Wilderness — A Meditation

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Marcyn del Clements - Haiku

California poet, Marcyn del Clements, won first place in the Catttails Poetry Magazine
contest with this haiku

Queensland votes on Saturday - Kate Jones

2 years ago I fell in love with a man who was cool, kind, intelligent and had a social conscience. He has 6 children; all wonderful, kind and warm human beings. One of his children, his only daughter, happens to be Kate Jones. I have come to know John's kids slowly, but well. Kate is a genuine, kind, wise, wickedly funny, witty and fiercely intelligent human being. She obviously loves her husband and her two children and has an enormous heart and a labor soul that cares intensely for her community and her family and the wider common good. Genuinely. The sparkly charisma that you see on the telly is ten-fold in real-life. She is actually quite special. The kind of special that you only come across very occasionally. The kind of special that means you grab it and hold on to it. I really believe she will be such an asset to Ashgrove and I hope the public agree, tomorrow. But really, it doesn't matter either way, she will shine in anything she puts that 'Kate' heart and soul to. Best wishes for tomorrow, you wonderful woman. (Carita)

Friday, January 30, 2015

Australia's Whip Bird

By the way, did you hear the whip bird? He starts and his mate finishes up the cracking whip song.”
“I heard it earlier. Takes a couple to make that sound, does it?”
“Over there, see the brush turkeys? They scratch up the duff to make their nests.”
“There’re so many of them. Kind of scraggly.”
“Yep, we protect the scraggly.”

Looking up at him in his well-worn hiking gear, I offered, “I noticed.”
(chapter 10 Sierra Sunrise)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Australian Morning Alarm

A bit later in the morning, I awoke, languidly rolled over, and asked, “Whose song is that?”
“Kookaburra. It’s a chorus they use to guide the sun on its journey through the clouds on the eastern shore.”
“What time is it?”
He looked over his shoulder to check the clock. “Bout 4:30.”
“No lie? Those birds are going to wake us at this hour every day?”
“Summer time is busy. You go back to sleep. I’m gonna make a pot of coffee.”

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America and India - May They Stand Together

May these two men convince their nations, their legislatures, their people to protect the endangered species of the planet, to work together to stop the insidious climate change that is in the process of creating The Sixth Extinction.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Bookworm Confession

Back to Santa Fe by Durand
Sierra Sunrise by Shamah
Bully for Brontosaurua by Gould
The English Patient by Ondaatje
Tiny Acts of Love by Lawrie
Hand Me Downs by Shamah
The Love of a Good Woman by Munro
The Essential Rumi by Barks
The Luminaries by Catton
Fancy Feet by Cave
Saxon's Bane by Gudgion
Euphoria by King
Redelployment by Klay
The Sixth Extinction by Kolbert
The Frangipani Hotel by Kupersmith
The Making of Her by Nott-Bower
Troll by Sutton

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Loving Oneself Is Never As Easy As It Sounds

"Sierra Sunrise" is at times a difficult read, ultimately because of the utterly gripping way the author manages to inject honest, high-impact emotion into each step her characters take. You end up really caring about her main characters and get annoyed when they repeatedly refuse to read the six foot high letters on the wall. You also fall in love with her carefully crafted settings.

It's an important novel describing the process through which a retired High School teacher confronts (or dodges...) all the different ways that her past baggage has its hands all over her present life, her decisions, even her reactions to both pain and joy.

On the surface this book seems like a Romance, but it carries such resounding personal depth and understanding of a damaged soul, that it is much more than that. Fortunately, a much-needed moment of clear self-knowledge awaits.

Add a star if you read in the romance or in the fictional memoir genres regularly, or if you feel your life is controlled by an event from your childhood.

Richard Sutton, Amazon 16 January 2015
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Sunday, January 25, 2015

UCLA Researchers May Have Found A Successful Intervention for Memory Loss

Memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s reversed for first time
Small trial by UCLA and Buck Institute succeeds using ‘systems approach’ to memory disorders
Mark Wheeler | October 02, 2014

Bredesen’s approach is personalized to the patient, based on extensive testing to determine what is affecting the brain’s plasticity signaling network. In the case of the patient with the demanding job who was forgetting her way home, her therapy consisted of some, but not all, of the components of Bredesen’s program, including:
  • eliminating all simple carbohydrates, gluten and processed food from her diet, and eating more vegetables, fruits and non-farmed fish
  • meditating twice a day and beginning yoga to reduce stress
  • sleeping seven to eight hours per night, up from four to five
  • taking melatonin, methylcobalamin, vitamin D3, fish oil and coenzyme Q10 each day
  • optimizing oral hygiene using an electric flosser and electric toothbrush
  • reinstating hormone replacement therapy, which had previously been discontinued
  • fasting for a minimum of 12 hours between dinner and breakfast, and for a minimum of three hours between dinner and bedtime
  • exercising for a minimum of 30 minutes, four to six days per week

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sierra Sunrise: A Travel Adventure — Page ONE

Chapter 1 — Wilderness      

Startled awake by muscle spasms, I disengage from the tightly tucked mummy bag. Nothing is warmer on an early June backpacking night than a form fitting down bag. And nothing is more frustrating than a fabric-stuck zipper caught in the folds of polyester. Releasing the zipper, I curse yesterday’s huge egg-carton-shaped snow cups on the north slope of Mt. Donahue.

Finally free, I stretch sore hamstrings and an aching back. Sunrise streams through the tidy little tent. Unfettered pink and golden rays play above the eastern escarpment of California’s Sierra Nevada.  Merrie Munroe, the world’s best backpacking partner, lies in her bivy nearby.

“You ready for a second death defying day?” I ask.

Her tousled blond head lifts slightly from her sleeping bag. “Ah, Demi! Another day, ‘nother adventure.”

The two of us love backpacking in the midst of wildflowers, boulders, and bears. Today, we intend to separate entirely from civilization. I love to trek, to accept the challenges of wilderness.  I know she feels the same.

Half an hour later, we sling on packs and tighten straps. Tuolumne Meadow and Donahue Pass behind us, forty miles of the John Muir trail ahead, we trek south. 

“Three more days of paradise.” Merrie jokes.

“Anything’d be better than where we’ve been. Late June or not, we started too soon.
Muddy progress slows our advance along a trail where snowmelt carves a two-foot deep ditch. The roar of water echoes across the meadow as we approach the ponderosa and white pine forest.

“Must be big,” I shout above the racket.

“Oh, my god; it is!” Merrie responds.

Stunned by the amount of water swirling before us, I stride ahead. Turning, I call back to Merrie, “Looks more like a raging river than a Sierra creek. Can you see a crossing?”

Sweat drizzles down moist cleavage. Curly brown bangs cling to my forehead breaking out in a rash of tiny beads. This is precisely the scene I battled in nightmares before we left home.

A few yards in front of us thunders the fastest moving water I’ve ever seen in the Sierra.  Tall, angular red pentstemon peek  past the greenery wherever the water slows enough to allow them to anchor to the soil. Water clambers over fallen timber on the edges of the confluence of three creeks. Cyclonic pools create eddies. As we walk closer, soft spongy mountain soil grabs at our boots sucking them into the slushy mud. We either stand on dry ground or instantly in a foot of water.

Agitated, I trip over downed limbs and step into holes created by rushing streams washing away the soft Sierra duff near the shore.We search for shallow, slower moving waters to ford. On the higher ground of the opposite shore, the trail heads off to the left.

“All I can hear is churning water; can’t believe there’s a crossing.” shouts Merrie.

“Didn’t your thighs hate yesterday’s climb, Merrie? I don’t ever intend to climb out of a whole ridge of ice encrusted three-foot-deep egg cartons again. Even so, maybe we ought to go back and wait a couple of weeks.”

“Not a chance. Bring your hiking poles. We can use ‘em to measure the depth of the water.”

“Impossible. Look at the current. We’ll be swept downstream before we swim half way across.” I yell over the roar.

(Available at Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Flipcart, Apple, Baker & Taylor, Diesel, Library Direct, OverDrive, Oyster, Page Foundry, Sony, and Scribd)