Friday, January 18, 2008

Follow-ups and First Steps

*Noticed a discussion on this morning about the taunted tiger killing and surprisingly people were almost unanimous in their support of the tiger.

*Two Sea Shepherd crew members who boarded one of the whaling ships in the Antarctic were released to an Australian ship and transferred back to the Steve Irwin after being held by the whalers for two days. Confrontations and updates continue on the ocean and the Sea Shepherd and Greenpeace websites.

*In last week’s post about the bears I provided a link to a great letter by a woman who offered $1000 to the owner of the cabin under which the bears were hibernating if she would withdraw her request to the DNR to remove them. Today’s local paper contains a mocking letter in reply: “My, what a feel-good story. I bet many readers were overcome with a sudden urge to hug the nearest tree.” The writer/hunter goes on to list all the animals he won’t kill if someone sends him money, then rambles on about his supposed concern that wildlife is not for sale.

My initial reaction was simply, “What an ass.” Then I felt sorry for insulting all the asses in the world, and started thinking about why he obviously feels so threatened by people who want to save and respect wildlife and trees instead of killing them. This kind of angry letter always appears after an event like this where some animal is seen as an individual instead of as a thing. A few months ago they were about a very well known deer which was shot and killed by a young hunter. That batch of letters often mentioned what a great family tradition hunting is. What proud parents they must be, teaching their children to kill.

*Some recent confusion over chips (e.g., chocolate vs. potato) had me chuckling again about unintentional wordplay. I often try to throw some humor and obscurities into my writing but I surprised even myself with a recent post about snow, the UP, a bus, a documentary, growing old, and a bunch of other subjects. I had consciously tried to put in some transition along the way, but subconsciously apparently added a lot more. Reading and letting it roll through my brain afterward, I started seeing many repeated words and parallels between different sections of the post and entertained myself for quite a while.

*It’s below 0 F here and probably won’t get above zero again until Monday. If I’m free, I usually join the Martin Luther King march because it’s the only holiday which means anything to me, and as a stand against the racism which is very common in this mostly white part of the country. I may have to pass this year.

*A couple nights ago I attended a gathering about nature writers and nature journaling led by a man who does wonderfully enthusiastic commentary on happenings of the natural world on a local radio station. I’d been looking forward to it since I’d heard of it, but with me becoming more of a recluse all the time, still had to force myself to go and I’m glad I did.

Preparing for it led me to look again at some of my favorite books such as Swampwalker’s Journal by David M. Carroll. After I read that and his memoir Self-Portrait with Turtles and wrote to David, he was kind enough to reply with a letter and a copy of one of his out of print books. Trained as an artist, his books include his wonderful drawings and I whole-heartedly recommend them.

At the meeting, I saw some friends I hadn’t seen in a long time, learned the names of a few writers I wasn’t aware of, and even saw a couple guys with hair longer than mine which is longer than it’s been in over ten years. Best of all there was talk of making this a regular event.

*I hope the spark of discussing nature writing will get me out walking more again, something I’ve been too caught up in various problems to do much of lately. I’m also using my past Tai Chi experience to start exploring Qigong, and considering resuming some practice I used to do with animal/nature cards as a means of focusing. Let the calming begin. ;-)


Lisa J. said...

What proud parents they must be, teaching their children to kill.

Aah.... hunting....

I'm trying desperately to foster that natural ability children have to feel compassion toward animals. It may have gone a bit far though... recently my son talks about how his stuffed animals get lonely while he's at school & would I please carry them around the house house with me so they don't get scared!!

No pressure or anything, but I feel like I HAVE to see a picture of you now, talking about being a recluse with long hair! :) I'm picturing grizzly adams right now!!! LOL!

Lisa J. said...

No no no... wait! Mr Edwards from Little House on the Prairie!

(you're going to start your hunting career with me, aren't you?)

greentangle said...

Ha! Along with all my other Luddite tendencies, I've never joined the digital photo world so no new photo here (but see under the falcons post for directions to an old one).

I used to get a lot of Harrison (closest in my opinion), Lennon, Christ comments when I was younger so just picture them in one of their bearded shoulder length hair phases, put mostly salt in the salt and pepper beard, add big old man glasses and ta da, there I am.

And take good care of those stuffed animals. Your son is counting on you!

Stephanie said...

I need to do more of what you're doing--getting out and connecting more with people who have interests, ideas, and plans similar to mine, to maybe help keep my energy up. I've been realizing lately how staying holed up at home so much and spending so much of that time not doing the things that make me me have been chipping away at any sense of inspiration, creativity, or passion.

I had to listen to my ailing grandpa tell an old deer-hunting story, in great detail, over the holidays. I caught members of my immediate family periodically glancing over at teary-eyed, jaw-clenched me. I love that man dearly, but it took all the strength I had not to walk out of the room or start an argument with him.

The hunter who wrote the newspaper letter is, excuse me, a fucking moron.

greentangle said...

Hmm, how do you really feel about that letter writer? :)

Tough about your grandfather. My father wasn't still hunting when I was a kid but I remember a stuffed/mounted/whatever squirrel and pheasant in the house. Maybe an owl too? Thankfully, he never tried to pass on the great family tradition.

I think you're very right about the positive effect of spending time with people of similar ideas/values but I don't do a very good job of it. Just the one nature writing night for me, everything else I mentioned is me, myself, and I.

One of the reasons I'd like to be living in Boston again is that vegetarian, vegan and animal groups have boomed there since I left. Other than some circus protesters (and holding a sign really isn't my thing) there isn't anything like that here. But at least there is a strong contingent of nature lovers.

I did get in a 2 mile walk this morning in sub-zero weather and enjoyed seeing deer and hare tracks along the way.

Stephanie said...

Too many of my extended family members have mounted heads (or fish) on their walls. As a kid, they freaked me out. As an adult, they break my heart.

Oh, how I'd love to live in the Boston area. B & I have been saying that ever since our return from our fall trip. We can't wait to get back. But we'll never do it. Too attached to our families, damn it.

If flying were less expensive (and flying just to do this weren't so damn environmentally irresponsible), I'd fly in for just one or two nights every couple months just to go have dinner at Grasshopper. And though we definitely got the sense of a veg/animal rights community there, I was actually surprised that there wasn't more of one. But then again, we were visitors--and visitors for just a few days at that--so it's not like we had gobs of time to explore or immerse ourselves.

I'm actually thinking of applying to limited-residency MFA programs in the area (not now, but maybe within the next year); I wouldn't mind a legitimate, tax-deductible reason to fly out there a couple times a year.

I haven't done much in the way of nature-exploration this winter. I was just saying last night, though, how anxious I am to get back into some early-morning hiking once spring gets here.

greentangle said...

While living there, I was also very surprised that there were no activist radical type eco/animal groups at all. That was among the many reasons I moved away ... couldn't find any like-minded people to keep me there. Maybe there were groups on individual campuses. But now there's a Boston Vegan Association, an Animal Defense League chapter, a much more active Vegetarian Society, and a new vegan restaurant opening.

As for Grasshopper, I've actually never been there. It's inconvenient to get to by public transit, and there are a couple similar restaurants in easier locations. I was going to finally make it on the last trip because I was going to the New Balance outlet in the area, but read many reviews saying the food's gone downhill.

If you head out that way again, let me know and I'll give you tips.