Saturday, July 14, 2007

Birding in Bhutan


Satyr Tragopan
Originally uploaded by
A.J. Haverkamp
If I had $10,000 to spare, come April 18 - May 10, 2009 you would fine me wandering around the eastern Himalayas in Butan with Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris Birding in Bhutan tour. I thought this bird (Satyr Tragopan) is an example that futuristic romance writers need look no further than earth to find fantastic creatures to capture the imagination. Isn't the bird lovely?

Wikipedia defines ecotourism as: Generally speaking, ecotourism focuses on local culture, wilderness adventures, volunteering, personal growth, and learning new ways to live on the planet; typically involving travel to destinations where flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions.

I don't know if I can go to Bhutan in 2009, but I have gotten some ecotourism close to home. The last time I drove over to Yosemite National Park, I was wandering around crawling among the wildflowers taking pictures of the bees and bugs. At several of the rest stops I found two native Californians zooming around in their sporty car, leaning out the car window so they could see the water falls. About the only bugs that ran into stuck to their windshield. The native Californians probably consider their trip an ecological tour through the wilds of California. Me too. I that was "learning new ways to live on the planet". Californians can do things in their cars that those of us in the traffic-free zones of the United States didn't know was possible. It made me wonder, do you suppose they had porta potties installed?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Raven Over Arches National Park

Edward Abbey described three ravens he saw his first morning as a ranger at Arches National Park in the book Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness.

I am not alone after all. Three ravens are wheeling near the balanced rock, squawking at each other and at the dawn. I'm sure they're as delighted by the return of the sun as I am and I wish that I knew the language. I'd sooner exchange ideas with the birds on earth than learn to carry on intergalactic communications with some obscure race of humanoids on a satellite planet from the world of Betelgeuse. First things first.

I enjoy reading natural history. Not only to read about the environment, but also because enjoy seeing the world through a different mind. Comparing the ideas to my own in an internal conversation. Maybe evening learning something, or reaffirming ideas I have already.

In that quote above, I enjoyed what he said but at the same time I think I understand birds. To a certain degree. I'm not claiming to be a "bird whisperer", but I do talk to them and I certainly pay attention to what they say. Not just their calls, but their behaviors. I've learned from birds. Were I to write about natural history I'd undoubtedly mention stories where I've learned something from birds and other animals.

I'm more geared toward fiction writing, and the characters I create often look to animal life. I tend to personify animals. In Starlit Destiny there is an acrobatic bee that the heroine compares the hero to -- first his flying the starship, then the mixed up way he makes her feel.

In the same chapter as that raven/alien quote above, Edward Abbey describes that "the personification of the natural is exactly the tendency I wish to suppress in myself, to eliminate for good. I am here not only to evade for awhile the clamor and filth and confusion of the cultural apparatus but also to confront, immediately and directly if it's possible, the bare bones of existence, the elemental and fundamental, the bedrock which sustains us. I want to be able to look at and into a juniper tree, a piece of quartz, a vulture, a spider, and see it as it is in itself, devoid of all humanly ascribed qualities, anti-Kantian, even the categories of scientific description. To meet God or Medusa face to face, even if it means risking everything human in myself. I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and yet somehow survives still intact, individual, separate. Paradox and bedrock."

It would have been interesting to talk to Edward Abbey, but the next best thing is to read his work. I like pondering what he meant in these quotes I've pulled, but still, in the end this books is reminding me that I do personalize the natural. That is how I find meaning and enjoyment in nature.

As for communicating with aliens. Even though I do think we're stuck with "first things first", when it comes to communicating with other life forms. At least for the time being. If a race of obscure humanoids showed up in my backyard, I'd rather talk to them than birds!

Maybe Edward Abbey would have enjoyed talking to galactic visitors to, had they showed up on his watch.

Along these lines....

I was amused I ran across these topics while reading today because my nephews (two visiting now) and I were talking about aliens. We were talking about how some people are convinced aliens stop by earth from time to time, and that other people think it is hogwash.

I told them that one idea I've had (at least in my imagination) is that aliens don't make themselves known because they view earth as a Intergalactic Zoo or an Intergalactic Park. Like we capture lions and flamingos and put them in a zoo for safekeeping, aliens leave earth for safekeeping. But, they don't have to interact with us because they believe in "leave no trace", like we do.

But then, if that were the case, if aliens were environmentalists, would they sit by and watch us screw up our environment? We might argue over global warming as being manmade, but there is absolutely no debate that man has decimated uncounted species over the last few centuries. We're leaving a footprint down here.

Okay, Ranger Alien, it is time to stop sleeping on the job.

Sterling Silver Garnet and Rainbow Moonstone Pendant

Sterling Silver Garnet and Rainbow Moonstone Pendant

Product Description

STONES: 8x6mm Teardrop Garnet,
10x8mm Oval Rainbow Moonstone
SIZE: 1&1/4" tall x 3/4" wide with a 4mm bail opening
WEIGHT: 6 grams
DETAILS: Stamped .925
No chain is included with the pendant
Add a Sterling Silver Chain to your pendant for $5.49 (Save 50%)- available at Checkout in Gift Options


In my latest read, Fair Play by Deirdre Martin, the hero Michael Dante goes to his cousin Gemma (a witch) and she gives him some moonstone to attract love (the heroine Theresa Falconetti). I saw this pendant and thought of the story. By the way, I definitely have the rest of Deirdre Martin's hockey books on the wish list. It was funny and it made me cry. Have to love a book that puts you through the wringer like that.

Gemstone meanings from Sobriety Stones:

Garnet is the stone of love and devotion. When it comes to romance --> A passionate gemstone that inspires love and mutual attraction. Enhances libido as well as balances the wearer's sexual energy.

Moonstone is the stone of emotional balance. Some think moonstone can bring a new love into your life. But the meaning shared on Sobriety Stones's Site also talked about how the stone can mend and bring emotional balance, which was an important part of the story in Fair Play.