Backdated: July 5, 2018

July 15, 2018

BW photograph looking west down Thames Street before sunrise.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph looking from Fells Point toward the Chesapeake Bay at sunrise.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of the City Pier in Fells Point at sunrise.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

I have finally gotten back to completing this post, which was begun on July 5.

These photographs were made early on the morning of July 5.  This area had been under high temperature/high humidity conditions that had pushed heat indexes into the triple digits during that week.  As such, when out and about, it was important to stay well-hydrated so as to stave off heat exhaustion and heat stroke.  While temperatures have moderated a bit, we still have August on the way…

BW photograph of a partially full water bottle atop a granite step.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a water bottle laying in the gutter.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a water bottle laying in the gutter.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a partially full water bottle laying at the base of a street light.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

However, it is also important to properly dispose of the containers for those fluids-especially when single-use containers are employed.  This recent article from National Geographic details the enormity of the problem that plastic presents.  The following is a quote from an earlier National Geographic article:

“The new study, published Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, is the first global analysis of all plastics ever made—and their fate. Of the 8.3 billion metric tons that has been produced, 6.3 billion metric tons has become plastic waste. Of that, only nine percent has been recycled. The vast majority—79 percent—is accumulating in landfills or sloughing off in the natural environment as litter. Meaning: at some point, much of it ends up in the oceans, the final sink.”

The plastic bottles shown above are four that did not initially make it to a recycling bin on July 4th.  Just as important, two of them still contained a fair amount of water.  On that note, here is some information related to the wasting of water, while this site addresses the worldwide lack of access to improved water sources and the concomitant problems associated with that.

Remember Flint, MI? (And that is not the only city in the U.S. with water issues.)

Take care.

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The Days Before

June 29, 2018

BW photograph of a rail fence and stone wall on Culp's Hill.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a rail fence and stone wall on Culp's Hill.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a rail fence and stone wall on Culp's Hill.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a sunlit tree on Culp's Hill.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of cows grazing in Gettysburg on a sunny morning.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The above photographs were made at Culp’s Hill, which is part of the battlefield at Gettysburg.  The fighting in this area began on July 1 and continued until July 3, 1863.

I usually visit the battlefield at some point during the anniversary.  This year, I went a little early as the forecast is calling for conditions much like those when the battle was actually fought:  sunny, hot, and humid.  Fortunately, the time to be there was a choice, and one that was easily made.  The soldiers most certainly did not have that option in 1863.

On this morning, it was sunny, but relatively cool, and quite comfortable.  It was as serene a walk as one could want.

Take care.

Separation

June 21, 2018

BW photograph of a No Trespassing sign laying on the ground.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Over the past few days, the separation of children from their parents/families at the U.S. border is an issue that has been widely covered and discussed.  The latest controversy also (again) brings to the fore the legacy of U.S. immigration policy.  Significantly, the implementation of detention and deportation policies appear to often hinge on keys words contained in or absent from previous legislation.  For example, former Assistant Attorney Leon Fresco points out the importance of the word “unaccompanied” being excluded from the Flores case, which was decided in 1996.  (The meaning of words and their contextual significance is the basis for the Symbolic Interactionism theory in Sociology.)

With regard to Sociology, one of the significant agents of socialization (those institutions charged with the transmission of culture from one generation to the next) is media.  How one thinks and/or feels about this separation, and immigration in general, is influenced by the sources of information to which one pays attention.  This report from NPR discusses the differing manner by which the current immigration issue is being framed by various news outlets.  What is being highlighted here is that difference-the same story is being explained/analyzed by competing belief systems.  That which is held to be “true” or “fake news” is most likely influenced by confirmation bias-the tendency to select and judge the credibility of sources based on those that contain information supporting pre-existing views.  Quite simply, we tend to agree with those sources that present information consistent with our views.

In a separate report, NPR addressed the potential implications of the stress-induced trauma that occurs under such conditions.  Given the age of the children, the plasticity of the brain during those developmental stages, and the magnitude of the emotional and biochemical response from being forcibly separated from one’s family, this is an issue of concern.  One would do well to put aside political views and attend to this as a humanitarian issue.  Indeed, the U.N. has called such separations illegal, and the living former first ladies have also condemned the action.

Two bills to address immigration are scheduled for a House vote later today-both would legislate the keeping of families together.  (The president finally did utilize his formerly denied executive power to do the same.  That, however, does not ameliorate the issue.)  Given the deep political divides regarding immigration, it is doubtful that either of these bills will pass.  Therefore, the immigration impasse, one based on the implementation of zero tolerance, will, in all likelihood, continue.

That we are a nation of immigrants appears to be considered irrelevant.

Take care.

BW photograph of Morgan Run just after a rain.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

it was the worst of times…”  While that is part of an extremely impressive beginning to A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, it has now become quite the cliché.  Nonetheless, it was apropos for this particular day at Morgan Run.

BW photograph of a rock with water flowing around it.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

A bit of a Spring rain had just ended leaving the water with a gentle flow…

BW photograph of a poplar leaf laying atop a rock.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

while the light was nice and soft as a result of the still overcast skies.  More rain was yet to come.

As such, the sights and sounds provided by nature were all that one could want.

BW photograph of a crushed plastic bottle.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of two plastic bottles laying among some leaves.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a flipflop laying among leaves.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

At the same time, the human imprint was also quite evident.  That is, unfortunately, most often the case-especially now that the weather has warmed and more people are accessing the area.

Take care.

 

 

Need for Zen

May 8, 2018

BW photograph of flowing water.

Copyright 2018 Kevin p. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

There are some days that require a larger dose of Zen than others.

BW photograph of a branch over flowing water.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Today is one of those days.

BW photograph of flowing water.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Being an informed citizen brings with it the risk of riding the roller coaster of daily news.  Much like the “weather whiplash” moniker from the last post, that phrase would appear to be applicable for many other subjects as well.  Simply replace “weather” with whatever stories dominate a given day.  Chances are, within a few days, there will be something else that comes to the fore and demands one’s attention.

There are at least two dangers with such a rapid cycle of news.  The first is the criticality of the displaced issues being lost-out of sight, out of mind.  The second is the numbness that accompanies an overload of one’s senses.

As such, it is evermore important to maintain an individuated sense of balance and perspective.  This includes recognizing the options available for legitimate action.

Tuning out is not a productive long-term option.

Take care.

Straws, man

May 2, 2018

BW photograph of a plastic cup and straw laying on a street.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

This segment of NPR’s Here and Now is a worthwhile listen due to the scope of the problem and the available alternatives.  A reduction in this form of pollution is well worth the loss of this particular subject matter.

BW photograph of a Sprite bottle laying in the grass.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Unfortunately, there are many other forms of plastic trash of which to make images.

BW photograph of a plastic spoon laying on a brick sidewalk.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

As such, addressing the overall issue of our throw away culture of convenience is of paramount importance-the discarded plastic straws, bottles, and utensils are just symptomatic of that larger issue.  The result of such a mindset is the bioaccumulation of plastic and other toxins in the environ.  Fortunately, the alternatives mentioned in the Here and Now report apply to other forms of trash as well.   It is useful to remember that the mantra “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is a hierarchy-a reduction in the need for plastic disposable items by finding sustainable alternatives is by far the best option.

Take care.

Timeliness

April 26, 2018

BW photograph of Morgan Run rushing through some rocks.

Copyright 2018 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Morgan Run is my go-to Zen place.  On most days, visits can be timed so that the area around the parking lot is devoid of people, or a relatively short walk in either direction from said lot will provide the desired seclusion.  As written many times before on this blog, the sound of the water running through the rocks is quite relaxing.  As a place to just sit and be, this is pretty nice.

So much so that I often get up and work early so that I can drink coffee and listen to NPR’s 1A program while driving to Morgan Run.  The other day, I did just that but was struck extremely hard by the contrast between the Zen of being there and the topic of that particular discussion, which revolved around the history of lynching in the U.S. and the opening of the National Memorial for Peace and Justice-the discussion can be heard here.  (NPR also did another report on the Memorial.)  One can argue that the timeliness of this particular visit and that particular discussion occurred just as it should have to achieve maximum impact.  The same can also be said for the opening of the Memorial.

“Timeliness” takes on a broader cultural perspective in the sense that is it both well past time for such reflection and a time requiring such reflection.  Indeed,  it has been just over 50 years since the passing of The Fair Housing Act of 1968, which is discussed here.  After having listened to that program, the reading of  this report is a logical follow-up.  In addition, Starbucks is closing its coffee stores for several hours on May 29th so as to provide training to address “racial bias education”, as reported here.  Finally, the Supreme Court heard the arguments regarding the latest version of the President’s travel ban.

The history of prejudice, discrimination, implicit bias, and racism, etc., all of which are enhanced by confirmation bias, only makes the now more disheartening.  Socialization that normalizes those kinds of behaviours is exactly what allows for their continuance.  The same can be said for willful ignorance or lack of attention.  I hear with a degree of regularity that the pervasive ugliness and conflict reflected in the news is one reason to not listen to broadcasts or read the papers.  Quite honestly, all of that is one reason I go to Morgan Run for those periods of Zen.  It is important, though, to recognize that such peacefulness is difficult to maintain outside of that bubble if one does pay attention to current events.  While it is fundamentally necessary to take care of oneself and find that peace, it is also important to think beyond oneself to the larger issues at hand and address them accordingly.

Take care.