Earth Day 2017

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High above the road sits a substantial bundle of twigs, carefully constructed to situate within its hard confines.

An eagle dives in, fish clutched in its talons, bending low to land on the edge.

Clearly, there is at least one hatched eaglet inside this nest.

While an eagle in full flight is breath-taking, this particular nature sighting keeps me pondering all day.

This eagle’s nest sits perched within the steel girding of a hydroelectric power link that crisscrosses my city.

 

 

There are trees in nearby flying range; yet, none so tall as that power grid.

Tall trees are becoming a rarity in our cites.

But, in front of my own house grow three sixty-year-old cedar trees. Not so long ago the house builder dropped by, hoping to still find the trees he planted. I am quick to express my gratitude for his gift, especially since my shortened cedars stand in an area of rapid multi-density development. Old standing trees are being quickly pulled down, cut into logs, and hauled away like trash.

Yet, each tree has a lifetime of stories.

When  I sit perched at my computer, my thoughts are often drawn away from its unnatural glare to search tree branches for the source of unusual trilling of prolific singing birds

As twilight lengthens, baby racoons chirp furiously their warnings when my son walks beneath their high cedar home. In threes, they are preparing to traipse down for their evening food scavenging.

Food they once ate in broad daylight, like summer ripe cherries in our backyard tree.

Peter OnlyThat cherry tree’s sturdy limbs also supported yearly tree-fort reconstruction. My lads entertained grandiose engineering ideas that never came to fruition; but those ideas kept their days occupied within tree branches.

Sun-warmed cherries provided ample fresh snacks; food for boys and raccoons alike.

In deep winter, the tree offered shelter for blue jays and incessant hammering woodpeckers, undisturbed by lads sitting in a hammock slung between two branches or the swinging of a roped tire.

 

I have but a small city sized lot, in an ever-expanding city landscape. Yet, trees fortuitously planted by that builder years before we arrived continue to grace my family with memoirs of tree stories.

trees are poems that the Earth writes upon the sky Kahlil Gibson

With much of my local landscape changing, I wonder not so much of what is now gone but rather, what more will be missed.

Like the eaglet born within its steel lined nest, children born today will miss what is rapidly being removed from their landscape.

A steel girded home for a newly born eaglet is surely better than no home.

 

Yet, who would not rather wish for that eaglet trees so tall that natural green leaves would surround its nest.

Who would not rather wish for children the breathtaking experience of standing beneath hundred year old trees flush with blossoms.

Trees readily co-exist in an urban setting. By their existence, they provide not only living breath but a life-essence presence.

Far better to plant trees today, that will soar to great heights, than to regret their loss later. Planting now ensures future generations will be able to discover life experiences that await within their presence.

While an eaglet may be born within steel grids, it quickly masters skills to soar far beyond human vision.

Not so for the small birds, squirrels, and raccoons.

Not so for the small child, teen, and adult.

Within several city blocks, I am privileged to experience trees and their life stories. In my city, all it has taken is political will and public determination.

To plant trees is a legacy planted for all future generations.

Feathered

Furred

Fleshed.

 

 

 

 

Related Articles :

Sentinels of the Earth 

For the love of Trees

 

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World Autism Awareness Day 2017

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I do not have an autistic child or grandchild.

But,  I do frequently chat with parents whose children have autism.

Is that a child with autism or an autistic child?

Is that simply a semantics question?

I think not.

To say  ‘A child with autism’ is to focus first on the child, a person.

To say,  ‘An autistic child’,  is to first focus on their life challenge.

Lisa Genova’s compelling and insightful novel Love Anthony reveals the difference.

This book considers the parents’ perspective, parents who often find their child bewildering and frequently nearly impossible. They struggle to hug and to love their child, a child who often hates to be touched or makes eye contact.

Yet longing to hug and to be loved is a struggle for the child with autism as well.

They hear that their brain doesn’t work right, yet ” it doesn’t feel broken to me”, as Lisa Genova’s character with autism reveals.

Genova’s interpretation of Anthony’s autistic mind gifts us an authentic and memorable voice that is simultaneously heart-breaking and breath-taking.

While autism might be a life challenge, Love Anthony reminds us that challenges in life can become life-affirming.

 

As we attend to the daily details of our lives, we all yearn to love and to be loved as we struggle with life’s challenges.  

To love and to be loved makes each of our lives worthwhile.

 

Those who live with autism yearn for no less than that.

Related:

Movie:Temple Grandin (2010).  TED talk by Temple Grandin, who was recently named to the US National Women’s Hall of Fame 

Blog: Life with Greyson and Parker, an honest and insightful mother of two children with “Superpowers” blogs on her life with them.

Books: Love Anthony by Louise Genova . A good review here from a mother of a child with autism. Reaching One Thousand, a memoir by Rachel’s son, who has autism

Man sues Gym 

Women’s Day 2017

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In a recent discussion on current world politics, a man turned to a woman, and said:

Too bad women didn’t run the world, eh?  

If women ran the world, instead of fighting and war, well, they’d likely be out organizing sewing circles, or something like that.

 

Comments like this are a glaring reminder why March 8 is Women’s Day.

Clearly, an international day that purposefully strives to focus respect and appreciation for women’s political, social and economic achievements across the globe is still necessary.

In developing nations, most often this day’s primary focus is to obtain the same rights and opportunities for women that men enjoy.

Yet, each nation requires a specific focus, for globally,there is a complexity and diversity in women’s lives as they strive for equality.

Too often in developed nations, that primary focus is on career woman.553360_345492502195288_1489654127_n

 

The ill-informed man who uttered those degrading comments was unaware that that capable mother of five sons he spoke to not only had an Education degree, but a minor in Political Science.

While the politics of Women’s Day may focus on the workplace, the inherent value of all women is diminished when Women’s Day fails to recognize that, for many women, motherhood is an integral and essential element of their chosen path.

Women’s Day can gracefully encourage women to pursue choices where their personal fulfilment lies in ways that celebrate the fullness of all womanhood.

This boorish man saw only a woman who’d sewed all her family’s clothing, cooked all their family meals and taught her children to read.

His prejudiced mind refused to acknowledge her other paths of fulfilment of included giving speeches, mentoring students and obtaining a post-secondary education.

His unenlightened viewpoint is why Women’s Day is still necessary.

It empowers women to follow choices that are not either/or, but both /and.

Both family and career.

Both story time and dialogue.

Both sewing and campaigning.

Choices that don’t limit but expand potential.

As a result of women’s choices, men are also able to experience both /and.

Both a gratifying career and an abiding relationship with their children.

Fostering these choices for families with children requires extending paid parental leave.

Women’s Day’s quest for equality fosters freedom for every human to achieve their life’s potential by following their chosen paths.

Despite that ignorant man’s callous comments, these chosen paths still include the choice for a time in her life for an intelligent woman to stare not up at a ‘glass ceiling’ but at a floor, one covered with wee toys and messy girls or boys.

Women’s Day is not only a day of celebration which empowers women. It empowers both men and women the freedom to choose how they wish to live their lives in all the ways that fulfill them.  

As this year’s Women’s Day Caterpillar campaign promotes, let’s all be bold for change, ensuring that this bold change creates choices for women and men that are both unifying for their families and financially doable.

Maternity Leave US vs Canada