Time

Sunday, 24 January 2016, 20:07 | Category : Life, Mississippi, Nature, Philosophy
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greenwood_arches1

There’s an old cemetery that I’ve walked through on occasion – a couple of times when I was helping to clean up and plant some antique roses among the headstones, a couple of times when I was just walking around. The cemetery dates back to the 1820s, and holds the remains of several Mississippi governors and other notables, including those of Eudora Welty. There’s also a section of unknown Confederate soldiers. The cemetery lies in sight of Mississippi’s State Capitol building and other state office buildings, but it’s surprisingly unknown to many people. One gray January afternoon a few years ago I was wandering through some of the older parts of the cemetery and happened to notice something at the base of a large tree. When I looked closer, I saw that it was an old headstone.

tree_and_headstonegray

I’ve thought about that headstone many times since. It’s almost a parable about our relationship to the world in which we live. Or at least, a reference to Ecclesiastes Chapter 1:

What do people gain from all their labors
at which they toil under the sun?
Generations come and generations go,
but the earth remains forever.
.
.
.
What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.

In the end, the trees win. Time wins. Time always wins.

Trees, Cars, and Random Fate

Monday, 6 January 2014, 12:46 | Category : Life, Nature
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This weekend, I read an article about a tree that had fallen on a car while the car was driving down the road. And I realized that over the past few years, I’ve been hearing more and more of these stories. The first time I heard about this happening was about 10 years ago, when a friend was driving his truck down a country road and a tree fell with the perfect timing required to take out his hood and windshield. Perfect timing. Think about the probabilities involved here. A tree that has stood 20 or 30 years, on a not-too-well-traveled road, that falls at the exact moment someone is driving by. And you end up with something like this:

Or this:

It could just be random chance. Just bad luck. Or, maybe….

Maybe, the trees have just had enough. Maybe there’s something to this Gaia stuff. Maybe, it’s a treehad! Maybe, we should start paying attention.

Waiting For Sunrise, St. Simon’s Island

Wednesday, 21 March 2012, 20:11 | Category : Life, Nature
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Predawn, St. Simon's Island

In a still moment
Dawn, with a single finger
pulls away the night

It’s amazing how, no matter how quiet the early morning has been, just before sunrise it gets just a bit quieter. Sitting on the pier on St. Simon’s Island, Georgia last week (where amazingly I had the pier to myself; not even the fishermen were stirring), I watched as the eastern sky turned from purple to faint shades of deep pink and gray, then quickly warmed to orange as sunrise drew nearer. And it seemed like even the faint lapping of the waves grew fainter. Then there’s a moment when everything reverses – the stillness is broken, life stirs, and the day is suddenly all around you. In some ways, it’s the best part of the day, but of course we can’t let ourselves really believe that – it would make the rest of the day far too difficult.

Birds On The Water

Thursday, 5 November 2009, 7:21 | Category : Birds, Mississippi, Nature
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I went to a different stretch of beach late this afternoon, an area where I’ve been seeing lots of birds. On and around the remains of a couple of piers ruined by Katrina, I found a large group of pelicans, seagulls, sandpipers. Pelicans, it would seem, are as serene as gulls are raucous. The pelicans were content to bask in the late afternoon sun…

pelican

This group looked like they were intensely pondering whatever it is pelicans ponder…

pelicans

Meanwhile, the gulls appeared to be loud for the sake of being loud, constantly moving and rearranging themselves…

Incoming gull

Standing room only!

seagulls

No perch unperched!

But in the end, they all get together and figure it out…

Parahawking

Thursday, 22 October 2009, 8:19 | Category : Life, Nature
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This is just too cool, I had to share it:

Parahawking

This guy uses trained hawks or other large birds to detect thermals for his paraglider. Here’s the link.