One Year

November 7, 2017

BW photograph of a United States flag facsimile laying among leaves and sticks.

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

It has been one year since the 2016 U.S. presidential election.   In that time period, there has been:

the plan to pull-out of the Paris Accord;

the roll-backs on Obama-era efforts to combat climate change (the Clean Power Plan, for example);

the response to, and statements about, the hurricane destruction in Puerto Rico;

the statements made following the violence/killings in Charlottesville, VA, Las Vegas, NV, and Sutherland Springs, TX;

the statements labeling criticism as “fake news”;

the open hostility toward the press; and

ad infinitum.

BW photograph of a twig that looks like a headless human laying upon a sidewalk.

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

Sometimes it seems as if we are operating without a brain.

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.

“Take Me Home…”

October 25, 2017

BW photograph of a leaf-covered road in WVa.

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

“… country roads.”

John Denver’s song has a brief, but pivotal role in the recent Alien: Covenant.  It is also the basis of a sentiment that must, on some level, eventually put a buzz into any traveler’s ear.

BW photograph of an old barn in WVa.

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

The question then becomes what, when, and where is “home”?  Is that a physical or emotional place? Both? Neither?  How about a state of mind?  However it is defined, “home” must indeed be clearly defined.  Otherwise, how do you know when you have arrived? How do you gain a sense of being grounded?

On the other hand, how important is that?

BW photograph of fog in a WVa valley.

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

BW photograph of fog in a WVa valley.

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

BW photograph of fog in a WVa valley.

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

Put me in the mountains, and I am there.

As an aside, the photographs contained herein were made in West Virginia.

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.

Indigenous Peoples Day

October 9, 2017

BW photograph of the early morn across a boardwalk at Bethany Beach.

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

This discussion on WYPR’s Midday program is an important examination of Columbus Day and the movement for Indigenous Peoples Day.  The conversation speaks to selective attention and perception-this is especially critical when the argument is made about the protection of “heritage and history” when many do not really know either.  That, by extension, becomes an indictment of the manner and content used in the teaching of history.

It also begs the question:  by which criteria are people to be judged and celebrated, if they are to be judged and celebrated at all?

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.