Recalling Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Things do not seem to be getting any better for the environment since my first trip to the Keweenaw Peninsula in 2003. The night before that trip, snowfall set leaves changing in the Porcupines morphing from a few muted colors to the most beautiful hues of reds and yellow; and as we ventured to Lake of the Clouds for what was to be one of my most memorable trips to Lake Superior, I believed that beauties like these would surely remain protected for as long as there were people to see.  With the upcoming tax bill, I wonder.

In the morning of our trip to Pictured Rocks out of Munising all was clear and calm on Lake Superior. It was not until we were almost half way into our boat tour of the shore that the lake turned from a glassy surface to a churning tub of foamy water as my friend and I continued to take photos of the shore. Sensibly, the rest of the passengers sat below with the captain and his crew.  It may not have been wise, but we were lost in the moment and the beauty.

Tonight, the Senate will vote on a tax bill that will transfer dollars in the trillions from the poorest of us to the richest of us.  It will also open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to exploitation, endanger the support we have in this country for mothers, children, the working middle class and especially those with children and who are too poor to itemize.

They say that when the rich people and corporations, who will benefit most, get their tax breaks, this will cause them to become the most charitable of sorts.  They say that these corporations will throw caution to the wind and let their money trickle down out of their hands into better paying jobs and more of them, bigger benefits for the poor and more and better opportunities for all in essence.  These poor over-taxed corporations will now have extra money to do good it seems.

Not too surprisingly, most of us won’t be waiting for this to happen. It seems, jaded from past tax breaks that never loosened the grip of these sorts before, we will probably be busy just trying to decide where to spend the few dollars that remain split between food, medical and various frivolous expenditures like transportation and child care, education and, if we are very lucky, a few trips to see such places as our National Parks, that is, before they too, belong to only the richest of us.

Looking into the cold waters of Lake Superior in an approaching gale did not elicit the same fear I have today on the eve of this impending disaster.

May we find wiser men and women to steer our course in the elections ahead.

The difference between “endangered” and “threatened” can make all the difference …. to a mine.

Timber wolves have long shared the wilderness with mankind and so it is in Northern Minnesota.  If Polymet builds a copper mine in the Arrowhead of Minnesota, and sets the precedent for other companies to do the same, it becomes obvious, then, why the removal of wolves and others from the “endangered species” list has been such a persistent issue.   In order to mine, the taking of endangered species becomes an added cost, since a permit must be issued for the taking.

Among the animals that have been taken from “endangered” to “threatened” are the gray wolf and the Canada lynx.  I include just one link below.

https://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/lists/minnesot-spp.html

Our water will be more than “threatened” by a mine in this wilderness, and so will the lives of all species in the area, whether “endangered”, “threatened” or not.  A rose by any other name is still a rose.

Archived Work 2017

 

What is the difference at the heart of any religion, when truth and kindness reign?

Kindness and truth are at the heart of all religions.
Quotations from the Muslim Prophet Muhammad:

On kindness:
Kindness is a mark of faith, and whoever has not kindness has not faith.
None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.
He who helpeth his fellow-creature in the hour of need, and he who helpeth the oppressed, him will God help in the Day of Travail.
They will enter the Garden of Bliss who have a true, pure, and merciful heart.

On riches:
It is difficult for a man laden with riches to climb the steep path which leads to bliss.
O Lord Keep me alive a poor man, and let me die poor and raise me amongst the poor.
Seek for my satisfaction in that of the poor and needy.

On truth (heaven, self-knowledge):
Heaven lieth at the feet of mothers.
He who knoweth his own self, knoweth God.
Learn to know thyself.

In the Shelter of a Tree

fall_walk_painting

One can view this house on the way to Silver Lake by bus.  The tree on its east, now gone, was a reminder of the elms that stood majestically along the boulevards in Minneapolis over 45 years ago.  These trees have been taken down in great numbers … because, it seems, it was more cost effective to lumber them than to save them.

Trees are money of course.  Never mind that they harbor and nourish wildlife, birds of all kinds and others, including humans, that require the shelter, the food, the shade, breadth and breath of an old tree.

Heart-sick watching these giants being harvested in the city of Minneapolis … to make room for more big box houses and parking lots, water parks, roads, sidewalks, and for pulp, mulch, or table tops and doors.

When will we, as a society, learn that old growth trees are essential … that we need clean air … clean water … and earth that is growing?  In this regard, trees are vital.  Money will not provide this. We will continue to see species extermination until this is learned in earnest throughout the whole of human society.

Do we own our technology, or does it own us?  Do we own our possessions, or do they own us?  Will we be happier with bigger houses and fancier cars, trips to somewhere else when we have no true investment in the places we live? Better not to grow any investment if it means destroying our base and, with it, the living legacy of our old trees.

I miss the canopy that stood over the boulevards in Minneapolis when I arrived almost 50 years ago … replaced by saplings, which are being trimmed regularly to optimize board feet when harvested. The arbor that arched over our streets cannot be replaced in an entire lifetime.  What kind of world are we making on our way to making money?

 

On the shore of the Olympic Peninsula’s rainforest

Cedar_driftwood_painting

We walked along the shore looking out over the Pacific Ocean, wandering around giant cedars that had drifted up along the shore … nature’s taking  …. and yet mankind continues to take so much more – clearing  mountaintops of ancient stands of cedars in the Olympic National Forest.  Giants felled, and man the so-called “conqueror”.

Was this path intended all along?  Civilizations have come and gone for much the same reasons; and we never seem to learn that these resources are finite.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Seems the only answer to this dilemma; and yet, where are we along that path?

Photos of Clearcutting on the Olympic Peninsula