corridor includes such diverse landscapes as a bioluminescent lagoon, mangrove swamps, coral reefs, and dense tropical rainforest.¬† Besides the leatherback sea turtles, many other threatened or endangered species also make their homes in the corridor.¬† The West Indian manatee, the hawksbill sea turtle, and the snowy plover are just a few.
This new protection has been a long time coming.¬† In 2009, Governor Fortuno overturned his predecessor’s decision to protect the Northeast Ecological Corridor.¬† Fortuno wanted, instead, to open the land to large developers and their plans for mega-resorts and golf courses in the now-protected area.
But the Sierra Club, other environmental organizations, and Puerto Rican citizens said no.¬† Activists circulated petitions calling on Fortuno to protect the Northeast Ecological Corridor from development.¬† And both houses of Puerto Rico’s legislature voted unanimously to protect the leatherback sea turtle’s nesting grounds.¬† Ultimately, Fortuno had little choice but to go along with the people.
There has been even more good news for leatherback sea turtles in 2012.¬† In January, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration designated 42,000 square miles of ocean along the U.S. west coast as critical habitat for the Pacific leatherback sea turtle.
These protective designations are so needed!¬† The worldwide population of these giant reptiles has declined 95% since the 1980s, thanks to the destruction of natural habitat, changing ocean conditions, commercial fishing, and the theft of eggs.
A few facts about the leatherback sea turtle:
- It is the largest reptile in the world, and an individual can weigh as much as 1,200 pounds.
- The leatherback’s lifespan is not known, but scientists believe it lives at least 40 years and maybe as long as 100 years.
- Scientists believe the leatherback reaches sexual maturity at about 16 years.
- In the U.S., the leatherback nests on the beach from March to July.¬† A single female may produce several clutches of eggs in a season.
- Once hatched, baby leatherbacks make their way to the ocean.–April Moore
Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012
I find that this, our nation’s Independence Day, is a fine time to remind ourselves of how dependent we actually are, in the big picture.–April Moore