Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

My Weekly Mountain Sojourn   Leave a comment

Golden Columbine-3197 blog IIGolden Columbine On Mt. Lemmon — Image by kenne

We drive the twisting
Catalina Highway
leaving the desert
for alpine forests 
on Mt. Lemmon —  
one hour away. 

Today I guide hikers
on the Aspen Draw
trail among the tall trees
next to the steep slopes
of Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley —
north America’s southernmost.

Wildflowers of the Sky Islands
are in full bloom celebrating
the summer monsoon rains
below the towering conifers —
temperate species of
Apache pine and Chihuahuan pine.

Recent heavy rains
have eroded the trail
exposing trees roots
not always easy to see
in shadows on the trail —
I reminded the hikers.

Moving with more speed
on the downhill return
careful of foot but
not careful enough
as I tripped over a root
now shouldering the pain.

— kenne

 

The Ghosts of Monsoons Past   Leave a comment

Control Road to Crystal SpringGrunge Art by kenne

 

Human Misery

The clock that strikes five before the sun –
A dark horror grips lonely people,
In the evening-garden bleak trees swish,
The dead one’s countenance stirs at the window.
Perhaps this hour stands still.
Before dull eyes blue images flutter
To the rhythm of the ships, which rock in the river.
At the wharf a row of nuns blows by.
Pale and blind girls play in the hazel bush,
Like lovers, who embrace in sleep.
Perhaps flies sing around a carcass there,
Perhaps also a child weeps in the mother’s lap.
From hands asters sink blue and red,
The youth’s mouth slips away strange and wise;
And eyelids flutter fear-confused and quiet;
Through fevered blackness a scent of bread blows.
It seems one also hears horrible screaming;
Bones shimmer through decayed walls.
An evil heart laughs loudly in beautiful rooms;
A dog runs past a dreamer.
An empty coffin gets lost in the darkness.
A room wants to light up palely for the murderer,
Meanwhile, lanterns are smashed in the night’s storm.
Laurel adorns the noble one’s white temple.

— Georg Trakl

Ken’s Stuff and More Stuff   Leave a comment

Kenneth Harris-1613 blogKenneth Harris (May 20, 2017) — Image by kenne

“Stuff.”
One of my favorite words is stuff.

“That’s Super Stuff!”
“Make Stuff”
“I Love Free Stuff”
“The Good Stuff”
“My Stuff”
“Stuff in My Life”
“Stuff That Works”
“The Right Stuff”
“How’s Your Stuff?”

There are so many variations on the use of the word stuff. This last May we attended the last “Ken and Mary’s Blues Project” house concert in Porter, Texas. Before the music started, Kenneth Harris told the story of how the Project came about from his listening to Sunday blues on Houston’s KPFT. One Sunday he was listening to Nuri Nuri’s Blues Brunch.

“. . . he [Nuri] was interviewing this guy, and they played some of his stuff, and I called Nuri on the phone, and I said Nuri do you know anybody in the Houston area that can do that type of stuff, and he told me you meet me at Billy Blue’s like next Saturday night.”

Long story short, Kenneth found that stuff in the form of the Moe Hansum Band.

As I listen to Kenneth’s story I couldn’t help but think of Guy Clark’s “Stuff that Works.”

Stuff that works, stuff that holds up 
The kind of stuff you don’ hang on the wall 
Stuff that’ real, stuff you feel 
The kind of stuff you reach for when you fall

Continuing on this theme of “Stuff,” in the 1970’s there was a jazz-funk band called “Stuff.” The members were Gordon Edwards (bass), Richard Tee (keyboards), Eric Gale (guitar), Cornell Dupree (guitar), Chris Parker (drums), and later Steve Gadd (drums).

There is good stuff and not so good stuff, because of what we do with our stuff. We have too much stuff. Earth’s beauty is being scarred by the stuff we throw away daily. As someone who spends a lot of time outdoors admiring nature’s beauty, I see stuff on our trails, hanging in trees, blowing in the wind, in our lakes and streams.

In December of 2007, a short documentary was released. The documentary was critical of excessive consumerism and promotes sustainability, which has gone from a movie to a movement over the last ten years — a Community of more than a million changemakers worldwide, working to build a more healthy and just planet. This land is our land! You can join the movement. 

 

 

Bee On A Desert Chicory Wildflower   Leave a comment

Desert Chicory-6391 art blogBee on a Desert Chicory Wildflower — Computer Art by kenne

The Song of the Bee

Buzz! buzz! buzz!
This is the song of the bee.
His legs are yellow;
A jolly, good fellow,
And yet a great worker is he.

In days that are sunny
He’s getting his honey,
In days that are cloudy
He’s making his wax:
On pinks and on lilies,
And gay daffodillies,
And columbine blossoms,
He levies a tax

Buzz! buzz! buzz!
The sweet-smelling clover,
He, humming, hangs over;
The scent of the roses
Makes fragrant his wings:
He never gets lazy;
From thistle and daisy,
And weeds of the meadow,
Some treasure he brings.

Buzz! buzz! buzz!
From morning’s first light
Till the coming of night,
He’s singing and toiling
The summer day through.
Oh! We may get weary,
And think work is dreary;
‘Tis harder by far
To have nothing to do.

— Marian Douglas

(from The Book of Virtues”: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories by William J. Bennett)

Bee On Fairy Duster   Leave a comment

fairyduster-0665-blogBee On Fairy Duster — Image by kenne

Insect lover of the sun,
Joy of thy dominion!
Sailor of the atmosphere,
Swimmer through the waves of air,
Voyager of light and noon,
Epicurean of June,
Wait I prithee, till I come
Within ear-shot of thy hum,–
All without is martyrdom.

— from The Humblebee by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our Global Water Crisis   1 comment

Rainbow

RainbowNicaraguan Women Pumping and Carrying Water to Their Families — Images by kenne

In 2007 I had an opportunity to visit a rural Nicaraguan water project that is part of the Rainbow Network. When it comes to the availability of water, it’s on the backs and heads of women. Even when hand driven water pumps are made available, it is the women who pump and carry the water back to their communities.

The practice of women being responsible for finding and collecting water for drinking, washing, cooking, cleaning is common in many countries. ” They walk miles, carry heavy burdens, wait for hours and pay exorbitant prices. The work is back-breaking and all-consuming. Often the water is contaminated, even deadly. In these instances, they face an impossible choice – certain death without water or possible death from illness.” You can learn more about women and the water crisis at water.org.

Living in southern Arizona one is frequently reminded of the need for sustainable water sources, and global warming will continue to challenge our ability meet water needs. An article in today’s New York Times, “A Parched and Sinking Capital — Mexico City’s Water Crisis Pushes It Toward the Brink,”  is one more reminder of the social, economical and health issues caused by the water crisis.

— kenne

RainbowRural Nicaraguan girls start at a young age carrying water for their families.

 

 

Standing At The Altar Of Nature   Leave a comment

SCVN Day 1Naturalist David Lazaroff and several other naturalists with the 2011 SCVN Training Class, Day 1 — Image by kenne

I was a member of the 2011 Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SCVN) class. During the fall training I wrote the following poem, posting it on this blog:

STANDING AT THE ALTAR OF NATURE 

When we stand
at the altar of nature,
we stand with the greats;
Ralph Waldo Emerson,
Henry David Thoreau,
and John Muir,
each having helped define
our relationship
with nature and language –
“every natural fact is a symbol
of some spiritual fact,
. . . words are signs of natural facts.”

Nature’s beauty becomes
a source of spiritual energy
connecting all things
into a universal whole
with the energy of our
thoughts and will.

We stand at nature’s altar
not separate from her,
seeing her in the flowers,
insects, animals, mountains,
creating a unified landscape
of our inward and outward senses.

Like all relationships,
the experience depends
on the degree of harmony
between us and nature,
therefore becoming a gift
granted while walking with nature
as she is embraced in our minds –
Enlighten, she shares her secrets,
making the universe more “transparent.”
Yet the gift may only offer a glimpse,
to be shared in images and words,
charming all living things.

Commenting on my poem, SCVN member, Walt Tornow, wrote that my poem  ”. . . captures beautifully my feelings about being in the mountains.” He went on to share the following:

GOD, GRACE, AND GRATITUDE

Finding God in the wilderness …

  • The majesty of our mountains, the magnificence of views/ vistas they afford, and the splendor and munificence of the many gifts that nature has to offer
  • The awe and humility that comes from being witness to the grandeur of it all, juxtaposed with realizing the relative smallness and fleetingness of  our existence
  • Never feeling or being alone … lots of company by nature’s creatures, and taking in the beauty of nature’s show
  • Feeling vulnerable, yet trusting, being in the wilderness — potential prey to wildlife, and exposed to the elements
  • Experiencing awe, joy and inspiration by being here
  • Feeling connected … becoming one with myself, with nature, and the universe
  • Finding peace, serenity, and sense of holiness … my place of worship and meditation

 

Here for the grace of God am I …

Grateful to be, to be here, and be given the opportunity and capacity to enjoy the many gifts/ blessings around me.

– Walt Tornow

If you feel our passion for nature, we want to share it with you by inviting you to become a Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalist.

We are currently recruiting people who share our passion for nature
to take part in our 2017 SCVN Training Class from the beginning of October to January.

After completing the training you will start next January teaching kindergarten and/or elementary students approximately 1 morning per week. All training curriculum materials provide for an excellent learning experience, along with many guest nature experts.

Additionally, you can take part in adult Public Interpretations nature programs about Sabino Canyon.

You can learn more about this wonderful volunteer nature program and get an application by visiting our website 

www.sabinonaturalists.org/

Please pass on this information on to persons you will be interested in becoming an SCVN member. Feel free to contact me with any questions you may have — kenneturner@gmail.com

kenne

Strike It RichNaturalist, Gwen Swanson, demonstrates “panning” to students in the “Strike It Rich” program.
This creekside activity allows children to learn about the difference between rocks and minerals
by panning for garnets in the sand along Sabino Creek, and the importance of water in forming the canyon.
Image by kenne

SCVN Nature Walk #1SCVN Training nature walk with naturalist, Bill Kaufman (Fall 2011) — Image by kenne

%d bloggers like this: