Archive for November, 2014

Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

   

 With the approach of Thanksgiving, a holiday I dearly love, I am mindful of the gratitude I feel to be part of such an awesome planet.   

And maybe gratitude is our task, as humans.  I like the following words, from the book EARTH PRAYERS:  

“Perhaps the greatest gift we humans have to offer the rest of creation is our heartfelt appreciation.  The ability to receive in thankfulness the blessings of life is an awesome quality.  We alone on this planet can reflect on all that surrounds us and through our loving recognition the rest of the Earth achieves a deep fulfillment.

“Our praise and thanksgiving is as essential a part of life’s give and take as are the cycles of oxygen and water or any other nourishment flowing through the biosphere.”

As the great German poet Rainer Maria Rilke said, “Earth isn’t this what you want:  invisibly to arise in us?”

Happy Thanksgiving to all!–April Moore

 


 

November Splendor

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

 

I painted this picture of trees against the winter night sky.

I painted this picture of trees against the winter night sky.

A few days ago I took a long and satisfying hike in the Shenandoah National Park with my friend Kathy.  The day was very cold.  Nonetheless, there was much to delight us:  an eagle soaring overhead; the spongy, hollow interior of  pokeweed stalks that had bent and cracked; and bare trees, with no leaves to mask their shapely forms.

I got to thinking about the specialness of November, the ‘Norway of the year,’ as Emily Dickinson called it.  This time of the year, when so much is dying or hunkering down, is as vital to the life cycle as is the spring, with its abundance of new life.  

Like Robert Bly, whose poem I include below, I think about the trees of November, standing tall and silent, night and day, in rain, snow, and bitter cold.  They seem the epitome of steadfastness, and they somehow comfort me.

I invite you to enjoy Robert Bly’s poem below:
SOLITUDE LATE AT NIGHT IN THE WOODS

 ”The body is like a November birch facing the full moon
And reaching into the cold heavens.
In these trees there is no ambition, no sodden body, no leaves,
Nothing but bare trunks climbing like cold fire!

My last walk in the trees has come. At dawn
I must return to the trapped fields,
To the obedient earth.
The trees shall be reaching all the winter.

It is a joy to walk in the bare woods.
The moonlight is not broken by the heavy leaves.
The leaves are down, and touching the soaked earth,
Giving off the odors that partridges love.”

 

A Comeback for the Great White Shark

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Great-White-Shark

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water. . . . .

I am delighted to learn that the Great White Shark is making a comeback!  After decades of decline in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, these giant animals are rebounding in both areas.

Recent studies by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Florida show that a decades-long decline of the White Shark in both oceans has been reversed in the last 15 years.  Since the 1960s, the White Shark’s numbers had declined by more than 70% in the Atlantic Ocean as a result of  increased commercial and recreational shark hunting.  And the inadvertent capture of Great Whites in nets meant for the sharks’ prey had also taken its toll.

But federal protection for the Great White Shark, enacted in 1997, appears to have paid off.  Since hunting of the Great White Shark has become illegal, the shark’s numbers have increased about 40%, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service.  Another factor in the animal’s resurgence, scientists note, is the increased availability of prey.  The grey seal population, for example, off the Massachusetts coast, has been increasing.

The population gains of the Great White Shark are good not just for the shark but for overall ocean health.  Known as an ‘apex predator’ for its position at the top of the food chain, the Great White Shark is ecologically critical, scientists say, in helping control populations of other species.

A LITTLE UNDERSTOOD ANIMAL
The Great White Shark, widely feared thanks to movies like Jaws, does not deserve its reputation as a rapacious killer of humans.  Since 1916 there have been only 106 instances of unprovoked White Shark attacks on humans.  Solitary animals, sharks are notoriously elusive and difficult to study.

Sharks are part of a subset of fishes called elasmobranchs.  While they look similar, externally, to other fish, they are so structurally different that they are in a class by themselves.  One difference is skeleton.  Instead of bone, the shark’s skeleton is made of cartilage.  And unlike most fish, which maintain buoyancy thanks to a swim bladder, sharks lack such an organ.  Instead, the shark stays buoyant thanks to oil stored in its liver.–April Moore     

 

 

 

 

 

October Observations

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

april's spot

 

If you’ve been following THE EARTH CONNECTION recently, you know that I have posted some of the observations I noted during my year of weekly visits to a particular place in the forest near my house.  I found it satisfying to look closely at the same small patch of forest over the course of an entire year, to note changes, large and small.  

My project began a year ago in June and ended in June 2014.  I have so far reported here some of my observations from June, July, August, and September.  Below are some my noticings from the month of October 2013:

  • After days of rain, so extensive is the dripping from the trees that it seems to be raining still.  When suddenly the pattering on the fallen dead leaves intensifies, I know a breeze has moved through the treetops.
  • After all the rain, the log on which I usually sit is blooming with fungus.  A wet, rich brown and edged with yellow, these fleshy frills are protruding profusely from cracks along the log.  What a life the fungus leads–appearing and disappearing with the wetness and dryness.
  • The little bushes in and around my spot are reddening.  And the snake root, that bloomed for several weeks, is well past its prime.  Its once white flowers are now brown.
  • This sweet, soft morning air contains just a hint of fall.  The sun suddenly lit up a little forest glade, and just as suddenly left it in shadow.
  • Sitting quietly, I hear a bird now and then–a crow, a jay, a few muffled poundings of a woodpecker.
  • I see that most of the tiny no-name bushes in my spot have been eaten.  Just a few small, blackened leaves remain.
  • The fungus along my log, so plump and moist last week, is thinner now, and drier.
  • Something is very different on this visit.  A dead tree that has long leaned against a tall chestnut oak at the edge of my spot has come down, bringing with it the top of the neighboring red maple in which its upper part had rested.  That leaning tree had seemed so stable.  It must have taken some wind to pull down both the leaning tree and the little maple. 
  • It’s colder today than it was last week.  I hear a few crows and an occasional woodpecker.
  • Through the binoculars, I watch some titmice (titmouses?) make a ruckus in a distant tree.  I wonder what the issue is.
  • As I look around, I see little change.  The fungus growing on the log where I sit may be more shrunken and dried.  And there may be more curled, brown leaves at my feet.–April Moore

Something for Everyone

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

climate action

 

I’ve decided to make use of THE EARTH CONNECTION’s action thread to stir myself to take my own action, one I’ve been talking about for months.

When I meet people for the first time, I often tell them I’m a climate activist.  A reaction I sometimes get goes something like, “I agree with you, but I’m not doing anything about it.”  Then the person may say one of three things:  ”I feel guilty that I’m not doing anything about it.”  OR  ”I don’t know what to do about global warming.”  OR  ”It’s over.  There’s nothing that can be done.”

I’ve said to myself that I would like to be ready for such moments.  There are relatively simple actions that everyone can take, and I’ve wished I had a small card I could hand to people, that lists three things any person can do.

Knowing I wanted to post on THE EARTH CONNECTION’s action thread this week, I decided that now was the time to create this card I’ve been thinking about.  So I wrote the text of the card and took it to a graphic designer/printer I know.  Within days, I expect to have hundreds of attractively designed ‘business’ cards that I will keep with me in my wallet, ready to give out.

In case you’d like to do something similar, here is the text of my card:

YES!  YOU CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE CLIMATE CRISIS!

1.  Educate yourself and others.  Learn the science basics by reading Climate Change:  Evidence, Impacts, and Choices.  Free at  http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=14673.  Share what you know with others, especially those who believe the lies the fossil fuels industry has been promoting–that global warming is not something we need to address.

2.  Spread the word about The Healthy Climate and Family Security Act.  This bill, now in Congress, would dramatically reduce greenhouse emissions and boost the income of most American families.  Learn more at  http://climateandprosperity.org/  Tell others about this promising bill.  Urge your U.S. Representative and two Senators to sponsor it by calling them at 202-224-3121.  

3.  Join the movement to stop global warming.  Many organizations are working effectively at local, regional, national, even international levels.  Help build this growing movement by giving money, time, or spreading the word.   One especially effective organization is http://www.350.org/.

–April Moore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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