The Blame Game

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That’s what this is isn’t it? A blame game. Apparently a child’s life is a game to some people. This week a 3 yr. old boy fell into a gorilla habitat at a zoo in Cincinnati. The mother could be heard on video calling to her child to stay calm, that she was right there. After dragging the child underwater through a moat the gorilla was shot by zoo personnel. The child was taken to the hospital and is now safely at home with his family.

I read about this and thought, “The poor child! The poor mother!”  What terror must have been going through their minds? But despite the mother’s own fear she stayed strong, and calm enough to call out to her baby, to let him know she was there and help was coming. In her voice you hear worry, but you also hear her being strong, for her son.

Others have read about this and decided the terrible incident is either the fault of the zoo, the child, the parents, or all 3. Somebody has to take the blame. Never mind that the quick actions of zoo personnel saved a 3 yr. old. Never mind that the mother bravely talking to the child likely kept him calm, avoiding any additional agitation of the gorilla. Never mind that a 3 yr. old is not legally responsible for ANYTHING, and rightly so. It seems like everyone acted correctly in this situation. And what could have been the death of a small child, turned out pretty much ok, except for possibly some scars and bruises, and the memory of the incident.

And a dead gorilla. I don’t mean to sound callous because I care about endangered species too, but the right choice was made, no question. Blaming a 3 yr. old, or his mother who very obviously loves and cares for him, or even the zoo for the death of a gorilla is not going to bring the gorilla back, or change the fact that they did what they had to do. It is sad that the gorilla was shot, but it is wonderful that a little boy was saved.

For those looking for someone to blame for this accident, look no further than ourselves. Unless you have never visited a zoo (petting zoo’s included) a circus, or anything else that encourages the captivity of animals, then you are off the hook. For the rest of us who have done these things, the blame lays squarely on us. Why do we put animals on display?  Captive animals unable to live in the wild should be in animal sanctuaries, far away from humans. We have webcams and internet now, we can easily view them in their natural habitats without putting them or ourselves in danger. Any captive animals that can successfully live in the wild should be released into the wild to live in freedom. We have torn down their natural habitats, hunted many species to extinction or near extinction, we have caged wild animals and put them on show at our local zoo’s. Then the inevitable happens, and instead of looking at the very factors that made this situation, many people are focused on blaming the victims of the situation.

To me the mother is a hero. The zoo personnel are hero’s. The gorilla also is a hero of sorts, he was not being vicious, he was in his own way trying to protect the child. The villain here is our complicity, complicity in putting animals on display, and at a place where children (adults too) are encouraged to visit. We think we are helping the animals, they can’t survive now in the wild. But why not? Because we took them from the wild and put them in captivity, so that they lost their ability to survive in the wild. If we really are placing blame, let us all take our share of the blame and stop placing animals in these situations to begin with. If we all as a society had not done these things,  there would have been no accident, no child in danger, no scared mother, no tough decision for zoo personnel to make, and no dead gorilla. That being said, I am so very glad that a little boy is alive today, we should be rejoicing his life, not attacking his family.

*Note- I did not identify the child or family involved because they have not only been the victims of this terrible accident, but also the victims of harassment by media and individuals with way too much time on their hands. Although they are identified elsewhere all over the internet, they deserve privacy and understanding.*

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The Night Sky

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(Jupiter, Sigma Leonis, and the Moon)

The night sky is fascinating to me. I don’t watch T.V. at night anymore, I’ve taken to watching the stars instead. So much happens overhead while much of the world is settled in for the night. There is a beauty in the sky that you will only see if you wander outside and look up. Meteors go too fast for me to snap a picture, and there’s not enough light for pictures of stars or planets, unless they are bright and near the moon, but I always have my camera ready just in case.

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(The Moon and Venus)

If only I had a better camera than my cell phone, I would never go back inside.

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(The Moon and Mars)

To think these things are all still there once the sun rises, yet we simply can’t see them, makes me almost wish the sun wouldn’t rise.

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(The Moon at sunset )

But of course if the sun didn’t rise, we couldn’t see the beauty that daylight brings.

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(Sunrise )

Like the sunrise.

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(Rainbow)

Or rainbows.

New Year, New Garden

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Winter is leaving, spring is upon us. I am very excited to start my garden again. Last year was my first time planting a vegetable garden so I will be starting this year out with a little more experience. I saved seeds back from what I grew last year, even though seeds aren’t expensive it’s satisfying knowing your hard work will bring a new bounty. My favorite were the cucumbers, we made homemade pickles with them that lasted nearly all winter. What are your favorite garden vegetables? I’d love some advice on new things to plant this year. So far my list includes: Cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, lettuce, peppers, squash, watermelon, carrots, sugar snap peas, basil, thyme, cilantro, peppermint, and parsley. Also indoors I’ve grown leeks and green onions year round.

Shadows Of Beauty

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A walk through the park in town, one of the few publicly accessible, wooded areas left in my city. We have lots of woods, but in the rural areas, and on privately owned lands.

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Much of the city was once wetlands that had been drained and cleared for buildings/farmland. Only wetland ordinances saved the remaining woods and swamp from development.

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I don’t know that this particular park was part of the wetlands, but I do know it’s the only free place left downtown where families can view the changing leaves. A land full of beauty diminished to a few acres, a shadow of what it used to be. I just can’t help but imagine what the city would look like if we hadn’t drained, razed, and paved everything? A city full of colors and beauty no doubt.

If We Went Back To The Basics Without Reverting To Our Primitive Beginnings

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We all know the stories about the beginning. No matter which story (if any) we choose to believe in, there are certain truths that we cannot ignore. I submit that in the beginning, life and death were free. All things belonged to us all, we had no need of money, no need for war, no need of anything except to live and let live.

I don’t think we should go back to living in caves and rudimentary shelters. Or to a time before doctors, when people would die from things we see as insignificant today. Now, we can communicate and travel quickly, control indoor temperatures, find information with the click of a mouse, so many luxuries undreamed of at an earlier time. But if we could find the basics of our beginning, and implement them into our world today, would it not be worth doing?

From the very beginning of life today we have to pay, pay to be born. We work all our lives for money to live. And at the end of it all, we pay to die. We have to pay funeral costs, and for what? To rot away and turn to dust. And if not us paying the cost, then our families. But life and death were free.

Fruits, vegetables, herbs and all plants grew wild and in abundance, for everyone who was hungry to eat. There was no need to war because we all equally possessed the Earth. War and money came when people decided to take things which were not given to them alone. The desire of greed drove humankind to take wild food and control it’s growth and distribution, depriving many of food which was free. Land which was free for all was taken, dispossessing many people. What was free was stolen, and those who stole it did so to take what was everyone’s and cause many to be in need, and forever indebted to them with money, in order to live a life that had beforehand been free.

I don’t know that returning to the earlier state of all land and food belonging to everyone is plausible today. But I do think that we should remember that it once was so, and take steps to ensure that there are places set aside for those who are in need of them. Vegetable gardens are being implemented in many communities, and these are an excellent place to start. I think every neighborhood should have open land or a greenhouse (for unfavorable climates) for planting food. Many plants grow without any care at all, and even re-seed themselves. A little hard work and care for other plants would have a tremendous pay-off. If it is an adequate amount of land, enough food should grow for everyone to share. Things like keeping soil fertile, and the types of plants which grow best in each location can easily be taught. Cities also should set aside safe, accessible land for public gardening; for people who aren’t near community gardens, or homeless people who want a place to grow food.

These things seem so simple. They would really make a difference, not only to individual people, but to our country as a whole. They won’t solve all our problems, but knowing there is somewhere to grow food if you are in need of it, will go a long way in helping. And while most people will likely continue to be born in hospitals (which is probably best), and have a funeral when they die, at least some of the burden of the cost of life itself will be alleviated for those who may need it. Circumstances change, we could all be in need of these things one day, so we should take steps to ensure the freedoms of life become free again.

Here are some links for anyone interested in community gardens. There are tips and resources for starting your own community garden, or to find one near you. Speak to your community leaders or city government if you are interested in implementing these things where you are.

http://communitygarden.org/mission/
http://www.letsmove.gov/community-garden-checklist
http://www.gardendallas.org/benefits.htm

The Slow Life

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It’s been a year since I moved to the country. I found out quickly living in the country was an entirely different life than living in the city. The first night here I was struck by the silence. No noise of any kind. No machines whirring, no nightly trains going past. No noise from cars or sirens, no dogs barking or cats meowing. The only sound was nature. Frogs and crickets chirping, the wind rustling through the trees. There being no city lights or street lights, I could see the night sky aglow with more stars than I had ever seen before. A band of the Milky Way stretching across the sky, and shooting stars gave it a feeling of mystery and magic!

Having lived in the city in the same 5 mile radius my entire life, I was accustomed to quick trips to the store right around the block. Everything was within walking distance, or a very short drive. If I didn’t feel like cooking, a restaurant was always nearby. We had city water and city sewage. All these things I took for granted never realizing how much easier life was with them.

Upon moving to the country I found there would be no more quick trips to the store. No restaurants anywhere nearby, and none to deliver this far out. If we brought dinner home it would be cold. Frozen items from the store would be warm by the time we made it home. City water doesn’t flow this way. Instead we have wells. The local electric company won’t service our area so we had to join an electric co-op. Turns out the electric co-op is cheaper, and well water is not that bad; plus it’s pretty nice not getting a water bill.

Nature itself has proven to be the biggest obstacle of our new country life. Bears and foxes make straying too close to the woods at night a really bad idea. Caution is needed when driving at night because of deer crossing the road.  With no street lights, and fields and woods all around, they tend to sneak up on you. Alligators are nearby as well though I haven’t seen one yet. When it rains the yard becomes a swamp. With lots of woods there are often downed trees. When it snows our roads are plowed last. Kind farmers hitch plows to their machines and do what they can until the city plows get to our roads. In the summer dragon flies seem to have a dragon fly party, swarming and flying into anything, including the sides of the house; and people if they’re brave enough to be outside with the dragon flies. My vegetable garden is never safe from hungry animals. Also there are REALLY big snakes.

When house hunting our main priority was a yard. I wanted room for a garden, and room for the kids to play. We never intended to move so far out, but when I saw the picture of the yard I fell in love. A day later we were signing papers.  Now we live the slow life and despite its downsides there is nothing like sitting on your porch watching meteor showers or watching the trees change colors in the fall. Without a doubt it has been the best year of my life.