Australia Black Summer Untold? And Slicing Songs.

I promise that if you stay with this post to the end, you won’t be sorry.  If you start feeling sorry, feel free to just jump to the end!

I want to follow-up on my post of January 3, 2020, I Am Australian Today.  I’m concerned that it will be forgotten because the news media have moved on to the latest crises.  I’m not letting go of it.  I want to remember that we ARE STILL all burning together.  Watch what happens when Antarctica starts dropping whole worlds of ice into the ocean, which is coming soon to a planet near you.  Have you heard?  Greenland is pouring ice melt water into the ocean at a rate equivalent to the mass of 2,000 elephants per second!  No kidding.  I saw an ice expert who studies Greenland say it.

I owe it to myself to not let rapacious news feeds — including the best of them on public broadcast services — feed on my attention as though it were theirs to consume, not mine to apply.  And there is no more important news than the planet’s ability to sustain life (as we know it and depend on it).

I’m not certain that humanity really should continue to exist.  Maybe it’s time we went the way of the dinosaurs (although they did not kill their own world).  Fine.  But we don’t have the right to destroy the world for all the other species.

Continue reading

Experts all over say shame on UN, international community

What do I say? Hey, there’s always another war. Get over it. Except for this: the human devastation of this war just keeps getting worse, and the UN and international leading countries aren’t doing anything (relatively speaking) about it. Syria is not a local problem. It is a global one, for a number of reasons. As we avoid responsibility for it, we condemn ourselves.

.

Continue reading

WANTED:

Team of international diplomats with advanced expertise to move out of the way all players in the way of getting massive — unprecedented — quantities of humanitarian aid to millions of Syrian people whose standard of living is literally dirt, and to get the incredibly wealthy nations of the world to deliver that aid.

Continue reading

I am Australian today

I thought of a hundred things to write here, and still have not come up with something to say that does not feel like feeble gibberish, but I’ll try to pass along some reflection and information.  My thoughts are almost soulless compared with the pulse-pounding call of Australian soul today.

Fire scene in Blue Mountains. Photo by Ben Pearse

Fire refugees on the beach at Batemans Bay NSW. Photo by Alastair Prior.

Gospers Mt Firefighter. Photo by Dan Himbrechts.

Just not cricket.

I’m just an American typical nobody, mostly ignorant of Australia like most of us.  It’s a horrid way to wake up to her, burning.

I live in the Adirondack Park of far northern New York, in a sort of box between Canada, Vermont/Lake Champlain and Lake Ontario.  This “park,” a combination of public and private land, they like to  call “six million acres of wilderness.”  Since retirement, my whole world is here.  I never go anywhere else these days.

Sharnie Moran & daughter. Photo by Dan Peled.

Kangaroo. Photo by James Ross.

Devastation on Great Alpine Road at Sarsfield.
Photo by Jason Edwards.

Photo by Mike Bowers.

As of this morning (Friday, January 3, 2020), far, far more than six million acres is gone, burned up in Australia’s fires.  In Australia, about 5,800,000 hectares (about 14,300,000 acres) have burned or are burning.  That’s much more than double my entire 6 million acre world.  Unfathomable to me, but my heart knows what my mind can’t grasp or say.

Kangaroo fleeing in North Black Range. Photo by Mike Bowers.

==> Please continue reading ==>

Halloween Wind Storm

It scattered seventy trees across or into Balsamea’s 2.5 miles of trails.   It’s seventy-give-or-take; I lost count a couple of times while stopping to think about how to deal with some of the fallen trees.  Thinking never has been a reliably good idea.  It often interferes with nobler processes, even vital ones.

The big winds came on Thursday and Friday, October 31 & November 1, 2019.  It is the biggest such storm tree impact in Balsamea’s 14.5-year history.  Before now, the biggest one was the “717 Storm” of July 17, 2012.

I’ll never forget the way my heart sank into my stomach when I found 33 trees on the trails on July 18, 2012.  Working on clearing them and rerouting paths around some of them — never with a chainsaw, which violates Balsamea law — I learned that it was good for me and good for the trails.  Often when I addressed a change that Nature threw onto a trail, the result was a better trail or connection to another trail.  I’m sure I don’t have to explain why it’s good for me to go work in the woods, for mind and body and whatever else I may be.

My little Cadivus story of September 7, 2018 explains the immersive experience of co-creating trails with Nature.  Handy excerpts if you don’t want to read the Cadivus post (I don’t blame you):

==> Please continue reading ==>

Concordia’s Arbor Lane

Arbor Lane is the west boundary of Concordia.  This is the approach to the Y, where Balsamea Way goes right and Arbor Lane goes left:

June 10, 2009. Meet Foley, young beech in center.

Notice the little beech tree near bottom right center.  In June 2009 the trunk was about the size of a broom handle.  It is at the south entrance to Arbor Lane.  For easy reference, I’ve just now (really, right now!) named this tree Foley (from Fagus grandifolia, American beech).

June 10, 2009. Foley with Grandmother Pometa standing over Arbor Lane.

Another view, looking north into Arbor Lane.  The big beech at center is hereby now named Pometa, the Slovenian word for sweep or sweeping (tapping a bit of my maternal heritage).

I’ve never been big on naming individual trees because there are so many I’d like to name.  So I generalize.  I look up at any spruce and say, “Hey there, Cousin Sprucie.  How are ya?”  Playing on Bruce “Cousin Brucie” Morrow.  He’s done lots of things, but I remember him as the legendary radio disk jockey on WABC (AM 770) competing with “Murray the K” on WINS (AM 1010) in NY City during one of my former lifetimes.

Continue reading

Starring Nuala’s Maple Tree

(continued from Nuala’s Tree and Concordia post)

Nuala’s Tree is a red maple (Acer rubrum) with four partly intertwining trunks rooted at the edge of a big old pine stump.  I dedicated the tree to Nuala in 2009 or earlier.  The oldest picture I have is from 2009, below.

June 6, 2009. Viewed from south.

September 13, 2019

The brighter background is because of the logging next door. It changes the habitat of Balsamea forever in several ways.  I try not to think about it anymore.

Concordia is a park-like area of about 0.3 acre surrounding Nuala’s Tree.  Almost all of the development of Concordia occurred in August-September 2019.  Before that, there was just some minor maintenance to keep the tree from being overgrown by pines and balsam firs.

I don’t need to give special attention to a tree for it to have personal meaning, nor need I seek personal meaning in a tree.  However, sometimes a tree seeks it in me, like a contemplative interaction probing the soul.  That’s Nuala’s Tree.
Continue reading

Normal People Anonymous Support Group

I’m thinking about starting a normal people anonymous support group.

Members have the right to define normal for themselves but not for anyone else in the group.

You’re anonymous to each other, at least at the start of your membership.  If you surrender your anonymity with another member, that’s okay.  You can still attend, together or separately, but it is recommended that you come out of the closet about it, for your own good.

If you have sex with somebody in the group, that’s normal, even if you remain otherwise anonymous to each other.

You do peer-led programs, activities or projects together, such as 12 steps, meditation, yoga, hiking, book study, nature study, photography, joke-telling, litter cleanup, gardening, sailing, canoeing, singing, teaching disenfranchised children how to fish, putting Kahlil Gibran in every hotel room, Christmas caroling in July, picketing industrial cattle and chicken growers, making art together, including music, Amazon forest fire-fighting, skinny-dipping (peer-led), putting on a play about climate change and domestic abuse of males, or what-have-you things that normal people do.

The normality of the activity is as beheld by the peer leader, and you quietly accept it and have fun, perhaps expanding or shattering your notions of normal, and squelching the ferocity of your clinging to them.

The peer-led things, the anonymity, and the group dynamic are good for you.  You affirm this aloud in unison at every meeting and outing, holding hands in a circle, a perfectly normal thing to do with strangers.

The anonymity is to help avoid the stigma of being normal, even more normal than most others are.  In the group, you can enjoy — if possible — a place where you can be non-judgmentally welcomed by similarly frustrated normal people.  You define “non-judgmental” loosely, considering its extremely elusive nature, like unconditional love.

You take it all lightly with good humor because you all know that normal exists only from your perspective in the mirror.  That is the guiding principle.  Take your normality lightly.  You affirm it together in unison, religiously, sorta.

Copyright 2019 TheBalsamean.comOver time, with consistent participation, you may be able to give up excessive notions of your normality, as one might give up excessive drinking, smoking, or gambling, and be freed of the pathetic frustration you inflict upon your deluded self.  Amen.

Take your normality lightly.

Nature Writers I Follow #4: Mary Holland of Vermont

Books by Mary Holland:

I marvel at how little I accomplish in my life, relative to the amazing output of others. Nature writer Mary Holland seems to be a whole team of creative and scientific experts, not just one person. Her website, books, articles and professional photographs encompass a seemingly limitless encyclopedic exploration of nature, presented in short, easy-reading, wonderfully illustrated pieces. She creates educational tools for all ages, especially children.  When she’s not doing any of that, she’s spreading knowledge and wisdom in speaking engagements. You can feel her passion for natural history in her work.

(Better disclosure: I benefit nothing but pleasure by promoting the nature writers I follow. I have no investment or business interest except as their customer, I get no freebies or incentives, and I have no family connection with them — that I know of!)

Mary Holland’s qualifications root her as a naturalist with specialization in education, plus leadership in environmental and natural sciences in public and private sector organizations. Did I mention she’s a skilled, accomplished writer and photographer? ==> Please continue reading ==>