Summer days, shark attacks, sea turtles

So now there have been some serious shark attacks off these southern shores. Two young teens lost parts of limbs, a man just today was bit as he walked in out of the surf. Scientists are saying this is because we are having record numbers of sea turtles nesting this year. Well, maybe, but a couple of years ago we had way more than this year and not so many shark attacks.

You know what? it’s their world out there. We’re the intruders. If I go out to a forest I can’t be surprised to find a bear there, it’s his home, not mine.

Same with the ocean. Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish are washing up in odd places. Here, New Jersey. Those things burn like fire. They’ve been known to kill a person. Well guess what. It’s their home, too. That they are washing up to warn us instead of lurking out in the waves is a kindness if you ask me. At least we can see them. At least we know they’re out there.

Everything has some potential danger to it. Take the recent change in human laws. You can see same-sex marriage as some sort of progressive move forward. Or you can see it as opening opportunities for more people to be persecuted or prosecuted for standing firm in their faith.

It’s all a matter of preference folks. If somebody won’t bake you a cake, find another bakery.


For the most part I don’t have any. I do know we are not the only nation with crime, or horrific abuses or people or things to be ashamed of. I see and hear of such things all over the world. My immediate thought is never to condemn, or judge, or hang out to dry. It is sorrow. I do not think my or anyone else’s sorrow or compassion or empathy is hypocrisy. No, I never knew the persons involved, but I am also a part of humanity therefore can feel, can imagine even though it is not I to whom the thing occurred.

It isn’t my place to sneer or deride or scorn anyone or any country for anything that happens there. I have no idea of where they are, why it might have happened or any other circumstance, extenuating or otherwise, therefore am in no place to pontificate from some sort of imagined imperious throne. I do know evil exists, as well as I know good does.

I may not have known those people in Charleston but I know Charleston. It is a gracious city and though like so many places in the southern United States there are racial issues, it is not as severe as most. Because they want to resolve it. No one wants to destroy or negate anyone’s place. People there are more genuine, more reasonable than most.

But in the face of this most unreasonable, unfathomable, senseless, hardened unbelievable crime it is impossible not to cry over it. If for nothing else than the senselessness of it. The stupidity. That this child passed a background check for a gun is odd considering he had a pending charge against him. Again, I don’t know specific circumstances. I do know that the gun, though in the wrong hands, is not the culprit here. Taking guns out of the hands of good people will not save us from any bad people with guns. They will always find a way to get a gun. Or a knife. Or some weapon. Any place with more than 300 million persons is going to have some on extreme ends of the psychosis spectrum. I guess in the greater scheme of things we ought to take some solace in that there are not over 300 million such crimes every day.

But right now the families and friends of those 9 people in Charleston are only finding solace in this: each other and their beloved Jesus.

So please, before you condemn America and all Americans as being blood-thirsty rude rednecks if you pray to God at all, pray for us.


It’s been a mere 10 years since I lived in what I then thought was the hottest place on the east coast: Miami, Florida. Ducking in and out of air conditioning, never going without it in the car, wondering if the sun is just that hot because I’m closer to the equator or the reflective concrete/asphalt creates amplification. Even with cross breezes, trade winds, sea breezes.

Didn’t matter. A temperature there were no words for.

And now I am barely into the summer. A small North Carolina coastal town but hotter?? How is this possible? I can’t get away from the heat. I have to go outside to see how incredibly hot it is by coming back inside to the air conditioning. Nights are even worse, even with ceiling fans. Air movement, conditioned air, still oppressive.

Have not been in the ocean yet but it is 81 degrees! How is that cooler? And there was a shark attack just down shore last week. Well, that I have to discount because after all it’s their home initially, not ours. Thankfully only the boogie board got hurt.

It is also Flag Day tomorrow. The day America has set aside to reflect on what our flag represents. So in these days of people who have no idea what they are doing, what they truly are stomping on stomping on the flag, screaming pseudo-power words, they are actually saying, all these things I am saying I do not have because of unfair oppression, all these things I want and need but cannot obtain because of somebody else (never their fault, is it), I am going to make myself feel better by demeaning and disrespecting the representation of all that I claim to not have and want: freedom, prosperity, opportunity, discovery, maturity, victory, strength, empowerment.

Yes beset-upon persons claiming to have never had an opportunity to have or achieve or even try for that which you claim to want, you are grinding into the dirt the representation of all those things.

The American flag. A flag that has been bled for by more millions of gallons of blood than all of your bodies will ever produce in your lifetimes. A flag that, when seen on a bloody battlefield spurred on those who fought for the privilege of freedom because it represented all that was good and worth fighting for, even dying for.

Everything America was founded for– freedom. The rights each and every one of us has of life and happiness.

Read the Constitution. Or have someone read it to you. Then maybe you will get it.

So hot or cold, in any season or place, this flag, waving in a breeze, snapping in a wind, still brings tears to my eyes. Cool, healing tears.

Inspired by Zonation Alfonzo Rachel


Nature’s cruelty or nature’s blessings we often speak of. In the final analysis nature is neither cruel nor beneficent. Nature simply exists, in and of whatever myriad combination of cosmic collusions create its beautiful or horrible effects.

A rainbow after a stormy tornado… bright green sprigs and tiny leaves after an abominably icy winter… the devotion of two osprey after a nest failure.

This osprey pair I have watched for several years by a Cornell University bird cam located at University of Montana, Missoula College. They had a clutch of 3 perfect eggs, which within a few days recently would begin to pip and hatch. Unexpectedly just before the new babies’ advent the skies opened to a barrage of stones — a hailstorm. “Iris” was on the nest, “Stanley” immediately joined her. Together the pair fiercely and indomitably faced that storm, shielding their precious brood-to-be as closely as they could.

Sadly, not to be.

One by one, the damaged eggs’ cracks brought on by that impromptu storm caused the eggs’ viability to fail, ending in what I now understand is called “nest failure”. So now I am learning a new set of vocabulary for something I never thought would happen and certainly unwanted… eggs days away from becoming a brood of healthy chicks raised by two of the most attentive and loyal parent osprey, dying.

What do osprey do when they can no longer do what it is they normally do?

For a few days after, Iris sat on the nest as though brooding. Stanley touchingly would bring her a fish, even tearing bits off and delicately feeding her. Her cries (dare I imagine this) sounded plaintive, softly sad… yet she and her faithful mate remain.

An ornithologist at the university there and collaborator with Cornell hosted a skype session on the cam site to help those of us unfamiliar with such a tragedy understand. No, it was unlikely they would try for a new clutch, it is too late in the season, Montana has a quick and harsh onset of winter and a new brood likely would not be raised to fledge. Female osprey, once begun brooding undergo physiological changes that make new egg laying unlikely. The pair possibly will migrate early but may stay close to this nest as to protect it from interloping bird pairs looking for a good place to nest (and it is such a lovely nest– fortified with strong limbs on its outer rim, layered with soft mosses and grasses for the nest bowl). The question of whether birds “divorce” was discussed with some possibility, would one or both seek out another mate this season to raise a brood? So far this does not appear to be.

As I watch the pair now, they are less frequently on the nest. They still come to the nest occasionally, either alone or together.

But this year they will not raise a family.

I hope so for next year.