Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ohio River Pollution

I found this image on a website for a tri-state environmental conservation agency's website. A low-view image, capturing a river filled with pollutants with the city in the back ground. I work at Great American Ball Park and walk over the river everyday on my walk to work and I always see an abundance of debris and trash in the water recently with the recent storms and high waters. Everyone in the area knows that the Ohio River in the area is pretty gross, I wouldn't swim in it or eat anything out of it, at least knowingly. But there was so much more trash than usual and it is really sad that this great body of water has been polluted as much as it has been. The other day in class we talked about how they are building a tourist trap or housing or something on the grand canyon, and it just seems to seem like every great natural gift humanity is given ends up being destroyed and/or polluted. The commercialization on anything that can make money, including nature, is destroying the gifts that the wilderness has to offer. Be these gifts are fragile and I fear that society may forever destroy the awesome sublime and aesthetic beauty found in nature.

Natural Bridge

This is an image of the Natural Bridge at the Kentucky gorge. I try to take a trip down there every year and go hiking around the great trails in the area. Usually pretty crowded, the Natural Bridge is a favorite tourist site to go to. A giant bridge carved out by millions of years or erosion, it really is a sight to behold, serving as a true testament to the splendor of nature. I remember the last time I visited the bridge, there was a big community of Amish people, showing a deep bond that nature has among all of humanity. For my life and an Amish lifestyle couldn't be more opposite, yet we both share an almost metaphysical, primal attachment to nature, particularly the sublime and grandiose, such as the Natural Bridge. We are both encompassed by the sublimity and aesthetic appeal that the wilderness has to offer.

Lighting Strikes

     What a flashback to my childhood. Growing up I remember multiple occasions where my family and I would go sit on our deck during a heat lightning storm. I always loved seeing the lightning bolts light up the sky but never come down to Earth's surface. People always make a connection between lighting and harm. Sure it may be damaging if it strikes something, but look at this picture, is it harming anything? No. Mother nature is simply providing light for Earth and providing a beautiful illumination. I love thunderstorms for this reason alone.
     When looking at this philosophically I look at the contrast of the lightning. The clouds are dark and gloomy until the illumination from the bolt gives life to them. Without a filter this picture provides a "purple" haze that isn't normal. You can't recreate this scene. No lighting strike is the same and no thunderstorm forms the same cloud formations. That's the beauty of it all. Everything is forever changing; capturing moments like this aren't rare, but they won't ever be the same.
    When reading Bugbee it's funny to see how he makes connections in the later part of life to events that happened in the earlier part of his life; like the swamp and the rowing. Lightning storms excite me because I can go back to when I was a kid when I had no worries in the world. All too often we look back on life and all we can say is "time flies." We need concrete memories like mine with the heat storms to bring us back to Earth and give us a relief from the world for a minute.

I did not personally take this picture, but it is a image of the smokey mountains in Kentucky. I often camped in the smokey mountains, near Townsend, Kentucky growing up. These trips gave me some of my fondest memories of being in nature and exploring the wilderness. I remember every year, one day, we would wake up early to go on a hike and watch the sunrise. We would always drive to the set of hiking trails and hike up to the top of this mountain containing a very nice overlooking view of the mountain range. While I was still rather young, I remember looking out over the mountains, and the heavy fog, hence the smokey mountains, would play tremendous games with the rising sun, radiating vibrant colors and warming rays of sunshine. Looking back at experiencing that, I definitely experienced a Henry Bugbee moment, feeling consumed and in awe of the stunning beauty around me. There was no systematic logic I attached to the moment or a analytic framework I gave to the wilderness, I just experienced it. Which for Bugbee, would be a very sacred and holy experience.

A Kentucky Sunset

"When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator." -Mahatma Ghandi

     To some this may be a cliche picture of a sunset, and that's fine. However, this picture is a representation of what I value. As you can see I am on the road, it is very common that I am driving because my world revolves around being busy and constantly on the move. For that reason I always look for whatever beauty that I can find in the world. Even with constantly being on the move there is always one thing that is in every scene no matter my location; the sky. Nothing aspires more to think critically than the sky. A picture like this jump starts my mind and gets me thinking of ways to better my life both physically and mentally. I sit and wonder to myself what it will take to be more "tranquil" and relaxed in life. Although most things never happen after being thought up, it's still nice to dream and hope.
     Where else can you find such beauty? The clouds provide that sort of "wisp" that automatically puts one at ease. They are then illuminated by the coloring of the sun as it sinks, colors becoming richer as the sun gets lower. The best part about it? Such a scene can make any landscape beautiful as long as you look at it the right way. What you can't really see if the hospital and commercial buildings and all the dingy looking cars. Honestly it doesn't matter that those are there; all I can focus on is the beauty of the sky.
     For me there's some sort of peace in a picture like this. No book can capture a scene like this. It is something that you have to experience on your own.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Sawyer Point

I had to share this picture because it reminded me so much of the swamp example we discussed in class. This picture was taken at Sawyer Point when the river was at it's highest point in over 30 years. My mom and I went down to Sawyer Point to check out the river and as you can see so did many others. This picture really captures how high the water actually was. Although this water was a bit destructive, it was very beautiful. It was amazing how high the water came up and as you can see in the picture, it was covering the steps at Sawyer Point. I've been to the WEBN fireworks a few times and this is where we always would sit. It was crazy to see that it was flooded from all of the rain we got.

Amberly Village

This picture was taken at Amberly Village Track. It is a park near my mom's work in Blue Ash. This was obviously in fall when the leaves were changing colors. I love the fall weather, but what I love most about fall is captured right in this photo. It is simply beautiful. The colors the leaves change is definitely picture worthy. It's crazy how the vibrant colors of the leaves all coordinate. You would have thought someone had to of designed this. The beauty is natural and something that needs to be enjoyed, whether you go for a walk or run or just sit on the bench at the park to soak in all the beauty. This is just another great example of one of God's beautiful works.

Fernbank Park

This is a photo I took at a park near my house called Fernbank. It is right on the river and has a playground, walking track, and a place where you can walk down by the river. I usually take my 3 year old nephew there and every single time we go we have to go down by the river so he can through rocks into it. It is truly a beautiful park. The atmosphere is half of the beauty. If it's a nice day out, this is the first place I want to go to enjoy it. There are always beautiful sunsets there, like this one captured. You can see the passing barges and people out on their boats enjoying the weather. The natural beauty of this park is like nothing else.

Destin, Florida

This is a photo I took while vacationing in Destin, Florida. This may be my favorite vacation spot. The sand is pure white, the water is blue, and the sunsets look like this! Personally, when I think of relaxing, I always imagine a sunset. There is something so beautiful about how the sun and sky can make such an amazing sight. The best part is, no one can create this. We never know what the sunset is going to look like from night to night or place to place. It is truly a great example of pristine beauty.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Last Song of the Song Bird

I was leaving to go out one morning, I don't remember where, it doesn't seem important in the grand scheme of it all anyhow. I walked out the back door of my residence hall and there I saw the saddest of sights. A small, Carolina Wren as I would come to find out, lay dead on the back steps. I was deeply saddened by this, any loss of life is a sad loss of life as all life should be treated sacred, but I didn't know what to do. I started to walk past it but I couldn't bring myself to just letting it lay there indignant on the steps. So I put my things down and sat for a moment, trying to think of a way to pick up this poor bird and give it a proper burial. I finally settled upon going to the bathroom to grab a paper towel, I gently wrapped the small bird into the paper towel and buried it under a pile of dead leaves near by. I said some small words while I stood there, not being very religious I felt sheepish as I said a small concluding prayer at the spot, hoping the birds soul may find rest. The question I pose coming out of this story is this; why did I feel such a sense of responsibility to the bird whereas any other animal most likely would've passed it up or made it a midday meal. Why do we as humans feel, or in many cases not feel, this sense of moral responsibility towards the natural world?

Ducks Fly Together and So do Their Souls

A little background on this photo first, I've seen these three ducks walking together almost everyday for a little more than a month now. Rain or shine, these three ducks are always together, and for me at least it brought an important question to mind, how can we believe that human beings alone own a soul? The soul itself is a very deep, controversial topic, however in many circles it still stands true that it is believed human beings, are the only beings with a soul. Furthermore the only beings that feel compassion, feel happiness, feel sadness, for me this simply cannot be correct. Carlson seems to take a strictly scientific approach towards appreciating nature, but science can not prove the existence of these feelings. We must take into account that there is more to understanding and appreciating nature than science can explain. So while it is good to have a complete scientific understanding of Anas Platyrhynchos (Mallard), I do not believe we could truly appreciate the beautiful friendship of these three ducks if we held them to strictly a scientific understanding. Instead we should allow for the fact that these three ducks clearly show feelings of friendship, compassion, love, and joy. By doing this, by allowing the belief these three ducks have a soul, then, and only then, can we truly appreciate them.