Grounded

December 8, 2017

BW photograph of several frosty leaves laying upon the ground.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Symbolic Interactionism is the one of four main Sociological theories to which I most subscribe.  The words used, and, more importantly, the meanings given to those words, are often at the base of the manner by which Conflict Theory explains societal issues-a prime example of this is the concern over whether or not the Pope was going to specifically use “Rohingya” when talking with Myanmar officials during a recent visit.  Without words, societies would not be able to perform as described by Functionalism.  Finally,  the meanings of existing words, not to mention the development and inclusion of new words, indicate change as per Post-Modern Theory.

BW photograph of a bird's nest laying upon the ground.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

“Grounded” is the word for this day-here is the Oxford Living Dictionary definition.  The examples provided give a well-rounded view of its use.  Indeed, people most probably first encounter this word upon the violation of some parental dictate.  To those, I would like to add:  “A result of the effects of gravity”.

BW photograph of a nut case laying upon the gound.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a nut laying upon the ground.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Were it not for gravity, the objects included here would have either remained attached to their host tree, or, once detached, would have floated off into the atmosphere.  As gravity is such an elemental force, these objects ended up “grounded”.

Take care.

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Provisions

November 1, 2017

BW photograph of dropped pine needles.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Thich Nhat Hanh discusses the manner by which to practice mindfulness while walking in his book How to Walk.  As I work to become a bit more Zen in the approach to my daily strolls,  I can certainly appreciate the emphasis on the connection to Earth within the book.  Indeed, there is a brief stretch of one frequently walked loop the lies under a canopy of pine trees.  The transition from walking on asphalt to walking on a blanket of pine needles is most noticeable-it is so much softer, like walking on marshmallows without worrying about them sticking to your shoes, and adds some float to the process.  That is most welcome.

There is also a difference in the air-the trees provide a measure of shade, so one notices a change to the micro-climate when walking under them.  Also, the turpines in the pine add a most pleasant scent.  As per the research described by Florence Williams, this can reduce the amount of cortisol in one’s system.

The provision of these resources as such is especially beneficial when a full-on session of shinrin-yoku (and here) is not possible.

Take care.

Weather

October 27, 2017

BW photograph of the mud flats left as the Patapsco River recedes due to the lack of rain.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Climate change is global-weather is local, and there has been relatively little rain in this area over the past bunch of weeks.  This link provides the water status and temperature data for this portion of the Mid-Atlantic for September 2017.  As per the info used by the U.S. Geological Survey, this area was not in a drought this past September.  However, precipitation was below the long-term average, and the  temperatures were above the seasonal average for that month.  Those two factors would have contributed to the appearance of the Patapsco River as seen in the above photograph-especially since there has not been much rain thus far in October, either.

That, though, is forecast to change on Sunday-it appears heavy rain is on the way.

Take care.

Life

October 17, 2017

BW photograph of fallen leaves laying atop a rounded boulder.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

On a recent trip to Morgan Run, the serenity of the moment was interrupted by the arrival of two small boys, three adults, and two dogs.  (Morgan Run is, after all, a public space.) While scrambling atop the rocks, the slightly older appearing boy saw a “big spider” and directed the other, slightly smaller, boy to “kill it”.  He did not do so and a bit of a discussion between the two ensued.  Within a few minutes, one of the adults, an older woman, flicked aside the spider, and, after a few more minutes, that group made their way up the trail.  The spider appeared to have been spared to live another day.

BW photograph of Morgan Run looking upstream.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Morgan Run is a (relatively) big place so there was plenty of room for all of us-the spider included.

BW photograph of fallen leaves strewn about a large, flat rock.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Speaking of which, the spider was probably no more than a U.S. quarter or half-dollar in size, so posed no real threat to the well-being of the boys-they could simply have kept moving about the rocks away from the spider’s location.  The motivation behind the slightly older appearing boy’s order to the slightly smaller boy is certainly unknown.  Neither of the boys appeared to evidence any sign of distress, and so it can be concluded that arachnophobia would not have been the cause.  In fact, once the older woman forcibly moved the spider from its location, the boys continued on as if the encounter had not occurred.  And yet, the impulse to “kill it” was the initial response.

While it is useful that the older woman’s intervention saved that particular spider, what happens with the next encounter between the boys and another spider?  A teaching opportunity was lost.  It would have made for a valuable conversation to have talked with the boys about the intent to kill the spider.  It would have been an opportunity to discuss the role spiders play in an ecosystem.  It would have been appropriate to discuss the preservation of nature as it is.  None of that occurred in the moment.

Given that I did not know anyone in the group, I did not say anything either; and so became part of that missed opportunity.

Take care.

Fall

October 6, 2017

BW photograph of a truck and combine in a harvested field.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

With the exception of the past few days, it has been cooler and crisper-especially in the mornings.  It seems that Fall 2017 has arrived.

BW photograph of front lit field corn drying in the sun.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Along with the lower temperatures, there are other signs marking the change of the seasons.  Some crops are harvested, while others are still in progress.

The first photograph here is the perfect example of stillness.  The work has been completed for the day, and the machines are at rest.  Not a sound is to be heard.  The second photograph presents the opposite.  The dryness of the cornstalks creates a quintessential sound of fall-the rustling of the leaves in a breeze.  That has to be one of the most pleasant of signatures for the change in seasons.

If you have the opportunity and can safely stop and listen when passing such a cornfield, please do so.  Enjoy.

Take care.

Hurricane Season

September 27, 2017

BW photograph of a bike rack flooded by Hurricane Jose at Bethany Beach.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

This is a photo essay showing the standing water that remained a couple of days after having been left by Hurricane Jose as it passed by Bethany Beach.  Jose remained off the coast, and so this part of the world was spared the massive damage generated by the 2017 Hurricane Season (thus far).  Such is not the case for other parts of the mainland U.S. and several of the islands in the Caribbean.

BW photograph of the Hurricane Jose's flooding of Bethany Beach.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of the Hurricane Jose's flooding of Bethany Beach.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of the Hurricane Jose's flooding of Bethany Beach.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a flooded storm drain in Bethany Beach.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

NPR’s 1A broadcast a program dedicated to the impact of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico.  This discussion addressed the breadth and depth of the humanitarian, political, economic, and social issues generated by this disaster.  Several important historical points that have contributed to the current crisis are included.  Mr. Johnson’s opening lines encapsulate what follows.

Take care.

UPDATE:  This link addresses The Jones Act mentioned in the above discussion, and this link provides more details regarding the extreme hardships being experienced in Puerto Rico.

 

 

Fall 2017

September 20, 2017

BW photograph of fall debris.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The official start of Fall 2017 is right around the corner.

BW photograph of a foggy river.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

As last week closed, the days generally started with decidedly cooler temperatures.

This week, though, has seen a return to more summeresque conditions-higher temperatures and humidity.  The week also brought a continuation of natural disasters:  Hurricane Jose has created some disruption for the Mid-Atlantic, and Hurricane Maria has torn up several countries on her march westward.  Time will tell if she is destined for the U.S.

Violent weather patterns are not the only issue as we make this transition:  Mexico had a 7.1 earthquake.

Hurricane season officially ends on November 30.  There is no “season” for earthquakes-they are the result of geology.  Such quakes are not unique to Mexico-in 2015, Nepal experienced a 7.8 quake.  The U.S. is still waiting for “The Really Big One”.

Just as human lifestyles have contributed to climate change and the subsequent increase in massive storms, not to mention our propensity to drain wetlands and build close to shorelines, which makes the infrastructure more susceptible to flooding and storm surges; human activity also plays a role in some earthquakes and the subsequent damage done.  Part of this is due to the location and the manner in which buildings are constructed-the latter point is especially true for less developed countries-but here in the U.S., many are related to our energy production needs/methods-please read this and this.

Condolences to all who continue to suffer through these catastrophic events.

Take care.