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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

Happy Earth Day!

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet




"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

Happy Earth Day!

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yavanna earth
A day early, yes, but I'm not sure if I'll be on the computer tomorrow. We have tickets to the ballgame in the afternoon, and I have stuff to do for betas and SWG ... and I do occasionally still work on my stories too. :)

But a radical conservationist like me can't escape without mentioning Earth Day. It's a day that I treasure every year. It's not steeped in commercialism like most American holidays. It's not meant to make people feel bad or guilty or lonely or inadequate. It's a day to appreciate what a beautiful world we live in and make changes--no matter how small--to help keep it that way. So happy Earth Day!

Here in Maryland, the weather is finally breaking, and hopefully for good! It's been cold and overcast and rainy for the past few weeks, ever since we got that week-long spell of warm weather. In honor of this, Bobby and I took the first hike of the season today. We took Alex, so it was a short one: we walked the unmaintained trail in the Patapsco Valley State Park system that leads to the Liberty Dam. The more I walk them, the more I love PVSP's unmaintained trails more than their maintained "major" trails. Not only are they less crowded but they seem far more interesting. Yes, one may have to slog through the occasional mud puddle or climb over a fallen tree here and there, but it's worth it for the different species of plant and animal on these trails as well as the unique locations--like the Liberty Dam--to which they lead.

Starting in on the trail, we noticed right away that the river was high. This wasn't surprising, though; we've had a lot of rainfall over the past few days. The world is starting to come to life; every day marks the emergence of more baby leaves in that pale green-yellow color that's impossible to perfectly describe. But it looks divine against a bright blue sky. :) The first flowers have started to bloom, and so despite the fact that Maryland has remained in winter's grip for the past few weeks, Spring is taking unmistakable hold.

Not far along the trail, the river had overflowed its bed and created something of a wetland along the trail. This isn't uncommon to this area, so the trail skirted it nicely without a lot of slogging through the mud. But the water has nurtured lots of growing things, and everything was green and smelled briny, like fresh water. (Which always makes me want to go scuba diving!) We saw some baby ferns starting to unfurl, and I spotted the year's first May apple.

We weren't far beyond that when we heard a dull roar; we couldn't tell if it was water or traffic because it was distant. It was water: the dam was open! We'd hiked to the Liberty Dam before, but it was closed. Despite being a human-made feature, it's quite pretty; very graceful. It was more lovely with water pouring down it. And the cold air that came off of it was amazing, like standing in front of an open refrigerator.

We found a path down to the water and let Alex frolic in the shallows for a bit. He started a bit frightened of it; he'd splash and scare himself. But after a while, his Golden Retriever instincts took over, and he had a great time.

We also saw some of the year's first butterflies: a tiger swallowtail and many common blue butterflies, which like to land on the rocks near creek beds. We took the SeaLife and Canon SLR cameras, and I got what I hope are some good landscape pictures and a few macros ... and of course, with the digital, pictures of Alex playing in the water and of the Liberty Dam.

It felt wonderful to return to nature, where I am and always have been happiest. I tried for a while to become more of a "city girl" ... but it won't happen. It can't. I love this Earth too much.

Of course, Earth Day is partly about recognizing the beauty of our world ... but it is also about preserving it. And as I walked the trail today, mostly alone (because Bobby walks; I meander), I thought about Earth Day and how futile I feel, at times, as a conservationist, in getting people to change their behavior. I just can't understand it. We have such a beautiful home, and whether you think it was created by a divine being or shaped by the slow hands of nature and time, it is a beautiful place; it is our home; it is all that we have.

Yet people rebel at the slightest change. What is so hard about saving cans and bottles separately from the rest of the trash? If Bobby and I can have room for a recycling bin in a one-bedroom apartment, then anyone can do it. And why, when choosing a new car, do we think of price and appearance but cannot think about that car's impact on the Earth? In other words, why do I pull into a row of five cars sometimes, and four of them are huge SUVs? Is that necessary? Or is it necessary to toss garbage out of car windows or buy chemical-laden brands when organic is widely available, tastes the same, and is similar or the same in price?

Why are people so comfortable in destroying their home?

I think it's illustrative when, along a trail deep into the forest, I find garbage tangled in the underbrush. People who use State Park trails, presumably, are people who also love being outside in this beautiful world. Yet they so wantonly hurt it ... I don't understand it.

So this Earth Day, let's stop to look at our beautiful world, to admire it ... and to make changes to save it.
  • Today was definitely a good day for hiking and dog-walking--I saw lots of people enjoying the weather when I went to a local park for some hiking (and picspam ;)) of my own, and a golden retriever was enjoying splashing in a puddle left by the nor'easter's flooding here. :D

    I think it's illustrative when, along a trail deep into the forest, I find garbage tangled in the underbrush. People who use State Park trails, presumably, are people who also love being outside in this beautiful world. Yet they so wantonly hurt it ... I don't understand it.

    I know too well what you mean by this. This morning I was with my sister on a mountain trail, and I bent down to clear some leaves to take a pic of a flower... and there was a cigarette butt just left there. Bleck! And other garbage all over the woods. And a Zip-Loc bag in a lake on a later hike, not too far from a salamander. Everytime I see that, I just get livid. I'm sorry, but if carrying that garbage for that much longer until you find a proper place to put it hurts you so much, then how is it logical for you to leave it there as a danger for the rest of the world?

    ...oh, right. What rest of the world? :P *sigh*

    Btw, this is OT but I asked Sharon earlier and remembered I should ask you too--I don't think you've seen my more recent posts about filters--I added one for books/reading and another for "photo spam" (I'm probably going to stop using delphineus)--you were already on Tolkien and Writing, and I assumed from the photo journal that I might as well put you on the photography filter, but are you interested in any of the other filters?
    • OMG, you mean there's someone in the world other than me?!? *crack!pop! gum, twirl hair* Oh wait, my cell phone's ringing ...

      The frustrating thing is that people obviously carried junk in ... so why can't they carry their trash out? Especially when it's been publicized how long it takes plastic to decompose and the risk that it poses to wildlife and aquatic life. Every time I see a balloon let go, I think, "There's a dead dolphin." Honestly, I remember learning this stuff in elementary school. It's not new ... and it's not like people are being expected to convert veganism; they're being asked to put their trash in a receptacle. Woooow ...

      Bill Mahrer asked on his show the other week: If Americans were told that they could solve global warming by throwing away their TV remotes and "getting their fat asses off the couch to change the channel like in the old days," would they do it? He's a bit pessimistic at times; he thought not. I'm more optimistic ... but still I wonder.

      I know I'm preaching to the choir here but it's so bloody depressing lately. Grrrrr ...

      And I answered your filter post ... thanks for calling my attention to it! I've been lax on reading the flist lately. :(
  • Earth day is a wonderful kind of modern holiday. For once a day to remember what's most beautiful about our existence. :-)

    I love the story of your hike. I can imagine how you and Alex enjoyed it.

    Oh, and butterflies: as a kid I made up a butterfly oracle. Yellow ones mean a good summer, colourful ones an exciting summer, white ones a boring summer, blue ones a cold summer and dark ones a bad summer.

    I saw a colourful one first this year. -giggle-
    • My first butterfly this year was a cabbage white, so I guess I'm having a boring summer. ;)

      I love your butterfly oracle! Now I'm going to be paying better attention, though we don't have many colorful ones. Monarchs, painted ladies, and fritillaries (I spelled the last one wrong, I know ... but I'm too lazy to get the book and look it up! :^P) are reddish orange. Maybe that will count for colorful (though they're rather rarer than the others. I'm in for a lot of boring summers by the butterfly oracle! :^D)

      Happy Earth Day! :)
  • What is so hard about saving cans and bottles separately from the rest of the trash?

    People who live in Chicago know better than to trust that the city will actually recycle those carefully separated cans and bottles. Not enough kickbacks in the recycling business. Not worth the effort here. On the other hand, Chicago did just get the U.S. bid for the 2016 Olympics. If we get awarded the Olympics themselves I'm heading for the hills Hizzoner King Richard II might actually try and get a real recycling program going so it'll look good for the out-of-town guests.
  • Ugh, I know.

    I live in a one-room... Well, a one-room room, and I *still* have a nook where I've got bags to toss all my water bottles, all my plastic and glass, because there are recycling bins on the first floor of the dorm! I can't see why people don't do that! Of course, in MI the return for pop bottles is $0.10 per, so people have an incentive to recycle some things. But still!

    Grrr.

    PS- Your icon is fabulous. :)
  • Ow Dawn, I don't know how you did it, but what you described was so relaxing :)

    Yet people rebel at the slightest change. What is so hard about saving cans and bottles separately from the rest of the trash? If Bobby and I can have room for a recycling bin in a one-bedroom apartment, then anyone can do it. And why, when choosing a new car, do we think of price and appearance but cannot think about that car's impact on the Earth? In other words, why do I pull into a row of five cars sometimes, and four of them are huge SUVs?

    Hubby recently watched the documentary 'who killed the electric car?' and watch that and you know the answer to politics, lobbying, the powerful oil and car lobby and you know why. We were appalled by it.

    • Bobby and I watched that same documentary ... it's really upsetting how easily money dissuades people from doing the ethical or humane thing. :( The only good thing, in the US anyway, is that the oil lobby is totally shooting itself in the foot right now: gas prices remain up (they don't even bother with half-arsed excuses about hurricanes and dead Arabic princes anymore) and they're making record profits on the back of the middle class ... so people are suddenly interested in hybrid and alternate fuel technology. Mainly for monetary reasons ... but now it works in our favor. :)

      And of course, the auto companies answer that. "Hey, we can make a lot of money on this!" So we see hybrid cars all over the streets now and plans to create even more.

      One day, the oil companies will fall, and I will throw a big party. :)

      And I'm glad that the hike was relaxing in print as well as life! ;) I was going for that. (Yay!) Sometimes, I think that I'm so drawn to writing and photography because, through these media, I can take people into places where they otherwise would never go. Pretty dang cool. :)

      (Of course, I'll admit to hoping to some day meet some of you for real and be able to share these sorts of experiences! :^D)
  • Sounds like you've had a lovely day. We also wanted to go out and have a nice barbecue outdoors, after walking in the woods to work up an appetite, but by the time mom finally arrived, her two-day trip had worn her out to the point where all she wanted was to unpack and go to bed.

    It makes me so very angry to walk in the woods, or any other green, alive place and randomly see plastic bags, bottles or cans. And I don't care who the person I'm with is, whether they are young or old or whatever... I always yell if I see said person tossing garbage anywhere else but a garbage can. I also pester said person to pick the garbage up or I pick it up myself and glare like Feanor on a bad day. I don't care if it pisses people off, but if there if common sense and respect doesn't work, yelling often does.
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