Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

Trees. Killarney National Forest

Photographed in Killarney National Park in Ireland in May 1981. While the photo is in black and white, I used a green filter to lighten to foliage on the trees. Here’s the photographer in action. Not the same location, but the same equipment.

IR01_002_18

Nature Remembers

tjp_1553_5679.jpg

Desert Primrose (Camissonia brevipes), photographed in Death Valley, February 2016.
“Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.” ― Wendell Berry

Winter in Yosemite

Winter brings a sense of peace and solitude to Yosemite Valley. This is my favorite time of year to visit. The throngs of tourists are gone. I spent part of the afternoon traipsing across El Capitan Meadow on snow shoes, with the entire meadow to myself, a welcome retreat from the events of the past few days. We arrived in the Valley yesterday afternoon in rain and ovenight the rain turned to snow. Not that the valley is empty; there are plenty of people with cameras and tripods at strategic vantage points, but also plenty of opportunity to find vantage points and subject matter. With such beauty all around one can almost point your camera anywhere and find interesting compositions.

2017: Keep on Walking

Oak Trees on Mount Burdell

Walking, paddling, meditating. What is it you do to maintain a sense of grace and compassion? In the midst of a chaotic world that would have us succumb to fear and anger what do you do to maintain sanity? Nothing seems to renew my sense of grace more than walking. I’m not sure that it’s simply the fact that I’m moving forward, one foot after the other, or that while walking, the problems of the world seem more distant.

I was out walking the dog this morning when I stopped to talk to a neighbor. She expressed concerns about where 2017 might lead us, and I was reminded of a piece I wrote in September “Keep on Walking.”

As part of my “walk” through 2017, I’m going to offer my services one day a month, pro-bono to help support social or environmental causes. With the changes we face in Washington, it’s going to be up to use as individuals to make a difference in how we act as stewards of God’s creation. I’m looking forward to the new year, to the new people I’ll meet on the journey ahead, to new connections I’ll make in the global community and to new opportunities that will arise.

Blessings to all for 2017

 

Quote for the Day

tjp_1681_8496

Kehoe Beach. Point Reyes National Seashore.

“Our greatest power as nations and individuals is not the ability to employ assault weapons, suicide bombers, and drones to destroy each other.  The greater more creative powers with which we may arm ourselves are grace and compassion sufficient enough to love and save each other.” —Aberjhani

I found this quote wile reading the November-December issue of Orion Magazine. I thought this quote seemed appropriate given the season and the challenges we face.

Beaulieu: The Joy of Walking

I’m never quite so content as when I’m walking. Perhaps I’m just a restless soul, but put me on a trail and I feel at home. Something about walking that just soothes the soul. I’ve lived in the same house for some 30 plus years, and even when I’m at home reading a book, there’s a part of me that’s just anxious to be moving.

For our walk today our innkeeper drove us to an overlook above the ancient town of Curemonte. From there we walked to Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne, a distance of eight miles. At the start of our walk we met a woman who stopped to chat. Not that we could understand much of what we said, but her enthusiasm communicated enough. It’s clear she wanted us to know the delights of the local environment. From there is was up a hill, past farms, down into a valley, across a stream, and on over hill and dale, through woods with a light rain until we reached Bealieu. A delightful walk.

 

Happy Birthday NPS!

Trees reflecting in the Merced River. Yosemite National Park.
Trees reflecting in the Merced River. Yosemite National Park.

I just want to say thank you to those that had the vision to create our National Park System; conservationist Stephen Mather, J. Horace McFarland and journalist Robert Sterling Yard, as well as those in Congress that voted the act into law, and President Woodrow Wilson who signed the bill on August 25, 1916. The bill created an agency “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” With the many challenges the future brings, let’s hope we can keep these natural wonders four generations to come.

Book Review: The Oyster War

 

tjp_1634_5673

I just finished reading The Oyster Wars by Summer Brennan. I was drawn to this book when my brother left it with me following a visit a few months ago. I’ve had some interest in this story for some time. The location where the Oyster farm was is one of my favorite locations to go kayaking. I have a brother who is himself an oyster farmer (not the one with the book), and having studied marine biology myself, I was quite interested in science behind the story.

This turns out to be quite a compelling story about the fate of the Drakes Bay Oyster company. And also an intriguing analysis of how various interests can play into commerce and environmental issues. The author provides some background, going back to the oyster pirates of 1897 and the days of Jack London.

To be honest, I have followed this issue only remotely while it was developing, aware of some of the issues, and hopeful that the oyster farm and the National Park service would find a way to live together in harmony, protecting the natural resources while permitting aquaculture to continue. After all, if you can have cattle on the land, why not ousters in the Estero? Nevertheless, Having read Summer’s book, I’m inclined to believe that the oyster farm had no future operating in a wilderness area.

If you have any interest in environmental issues, commerce and culture and how those forces might collide, I recommend this book.

The biggest lesson I learned from this book can be summed up in a quote Brennan provides from Tom Strickland:

“I think that the situation has been hijacked by interest groups with different agendas who have spun out narratives that have no relationship to the facts.”

This seems to apply to any number of issues we face.

 

Family Time!

With a father that’s now 95, I think my two brothers and our families are realizing that we need something more than visiting dad to keep us together. We recently got together on Whidbey Island where my brother Kurt and his wife Beth have a house.  A perfect setting for a reunion, with 28 acres to play in, including beach, woods, meadow, and hiking trails within a short distance. With a bountiful garden fresh seafood we had a lovely time. Dining on fresh crab caught in the harbor, oysters from Kurt’s oyster garden. We managed to get most of the kids, and Aunt Sue in on the festivities as well. Each of the brothers,  Arlen and Kurt and myself each have two kids and we managed to get all of them to join us, with the exception of two, my daughter and our foster sister Laurie, both of whom were not able to get time off of work. I think we tend to be an independent clan, we have varied interest, and it seems we’d rather go our own ways most of the time, so getting  the group of us together is a challenge, and I think the two years we spend in dialog and planning paid off. If you want to see a few more photos from our get-together click here.

Log of the Shearwater July 2, 2016

Kayaking on Tomales Bay
Kayaking on Tomales Bay

With the tides looking good and Drakes Estero open following the spring seal pupping season we thought we’d go for a paddle. When we arrived though, there was a stiff breeze and fog, and it just looked like slogging into the weather was not going to be much fun, so we headed for Hearts Desire beach, which while only a few miles away is more protected. We had sun and blue sky when we launched our boats, and we paddled  South East along the Point Reyes Peninsula, stopping on a small beach to eat lunch. It’s always a pleasure to paddle along the rugged coast. You can view additional photos here, and you can view a track of our paddle here.

Red rocks and roots
Red rocks and roots Point Reyes

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: