I was captivated by the small indentations in the water around each delicate leg of this skeeter bug. It was a lovely experience just to watch him swimming around on top of the pond water. Similarly, I have deep appreciation for the beauty of this creature's small habitat. Look at the colorful needles of the redwood trees that have become submerged in the water being reflected by the light of the sun. The space was so peaceful and serene that one could become immersed within the environment and loose complete track of time outside this space.
I am currently taking a class at the California Institute of Integral Studies on Cosmological Powers. One of the things I have been noticing is how images on Earth, are similar to those we might find in the larger universe. These tiny petals from the blossoming trees in this pond from Sandborn Park in Saratoga, CA reminded me of other celestial images that I have seen. For example, consider the similar colors life in the pond water to the comet like knots around a dying star in the Helix Nebula (Credit: C. Robert O'Dell and Kerry P. Handron (Rice University), NASA.) Or alternatively, to the stellar winds and radiation from eruptive star Eta Carinae sculpting dust and gas (Credit:NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI). Another idea would be to explore the swirls of color and light from NGC 5307 (Credit:NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA). Perhaps the best match would be to compare this image to the background colors and stars found in this image of the Alaskan Northern Lights as taken by Tom Dempsey. All of these images are a reminder that the Earth, is simply a small reflection of something much greater. If we take the time to reflect upon the beauty of this planet, we can begin to understand the immense connection to our universe.
Last evening I fixed some sparkling mint water to drink. The bubbles looked so beautiful in the mexican glass. I particularly like this image because the colors from the glass are reflected in each of the bubbles. Bubbles always make me smile. :)
I recently read this Mohawk Thanksgiving prayer during a class I am taking called The Great Turning which is focused on the shift from the Industrial Growth Society we know so well to a Life Sustaining Society. It is said to be 900 years old. I thought it might be something you can share with your loved ones as part of your holiday ritual/celebration. It is a powerful way for all of us to pay our respects and remember the scope of our connection to other elements and species on our dear planet including mother Earth; the waters; the fish; the plants; the animals; the birds; the trees; the Four Winds; the Thunderers; the sun, moon and stars; the Enlightened teachers and teachers who have come before us or will follow us; and the Creator. Please let me know if you incorporate this into your celebration. I would like to hear about your experience.
This visit to Lost Lake in Whistler, B.C. last week was part of a late afternoon walk during a week long meditation retreat. There was only an hour allocated for the walk, and most of the time was spent getting to and from the lake. Thus, the amount of time to enjoy the lake was literally about ten to fifteen minutes. Here you can see the mountain stream enters the lake. It is a really pretty scene.
Just off to the right of the stream was this sign cautioning the human population to be alert of the fish spawning in the wetland area surrounding the lake.
A little farther to the right of the sign, there was this swarm of tadpoles. I was thrilled to see them, as I had never seen them in the wild before. They were located right next to a public beach area, but there were ropes on the beach preventing humans from entering near the tadpoles.
Within just a few minutes this snake swam into the area searching for a bite to eat. It had just swallowed a tadpole before I captured this photo. I only saw it eat one tadpole, so maybe it can't digest multiples at one time.
The snake wasn't the only one searching for a meal. The ducks came too. It is rare to get to see such a quick view of an ecosystem in action. Since I only had a brief time to spend at the lake, I was quite appreciative that during this short visit I was able to have such a meaningful experience.
A few minutes later, the snake and the ducks had moved on into the wetlands area leaving the tadpoles to rest for a while. A sense of serenity set in, and I proceeded to return back to my lodge.
Exploring the sciences of cosmology, biology and genetics help us to better understand the deep human connection to nature.Cosmologist Brian Swimme explains how being human is an extension of the original energy that emerged from the eruption of light that occurred 13.7 billion years ago in our universe.As the universe expanded and cooled the actual components of our bodies emerged.These components exist throughout the planet in various species and forms ranging from water to rocks.Biologist Lynn Margulis discovered that all complex life developed from an original symbiosis of four different bacteria.Three of these bacteria were incorporated into the first nucleated cells, and the fourth was the one that gave them mobility.These nucleated cells eventually fused into more complex forms including plants, fungi and animals.Biologist Edward O. Wilson has described how all higher eukaryotic organisms, which are organisms containing one or more cell with visibly evident nuclei and organelles, from flowering plants to insects to humanity are thought to have descended from a single ancestral population that lived about 1.8 billion years ago.A genetic comparison between humans and other primates highlights the similarities.The typical human protein has accumulated just one unique change since chimps and humans diverged from a common ancestor about 6 million years ago. Jane Goddall and Mark Beckoff explain that we share 98.7% of our genes with chimpanzees, 97.7% with gorillas and 96.4% with orangutans in their book "The Ten Trusts."Geneticist David Suzuki speaks about how humans literally are our environment.The air that we breathe; the water that we drink; the sun that generates energy in plants that we eat; and the soil that grows these plants; all exist as elements within our physical bodies.Johan Galtung reminds us of how the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, micro-organisms and plants all come together for the successful operation of photo-synthesis, which in turn is the basis for the food chains on which we all depend.The components of nature all exist within us.Elisabet Sahtouris explains how humans see through their eyes that plants, animals and even rocks are separate, but if we look into a magnifying glass all of nature exists in an energetic molecular dance of chemical reactions and recombinations. We are connected to all aspects of nature, and its preservation is critical to our very survival.
The David Suzuki Foundation has produced a new report called The Water We Drink, which compares water quality standards for drinking water across industrialized nations. The report is written in the context of highlighting the need to increase water quality standards in the country of Canada. However, it is also important to note that in many cases, the United States also has standards that are below the recommendations of the World Health Organization, and below those of the EU and Australia. Personally, I would hope for my country to set standards that are higher than those recommended by the WHO, wouldn't you?
As noted on the USGS site, water is of major importance to all living things; in some organisms, up to 90 percent of their body weight comes from water. Up to 60 percent of the human body is water, the brain is composed of 70 percent water, and the lungs are nearly 90 percent water. About 83 percent of our blood is water, which helps digest our food, transport waste, and control body temperature. Each day humans must replace 2.4 litres of water, some through drinking and the rest taken by the body from the foods eaten.
In the United States, local water boards have the responsibility to report the content of pollutants in their local water to their citizens. You can use the table on pages 16 and 17 of the report to analize how your local water compares to global standards. If you buy bottled water, you don't usually get this kind of detailed analysis on the pollutants that may be in the water, nor do you know the source.
Pay attention to what you put into your body. Take responsibility. Hold you local water authorities and the government accountable for the standards that are being set. Demand and prioritize quality. It is a fundamental component of life!
I was happy to learn about the Running the Sahara project on Matt's blog Empathy. On November 1, 2006 three men began their journey running the distance of about two marathons a day across the Sahara. They will be running across six countries and nine ecosystems. A major portion of the proceeds from the project go toward H2O Africa who's mission is to support sustainable and integrated water programs in a region that gets less than 5 inches of water a year. They are sustainable, in that projects are accompanied by training and maintenance to create a program that will live for the long run. Activity will complement other programs in the region, such as education and infrastructure development, m aking them integrated.
The Sahara is the largest desert on earth and covers a land mass similar to the size of the United States. A friend of mine from Ghana which is located South of Mali told me how his showers growing up were from a tin can with slits in the top. This exemplifies how little water there is. The lack of safe drinkable water impacts people's health, leading to malnutrition and starvation becasue of lack of food. Humans aren't the only ones impacted. The Eden Foundation describes the threats to native plants and animals in the region.
Desertification is increasing globally. It affects one third of the world's surface and has an impact on the lives of one fifth of the world's population. Africa is at the greatest risk with over two thirds of its landmass being desert or drylands. Learn more watching UNEP's global desertification outlook video below. It highlights new opportunities for improviing livlihoods for people living in desert regions by leveraging the wind and sun to bring energy to the region.
I am thrilled to share these watercolor prints which highlight the amazing colors and scenes of nature this time of year in North America. In the See it Big view (bottom left corner of Filmloop) each image contains a link to purchase the print directly on the Heron Dance site.