Archive for nature

A Little Pecker

The Western Gull

I have always loved the sound of gulls. Sure, the persistent squawking can get annoying but the initial sound usually signals the beach and relaxation.  Until recently, gulls have simply been scenery–that is  until I learned about the fascinating behaviors of the Western Gull.

Have you ever taken a good look at the pecker of a Western Gull? On the tip of their beak is a bright red dot. Western Gulls have ridiculously horrible parenting skills. To encourage their maternal instincts, their chicks peck at the red dot when  hungry. Their constant pecking makes their parent throw up their food and….Voilá…dinner is served.

Baby Western Gulls feeding.

Can you imagine what it would be like if, like the Western Gull chicks, you had to be a demand every time you needed to be fed? The truth is, we are much more similar to the little peckers than you might assume. What relationships in your life need to be fed? What aspects of your community are starving for attention? What goals in your life need to be fed? What parts of your spirit are hungry?  Each of these things require us to be a demand, to understand a need and to meet it with our unyielding persistence.

What could you be a demand for? A demand for goodness? A demand for change in your community? A demand for authentic relationships? A demand for quality family time? A demand for a better relationship with a friend or spouse?  A demand for what is right at your job? We were each created to be a  demand for something–to feed a greater good–but we must commit to unabashedly press in to make sure the things to which we are called are adequately fed.

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “Press On” has solved and will always solve the problems of the human race.”– President Calvin Coolidge 

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Tasting Octopus vs Tasting Like One

I LOVE to eat. Some people eat for sustenance. Its a means to an end (nutrients = life). I have even heard someone go as far as to refer to it as “pre-digested poo” (this is unforgivable if you ask me). I guess there are just two kinds of people in this world. There are those who eat to live and there are those who live to eat. I live in the latter camp and I do so unapologetically.There is something amazing about the sense of taste. It is one that has the potential to simultaneously engage a handful of senses at the same time in a wonderfully overwhelming way.

I am a self-proclaimed foodie but I know I flirt with the line between foodie and food addict and my drug of choice is seafood. There are few things that put me in a deeper  state of euphoria than some great crab. But the joy of eating is the indulgence that begins long before the first bite. It starts with the savory aroma of the sea salt in the air. It continues as my eyes begin to taste the sweet juices of the crustacean woven between the white and red of the flesh. And when I’m really lucky, I can be in the vicinity while my meal is being cooked so I can hear the sizzle of the oil as my crab shakes hands with its destiny. I’m getting hot just thinking about it. Sensory overload and loving it!

My love affair with taste has had me fascinated with the eating habits of the octopus. Did you know the suction cups on the  tentacles of the octopus aid it with its sense of taste? Each of those cups are jammed packed with taste sensors. With each move, the octopus is tasting its environment…taking it all in, literally. Imagine what it would be like to taste everything beneath your feet. You would be intensely aware of the life around you. You would have the opportunity to savor or spit out your environment with every strut.

I dare you to take a day or even an hour to taste your environment with the intensity of an octopus. What would it be like for you to fully engage your senses where you find yourself, to figuratively taste your moments? What new things would you notice? What things would you savor that you are currently spitting out with your apathy? It might mean noticing how the wind hugs your ears or how the barren trees still reach towards the sky. It could be seeing the pollution that is creeping more abundantly into the landscape. Or it could be to listen to your loved one with intention, not just hearing the words they are sharing  but listening for the words they are silently speaking through their tone, pauses, and gestures.

Life offers us a feast with each breath but it is our choice to dine.

How are you contributing to the taste of your world?

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On Reproducing…

The other day I was engaging in my favorite procrastination technique of perusing facebook when I came across this beautiful photograph on the National Geographic fan page. The headline read “Moss Has Cloned Itself for 50,000 Years, Study Says.” The article went on to explain that this plant which paints the forest floor at Hawaii’s Kohala Mountain has copied itself relentlessly and, as a result, may be one of the oldest multicellular organisms on earth. As fascinating as the science is behind this phenomenon, the thing that struck me was the sheer beauty of this moss’ clones. Its brilliant green hues and delicate patterns have been a part of the story of Hawaii’s breathtaking qualities for thousands upon thousands of years.

The Hawaiian Island moss reminded me of a similar story  told by the aspen trees of Aspen, Colorado. Similar to the moss, aspen tree colonies often endlessly clone themselves at the roots, creating one of the most picturesque fall landscapes in the world.

All this cloning made me ask the question,“If I were cloned thousands of times over, what would I be producing in my environment?” Would I reproduce fruit that added radiance like the aspen trees and the moss? Or would I choke out life from other things attempting to grow? Would my reproduction create a place people looked forward to coming to, even escaping to? Or would it create a place people are looking to escape from?

I don’t think these questions are that far-fetched. In reality, we are all constantly reproducing ourselves in our environments. We reproduce our beliefs, attitudes, fears, possibilities, work ethic, passion, and apathy all the time through our impact on other people. What is it that your character is reproducing? Is it a fruit you would be proud of if you learned it lasted for years to come?

Aspen, Co (September 2005)

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