Posts Tagged ‘nature’

Ellenboro I

Farm pasture near Ellenboro WI, peaceful, alive, life-giving.

In posting this image I am also thinking of a blog I found yesterday, its content the antithesis of this peaceful, healthy landscape which floods me with gratitude. In April, 1986 I was a 25 year old college grad from New Jersey. Seven years earlier in 1979 we had experienced the scare of a lifetime when the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania- about 80 miles north of us–  sustained a partial core meltdown that could have irradiated the Delaware River Valley and changed life for many of us forever. Thankfully, the reactor vessel was not breached, and the radiation remained caged. We were lucky.

People living in the Ukraine region of the USSR were not so fortunate in 1986 when a safety test run amok caused reactor #4 at Chernobyl to explode with enough force to blow the fuel containment lid off of its radioactive core, releasing mass quantities of deadly Uranium and Plutonium isotopes. People not understanding the threat stood on rooftops awed by the iridescent plumes shooting up from the reactor. The radioactive half life of plutonium-239 is 24,000 years. Chernobyl, Priapet and other cities and towns within a vast area of Russian farmlands were rendered “hot zones, “uninhabitable for generations, their residents exiled. The story is heart-wrenching, unthinkable, unforgivable and should have served as warning enough to end-stop the fantasy of clean nuclear power.  The narrative, photos and testimony at Elena Filatova’s decade old blog elenafilatova.com bears witness to the consequences of misplaced faith in the omnipotence  of technology when the stakes are highest.

Fast forward 20 years to Fukushima, Japan, 2011: by some accounts, because its 3 damaged reactors remain active and unstable, the Daiichi plant potentially presents a far greater threat than Chernobyl’s burned-out sarcophagus. Although  faded from headlines and public opinion in the west, Fukushima’s story is still unfolding.  Lesson not learned.

The tendency has been to forget about these painful events because they sear our hearts and conscience, or seem surreal, far removed in space and time;  or because they evoke feelings of utter powerlessness we surrender hope and rage and walk away. Numb. I urge that we do not and instead work to ensure that these events are not forgotten.  So that in bearing witness alongside those whose lives have been and continue to be decimated in Russia and Japan, we exercise our responsibility to say enough is enough, no so called progress is worth this scale of destruction across space and time. Who will ensure the integrity of Chernobyl’s sarcophagus in 2386?  There is no alternative water to drink or air to breath. There is no antidote for excessive radiation exposure or the cancers and genetic mutations it engenders, silently corrupting and killing present and future generations.  Chernobyl’s first responders had zero chance of survival. Think on these unadorned facts and visit Elena’s blog. We need 7 generations’ worth of common sense, not rocket science to cultivate our human future on this one and only planet.


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The Mississippi River Conservancy recently purchased almost 400 acres adjacent to our town from a private owner and quietly opened the land to public use. A serious hike’s required to get to the top of the bluff, following a ravine watercourse, but once you’re up there vistas spread out and it’s beyond lovely. With only foot or horseback traffic permitted, the trail’s quiet and lonely in the best way. Mind space and woods space to wander sprawls invitingly. Some of the land was once grazed and bits of old open pasture and decayed fence-line remain; beyond that its all woods, prairie sky and critters, overhead, underfoot and under cover all around. I’ve been up top twice so far, the last time late on an overcast day with falling light. Here’s some of it:

Prairie Goldenrods and Leadplant  like minarets

Back-lit prairie grasses, goldenrod variants and lead plant glow like a Moroccan skyline at sunset

Call to rest

Nature’s minarets calling all to rest at dusk

Staghorn Sumac

Sumac spread flamelike through the brittle grasses

Prairie Grass Notations

Switch or Panic Grasses embraced by the wind inscribe its passage

Prairie Fireworks

Tiny seeds shoot skyward and arcing, fall like blossoming fireworks

Who, what, when, why?

Who what when why was the fence built and abandoned? Nature Prevails

Until we meet again

However empty the trail, in the woods we’re never alone. Whether wild things or memories, watchers abound. For Paul Mathis, gone too soon, GCAFM

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Civilian Conservation Corp access staircase to another world, built in 1930’s about the same time Tolkien was writing the Hobbit- was it something in the water?

Exhausted by civilization I spent yesterday alone in the woods, best remedy in the world and one that needs to be taken by everyone- by me in larger doses, more frequently and longer. Wyalusing State Park is one of Wisconsin’s treasures along the Mississippi River. So much of the normal sacred wilderness shares with us has gone missing from our day to day worlds, and we suffer that absence unknowingly, individually and as a culture. Without deep roots, growth ceases.  These photos contain some of the old medicine I discovered yesterday.


Headwater above the cave. Don’t let the tiny stream fool you- a torrent’s just one heavy rainfall away


Picture Rock Cave, water carved in St Peter sandstone, @ 400 million years old, deposited below the waves of the Ordovician Sea.


Woodland Effigy Mound peoples took refuge here; their petroglyphs and rock paintings were destroyed by subsequent visitors. http://www.nps.gov/efmo/historyculture/effigy-moundbuilders.htm


Beauty at every turn in these woods


Hanging Gardens of leaf, moss and shadow adorn the upper walls of this sandstone cavern

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Spring Locust Sprawlinghttp://instagram.com/p,/ZWy_w_NUqr/
An infinity of curves, in every season this tree grabs my attention. Amazing long pods will form and dangle down later this summer. Did I mention the gigantic thorns? More about the tree here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honey_locust
Photo shot w/ Droid cam, instafilter processed.

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