The first weekend of this month saw Jeannie and me in Chicago. Then back home in Merlin, earlier this week, half-an-inch of rain fell to break a long spell of dry weather. I went out last Thursday morning to capture some sights of the first misty morning of Autumn. The contrast between our rural home and Chicago was dramatic; to say the least! Enjoy!
(P.S. I sensed there was no need to describe each photograph in terms of which one was taken in Merlin or in Chicago!)
In last week’s Picture Parade it was mentioned that at some point I would share some of the sights of home.
Well today, all the photographs were taken here at home (that being Merlin, Southern Oregon). The motivation behind these photographs was learning the operation of a new camera that I recently treated myself with. That is turning out to be quite a task; the user manual is 510 pages long!
But in no particular order, here are a few pictures.
Can’t close without publicly thanking the wonderful photographic forum Ugly Hedgehog. With over 75,000 users it really is a superb place for all those interested in photography. The forum was invaluable in helping me decide what camera to purchase and, just as importantly, where to purchase it from.
The last two posts have offered two aspects of our bountiful Nature. First we had Earth Day and the celebration of our trees. Then yesterday we had the celebration of the birth of five Canada Geese goslings.
So it seemed appropriate to continue the theme for another day.
Earlier this month there was an article over on MNN that I saved for later use simply because the message it offered was counter-intuitive. Here’s how that article opened:
Deforestation vs. nature: The winner might surprise you
Large-scale tree-planting projects, abandoned farmland help balance out rain forest destruction.
By: Michael Graham Richard
Wed, Apr 08, 2015 at 10:11 AM
The researchers found that despite ongoing deforestation in the rain forests of South America and Southeast Asia — a huge problem, regardless of what happens elsewhere — other regions outside the tropics, such as Africa and Australia, have been improving enough to offset the losses. Some of the more unexpected sources of this extra biomass are farmland abandoned after the fall of communism where forests have spontaneously regrown in the former Soviet republics, as well as in areas of China where large-scale tree planting projects took place.
What really caught my eye was another photo from NASA that showed the biomass stored in trees in the USA.
But as the article reminded readers:
We’re only talking about biomass quantities being offset, though; the loss of rain forests also mean the loss of many species of animals and plants, as well as unique habitats that can’t be replaced by other regions elsewhere, such as the savannah of Africa or the Australian Outback. So while this is good news, we can’t declare victory over deforestation just yet!
Nonetheless, I am sure that I am not the only one to welcome this reminder of the power of Nature. Or in the closing words of that MNN article:
In the period between 2003-2012, the total amount of vegetation above the ground has increased by about 4 billion tonnes of carbon. Any way you slice in, 4 billion tonnes is significant!
This is particularly important because around 25 percent of the CO2 that we release into the atmosphere by burning formerly buried hydrocarbons is absorbed by plants, so having more of them can help slow down (but not stop) climate change, and there’s a limit to plants’ rate of absorption. Still, it’s nice to get good news for a change …
While it may be a long way yet from them being tonnes of carbon, let me close with three pictures of ‘increasing tree biomass‘ right here on Hugo Road in Merlin, Oregon.
Nature really does have all the answers to man’s long-term survival.
Or, to be more precise, any form of post for today.
The weather forecast for Southern Oregon for yesterday included very significant rain.
They were not wrong.
By the time I sat down to think about Saturday’s post, around 2pm, we had already had 3.2 inches of rain (8.1 cm) and our attention, understandably, was on more important matters, such as the integrity of our driveway bridge over Bummer Creek.
So if you will forgive me, I’ll just offer a few pictures and leave it at that.
Starting with a picture that Jean expressly said I couldn’t publish!
What lucky horses to have such a devoted ‘Mum’ that feeds them every morning; whatever the weather.
Neighbours who have been here much longer than us say they haven’t seen so much rain fall in such a short time.
This is an old dam for irrigation purposes. One doesn’t want to reflect too long that a cubic yard of water weighs a ton!
So that’s it for today.
Another picture parade for tomorrow assuming I haven’t been lynched by my lovely wife for showing that earlier photograph.
A connection with a wild animal doesn’t get better than this.
You may wonder, dear reader, how I “square the circle” in terms of a post title, Utterly beyond words, and then reaching out to you with the use of words! My answer to that legitimate question is that if I reflected for the rest of my life, I couldn’t verbalise adequately the feelings (but note p.s. at the end of the post) that went through me, and through Jean, when a mother deer and her young fawn, crossed the boundary between their wild, animal world and our human world.
This is what happened.
Last Sunday afternoon, around 4pm, I was pottering around the area of fruit trees just above our stables. We were fully aware that deer were coming in to our property to eat fallen apples as many times we had caught a glimpse of them through a window.
Anyway, on this particular afternoon outside by the stables, I noticed a deer eating some fallen apples and, somehow, picked up the idea that this gorgeous, wild animal was not stressed-out by me standing there looking at her from some twenty feet away.
After a few minutes of just watching, I quietly went across to the garage where we keep a bag of cob, or cracked corn, that we use to feed the deer during tough winter times. I collected a small amount in a round plastic tray and went back into the orchard area and sat with my back against the trunk of an old oak tree, spread my legs apart and placed the tray with the cob in between my knees.
The mother deer was still hunting around for fallen apples but within a couple of minutes looked across at me, clearly smelling the cob.
Slowly but steadily the beautiful creature came towards me and, miracle of miracles, trusted me sufficiently to eat from the tray. Her head was well within arm’s reach of me!
I was totally mesmerised by this beautiful, fragile, wild animal, head down, eating cob less than three feet from my face! I had the urge to touch her.
Slowly, I reached forward and took a small handful of the cob from the tray and with my other hand pulled the tray to one side. My hand with the cob was fully outstretched; my heart was whispering to the deer that I would never, ever harm her.
Softly, gently the deer reached towards me and nibbled the cob from my left hand.
Later on, when I relayed this incredible event to Jean, I said that if it was at all possible we must try and take a photograph of a wild deer feeding from our hands.
Moving on to Monday afternoon, camera ready if necessary, we kept an eye out for the return of the deer. There was no sign of her. Looked as though it wasn’t going to happen.
Then just before 7pm, I looked up from my desk and there, just outside the window, was the deer. But even better, this time the mother was accompanied by her young fawn.
I grabbed the camera and quickly told Jean to meet me outside with a refill of cob in the same plastic tray. We both sat down on the flat concrete cover of the septic tank; me with the camera, Jean with the tray of cob.
Over to the photographs! The daylight was fading fast and I was hand-holding the camera, thus these are not the sharpest of pictures. But so what!
When I published my post Space for Nature a little over a week ago, a post that included a photograph of two deer some thirty feet from Jean’s car, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined what took place last Tuesday afternoon.
Words truly do seem inadequate.
P.S. It is at times like this that we need poetry. So how about it: Sue?Kim? How would you describe in poetry what Jean and I experienced?
Way back in July 2012, I posted the following item.
Dear Readers of Learning from Dogs.
Today, Jeannie and I are off on a trip to Oregon.
We expect to be away for about the next 10 or 11 days.
While there are a number of new posts that will come out during this period, rather than have quiet days with nothing being posted, some days I will be republishing posts from the last three years; hopefully most of them new to your eyes.
Inevitably, responding promptly to comments will be tough.
Which is why I am so grateful to Martin Lack of Lack of Environment who graciously agreed to keep an eye on things while we are away.
That was twenty-six months ago.
Yesterday morning, Jean and I took Reggie and Chris down to our creek area to feed some wild deer that have been congregating in recent days.
After Jean had sprinkled some cracked corn on the ground, one of the seven deer around us started feeding and when it looked up at me, I took the following picture.
One might be forgiven for thinking that community is an odd bed-fellow with trust and truth. Many might think that faith would be a more logical third leg, so to speak.
However, I hope to show that in today’s world where trust and truth are beleaguered qualities a rethinking of community is critically vital for the long-term health of mankind.
Can’t resist a third look-up in Roget’s Thesaurus.
Persons as an organised body: people, public, society.
For me two words jump out from that definition: persons; organised.
The challenge is that the word organised is easily interpreted as an organisation with leaders and followers. But that’s not how community is regarded in the context of this third essay.
“No man is an island”, John Donne wrote in 1624.
This is a quotation from John Donne (1572-1631). It appears in Devotions upon emergent occasions and seuerall steps in my sicknes – Meditation XVII, 1624:
“All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated…As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness….No man is an island, entire of itself…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
Thus for the vast majority of people on the face of this planet, we are linked to others and how we live our lives is fundamentally influenced by those others about us. In a past life, I lived in the village of Harberton in South Devon. The population of Harberton was 300 persons.
Now I was lucky when I moved into Harberton because my two sisters, Rhona and Corinne, had lived in the area for many years and it was easy for me to be positioned as ‘the brother’. Nevertheless, the way that the village embraced all newcomers was wonderful and within a very short time one felt a settled member of the community.
Same for Jean and me as relative newcomers to our property just 4 miles from Merlin, Oregon. All of our neighbours have embraced us and helped us understand this new rural life that we have embarked on. We feel part of the local community.
Yet it doesn’t stop there.
Obviously, I’m a WordPress user! Learning from Dogs is a WordPress blog! But were you aware of the size of the WordPress community? (As of now!)
How many posts are being published?
Users produce about 44.5 million new posts and 56.7 million new comments each month.
How many people are reading blogs?
Over 409 million people view more than 14.7 billion pages each month.
Even my funny little blog has 959 followers!
What that figure doesn’t reveal is how many of my followers have offered support, openness and real loving friendship. None better demonstrated than by the comments left by readers when I announced the recent death of Dhalia.
Think of the way that untold numbers of internet users rely on that ‘worldwide web’ for referrals, opinions or knowledge about anything ‘under the sun’.
So while there might be many aspects of our new technological world that create unease, the opportunities for having ‘virtual’ friends to complement our social friends make this era unprecedented.
I would go so far as to say this. That the way that knowledge and information can be shared around the world in no time at all may be our ultimate protection against those who would seek to harm us and this planet.
How to close these essays? Perhaps no better than as follows:
On Wednesday evening we were joined by neighbours, Dordie and Bill. My post on truth came up in discussion. Bill mentioned that he had read about a person who had spent many years studying the texts of all the world’s major religions. What had emerged was that across all those great religions there was a common view as to what the long-term health and survival of societies requires.
It is this: the telling of truth and the keeping of promises!