Patagonia: An Unpeopled Place

Pictures and Story by Dale Olen

In southern Patagonia near the bottom of Argentina and Chile stand the tail end of the Andes mountain range.  Dotted throughout these wide, still massive stone citadels melt blue-white glaciers, emptying into mountain lakes and spilling over in driving waterfalls, and tumbling down to pristine streams to Lake Viedma and Lake Argentine.  Here the human species is mostly non-existent.  It's raw nature at its best, dramatic and beautiful.  It doesn't seem to need men and women.  It looks like it's doing quite well, thank you, on its own.

Detritus and Hope

On this mild, balmy winter's day
I'm enchanted by last fall's unraked leaves

Heaving themselves up from melted snowmounds
they re-emerge, not in the brilliant oranges and reds of autumn,
but in glorious black and brown decaying masses

You'll enrich the soil, I tell them, and in you
I will plant tomatoes and radishes
carrots and cucumbers
as soon as the ground is ready
and the last of winter has swept and swirled itself away

I love the detritus
the makings of a compost pile
a glimpse of the earth I came from
the earth I'll return to
the earth piece that arranges itself
around me
that is me

On a few trees, some leaves have held fast
through the winter

They too are black and ripened with time

Soon they'll fall to join their brothers and sisters
on the ground, warming the earth
preparing for tender new growth
to shoot up right through them

A garden of carrots and cucumbers
tomatoes and radishes, detritus and hope

                                                             janine arseneau

The Commons

Essay and photos by Dale Olen

Water buffalo, impalas, and zebra had yet to arrive at their water Commons to refresh, cool off and play.  It was mid-morning, already hot, on a South African savannah, and I was positioned in a tree platform waiting and watching.  First a few buffalo arrived, lazily shuffled to the water, drank and rolled in the water and mud to cool down.  Soon the ubiquitous impala quietly appeared, followed by a couple of giraffes.  And later a few zebra and two wild boar joined the party.  Each animal related only to its own paying no heed to the others.  But they all shared the water hole in peace. 

Ancient Snow, Melting

Janine Arseneau writes: "a dream I awoke from organized itself into this reflection...I love how the obvious, the most simple, knowable obvious, needs to find me all over again, and I come upon it as a fresh discovery each time... my dance with the spiral of time"

Read her poem, Ancient Snow, Melting, by clicking on the "Read more" tab below, right

Life's Work

Look

Without glasses

With fresh eyes

Through the colors and grays

Embrace BEAUTY

 

 

   

                                        Think about what you see

                                        Ponder

                                        Reflect

                                        Discover TRUTH

 

 

 

Act on the truth

Protect

Sustain

Become GOODNESS

The Generosity-Gratitude Cycle

By Dale Olen

Nothing is more generous than the sun.  It floods the entire galaxy in light and heat.  It never stops giving.  It can’t help itself.  It impulsively pours its gracious warmth onto every dust particle surrounding it, including our speck 93 million miles away. 

Sunrise on Lake Michigan Lucky for us we are so far from our abundant provider.  Any closer and sun’s generosity would overwhelm us and all life on planet Earth.  Sun gives Earth just the amount it needs for life to burst out as the planet whips around on a small tail at the edge of a bright and warm solar system.

 

Morning Fog

Feeling cold today and wondering about the coming snow storms, I return to an August morning outside Teddy Roosevelt National Park around Medora, North Dakota.  I was sitting on the deck of a small bed and breakfast inn as the warm sun began to rise.  It made me think...

You can’t get away from water no matter the time of day.  This morning—fog.  Clouds forming on the valley floor.  Warm sun mixing with cooler ground temperature.  Now the painted canyon white-washed.  Fog, a most quiet rain, disturbing hardly a blade of grass. No erosion here like happens in a thunderstorm attacking the buttes.

When a sculptor works, she uses hammer and chisel, but later, for the finest detail polishes with terry cloth and oil.  That’s fog.  Water works as Earth’s sculptor, shaping, forming her every part.  It leaves nothing alone.  Sometimes it reshapes things in dramatic and forceful ways, partnering with wind to knock down trees and push land slides down mountains.  At other times it merely touches Earth as in this morning’s fog, a loving hand on blades of prairie grass.

Going With the Flow

New Zealand Shoreline

WATER COOPERATES MOST OF THE TIME.
IT FITS IN, COMPROMISES, ADAPTS.

OCCASIONALLY, THOUGH, IT'S TOUGH
AND STUBBORN. IT DEMANDS ITS OWN WAY.

HUMANS MIMIC WATER --
        FLEXIBLE
        COOPERATIVE
        WORKING TOGETHER AND GETTING ALONG

BUT, AT TIMES, HUMANS, TOO, GET TOUGH
FORCING WHO AND WHATEVER TO CHANGE.

WISDOM KNOWS WHEN TO GO WITH THE FLOW
AND WHEN TO JACK-HAMMER A PLATEAU INTO A CANYON.

Gravity, A Love Story

What’s invisible, has no color or shape, is silent, super light and heavy at the same time, is touching you now, but you can’t feel it?

Gravity, the Universe’s master magician.

It tricks our senses and directs our actions, much like I do with my granddaughter when I make a disliked green bean disappear, find it in her ear, and pop it into her mouth. Gravity, too, hides most of the time, but keeps us and everything else in its place. 

Gravity plays a touchy, but not so feely game.  It always has a hand on our shoulder, but we’re almost never aware of its presence.   The one time I do consider gravity occurs when I step on a scale.  The number I get back actually measures of the amount of gravity pressing down on the size of my body at the moment.  If I don’t like the reading I say, “Well, that’s merely a bit more gravity pushing down on my tiny mass than last month.”  I don’t want to consider the more-mass-than-last-month part of the equation.

Finding Balance

Seven generations of the Karl Wallenda family have been walking a tightrope high above ground for one hundred years.  Gripping the balancing pole firmly, they delicately raise one side while lowering the other.  Back and forth, one end up, the other down, always in search of the perfectly balanced position.

Earth has been performing a balancing act of her own for nearly 4.5 billion years.  She labors daily to maintain the dynamic tension that holds the planet in place.  She balances…

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