Where do we go from here?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Getting Ourselves Back To The Garden

Recently we treated ourselves to an Albuquerque Biopark membership, something we have meant to do ever since we arrived here five years ago.  Now that we have it we go to the Botanic Garden at least once a week, sometimes two or three.  Of course this is the best time for those trips, weather still very enjoyable, everything in the gardens coming into bloom, birds everywhere, air full of pollen and allergens, no no, forget that part - we just take our Zyrtec.   Yesterday we thought the myriad of irises in the Gardens would be coming into bloom, and we are mad for irises, so we spent over an hour wandering from iris patch to iris patch, lost in delight.  They are just coming into bloom, with millions of buds to come, so we are very happy to have future delights in store.

We finally ended up at the Japanese Garden, joining a family enthralled by the swarming hordes of koi in the water beside a rocky platform at the edge of the pond.  We soon discovered why the fish were swarming there, the kids were dumping Doritos into the water.  Not a good idea for the koi, I'm pretty sure, but I was not the boss of them, and their parents were right there, so I kept my mouth shut.  When I lifted my eyes from the koi and looked across the water, I was amazed to see a very plump black-crowned night heron sitting on a rock gazing intently into the water in front of it.  I've never seen one of these birds there before, and knowing that it is a fish-eater I felt sure a nature documentary was about to play out in front of us.

Most of the larger fish that live in the pond were over by the Dorito kids, but there were some still swimming elsewhere in the water.  The heron waited and watched patiently, then suddenly spread its wings, leapt into the water and stabbed a pretty small koi with its beak.  It had a hard time clambering back up onto the rock with the fish in its mouth, and I wasn't at all sure it would be able to enjoy its wriggling sushi snack.  But it managed to gobble up the entire fish, over a period of about fifteen minutes.  We walked around the pond to get a view of this meal from different angles, wishing devoutly that we had a video camera with us. Koi disposed of, the heron resumed its vigil, although I can't imagine how it could manage to down another one.  I understand why it was such a very stout bird, and suppose that it has taken up residence somewhere near the koi pond. The gifts of the BioPark are many and various.  The wood ducks who were also enjoying the pond ignored the whole scene.  They were simply enjoying the wind, the sun, the water, the lovely afternoon.  We left them all to their own pleasures and went off  into the nearby Bosque for a very long walk by the river.  A lovely afternoon of enjoying the bounty of Mother Earth on her name day.

Earth Day Thoughts

I posted a very crabby status on my Facebook page this morning, an Earth Day status, but not one of flowery hope and cheer.  I don't have much hope, flowery or otherwise, and I have been sadly dead out of cheer for several weeks now.  This is what I posted this morning: 
 Yes, it's Earth Day, the one official day we set aside to celebrate the planet. What if we all really believed, and lived as if we believed it, that every day is Earth Day? We've had Earth Day once a year for forty-one years now. It's time to start having Earth LIFE, not Day. Time for serious legislative actions, not symbolic ones.
I posted that crabby message after seeing a photo on an AOL gallery of photos from Earth Days starting with the first one in 1970.When I went back to try to get the photo, the gallery was gone, so I can't put it in this post, but it was of a protest somewhere, early in the history of Earth Day. The photo was of protesters in front of a building (maybe the EPA) who had poured out oil on the steps of the building, and were holding signs demanding safer regulations for offshore oil drilling.  This was a photo from possibly forty years ago, and look where we are today.  Look at all the "earth days" that have gone by, and almost exactly on Earth Day of 2010 itself we had the monstrous BP Deepwater Horizon blowout and nonstop oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico.  Really, we are such silly people - for forty-one years we have celebrated one day out of the year with local fairs featuring recycling demos, booths selling herb and vegetable plants, maybe someone showing how their solar thingy can heat a bucket of water, and so on.  Symbolic acts have been the hallmarks of our Earth Day celebrations for as long as we've held them.

In Bolivia they celebrated their Earth Day (which they call the International Day of Mother Earth) with a law granting rights to Mother Earth equal to the rights shared by humans.  In this document Mother Earth is defined as: "a unique, indivisible, self-regulating community of interrelated beings that sustains, contains and reproduces all beings. The Morales government in Bolivia also plans to establish a Ministry of Mother Earth to implement this law.  The rights for Mother Earth include:
the right to maintain the integrity of life and natural processes
the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered
the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration
the right to pure water
the right to clean air
the right to balance, to be at equilibrium
the right to be free of toxic and radioactive pollution
the right to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities

So, maybe this law will also only be symbolic, but what a huge symbol, what an ongoing committment to  the earth.  Here in this country our government can't agree on a single action to actually DO something about climate change and the rest of the imbalance we are imposing on this planet.  I find it hard to get excited any more about Earth Day.

P.S.  I wrote most of this yesterday, but finished it today.  Don't know how to change the date so it shows yesterday, April 22, 2011.  But that's the correct date for this one.