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.

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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.

 

 

Earth Day 2018

April 22, 2018

BW photograph of a strongly lit house.

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

Today is Earth Day.  Coincidentally, it is also a nice, spring day.  The preceding sentence was included as we have run the weather gamut over the past few weeks.  On the day when the above photograph was made, the temperature eventually reached 87 degrees.  That seemed to be a bit too much heat coming too soon, especially after days when the temperatures maxed-out in the 40s and 50s.

BW photograph looking up the Hog Rock Trail on a foggy morn.

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

The following day presented entirely different conditions, as displayed above and below:

BW photograph of trees enveloped in fog.

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

BW photograph of Morgan Run after a heavy rain-four rocks provide some framing for the water.

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

The much cooler temperatures brought on the fog and an eventual torrent of rain and wind.  Morgan Run once again overran its banks.

A couple of weekends ago was spent in Ithaca, New York…

BW photograph of trees laying beside the Buttermilk Falls Rim Trail after a snowfall.

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

where the morning temps were about 22 degrees-that adequately preserved the snow that had fallen the day before.

BW photograph of a crushed Nestle water bottle in a parking lot.

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

The theme of this year’s Earth Day is to call an end to plastic pollution-more can be read about that here, and doing so is an important initiative.  Indeed, a drive through the mountains of Pennsylvania yesterday showed many out collecting trash along the roadways.  At the same time, Earth Day is also an auspicious day in which to be reminded of the need to keep a focus on the larger issue of climate change, which is actually the reason for the weather-related photographs in this post.  Indeed, last year set a record for weather-related losses as per this report from NOAA.  Yes, reducing one’s individual impact on the environ is a benefit and is to be encouraged.  Taking the time to collect the detritus left by others is certainly helpful.  However, the intersection of politics, pollution, and climate change can not be ignored and are addressed in this article about the E.P.A. under Scott Pruitt.

One day is not enough.

Take care.

 

Hard Rain

April 16, 2018

BW photograph of Morgan Run after a heavy rain looking straight upstream.

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

The storm that battered the Mid-West with snow hammered the Mid-Atlantic with a great deal of rain last night.

BW photograph of Morgan Run after a heavy rain-four rocks provide some framing for the water.

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

One thing about the weather and living on the East Coast:  if you listen to weather forecasts and the West is getting some action…

BW photograph of Morgan Run after a heavy rain with a prominent rock in the foreground.

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

often waiting a day or so brings the pattern home.

Take care.

Black Ice

April 10, 2018

BW photograph of a parking lot during a snowfall.

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

This is an intriguing article regarding an encounter with black ice-it is a highly recommended read.  The author combines the personal narrative with a bit of science to explain both aspects of the experience.  For more about the flexibility of time perception, this is also highly recommended.

Part of what made this such a good read was having done so after completing a multiple hundred mile drive in a blowing snow.  While no ice was encountered, black or otherwise, it certainly added a bit context to the article.  In addition, many years ago when driving in an ice storm, my truck kept going straight while the road veered left at the bottom of a steep hill.  Off the road we went into a gully completing what became known as “the muddy hole incident”.  Fortunately, no one was injured.

Oh, there was a snow squall this morning as well.

Take care.

Flow

April 4, 2018

BW photograph of water flowing over two rocks.

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

Practitioners of meditation are encouraged to enter a state of calm by focusing on the slow inhalation/exhalation cycle of breathing when being still.  Focusing on one’s steps is a way of achieving the same effect when walking.  In either case, especially when new to the practice or when in times of chaos, it can be difficult to keep the world’s clutter at bay.  When thoughts arise, and they most certainly do, one method to cope with this neurological noise is to allow them to come and go, to flow if you will, as water does over and between the rocks in a stream.

BW photograph of Big Hunting Creek. with post-winter flow.

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

In turbulent times, that is often much easier said than done.  Sometimes there are many, many thoughts that can come in a sequence, which tends to interrupt the zen one desires.  On other occasions, it may be one persistent thought that keeps a steady buzz.

Practice and effort, though, brings rewards when the sense of calm is achieved.

It also helps to visit places like those imaged here.  A pleasant state of stillness is possible by closing the eyes, allowing the muscles to relax, the breathing to slow, and just listening to the water run.

Take care.

Which?

April 2, 2018

BW photograph-is it water or clouds?

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

One of the issues with abstract photography is determining exactly what is being viewed.

Is the above a photograph of wispy clouds in the sky or the ripples of water in a running stream?

Does it matter?

Take care.