Monday, August 15, 2016

I Think I was a Tree...

In a former life.  All my life I have adored trees. They have always been there for me - to listen to my thoughts, to laugh and sing with my joys and to comfort my sorrows. My first tree friend was an enormous spruce tree which stood sentinel outside the house where I grew up. Birds would call his limbs home knowing they were safe and secure even if they would wave to and fro in the winds. My mother and I would gather his cones in the summer months for use later in the year in crafts. He was a dear friend and it saddened me to find out that he had died after our family left the house.

Over the years I have come to know many types of trees, as one would get to know a variety of people. They all had their own quirks, their own personalities. I got to know two distinguished Live Oaks in Louisiana. There age was old - about 150-200 years. They spoke in a slow and deliberate manner - imparting the wisdom gained over the centuries to those who would slow down long enough to listen.

I have met many magnificent Cottonwoods. Their trunks would curve and arch and bend, translating the energies their roots absorbed from deep underground water sources. This is a reason the Hopi like to make their Kachina dolls from Cottonwood roots, because of the trees ability to find water. To the Hopi, the Cottonwood is a spiritual link to water, the life giving essence in a very arid land. 

The woods of Arkansas was a heavily populated area. Sweetgum, Sassafras, Black Walnut, Magnolia, Dogwood, and Oaks were abundant. Their ability to live together was a lesson for us all. Together they were an impenetrable force to many outsiders.

Many ancient cultures and indigenous peoples believe that trees have souls.  The ancient Celts believed that the spirit (soul) of a deceased person could inhabit a tree (or a plant or a place or even a rock). Cultures all across ancient Europe had customs and beliefs which involved trees. In the Americas, many Indigenous People believed that every living thing had a spirit and trees were revered as being wise  and knowledgeable. Trees were often consulted by Shaman on matters of seriousness.

I recently ran across an article about a group of people in Russia who revere Nature. To them a tree contains a soul in a transitional process of evolution. To intentionally fell a tree is to destroy a living being. Check out this article and accompanying photos for an insightful look at the Mari People.

I, too feel this way. Trees do so much for us. They give us shade and air to breathe. They will listen to our woes and give us the calm to quiet our frazzled nerves. Trees have knowledge. Take a walk at your local park or open space and get to know a tree.  Make a new friend.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A Viking Voyage

The ability of the Vikings or other people from Europe, Asia, or Scandinavia to sail across the Atlantic Ocean and settle in North America has always been called into question. But the Draken has now proved naysayers wrong!

Many people are of the thought that there is no way a wooden boat of this size and build could make it across such a vast body of water. And while the crew of the Draken did use modern navigational equipment, the boat was quite sea-worthy, sailing from Norway to Iceland, on to Greenland and then to Canada and the U.S. I am hoping that another journey such as this is tried using only the navigational devices which the Vikings had.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Road Trip ~ Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

It's been awhile since we've been on a roadtrip. But with the recent ebb and flow of guests, I knew a roadtrip would be on the agenda sooner or later. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo fit the bill for out-of-towners and their young daughter.

While I do not necessarily condone zoos, some zoos (when started under the right pretenses) do serve a purpose. I am a firm believer that zoos should properly protect the animals from marauding humans with tall barricades which cannot be easily climbed or jumped over. With that being said, this roadtrip to the zoo will show very few animals but general photos of enclosures and mainly the artwork and other unique aesthetic adornments.

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is perched on the side of a mountain. Cheyenne Mountain to be exact. It's a large zoo that encompasses 140 acres with incredible vistas of Colorado Springs and the plains to the east. The zoo is constantly revamping the animal habitats and improving them. Many of the animals at the zoo are in breeding programs with the offspring being reintroduced to their wild habitat after they have gone through a training period and are old enough to fend for themselves. 

The CM Zoo has themes areas - Africa, Australia, Rocky Mountains, Asian highlands, Splash Zone (Hippos, Penguins, some small fish), a Great Ape area and a child's play area. So enjoy the photos, there will occasionally be a caption underneath.

Giraffe Statues outside Africa exhibit
Real Giraffe and Giraffe statue - which is which?
Concrete Baobab Tree

Buzzard Sculpture by Zebras
Ole Gnarly - concrete tree near children's play area

Cute Lil' Hobbit size Door
Asian Highlands 

Kodiak Bear
Real or Fake?
Beaver Lodge with concrete beavers near River Otters
Moose Enclosure

Rhinos Spray to mark their territory. Don't get too close!

Elephant Sculpture
Hyena Sculptures
Broadmoor Hotel