I recently was fortunate enough to go to the Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge near Seymour, IN. It is a beautiful place, even in the winter and I had a mission. I recently began a Young Artist Series in an effort to showcase young artistic talent. I am working with the art teacher at Seymour High School who is encouraging his students to participate in the project. I was down there to speak to the board of Directors about a project that would showcase the Refuge in the form of a children’s book that would contain stores from those adults who had interesting observations about nature to share. I wanted to present it so that I could begin the project with their approval and enthusiasm. It would take interest for me to garner the twenty stories I hoped to get. It seems that the enthusiasm of the members may give me more like fifty stories.
While I was there, I had my first five stories related to me and they were a great start to the book I will be writing. It is a book about nature, about the refuge, and about working together to bring awareness for nature to others. I have had a love of science for years and it has been mostly in the life science areas, that of biology and zoology. I taught sixth grade science for about half of my educational career and the love of nature gets deeper year after year. I had hoped to meld the love of nature with the appreciation for art and give children an opportunity to color the artistic renderings in addition to learning.
There is a connection with the earth that we can realize only when we connect with nature. Animals are one of our major connection with our planet. If you observe nature you will see many things. I think first of the spiritual connection we all share. You can see the interaction between the animals and their environment as well as the animals and each other. You can learn a lot about how to navigate life as you observe animals. Something as simple as squirrel observation can show you that you needn’t worry about life. They go about being squirrels and that is all that they are
concerned about. They don’t worry if their hips are to large or if there is going to be food to eat. They just act... well... squirrely.
There are the lessons in nature that are perhaps not as interesting and funny. There is a law to the interactions between species as it relates to the food chain and the food web. We usually understand the food chain. One animal exists to be food for another animal. In the food web we see the interaction of all of the food chains. We begin to realize that when one animal is eradicated, the animals who depend upon it are caused stress and if enough animals are eliminated, the web can collapse. This is why observation of, and participation in, good stewardship of our planet is so very necessary.
As I contemplated the natural scene on this frigid day, I could not help but realize also how interactions provide us with additional opportunities to look at ways that human behavior can be improved. Animals do not set about hurting each other just for the pleasure of pain. They defend their territory so they can eat. They do not kill animals unless it is for food. They never kill for pleasure. They defend their territory so they can protect those they love. They do not appear to hate those in the food chain below them, only use them as a source of nourishment. If they are satisfied, they will not hunt. We can learn from this
They also have packs and groups they associate with. They support those in their packs. They do not gossip or denounce them. They all exist to help each other and intend no harm. Some species take it upon themselves to all help raise the young and teach them how to be the best at whatever kind of animal they are.
Yes, I think much can be learned from the behavior of animals during these winter months. It will prepare us for seeing their more playful side when the warmer months come around.
Yes, there is a sound to the quiet in our lives. I realize this on a daily basis since I live by myself.
When I wake up in the morning, I can hear the sounds of the house in the quiet of the morning hours. Perhaps it is because it is still dark outside that my other senses are heightened, but there is a rhythm to the quiet of the morning. The house shares its sounds as though it were trying to explain what has happened here in days gone by. There are creaks that are not supernatural, but rather comforting in knowing that this house has stories, this house has a history, and I am now part of that history. What stories of the quiet will be shared with others when I am no longer here? That will remain to be seen.
This has been an amazing year for me. I left 2016 thinking of the productivity of that year and it had been wonderful, one of the most productive years of my life. I did not see how 2017 could be any better.
In January, the rug got pulled out from under me when my business partner decided that he was pulling away from our creative endeavors to grow his personal business. He indicated he might need a couple of quarters of work and he would be ready to work together again. This left me in a fizzle, but I knew I could work it out. I could certainly understand why a person would want to become as successful as possible in a business that was providing them with the finances necessary to live.
I had thought that I would do an entire radio show on t-shirts... and I still might. Have you ever considered how they began? Here are some details that you may be unaware of and since I am an avid trivia fan, I will be happy to share them with you.
They began as underwear issued by the Navy sometime between the Spanish-American war in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. They were to be worn under the sometimes scratchy military uniforms but in the warm climates the uniforms were often abandoned and the shirt was then their outerwear. This continued because it was an easy fit, it was easily cleaned, and it was inexpensive.
Yes, I have noted the time and I am going to see how long it takes me for this week’s blog. I can usually contemplate for a while but the actual time to get it down is about a thirty minutes. I had surgery on my left hand but since I am right handed I did not stop and consider the number of things I do primarily with my left hand. Nor did I think about those things that take two hands to do - - like dressing. Hence I have joined the classy group of folks sporting pajama pants in public.
I am writing this the first weekend of November. I am not sure when it will be posted. This morning my heart is just so very thankful for all of my life that I feel like it is going to burst open. It was not always so. As I continued to reflect, I was going to simply make a Facebook post then realized that what I had to say was not going to be simple, nor was it going to be short.
Anyone who knows me knows that I do not exercise. I have not ever exercised nor did I think I ever would exercise. That was BB, Before Bariatrics. There are many things that I have learned so far that have changed the way I think -- the need for exercise is but one of those.
Something To Ponder