Weekly Photo Challenge: A Place in the World, The World in a Place

“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” Foreword, A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold (of Wisconsin). 

Being in a Place is about a relationship; it involves everything a relationship is about — communication, affection, honesty, respect. There’s a give-and-take, an evolving dynamic that’s always present. Places change and we change.  

How do you go about nurturing a good relationship with a Place? Much the same way that you might with a Person.

First of all, slow down. Take time to listen and observe silent clues. Feel with your intuition. What is happening here? What emotions do I sense? What kind of energy seems to be flowing here?

And always remember, you are in this relationship, too. Slow down and sense your own feelings, emotions, and energy. How are you in relationship to this Place?

Living in Wisconsin, I am aware of inspirational Land Lovers like Aldo Leopold, Gaylord Nelson, and John Muir, all of whom resided here, walked here, and shaped land policy. My partner Steve and I strive to be constantly aware of our relationship with Place. I personally feel closest to the Places where human impact is minimal, and my photo library reflects that. Here is a gallery of places that we have loved and that have loved us in return. 

Place in the World

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Eye Spy the Green Fire

Headlines today are full of accounts of killing.  Too many people are spying through cross-hairs; that’s very scary to me.  Looking into the eye of life – seeing living, sentient beings for what they are – is a sacred experience, I believe.  Here is an amazing written account of that, by Aldo Leopold as told in “Killing the Wolf” from A Sand County Almanac, and Sketches Here and There:

We were eating lunch on a high rimrock, at the foot of which a turbulent river elbowed its way. We saw what we thought was a doe fording the torrent, her breast awash in white water. When she climbed the bank toward us and shook out her tail, we realized our error: it was a wolf. A half-dozen others, evidently grown pups, sprang from the willows and all joined in a welcoming melee of wagging tails and playful maulings. What was literally a pile of wolves writhed and tumbled in the center of an open flat at the foot of our rimrock.

In those days we had never heard of passing up a chance to kill a wolf. In a second we were pumping lead into the pack, but with more excitement than accuracy; how to aim a steep downhill shot is always confusing. When our rifles were empty, the old wolf was down, and a pup was dragging a leg into impassable side-rocks.

We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes—something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.

May all beings be respected. May the green fire be rekindled in our time.

 


Eye Spy

Weekly Photo Challenge: Please Be Careful

Ever get “Assembly Required” furniture from IKEA?  I remember we got 2 sets of loft beds with student desks beneath them for our youngest daughters who shared a room.  There were so many screws and wooden pegs and brackets included.  God forbid we leave one out and our child plunges to the floor amid splinters of wood!

mushroomlet

“To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.” – Aldo Leopold

Why are we not as careful with our planet as we are with our furniture?  You see a bug looking at you the wrong way, and you squash it.  You see a weed growing in the wrong place, and you pluck it.  If you don’t think you’ll need it, you plow it under, rip it out, poison it or shoot it to extinction. 

snakelet

Many years ago, my son in his pre-school ignorance was walking a trail in the redwoods of California with his grandfather when they came upon a banana slug,  bright yellow, slimy and directly in their path.  “What is THAT?” he asked.  “A banana slug,” replied Grandpa George.  “How do you kill it?” was the next thing out of my son’s mouth.  That little exchange was later reported to me by my father and has haunted me since the telling.

We are all ignorant of the full worth of Nature.  Let us be careful to tread lightly and reverently. 

wooly bear

 

Careful