(click on the photo above for a better view)
Check back for more on my tour of wild Concord in upcoming posts.
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
English Romantic lyrical poet, critic, and philosopher
As the amount of oil gushing into the Gulf continues to boggle my mind and sadden my heart, I felt compelled to make a "Cape Escape." Afterward, I realized this is something I need to do more of from now on. Nature is my elixir and I'm just not getting enough.
My destination: Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, off the coast of Chatham, Massachusetts. I went to observe a large population of gray seals and spend some time on North Monomoy Island.
The day was near perfect – sunny and clear, a bit too warm on land, but much cooler out at sea. Speeding along, the waves rolling high on either side of the boat, gulls and terns flying overhead, I felt alive again. Days later, this feeling continues.
I felt the same joy and elation speeding out into the ocean when I visited South Monomoy Island 16 summers ago to go birdwatching.
For me, there is power in this place, something about Monomoy Island resonates with me on a profound level. Spending time there fills me with inspiration and hope, and infuses my senses with the magical elixir that only places in nature can. Maybe it's just a coincidence, but since my return I feel I can face anything now, even the catastrophe in the Gulf, with a renewed sense of mission and a belief that I can make tomorrow better.
I’ll share more photos from my time on Monomoy in the next posts.
Click on the green links for more on Hayward and Obama.
...to take a much-needed "Baby" break. Too much death, destruction and incompetence surrounding the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and the Baby is a welcome distraction.
After watching President Obama speak last night I am still processing my thoughts, though "hellfire" would probably be the best word to describe my first reaction. More on that in an upcoming post.
Back to Baby. Unlike her much larger sibling, Daisy, I'm beginning to think this petite girl might have run alongside Diana the Huntress in a past life. If I didn't have a mouse problem I'd object, but Death by Baby is merciful compared to traps or poison, neither of which I can stand to consider. As long as she sticks to mice, and she does excel at finding and dining on them, even foregoing the usual cat and mouse games, I figure it's a quick death.
The fact that she's likely to face a quick death of her own in the next year is the other reason I allow the Baby to go on mouse patrol. There's no way to know when that will happen but she seems bent on packing in a lot of living.
Fierce as the Baby may be when hunting, she's incredibly charming and fetching when not. She possesses an allure and charisma that are difficult to describe. And, she's a wicked flirt.
When I first adopted the girls last summer, I did so knowing that the Baby had a serious heart condition, which had stunted her growth. I was still heavy with grief for Rock then but when I saw her, I knew I had to have her.
I wasn't the only one to recognize something special about her. Several expensive and highly experienced veterinarian cardiologists took the time and trouble to evaluate her, free of charge, while she and her sister languished at a city shelter. But nobody wanted to adopt both girls until I came along.
The first week after they came to live with me I dreamed that the Baby had died. I was very upset even though she had only been with me for a short time. In the dream the lady from the shelter tried to console me by reminding me that I still had Daisy.
"Yes, but the Baby is the prize," I told her.
I dreamed that I said that then but I am certain when I say it now. Much as I love Daisy, the Baby is the prize, and Daisy seems to feel the same way.
Everything from crabbing to bait fishing is shutting down, and the anger on the bayou is palpable.
“It’s scary, you know, man,” marine mechanic Jimmy Howard said from his hurricane-battered fishing shack, a cigar stub stuffed in his mouth. “I see them doing what they can, you know. All the boats going out, all the boom. I’m hoping they can contain it.”
The title of this post is Newsweek Magazine's cover story for June 14, 2010, which tackles the oil spill's environmental, economic and political toll. The story opens with:
"Giant plumes of crude oil mixed with methane are sweeping the ocean depths with devastating consequences. ‘I’m not too worried about oil on the surface,’ says one scientist. ‘It’s the things we don’t see that worry me the most.’"
Click here to continue reading.
The BP Gulf oil spill disaster occurred in the middle of breeding season, dooming the hatchlings now sitting in marshland nests waiting to be fed. If exposure and/or ingestion of oil and chemical dispersants doesn't kill them, starvation will – many are waiting for parents that will never return.
Heartbreaking as this nursery nightmare is, the worst is yet to come. Marine life, including rare and endangered turtles, and dolphins, have been washing up on beaches for the past few weeks, something BP doesn't want you to know.
However, the more BP tries to hide the truth of the irreparable harm they have caused in the Gulf, the more damage they do to BP, the company. What goes around still does come around.
In the end nothing can bring back what we've lost. No dollar amount can compensate, and no act of justice can even begin to rectify this crime against nature. This is an epic event and the losses will be staggering.
We must be vigilant in protecting what remains.
One year has passed since I lost Rock. It is difficult to comprehend and it seems like such a vast amount of time, and yet I worked hard to get here. The grief is lighter now but he is never far from my thoughts. Eighteen years is a long time and now I understand what a gift it was.
When Rock was diagnosed with kidney failure I sometimes took refuge in the countryside to grieve so he would not sense my sadness (he was amazingly sensitive to my feelings). I found myself driving one particular route most often, past horse farms and open meadows, and eventually I made it my "grief drive." In the months leading up to his death, I grieved in anticipation. In the days, weeks and months after his death, it became an important ritual to help me grieve his absence.
I continue to take my grief drive, though there is no real pattern now. Surrounded by the beauty of the countryside, I am free to grieve openly; my sunglasses are huge and the roads are mostly deserted. I can release whatever grief has been building up and be done with it. And, I can talk to my boy and tell him how much I miss and love him without worrying if anyone will understand (I doubt most would understand that one can have such a strong bond with a cat).
This grief ritual has helped me immensely and I can't yet imagine the day when I will no longer carry it out. But I know that day will come. And, when it does, it will be all right.