When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done? Yes, I’ve already said more than enough.
What does the world need less of? ignorance
Do you feel older or younger than your age? Younger in my mind, about my age physically
What is a cause you’ll always passionately support? There are several but the most important is Sustainability (Environmental responsibility) & Climate Change and everything connected with that: reducing waste, cleaning up the oceans, pollution, renewable energy, recycling, conservation of public lands, saving species from extinction, etc.
Others include economic and racial justice, women’s reproductive health, gun control, voting rights, improving education. I am passionate about a lot of things!!
GRATITUDE SECTION (as always, optional)
What is your personal affirmation if you have one? (for this instance “affirmation means emotional support or encouragement.” )
What inanimate object do you wish you could eliminate from existence? plastic bags – actually a lot of things made of plastic… However, I’m not sure I can call plastic bags “inanimate” – they fly through the air, roll down streets, get caught in trees…and end up suffocating unsuspecting marine animals when they drift into lakes and oceans. One of our most serious pollution problems is the proliferation of discarded plastics. Most end up in landfills, either in this country or abroad, such as in Indonesia, where the plastic trash problem is becoming severe.
Although we think we are doing our part in diligently recycling all the #1, 2, 4, and 5 plastics (which is what most municipal recycling programs allow), the fact is that only about 15% of all that supposedly recyclable plastic actually gets recycled! Actually, grocery plastic bags and any other plastic bag labeled #4 can be collected and taken back to the supermarket – most supermarkets have deposit bins for plastic bags just inside the front entrance to the store. Although I will continue to recycle (because I don’t know which items are really being recycled), I now believe that “reduce” and “reuse” are the better ways to go until cost-efficient recycling becomes widespread.
Some cities and states have banned plastic bags and I think many European countries have also. Next time you shop, take your own reusable bags – if the cashier says they can’t take them because of Covid, you can offer to pack the bags yourself. If you buy produce, don’t put it in the plastic bags provided; either put it into your cart loose, or bring mesh bags from home to put it in. We have to change our wasteful habits if we want future generations to be able to continue living on this planet!
I recommend watching the PBS program Frontline‘s documentaryPlastic Wars. If this link doesn’t work, try finding it on YouTube.
What tells you the most about a person? A person’s actions determine one’s values and character. People who are generous and kind show this in their concern for others and always offering to help. There are many people who claim they are kind or caring, yet they never actually demonstrate this trait. There are also lots of hypocrites, people who say one thing and do another, or expect others to follow certain rules, but when a situation affects them, to hell with the rules! (I’m thinking of many politicians, particularly many in the GOP.) Often our leaders don’t realize that what they do influences society at large. I think that since the 1980s, and particularly during the last four years, the values and civility of our society have greatly eroded. People have become greedy and rude, and are no longer afraid to show blatantly racist attitudes and behavior, and there seems to be a direct correlation of this lack of civility with the growing inequality in our society.
What is something you thought would be easy until you tried it? Ziplining. My one experience with it was rather frightening and I will never be persuaded to do it again!
What ridiculous and untrue, yet slightly plausible, theories can you come up with for the cause of common ailments like headaches or cavities? Chocolate: this tempting and delicious substance is actually evil in disguise! It is so easy to get addicted to this “food of the gods” and yet, it insidiously poisons your body systems, causing headaches, toothaches due to cavities, and even the common cold! Even if you are diligent with your dental hygiene, including daily flossing, and balancing sweets with healthy foods like broccoli, it is too late – once the chocolate is in your body, you can never get rid of its devilish effects unless you go through a thorough cleansing regimen and commit to abstaining from chocolate forever! If you do these things, you will be much healthier!
(Ah, the heck with it! I’ll take the headaches and cavities rather than give up chocolate! After all, we only live once!!)
GRATITUDE SECTION (always optional)
What are you grateful for since they ‘cured’ Covid? (yeah, I realize it’s not cured. But at least the vaccine is available and restrictions have eased up in many places. If that’s a good thing or not remains to be seen I suppose).
Being able to walk around outside without a mask! It is great to breathe the air directly instead of through the filter of a mask! People can now see each other’s smiles again, and it is much easier to understand what people are saying when they don’t have to wear a mask.
Also, it is great to be able to hug again!!
*Note: As I wrote my responses, I tended to get very serious and possibly self-righteous, so please forgive me. I don’t mean to lecture anybody, but I think we as a society or as a species need to consider more carefully the things we do and take for granted.
I haven’t been on my blog for a few days – I’ve been busy! Which is why I’m late this week for Melanie’s Share Your World. Better late than never, though!
So here are the questions and my responses:
What was the last TV show you binge-watched? If you don’t watch TV (congratulations by the way) what’s the last thing you binged ON? We don’t “binge watch” the way some people do. If we watch more than three shows in a row, it’s probably things we recorded and want to delete from our DVR (to make space for MORE shows!). So I guess I will have to say MSNBC on a weekday! When there is “big news,” we have been known to watch several MSNBC shows in a row. Sometimes we are only half paying attention and then realize we’ve watched every show from Nicole Wallace to Lawrence O’Donnell! (For those unfamiliar with these programs, Nicole Wallace comes on at 3 pm CT and Lawrence O’Donnell ends at 10 pm! We are trying to cut back on this, though – confine ourselves usually just to Rachel Maddow and then watch something else.
That said, our biggest “binge” with recorded programs is either Call the Midwife on PBS or Anne With an E on Netflix. And I have to say, when we finished all of those, we felt lost…what will we get hooked on next??
What’s your most prized possession and why? This is a tough one. But it would have to be something connecting my hobbies with travel, so I will say my photo albums/photo files and my camera. (I know this isn’t all one thing, but they are interconnected.) Some time before digital photography, someone said that the cheapest and most important thing you can bring home with you is your photos. What better way to make memories of an amazing trip?! For as long as I can remember, I have loved making photo albums. I took after my mother in this regard – she always made albums of her trips and of each year, at least after her grandchildren were born. I have done the same thing, but got woefully behind and so some “photo albums” are just pocket pages in a binder with the photos stuck in the pockets.
Some of my albums, however, I am very proud of – pre-digital book of my trip to Cuba in 2001 and 2 volumes of my month-long stay in Costa Rica come to mind. To do these books, I spent countless hours at scrapbooking workshops or carved out a little space for myself at home picking out the best background papers, stickers and other embellishments for each page. I spent hundreds of dollars on books and supplies. (The time and money were worth it!) The best albums I made were with the company Creative Memories – their photo books are high quality and relatively easy to add extra and mix types of pages.
I haven’t done many photo books digitally – only 3 so far, and I’m working on a 4th. I only got started about a year and a half ago with Shutterfly on my trip to Israel. That book came out pretty well, but there were a few mistakes – it was a learning experience, and as a result, my 2-volume trip to Egypt came out much better. I’m now working on France.
Since I generally don’t get around to starting and finishing these books until well after the trip is over, I have to rely on my memory, aided by the photos in my files, to put them together coherently. Besides the photos, I usually go to web sites about places I went to where either I didn’t take notes, couldn’t hear the guide very well, didn’t remember what the guide said, or didn’t even remember exactly what the subject of the photographs was! But that is OK, even advantageous, because a lot is lost whenever you go on a guided tour, and refreshing my mind about a particular site we saw using information from the Internet is a great way to fix it in my mind and immortalize it in the photo book! I learn even more about and appreciate those places than I had before!
And finally, my camera is part of all this. I often snap photos with my cellphone camera, which is light and easy, but I do endure the hassle of carrying around my Sony camera and lenses, because the quality of the photos taken with that are in general much better – plus I can take photos of details close-up that are too far away for a cellphone to capture a good image of. It was especially helpful on safari in Tanzania – which is why I bought a camera with a good telephoto lens initially.
If you had the time and inclination, what would you volunteer for? Habitat for Humanity or projects in poor countries – such as teaching literacy or modern hygiene to people in a village, building a school, or something else they need. I have a friend whose travel itinerary was most often with Earth Watch – she would participate in projects in different countries, as well as take time for sightseeing. I wish I had done that. One of my cousins was in the Peace Corps, another great program where you are really immersed in a culture and people.
Also, I would love to participate in an archaeological dig. In southern Illinois, there is an ancient site called Cahokia, where people belonging to the Mississippi culture built mounds and henges as part of their communities. Cahokia accepts volunteers of all ages. I saw an elderly man there whose task was to sift through dirt for pot shards, etc.
Do you think that humans will ever be able to live together in harmony? Being an optimist and an idealist, I still have that hope. I think it can happen if all the countries of the world join in a effort to solve a global problem that affects us all – dealing with climate change. This is an urgent issue that needs addressing, but its components are so vast and diverse that people in different areas are affected in different ways, all of which could be part of the global project. There is a lot of politics involved on every level and in every country, social and economic disparities and needs, scientific knowledge, business considerations, and understanding why saving a particular species, say, benefits us all. All creatures need to be respected and considered, and included in the plan to solve the overall plight of our planet.
Gratitute section: Share something uplifting with everyone. It can be some writing or an image or photo you like!
Yesterday was Earth Day, so I’d like to share a few inspirational quotes – “food for thought.”
To what degree have you been able to control the course that your life has taken? Or is being in control of your life just an illusion?
I watched a science program the other day that discussed unanswered questions posed by quantum physics, such as the possibility that everything that happens in the universe was predestined at the time of the Big Bang. Other people see it in religious terms, that God has control over us and sees our past, present and future, that God can decide whether to make something happen or not. I don’t believe God controls my life and quantum physics is too confusing for me.
We as human beings don’t have total control over our lives. We might be born in a wealthy, powerful country or in a poor, underprivileged country. Within that country, we are born into a particular race and class, both of which have repercussions in a society – culturally, politically, socially, economically. Within that race and class, we are born into a family that is loving and supportive, one in which there is abuse and violence, one which values education, or one that does not. Then there are individual limitations: inherited or nurtured. We have talent for something but our limitations hold us back. Within all these parameters, we have choice, or a modicum of control. Will we choose to develop our natural talent or pursue a more difficult course? Will we let our physical or mental limitations hold us back or will we overcome them or at least find coping mechanisms?
So yes, I do believe I have had SOME control over my life but a lot has been given to me by being born white, upper middle class, in the United States of America, which in spite of its faults, has provided me with privileges unavailable elsewhere. My parents had the money for me and my siblings to go to college and in our family we never fought over money because we had enough (not an excessive amount, but enough). I have been able to travel due to this. My parents encouraged all of us to pursue careers: whether we were girls or boys, they had the same expectations for us. They did what they could in terms of love and support to make us happy. I was also given intelligence, which is probably largely inherited, although it took motivation to develop and use it to my advantage, something I have not always done. I am lucky to be reasonably healthy, and I can control whether I stay that way – by eating healthy and staying fit – but I can’t control the fact that I have a heart problem inherited from my father. However, having the knowledge of this problem gives me control over how I deal with it. The more education we have, the more knowledge we acquire, the more we can control our lives. I was able to get a master’s degree in teaching and also have acquired knowledge in the ways of the world.
BUT, I did have limitations and caused disappointment for my parents because some of the choices I made were because I was afraid to challenge those limitations. I have often been afraid of decision-making because I have trouble making decisions, so sometimes I made NO decision (which was a decision in itself). I didn’t have to marry my first husband, for example, I shouldn’t have – that was a disappointment; but the second time around I chose a much better match. I chose to have a child with that first husband, who inherited mental illness as well as abuse from his father, which has greatly impeded his life. I chose to change careers in my late 40s, and decided to go into teaching, which in the end was probably not the wisest choice but I did the best I could. Many of the hurdles were beyond my control – discovering I have ADHD, trying to complete as a 50-year-old woman with a master’s degree with 25-year-olds with a undergraduate degree, the emphasis on high stakes testing, bad administrators who weren’t held accountable, the low esteem that our society seems to hold in general for teachers, the negative view of bilingual education (which was my field), etc.
Besides choices, there is attitude. I have always been a more or less optimistic person, believing in positive outcomes, but I am also skeptical by nature because I analyze everything. I try to figure out the “why” of mistakes I’ve made. Not everyone can or will do this. I want to fix problems but within the limitations of my own life, I do control what I choose to do about problems that plague a wider world. I try to get people in my community here to recycle, for example. I can’t control if they actually do it, but I can make myself heard to encourage it. I write letters to people to encourage them to vote. I may be demonstrating in the streets if Trump tries to undermine the results of the election. But I could choose to do none of those things and just live my life doing the things I prefer doing – reading, writing, drawing, etc. Within my own patch of the world, I do have some control.
All alternative paths in life I could have chosen maybe play out somewhere in the universe. But here in 3 dimensions on planet Earth, I look back on my life with some disappointment but mostly with gratitude.
Right now we are living in a very scary time – in the middle of a pandemic with a president who is threatening to overthrow democratic norms in order to make himself dictator or king, as well as all the other things happening – strained race relations, climate change as evidenced by out of control wildfires out west and hurricanes down south (I am fortunate, I guess, to live in the Midwest where neither of these things are happening or are likely to happen), the numbers of people dying from Covid-19 increasing at an alarming rate, etc. It’s easy to think we have very little control over our lives right now. Yet I admit I am pretty secure in my life. But I don’t kid myself that I have total control – it’s only a matter of attitude and choice in how I respond to things that are beyond my control that I have control. Self-control, that’s about it.
We live in a questioning world so it’s hardly surprising that there are so many questions that are asked by people every day, week and month is it? This feature will ask you all sorts of questions – but will only ever ask you 12 questions per month. You can answer them in the comments section below or create a post on your own blog should you wish to – that’s your choice.
In many ways this feature will be a no holds barred styled questions arena – covering many topical areas, controversial, opinionated – taboo orientated and just general and light hearted – just questions about people and things from all walks of life!
Additionally should any of the readership wish to pose a question to be featured within 12 Bloggerz in the future episodes – please drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Your answers to these questions are down to your individual interpretation of each question.
So here goes:
As a society are we really that social anymore – like it used to be? We are social in a different way – today it’s all about social media, online meetings, Zooming, etc. But I don’t think we are as likely to take a nice leisurely lunch with a friend, for the pleasure of simply chatting. Do we really care about the person we’re socializing with? A lot of social media seem to be a forum for people to tell their own story and hope that other people will read their posts. And I find that it’s easier to just scroll and hit “like” when I feel I should. But I’m not knocking social media – nowadays it’s the way to keep in touch with people I care about but rarely get to see. I’ve blogged about this before, such as here.
If only l was twenty years younger l would … ? Twenty years ago, when I was in my 40s, I was antsy to find a more meaningful profession. If I were to go back with 20/20 hindsight, I would not have chosen teaching. I was preoccupied (although somewhat justifiably) with the wrong things. I should have been asking, Will I be happy doing this? Can I really be good at it? Do I want it just for salary and benefits (because believe it or not, teaching had better pay and benefits than what I was doing before)? If I could, I would have done more research on professions that would suit me better.
Is society ruder more now than it used to be back in the day? Yes, most definitely. People put themselves first. They talk about their “rights” but rarely about the responsibilities that go with those rights. Our current federal government (USA) has encouraged, aided and abetted this attitude. We do not have good role models in leadership roles.
Is our world hyper-focusing progression on the wrong things or in the wrong direction? If you mean, do I think humanity is trending toward the wrong direction, I would say yes, but not everybody and not everywhere. I think our planet and our ability to continue living on it and respecting other creatures we share it with should be top priority for everyone right now. There are so many other problems connected with climate change – the biggest polluters are not the ones who will suffer most from the results. Greta Thunberg has the right priorities!
Do you think there is any truth what so ever to any current conspiracy theories? No, and I don’t think it deserves any more of an answer than this.
Are you more confused about the shape of our world today more so than when younger? Confused, no – I think I understand our world a whole lot better than I did when I was young(er). Concerned, yes, as everyone should be.
Do we as a society simply have too many labels and too many label hunters? Yes, but at the same time, sometimes “labels” are helpful – not to stereotype, but to provide help to those who need it. So if a kid is diagnosed with ADHD, don’t just dismiss it by saying, “It’s just a label.” It’s not, and neither are a myriad of other disorders and disabilities. “Being depressed” isn’t just being sad. It’s a very serious, and debilitating mental illness that can lead to addiction or worse.
Are you more or less family orientated? Yes, I am family oriented, because my family is my greatest blessing. I grew up in a mostly loving home and I love getting together with my siblings’ families. Family is my top priority. I think it is the source of most people’s happiness.
Do you dress up ‘smart’ to go out or is your style more casual all day every day? I like casual, but I also like to dress up a little. Right now, I lament the fact that I bought a lot of new clothes to wear at our senior community’s dining room and events, and now none of those things are taking place so I’m not wearing all the new clothes I bought.
But in general, I wear what is comfortable and what best hides my aging bulges!
With the current ‘pandemic’ do you miss ‘Yesterday’s way of life or not? Of course, doesn’t everyone? But I am so angry with selfish people who won’t do what medical professionals are telling us and as a result, the pandemic and its restrictions are dragging on longer than necessary. No one really likes to wear a mask, but if that is what we need to do to protect others as well as ourselves, I am willing to do so. If everyone were willing to be on board with this, we would be able to get back to “yesterday’s” way of life again.
What I miss most is being able to travel.
What do you class as adventurous? Anything that takes guts or involves taking risks. That said, I am not particularly adventurous, but I do like “adventures” – as in “travel adventures. “
Are you more conventional brick and mortar shopper or online and Internet buyer styled? I do both, because it depends on what I’m buying. I won’t buy shoes online, for example – I have to try them on to see if they are comfortable. In one style, I may wear a size 8, whereas in another style, I wear 8 1/2. Shoes are too important to take chances.
But right now, I love buying things online, because then I get packages in the mail – something to look forward to! I’ve been buying a lot of books, getting them cheap on Amazon. Also art supplies, and a variety of other miscellaneous things.
Fandango’s Provocative Question this week encourages us to look inward, at ourselves. Fandango writes: I saw this question on a site that offers up a bunch of “deep, philosophical” questions and this one intrigued me. It’s about evolution, but not in the context of Darwin’s evolution of the species. It’s more about evolution of the individual and about who you are and how you change over time. Here’s this week’s question, which is essentially about you. I hope you’ll have fun with it.
Is the concept of “you” continuous or does the past “you” continually fade into the present and future “you”? (Yes, it’s both.) Considering that your body, your mind, and your memories are changing over time, what part of “you” sticks around? (My essence, my soul, my identity).
Now that I’ve answered both questions in brief, I will expand, as I am wont to do!
I once had a revelation about myself that I told my daughter: You may have changed a great deal since childhood, but whatever you were good at and interested in when you were 10 will come back around when you are an adult. Cee’s On the Hunt for Joy challenge has a theme related to this: rediscovering your childhood joys.
For me, it was art (I drew and doodled incessantly) , languages (I fell in love with Spanish in 5th grade), cultures (I was fascinated by the pictures in my parents’ National Geographic magazines), cats (I have always had one as a pet, except when my son had allergies growing up), and writing (I wrote many stories and even a short novel when I was a kid).
Another art form I love is photography, as any reader of my blog knows. I first started taking pictures with a Brownie black & white camera when I was about 10.
In high school, I bought an Olympus SLR and got “serious” about photography. It helped that I had a boyfriend who was a photographer, and he taught me how to develop my black and white pictures. Later I installed my own mini darkroom in the second bathroom of an apartment I lived in in college.
In my late teens and early adulthood, for years I tried to become something that I couldn’t become – a musician (I’m not very talented in music, much as I love it), a best-selling author (I don’t have the discipline), a counselor (I have trouble giving advice on the spot) – and then I dreamed of being something that I could become, but didn’t: a linguist, an anthropologist, a translator at the United Nations – and finally became something I’d thought about in childhood but never thought I could become: a teacher. One of my sisters was a great teacher and she was very patient. I have never been patient.
I wasn’t actually a great teacher. I was, in fact, mediocre as a classroom teacher, and kept losing classroom teaching jobs. I was better at being a “pull-out” resource teacher (teaching ESL and bilingual literacy to smaller groups of students who came to me during their classroom’s literacy time). I was better at this because I didn’t have to worry about 10 things at once and didn’t have to keep track of 20+ kids at the same time. I also love languages and was very passionate about language acquisition and a strong advocate for bilingual education. So that job (where I spent more years and was happy) utilized more of my strengths: using Spanish every day, teaching English as a second language, enthusiasm about learning, working with students, doing creative holiday projects and writing projects with them.
On the other hand, classroom teaching emphasized my weaknesses – midway through my teaching career, I found out I have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). This is not a good thing to have if you are a teacher but at least I knew it wasn’t because I was a failure – at discipline, executive functioning, at remembering to send in my attendance every morning, at trying but never succeeding at being organized. This diagnosis helped me become more accepting of who I am and not ashamed of what I am not.
Now I’m happily retired and doing the things I used to spend hours doing when I was a kid: drawing, writing, learning foreign languages, pursuing intellectual interests such as politics, international affairs, and traveling (I didn’t do these last few much as a kid, although I have fond memories of family trips and I never avoided controversial topics with my parents, which didn’t always work out very well). I love other cultures and seeing new things.
These interests have always been a part of me, even though I have evolved a great deal in my journey of self-discovery. I’m not so hard on myself as I used to be. Finding out about having ADHD was a revelation about my entire life – why it was hard for me to make new friends, why I daydreamed so much, why I talked out of turn in school, why I was a “slow reader” (I wasn’t slow – I just got distracted so that by the time I had finished a page, I couldn’t remember what I’d read and had to go back and read it again), and why I was constantly losing things.
Besides the self-discovery that comes with maturity, I look back at my life and sometimes feel I really haven’t changed that much. I’m still me. I sometimes think I’m still that girl I was in high school. I still have the same soul, which I will have until my dying day. I carry buried memories and emotions of the last 68 years in my brain, but I can’t remember what I ate for lunch yesterday, because that doesn’t matter. I have a good life – everything I need and much of what I want. I’ve been lucky, I know that and I am grateful.
Hurray! It’s Monday again, the day Melanie puts out a new set of questions for Share Your World! And this week, they’re real doozies! So here goes…
What song always gets you out on the dance floor? Any catchy Latino or other dance tune, such as:
Actually, I have a whole dance workout playlist, which includes this song and many others, including songs with a good beat from Latin America, Brazil, Africa, Celtic (Ireland/Scotland), Caribbean steel pan, and more. I listen to it when I’m at the fitness center working out, and I really miss it now, because I can’t go to the fitness center to work out!
What’s your favorite sleeping position? I go to sleep and spend most of the night on my back. I use a special pillow for my neck due to a minor case of scoliosis that I inherited from my dad, and also slide a small pillow under my knees. But some time during the night, I switch pillows and sleep on my right side with the small pillow between my knees. Eventually, I go back to sleeping on my back.
If you could snap your fingers and instantly make the world better, what would you do? Of course I would do it, but I have noticed that lately my finger snap doesn’t make a snapping noise anymore – I think it’s a sign I’m getting old!! I can’t whistle very well anymore either.
Also, would I get to decide, before the finger snap, what constitutes making the world better? That would be important, since what is better in my opinion, may not be what others think. So I will list some of my requirements for the “world being better:” –clean energy used all over the world, mitigating the effects of climate change. Earth will breathe a sigh of relief, and it would save many people around the world from starvation, displacement, and war. Everyone would be invested in conserving resources. The planet would begin to heal itself and its inhabitants as well. No more extinction of precious species. –no more poverty –medicine will be advanced to be able to cure any disease or find a vaccine easily and quickly – maybe like the “healing” done on the Star Trek series, just waving a scanning-type device over the diseased part, and voila! – the person is healed!
–no one left on Earth named Trump –racism and discrimination wouldn’t exist, there would be no more war. –PEACE ON EARTH!!
What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done, and why did you do it?
I don’t want to go into my most nightmarish, scary experience, which wasn’t exactly something I did – it just happened to me. So I will answer with the scariest thing I ever did voluntarily and willingly….I went ziplining in Costa Rica!!
I was with my son in Monteverde; we’d gone there for a weekend during a monthlong stay in Costa Rica. He wanted to go ziplining – we were at the place where you get geared up and listen to all the instructions and safety rules. I didn’t really want to go, but if I stayed behind, I would have to amuse myself with nothing but a small tourist shop for entertainment for about two hours, which was the approximate length of this experience. I was really scared, but I looked around at the other participants and there were several who were clearly older than me. So I started to feel ashamed of myself if I didn’t go, and if I chickened out, I would probably regret it later. Needless to say, I went.
There were a total of 14 ziplines in this course. Some were short, some were longer. It was very important to judge when to pull the rope to slow down – you wanted to do it soon enough to slow down sufficiently when you arrived at the platform. On the other hand, if you pulled the rope too early on a long line, you could end up slowing down and stopping in the middle of the line, with only your gear holding you, dangling about 200 meters above the rainforest floor! But don’t worry, we were told – there will be a guide on the other side who will signal for when to pull the rope.
That worked OK for the first three or four lines. There were a lot of tourists there speaking languages from all over the world. I soon got separated from my son, but I wasn’t worried.
Then came the line where I had an accident. I was zipping across, watching the guide on the other side to signal to me, but he was distracted by other tourists talking to him, so he didn’t signal. Should I or shouldn’t I, I wondered, panic rising. I was approaching the platform fast, too fast – I pulled the rope, but it was too late – I slammed into the metal frame of the platform. I felt searing pain in my right shin. It took a few minutes in the confusion for someone to come to my aid, because there were so many people crowded on the platform. I saw that my leg was bleeding, and rummaged through my backpack for some Kleenex. I had about two sheets of it left, which I gingerly applied to the long gash on my shin as I gasped in pain. The Kleenex didn’t do much good – it just stuck to the wound.
Finally, a guide came to my rescue. I told him I couldn’t go on, I needed to go back. He explained that that was impossible – we were in the middle of a rainforest and it was a several miles hike – uphill – to get back, and no one could be spared to accompany me. I wanted to sit in a truck, but I couldn’t do that either. He told me just to wait until he was free, and he would take me across himself. So I sat on the metal steps, while lines of gabby tourists flowed upward around me. My son had gone across the road with a couple of other young people, who had found a “Tarzan rope” – he called for me to come and see. I answered that I was seriously injured and could barely walk (this was exaggeration, which I tend to use when I get injured), so I couldn’t go see. He didn’t answer, and it wasn’t until he returned that he realized what had happened to me.
After what seemed like half an hour, the guide who was going to take me across came over and helped me up. He hooked himself and me together and off we went. He had introduced himself as Rafael, and started telling me facts about the rainforest – such as how far above the forest floor we were! He said I could look down into the canopy and spy monkeys or birds. (LOOK DOWN??? No way, Jose – I mean Rafael!). We arrived safely and gently at the next stop and he helped me down. I waited for him again, and once again I was in the arms of Rafael zipping above the green canopy. Even having him with me, I was too scared to look down. So I saw none of the wildlife advertised as being able to spot during this activity.
At the third stop after the accident, I waited a long time and realized that Rafael was no longer there. He’d forgotten me or perhaps thought I should be OK to go by myself. I protested and another guide took me across the next line. However, after that I was on my own.
Finally, mercifully, it was over. I even got a snapshot of my son zipping to the ground on the last stop. We then had about a quarter mile to walk to the waiting jeeps to take us back. I limped along, a nice guide holding my elbow. Although there was blood dripping down my leg and staining my sandal, he asked me if I had fun. I just laughed – I refused to be a whiny American tourist. Instead, I said something to him in Spanish and we conversed in Spanish the rest of the way back.
I write poetry when I address a topic that is difficult for me to write about or when I don’t have enough to say to write a decent piece of prose. In these instances, I write unrhymed poems of questionable quality. Like this one:
There’s a pro-gun lobby An anti-choice lobby Climate change denier lobby So many negative lobbies!
There’s Hobby Lobby
and hotel lobby.
Where I live the lobby is called
Where’s the lobby for
Universal health care,
Universal pre-K education,
Fresh water for all persons,
Solar panels on all new buildings,
An assault rifle ban with no expiry date,
The Green New Deal?
Why is it that lobbies
for good things never
seem to have the same influence
There should be a lobby
To cajole, persuade, advocate
for planting a garden
on every skyscraper,
for reduced rates for solar or wind energy
in every home,
for a national holiday
designated “National Arts Day,”
so people can go to museums,
paint a landscape,
practice an instrument,
or write a story.
There should be a lobby to lobby
for paying people to read
to workers in factories;
for giving out cookies
at every business meeting;
for making it a law that
every dog and cat,
has a loving home,
for planting a tree for
every person in the world, and
for renaming all building lobbies
Here’s an essay I wrote years ago about green, in a series about colors. Yes, I know this is a PHOTO challenge but I am going to try to combine the photos and narrative.
Green is the best color because it is the color of nature: plants and trees are green.
When it rains, everything looks greener than ever.
In fact, “green” is the new code word for the environmentally conscious. If you are green, you are committed to recycling and conserving the natural resources of our Earth.
Green is a combination of two primary colors, blue and yellow, so it has the coolness of blue and the brightness of yellow.
There are many hues of green, created by adding more blue for a deeper, darker green or more yellow for a lighter or brighter green.
Green is everywhere. It’s the color of land on a globe because the land looks green from space.
It’s the color of leaves in the summer …
and pine trees all year round. (Both photos taken in northern Wisconsin.)
It’s one of the colors of Christmas!
When I see a stand of evergreens, I smell the aroma associated with them – the sharp smell of pine. Pine candles are green and I love to smell them!
Green is the color of many good things to eat: lettuce, spinach, broccoli, peas, beans, sweet peppers. These foods are healthy too, so it’s important to eat them every day. Green represents how plants eat: chlorophyll makes leaves green and it is chlorophyll that captures energy from sunlight and converts it into food for the plant. We humans get some of this energy when we eat green foods.
Humans can learn a lesson from the plants and capture sunlight for our own energy needs. In a greenhouse, sunlight comes in and keeps plants warm as well as provides energy for them to stay healthy. We too can be “green” by eating healthy foods, consuming renewable energy from the sun, and enjoying the beauties of nature: the brown earth, the green grass and plants, and the multitude of colors of flowers, birds, butterflies and other creatures.
People who like green will use green for things in their daily life – drive a green car, wear green clothes, or maybe paint a door green!
American cemeteries are usually covered in green grass which is kept neatly mowed. Green is often conducive for quiet contemplation.
Fandango’s One Word Challenge today is finite. I have read other posts that have managed to cover several one word daily prompts in one post, which I admire. I have not attempted to do that. I don’t usually respond to the daily prompts due to lack of time or lack of inspiration. But the concept of FINITE got me to thinking…
Is there really such a thing as infinity or is it merely theoretical? Energy is infinite: it cannot be created or destroyed so it just moves around from one energy-based organism to another. Supposedly the universe is infinite, numbers are infinite, but the human mind cannot really conceive of infinity. In the human mind everything is finite. Our lives are finite: we are born on a particular date, we live our lives and then we die. Our experience exists within a finite framework: We live on a finite planet whose size and shape are fixed. The land forms on Earth have a beginning and an end. The bodies of water have delineated borders.
Time is finite even though we might say that we “have all the time in the world.” A day begins and ends, then another one begins. Years begin on January 1 and end on December 31, although time as we know and use it is an artificially imposed system that allows us to organize our lives. Perhaps time is infinite. Even after our deaths, the world goes on – or so we hope, if we don’t destroy it first.
Which brings me to something else that is finite: fossil fuels are finite. Eventually they will run out and there will be no more to be found. In our constant, frenzied search for sources of fossil fuels and our insatiable appetite to consume them, we are putting too much of the carbon that was safely trapped in the Earth into the atmosphere, which is essentially choking the Earth and causing changes to occur on our planet that may eventually lead to the impossibility of sustaining life.
Every natural disaster is finite, but after enduring one, there comes another one, and another one. How long can we take it? How many fires can California endure before the forests and cities become totally and irrevocably destroyed? How many hurricanes can people on the East Coast of the U.S. endure before they have nothing left and no way to even live where they do anymore? How many times can they “rebuild” in their stubbornness to stay put?
The Arctic is finite: climate conditions are causing the polar ice caps to melt. Trees and forests, which provide us with oxygen, are finite. It’s not just individual trees that die, to be replaced with others. Whole forests can die, will die if we don’t accept that our natural resources are finite unless we take care of them and the environment in which they exist.
Even the sun is finite – it’s halfway through its life now and is only expected to live another five billion years. That may seem like infinity to insignificant life forms with relatively short life spans and really, the death of the sun is not something humans need to worry about, but even so, the sun’s life – like the lives of all stars – is finite.
We are used to and expect this finite existence. Most people who die when they get old have left behind children and grandchildren, who will continue to perpetuate life on Earth. Species may continue, but not individuals. But even species – all species – will die eventually. How long will that be? How long will we accept species to go extinct and when will it be our turn?
Without Earth itself, there will be no more human life or any life at all on this planet. All the infinite energy that has inhabited every living thing will disperse into space and find a home elsewhere. That is why we must all accept that our planet is finite and how soon the end will come depends on us. Time is growing shorter until the demise of our dominion over the planet and all living things that depend on it. We have the power to stretch the finiteness of our planet farther toward infinity. It will probably require sacrifice on our part, as we will need to consume less. However, transferring to all clean energy sources will also create employment opportunities at every level. We can do this!
The only question remaining to be asked is, how finite are we willing to be?