Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday's Nature Quote


There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for the spring. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature--the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter.
~ Rachel Carson

Friday, February 22, 2013

Weekend Haiku & Limericks


Your challenge: write a haiku or limerick featuring one of the subjects discussed here in the past seven days: human nature, obstacles, or something from Monday's nature quote. Feel free to mine the comments, too.

Post your haiku or limericks in the comments, below. Remember the pattern of a haiku is:

First, 5 syllables,
the second line has seven.
And 5 at the end.

A limerick is a wee bit more complicated. Here's one description.

Post your haiku or limerick in the comments, below. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Human Nature: Frustration

I was wrapping up a call with my supervisor, figuring out how to help a guy pay for a prescription for intestinal parasites, when two other people in need showed up at the door. 

The couple was looking for a place to stay for the night--which was complicated because the lodging also had to allow their old dog, who they were toting around wrapped in blankets in a kid's red wagon.

SNWEB.ORG Photography, LLC
I was eager to deal with the couple and send them on, because Aaron (let's call him), who needed the prescription filled, was already heading to the pharmacy. He didn't have a phone, so we'd agreed that I would do my best to figure out how we could pay for it, and he would stop by the pharmacy to discover whether it had been paid for. I didn't want Aaron to arrive there before I called, and miss out on the medicine--but I needed to use my credit card and then be reimbursed...and I didn't want to read out that number over the phone while Mike and Ashley (let's say) sat in my office awaiting their turn.

Sooo. We came up with a hotel that would accept the dog, I filled out the necessary form, and explained that they'd have to get it validated at the police station, which was up the hill 2 miles away, and then they could go to the hotel--which was back downhill, 6 miles away from the police station. Ordinarily I can give people bus tickets, but with the dog... 

"We can walk," Mike said. "Uphill is better than down, because the handle thing broke, so we pull the wagon with a rope." 

"Downhill it runs into us," Ashley added. Well, they'd have to come back downhill, I pointed out, but maybe they could let the wagon go in front of them instead of behind... 

Although I felt badly that the lodging I could offer required a long walk, I needed to usher them out the door and make my phone call to the pharmacy. Then Mike asked, "How can we get a hot meal?"

Oh, man. I could offer them a hot meal, but it is an additional 2 miles past the cop shop--and that would result an 8 mile walk to the hotel. So instead, I checked the food we had on hand, and came up with a bag of cookies, a box of Cheerios, and a jar of peanut butter. 

"Ooh, I like peanut butter," Ashley said, "but I don't eat it no more because of that time it had salmonella." I looked at the jar of perfectly fine peanut butter in my hand and tried explaining that that was an isolated incident, several years ago. No dice. They accepted the bag of cookies. And started their uphill journey.

I beelined to the phone and called the number Aaron had given me to pay for the medicine. But it turned out that the number led not to a pharmacy, but to a health food store, of which Aaron was apparently a member, since the number he'd given me was a membership number--not a prescription number. And although they did have alternative medicines for parasites, the clerk and I quickly stalled out over what Aaron had expected to accomplish by giving me his membership number and calling it a prescription. 

Look, I know that people have the right to take care of a dog and to choose herbal remedies or to not eat peanut butter because a batch of it was contaminated in 2009. And if their choices thwart my ability to help them, that is their business, not mine. But somehow telling myself these things did not have much effect on my frustration with Aaron, Mike and Ashley, at the meager results of our encounters, or at the self-imposed obstacles we stumble over in an attempt to live our lives.      

Monday, February 18, 2013

Monday's Nature Quote


Among the scenes which are deeply impressed on my mind, none exceed in sublimity the primeval forests undefaced by the hand of man. No one can stand in these solitudes unmoved, and not feel that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body.
~ Charles Darwin  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Weekend Haiku & Limericks


Your challenge: write a haiku or limerick featuring one of the subjects discussed here in the past seven days: Valentine's Day, National Parks, or something from Monday's nature quote. Feel free to mine the comments, too.

Post your haiku or limericks in the comments, below. Remember the pattern of a haiku is:

First, 5 syllables,
the second line has seven.
And 5 at the end.

A limerick is a wee bit more complicated. Here's one description.

Please post your haiku or limerick in the comments, below. 

Happy Valentine's Day!



Photo by USFWS Headquarters

Here's a video for Valentine's Day from US National Park Service. (Not of wolves in love, but of people in love in parks.)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Weekend Haiku & Limericks


Your challenge: write a haiku or limerick featuring one of the subjects discussed here in the past seven days: wind power, Steel Winds, or something from Monday's nature quote. Feel free to mine the comments, too.

Post your haiku or limericks in the comments, below. Remember the pattern of a haiku is:

First, 5 syllables,
the second line has seven.
And 5 at the end.

A limerick is a wee bit more complicated. Here's one description.

Please post your haiku or limerick in the comments, below. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Steel Winds



As the Latin proverb goes, “If there is no wind, row.” Except that in the case of Lackawanna, N.Y., there was plenty of wind on the shore of Lake Erie--it was steel production that had died down. 

Up until nearly a decade ago, the Bethlehem Steel Plant was the second-largest steel producer in the U.S., but mismanagement and the decline of the steel industry left the city of Lackawanna with a large, decrepit facility instead. 

Enter the company First Winds and its Steel Winds project, with the motto “Turning the Rust Belt into the Wind Belt.” 

Today, the old steel plant site has 8 wind turbines that, according to the company website, generate “over 50 million kilowatt-hours of clean, renewable energy each year, enough to power 9,000 New York homes.”

Imagine an America where abandoned industrialized areas become sites for wind or solar power production. Less rowing--more wind blowing!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Monday's Nature Quote

By Dennis Barnes

For me, and for thousands with similar inclinations, the most important passion of life is the overpowering desire to escape periodically from the clutches of a mechanistic civilzation. To us the enjoyment of solitude, complete independence, and the beauty of undefiled panoramas is absolutely essential to happiness.
~ Bob Marshall

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Weekend Haiku & Limericks


Your challenge: write a haiku or limerick featuring one of the subjects discussed here in the past seven days: cleaning oily seabirds, or something from Monday's nature quote. Feel free to mine the comments, too.

Post your haiku or limericks in the comments, below. Remember the pattern of a haiku is:

First, 5 syllables,
the second line has seven.
And 5 at the end.

A limerick is a wee bit more complicated. Here's one description.

Please post your haiku or limerick in the comments, below.