I sit. I Listen.
I allow silence to surround.
With winter fading and spring awaiting,
no leaves on tree or ground.
With little wind the forest rests,
and invites me to do the same.
I close my eyes and rest as well,
and let the woods reclaim.
With mother nature all around it’s easy to let go.
Of all my stress and worry, right now I do not know.
And as I sit and listen to the stillness of the breeze,
my focus shifts to “Posted” signs, stapled to the trees.
They rustle and they rattle and break the peaceful quiet.
We have broken nature, though society denies it.
Nature is the great inventor of what was and is to come.
While we continue to abuse her, we become more numb.
What can a single soul like me do to help amend?
Certainly not turn away, ignore, or just pretend.
Nature needs us more than ever, this I truly know.
Our gifts alone can help or harm, destroy or let regrow.
Remove the “Posted” from the land, and also from your mind.
Nature is here to be protected, not destroyed by humankind.
I sit. I listen. I think of what could be.
For nature has already given all needs for you and me.
Growing up in western Michigan I traveled to Lake Michigan with my family before I can even remember. Photographs of being at the beach is my only evidence for how young I was when I first experienced one of Michigan’s greatest natural resources, fresh water. I have also felt the lakes presence both directly and indirectly due to the lakes great effect on the local climate and its affect on the ecosystem. The Great Lakes contain 95 percent of the United States fresh water supply, and only trail the polar ice caps and Lake Baikal in Siberia in total volume of freshwater globally. Without the Great Lakes, the entire region surrounding Michigan would be much different, including the types of jobs and natural life in and around the state. Continue reading
Have you ever come across an odd spider, insect, or plant and thought, “Hmm, what is this thing?!” Enter iNaturalist.
After downloading the app you can ‘Make an Observation’ by uploading a picture of the organism in question and the iNaturalist database will give you closely matched options. If the app does not automatically find a perfect match, the community of citizen scientists can suggest species information and help identify your unknown sample. Continue reading
Anyone who has been paying any attention to local news in west Michigan knows that PFAS are a group of chemicals that have contaminated local water sources. PFAS are a known carcinogen and the area of PFAS contamination seems to just keep growing. Initially, Wolverine World Wide in Rockford was being singled out as the source of all the local contamination from poor storage of waste product. The scenario in Rockford is not playing out very well. Home values have dropped, complex filtration systems need to be installed, and local fishing now has a “Do Not Eat” designation. Upon further testing it appears PFAS are found throughout the state.
PFAS are a problem, but I contend that PFAS are not THE problem.
The problem is a disregard for nature and the human desire for quick results rather than using sustainable practices. Continue reading
Last week my son was riding his bike on the sidewalk and shouted “Dad! A baby bird!”. The week prior we had come across a dead baby robin on the sidewalk and had to have an impromptu “circle of life” conversation, so I was fearing another little bird had met the same fate. Moving closer to the small brown pile of feathers we could see its little body rising and falling with each quick breathe. A few moments after approaching the little bird, it fluttered through the air a few feet and came crashing down. While it fluttered away I noticed small pockets of red under its wings.
My attention was also drawn to a nearby rooftop where a male cardinal was keeping watch. Cardinals are one of the most beautiful birds we get here in Michigan, so to see a baby cardinal fresh out of the nest was exciting! At the same time I grew quite worried since this small flightless bird was sure to become a quick meal in its current condition. Continue reading
Spending time camping with family is an perennial gift I am blessed to experience. The separation from the daily grind at home truly helps with recharging the emotional batteries. Once again this year our family has spent a week at Aloha State Park in Mullet Lake in northern Michigan.
Similar to several other state parks in Michigan Aloha offers campsites, bath houses, a nice little beach with a great lake view, access to a rail-trail, and as a nice bonus a camp store with donuts and ice cream! Much like other great camping locations the real benefit to camping here is the time spent with family and friends.
Moreso than in years past, our camp has spent some quality time around the campfire looking up at the stars. It has been a nightly goal to spot a satellite and catch a shooting star as it streaks across the sky. Continue reading
Last week I relayed the starfish parable. If you aren’t familiar with it follow that link, it is a very short story, but a meaningful parable.
This week I would like to link the main concept of the starfish parable to another area I find interesting, sustainability. The three big R’s: