Pipevine Swallowtail Caterpillars
The trees at Berkeley's Aquatic Park are crawling with undocumented immigrants. The new arrivals recently set up crowded encampments in the foliage above the golf course, creating a nuisance for golfers. The migrants are traveling 2,000 miles from Canada to Mexico, as they do every year, despite lacking permission from the proper United States authorities to overwinter on American soil. These aliens have been seen floating over border patrol checkpoints by the millions, flouting the rule of law and making a mockery of the very notion of the nation state. At a recent press conference on the crisis, Trump promised to make every effort to deport the shiftless butterflies, who, he also noted, are lazy and do not contribute to the economy. He promised to personally subsidize a butterfly net the size of Texas to prevent more of these filthy pests from invading American soil and infesting our nation with their ecoterrorist agenda. In a show of support for Trump, the NRA promised to equip Native-born golfers with semi-automatic machine guns in order to keep the peace.
I placed a drop of liquid brown sugar on the counter. Word spread quickly, pheromone trails were forged. In no time the sisters had circled around like wildebeest at a watering hole. Each ant has two stomachs: an individual stomach for her own survival, and a social stomach for collective survival. Life is sweet.
Dragonfly has been here for 300 million years, which is 280 million years longer than humans. I don't mind saying that I look up to Dragonfly the way a child looks up to a great grandparent. Our ancestors are flitting about in the reeds! Grampa looks beautiful today.
The beauty of the world stubbornly persists. Some flowers only bloom in the dead of night.
A grandmother who passed before I was born raised roses competitively. She coaxed perfumes out of manure and alchemized dirt into forms that I imagine would make Georgia O’Keefe blush, for which she was rewarded with ribbons and prizes and the admiration of a granddaughter she would never meet who inherited her love for roses. Although I never set eyes on my grandmother, I see her glow in every rose I meet. Although I own nothing her hands touched, I walk the world wearing her hand-me-down pair of rose-colored glasses.
The underbrush is giving a leafy lecture on the evolutionary advantages of radial symmetry and other mathematically efficient beauty. Classes are ongoing.
"Listen, are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?" - Mary Oliver
I took this photograph for my patron saint, Imogen Cunningham. I think she would find this undulating form highly caressable.
“walking with the river
the water does my thinking”
“What a waste of time to go to the garden,” I never thought.
I woke up this morning intending to do Responsible Purposeful Things, but I got sidetracked and accidentally fell in love with a pine cone playing with a beam of light.
Meet me under the pine tree at fishrise.
The humility of the buckwheat gives me pause as I stride importantly along. There are lessons blooming in the underbrush.
Can anyone use a bit of beauty today? Here are some aquatic plants that are submerged but not drowning, bending but not breaking in the flux and flow.
Ours is a scrappy planet. We must be rugged creatures for such terrain.
This is what California’s golden hills look like when you float by them in a kayak, drifting in the wind.
There is the heaven we enter
through institutional grace
and there are the yellow finches bathing and singing
in the lowly puddle.
- from Yellow by Mary Oliver
(This is a yellow warbler, not a finch, but the sentiment stands.)
“The humming is always there, even at rest.” - The Mincing Mockingbird
I felt these birds before I saw them, a rustle of wind and a presence over my shoulder. When I looked up, I didn't have a name for them, so I broke out into a full-body sweat, as if my every pore were calling out to them. I dubbed them the Goosebumps Birds, but later I learned that their real name is the Magnificent Frigatebirds, a worthy title for a beast whose very Is-ness can make an otherwise solid human go liquid.
Several of nature's people
I know, and they know me;
I feel for them a transport
- Emily Dickinson
A fun thing to do is to watch how spider webs turn raindrops into fireworks.
Do trees have consciousness? I don’t know, but I suspect their root system is the original internet. Here’s a profile pic I took for Cedar to post on Forest Facebook.
The source of all energy on our planet, our Sun deserves a standing ovation. The stellar members of Women’s Wellness 2018 rise to the occasion.