The Species Mistake?

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The Colorado Front Range

The Colorado Front Range

Being in the job I’m in now has made me infinitely more aware of the environment, preservation, conservation, wildlife habitat and how humans interact with the natural world. I am a total wildlife geek and read/watch anything I can get my hands on about the subject. I also just plain love learning new things. So sometimes my Netflix queue is more full of wildlife documentaries than current releases. I’m volunteering at two different wild animal sanctuaries now, and that has been another big eye-opener and learning experience.

The more I read about threatened and endangered species, non-native introduced species, and the imbalance of species in a habitat, the more it makes me think about just how much homo sapiens have mucked up the works. Almost every instance you read regarding an invasive species, or a habitat dying out is due to human intervention, carelessness and sometimes greed and ignorance.

We brought over, and continue to bring over species from other continents (sometimes intentionally, sometimes by mistake). These are species that don’t belong in a certain area and completely upset the ecosystem and destroy other species. We build, pave and push species into corners of urban interchanges to exist. Then we complain when they overpopulate their corner, or the bigger predators move in to eat them, along with our pets, and so we exterminate them all.

We have captured and caged and forced animals to entertain us for our pleasure.
We have caused the extinction of many species. We pollute and change and alter habitats beyond the point of return.

Elk herd, Golden Gate Canyon

Elk herd, Golden Gate Canyon

All this is not news to you. I’m just venting.
But what if – humans weren’t actually supposed to inhabit the planet at all? What if we were a mistake? Think about it. If there were no humans on the planet ever, the plant and animal life would be allowed to flourish and follow their natural patterns. The hierarchy of prey of predators would mostly stay in balance. I’m not saying their wouldn’t be extinctions or major changes. But they would happen organically, through natural disasters and survival of the fittest. It would be a beautiful utopia of nature. One I have visited in my daydreams and meditation.

What if humans evolved by accident, and it was just a fluke that we came to be?

I like to picture other planets out there in the universe that do not have human life, but are rich with plant and animal life and evolving in their own natural way.

No, I’m not going all anti-social on you. These are thoughts that have been zipping around my brain for a while and I just wanted to put them down before they zipped away 🙂

Spring blooms

Spring blooms

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Growing a Mind

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Today I went shopping for clothes for the first time in a while and a strange thing came to my attention: my tastes have changed. I’m not sure when it happened, it has probably been slowly evolving, but I found myself gravitating towards styles I never liked before, and trying on items I used to pass over quickly. I also wanted to shop and buy things in new and different stores. Stores off the beaten path.

No, this post is not about clothes shopping. It’s really about how we grow and change throughout our lives. It just amazes me how different I am now, than in my early 20s, mid-20s and even late 20s. My habits are not only different, but I view things differently. My perspective on many things has changed. Including consumerism, materialism, environmentalism, and other more personal things like friendship and relationships in general.

It’s a nice thought to think that everyone grows and changes as they age. But I know this is not true for everyone. I have known people who not only do not grow, but actually regress a bit. And it’s usually due to someone in their life who drags them down emotionally and spiritually. I think a lot of divorces happen for this reason. One person changes and grows in a myriad of ways, and the other remains stagnant. If they don’t part ways, growth slows and stops on all fronts. If they do part ways, the person who had outgrown their partner is allowed to flourish and bloom, and the other person is freed up to find the right partner whom they are meant to grow with.

I’m not saying I’m all enlightened and have it all figured out. Far from it. I respect my elders and how much more they have been through than me and I realize that I am still a young, naive person in their eyes. I remain open to learning from them, from others, and from any medium that is remotely interesting to me. I look at each decade of life as a bunch of squares on the board game of life. Each time you round the corner of a new decade in your life, you should be leaving some things behind (regret, anger, selfish acts), and open to learning and embracing the new things that will come. And I found it’s good food for my soul to surround myself with others who also grow and change in their own ways, so that I might also learn from them.

One Step Closer

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Update on the novel: I have sent my manuscript off to Amazon CreateSpace for professional editing! Yippee! This is an expensive, but I feel, very necessary step. I know I won’t regret it. What I was doing prior to that was my final edit – done via the narrator feature in Microsoft Word. This was recommended on a self publishing website and boy was it a good exercise to go through. You select your text and then have a (male) voice narrate it to you. I didn’t look at the screen as it was read, just listened to the spoken word, and I found errors I never noticed before. It’s amazing how listening instead of reading helps you catch those things.

Also, I decided to rename my book, and my main character. The reason for this was discussed in this blog post. My main character’s name is now Cole Suter. The surname is from my family tree on my Dad’s side. The new title of the book is Cut and Bound. It represents how my character’s soul has been cut from his physical body, and is bound by the limitations of being in other people’s bodies and is completely helpless. Renaming the character I created so long ago and feel like I know intimately was tough. But I feel good about my decision and am not looking back!

The Whisper in the Trees

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When I was about 4 years old we visited relatives of ours in Michigan. I didn’t know them very well and also was kind of a shy and quiet kid. But the mother was able to connect with me in a way I’ll never forget.

We went into the thick woods behind their house as a group and she told a story about the trees. She walked towards a big towering tree that seemed impossibly wide at the base and fanned out in levels of branches towards the ground. She pointed out that there were many small trees growing all around the circumference of the tree, all in different stages and heights, but all surrounding the tree as if looking up to it. She explained that the big tree was the mother and the little trees were her children, growing up around her. They fell from her as pine cones and took root in her shade and runoff. She then told me that if you listen very closely you can hear her talking to them in the wind. I strained my ears and listened as the wind rustled her large branches. I wanted to hear something so badly.

I don’t even know if I’m remembering this entirely right, but I know I was in awe. I kept looking back at the trees as we left the forest, and listening for their mothers to speak. I have never forgotten that story! To this day, when we are hiking in the woods or driving in the mountains, and I see a group of small trees around a larger one I tell my family that they are the children. And that evolved into us saying sometimes it looks like a kindergarden class 😉 One particular time, in the San Juan Mountains above Ouray on a Jeep road, we saw a perfect example of this as a bunch of small trees lined up in a natural drainage and seemed to all be waiting for something. A lesson from the mothers.

It’s funny the things that stick with us sometimes isn’t it?

Litt

This was on our hike the other day in Evergreen. It’s a little tough to see all the little trees with all the snow, but it caught my eye.

Gray Area

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Today was a feel-good day for me. I took my USB stick to Kinkos and had the draft of my novel printed out so that I can pass it onto my Beta reader this week. I was so excited that I think the people in Kinkos thought I was manic. I might have grinned a lot. Maybe giggled. This is just finally becoming more real.

I finished my round of heavy editing by my self-imposed deadline: before my wrist surgery. Literally, right before my surgery. Like, 11:30pm the night before 🙂 But I got it done. Now I can rest and recover while my Beta reads it over and edits.

Draft ManuscriptHowever, there is one major dilemma that has been bothering me: the title. The title is, as you see in the photo at left, Grey. I started this book many years ago (too many years to state, it’s embarrassing) and I always loved the name Grey as a first name for a man. So that is my main character’s name, but it also has a double meaning that ties directly to the plot: it stands for the gray area between life and death.

But then came along 50 Shades of YOU KNOW WHAT and now I’m questioning if this title is not wise to have anymore. Will it have negative connotations? Will people initially think it has something to do with that series? Or am I over thinking this and it’s not a big deal?

Would love your thoughts on this, dear blog readers.

Explore

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Hello again, apologies for the hiatus. I was asked to remove a few blog posts recently and it really upset me and I had to sit back and evaluate for a while. I’ve never felt so misunderstood before. My intentions were far from what they were assumed to be.

But I am now okay with everything and have moved onward. I just needed some time to think and to . . . . explore. Sometimes getting outside in nature, and taking the road less traveled, will help your introspection tremendously.

So for now I leave you with a few photos from a recent trip to the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. A place that feeds my soul.

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Sometimes When You Lose; You Win

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My cousin recently wrote about silver linings on her blog. I have always been someone who looks at the bright side of things, and tries to find the positive in most things negative. But when my beloved Significant Other accidentally broke off the newly grown flower spike on a long-awaited, lovingly cared for orchid of mine . . . . I freaked. I did NOT see a positive side of THAT. 😉 I mean, this orchid had nearly died at one point, I rescued it from my Mom’s house, nursed it back to health, and slowly it came around and shot out a flower spike. I’m talking a year and a half people. Orchids require PATIENCE. So when I saw that broken flower spike I thought all hope for that spike was lost and it would have to grow a whole new one. Instead of cutting it off, I just left it for a week. I couldn’t bare to look at it. Miso sad.

Then I noticed something after that week. The spike was growing a new spike, just below where it broke. It was growing out at an odd angle, but that was okay, it was going to bloom after all! And then . . . a week later, I see a second spike, (or third I guess?) coming out below the other one! This was unusual. This was crazy. This was orchid-lover’s heaven. How could this be? This plant’s flower spike was brutally murdered. Again, ahem, not by ME. It was damaged, broken, shattered. And yet . . . it’s not only recovering quickly, but blossoming even more than it would have???

And so I have watched this wonder appear before my eyes over the last 2 months: double flower spikes that have produced the most flowers I have ever had on one orchid, and more than I have seen on the majority of Phalaenopsis in stores/nurseries/shows. And it’s off ONE spike! Okay, okay, you get it. I’m an orchid geek. But other orchid geeks will appreciate this. I have propped it up carefully with a stake, and held the top spike up with fishing line, because the spikes are so flower-laden and heavy! It’s a bounty that was born of accident.

This silver lining and positive outcome reminds me of a line in one of my favorite movies: What Dreams May Come. “Sometimes, when you lose, you win.” And I would do good to always remember that.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: Double Branch off a Single Spike Orchid!

phalaenopsis orchid

 

Phalaenopsis orchid

Choosing No Regret

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Today a coworker said, “I have one regret, and that’s . . .”

It seems this is a sentence you hear people say often. We don’t want to have regrets, or really admit to them, but we usually admit that there is at least one thing about our life we wish we could have done differently. To err is human, and it’s impossible to get everything right all the time. Especially in your 20’s 😉

Choosing to have no regrets about your life is very empowering. It allows you to look at the positive spin on things, and find the silver lining. Should I have married him? No, definitely not. But I learned who I really am. I learned what I want in a man. In a relationship. And I became ten times stronger after leaving him. Should I have bought the house on my own, instead of renting? No, should have rented in that situation. The market crashed later, it took forever to sell and I only broke even. But I learned about home maintenance. I learned how to do things for myself. I mowed a lawn for a the first time. I responsibly paid and held a mortgage all on my own. Plus, I loved that house.

Acknowledging your regrets, and then releasing them by justification feels pretty damn good! 😉 But seriously, the more you tell yourself those things, you eventually just start believing it and the regret goes away. It becomes just a lesson from your rich life; a thread in the tapestry that is YOU.

The Brutality of Humanity

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Need a punch of cuteness? Well here’s a black bear cub fresh from the den. BAM! You’re welcome.

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Last week I visited The Wild Animal Sanctuary which is out East of Denver. The thing about this place is, it brings you closer to animals not in a physical way (the photo above was taken with my camera lens at 300mm), but in a spiritual and big-picture kind of way. And it takes you further away from your fellow humans. When you read and hear the back stories that go with these animals, you are absolutely appalled. Because each of them came from awful situations that were caused by humans. It makes you shake your head. It makes you angry. It makes you ashamed.

And when you hear that there are more tigers in captivity (some zoos, mostly private ownership) than there are living in the wild . . . it makes you want to cry.

I won’t get on my soapbox too much, but my message today is: please support local wild animal sanctuaries. They have rescued animals from deplorable conditions, and you can know you are contributing to correcting a wrongdoing by our species.

A few more photos from my visit:

tiger

Chillin’

 

Grizzley

Grizzley Bear free to roam

Black bears

Mama with two cubs

African Lions

Gangstas

Black Bear

Black Bear contemplating next move after coming out of long sleep

Bengal Tiger

Dozing

 

 

 

 

 

 

What the Wind Leaves Behind

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Wind. Wind. Wind. All week long here.
I hate the wind.
Here’s WHY.

But today as I was walking fast from my car to a lunch restaurant, back hunched against the wind, hair sticking in my lip gloss, and eyes squinted – I looked up and saw the snow capped mountains not far to the West. The sight made me slow down and open my eyes wider and take in the beauty. The sky was this impossible shade of near-cobalt blue, setting off the white tipped peaks perfectly. The green of the forests in the foothills was sharp and pristine. The air was crystal clear. There were no clouds. No haze. No smog. No dullness in the air. Thanks to the wind.

It was a reminder to me that everything in nature has a purpose, even if we don’t see it or like it right away. The wind clears things out. Paves the way for a new and fresh day; a fresh start. It swipes away the grittiness that sometimes accumulates in life, as if wiping a dry erase board clean.

So I will try and embrace the wind. I will thank her for the clean, new air she brings. I will breathe her in to clear my lungs and head. I will stop and look and understand.

Dedicated to the wind in the willows. Willow Wind.