07 March 2016
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The timing of the four seasons is becoming more and more unpredictable. Weather is without question one of the most talked about subjects, a sort of infotainment. This obsession may be a sign of the state of our planet’s health, or the result of its availability at our fingertips, or… Regardless, weather creates news, fills our heads, and plays havoc with our notion of normalcy.
Weather is synonymous with the seasons, yet one day drifts into the next and melts pass the past. It is a steadfast agent of change in our lives. Transformation is another element that filters heat, cold, wind, calm, wet, and dry through our days. Their presence reminds us about fragility and strength. How an arid stretch can devastate, or continual sunlight builds the landscape through nature’s abundance.
In the millennium’s infancy the world faces moderate to severe differences from a decade or decades ago. This relatively new uneasiness conjures anxiety and insecurity.
Everyone, every creature is affected by climate change. A flood of emotions rushes through me as I ponder the impermanence that has replaced what we presumed was permanence. And I know that the human animal is very much a culprit in this story. As Pogo once said, “We have met the enemy and he is us (Book by Walt Kelly).”
A prime example of this tenuous situation is the plight of monarch butterflies. Fortunately, a worldwide campaign has been waged to save this important contributor to the balance of life as we knew it. This scenario is mostly due to depletion of milkweed (monarchs depend upon this plant for survival), uncertain and warming weather patterns (recently, I read in The New York Times that almost 500 million butterflies died in the storms of 2002), illegal logging in Mexico, and use of pesticides. The World Wildlife Fund has announced that recovery is possible, based on this year’s butterflies that have been hibernating in the mountains of Mexico. That’s comforting, but it is not a given that they will rebound.
Yearly, I’ve been increasing the number of milkweed**** plants in my gardens, which is one way that each of us can do our part. The United States is hoping to plant 7.5 million acres to help replace decades of loss.
Gloriously, it’s two weeks until Spring. The crocuses have naturalized weeks early. Daffodils are inching their way toward blossoming. Tulip leaves have pushed through the frozen earth. These are not “normal” occurrences. Those observations and realities are part of the seesaw weather patterns, and continual redefinition of local habitats. Some results are swings in human emotions across one’s inner landscape.
Where I live, the decline in monarchs is evident. Last year I sighted one monarch and the prior year three. These delicately sumptuous creatures are a signpost of the relationship between nature and human nature. More importantly, they are a link to the future of farming and gardening, therefore, to our own sustenance. When I searched my archives of photographs, 2011 is the last year that I found an image of a monarch caterpillar (stage two of its life cycle: egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and adult) feasting on milkweed during autumn in my yard.
In the Lens section are two images taken at the turn of this year. A visit to Longwood Gardens’ conservatory always cheers my spirit and soul, especially in mid-winter. The sun was brilliant for hours, and then hid behind grey skies.
My images reflect changes in the skyscape. They also reflect the uncertainty of climate change and global warming (such as the amount of rain and sun available). Even as nature has become a fortune teller of more than the present, I have confidence that humanity will be the force that advocates for the health of our planet.
**** There are 73 types of native milkweed. I use Asclepias tuberosa spp, which is native to the Mid-Atlantic states and Delaware.
Tip of the Week:
The national parks are a century old this year, and its time to celebrate this centennial (officially August 2016). While I am hopeful that many of you in the United States and across the world know about this grand legacy, the birthday should encourage a greater awareness of land conservation and preservation. Across our expansive land there are 409 parks, which also includes territories such as American Samoa.
From the website: “The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.” Click here to read more.
I have visited over forty parks, and that is a sliver of my country’s magnificent offerings. Yosemite National Park is by far the most captivating and humbling of my experiences. My plans are to raise the number of visits and be awed in the process.
View other entries for this week’s challenge:
As always I welcome comments about this post or any part of my blog. My photographs for the mobile photography challenge are taken with an iPhone 6.
If you’d like to join this Mobile Photography Challenge, please click here for details and history of the challenge. If you have any questions, please contact me. Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming challenges:
1st Monday: Nature.
2nd Monday: Macro.
3rd Monday: Black and White.
4th Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Panorama, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel).
5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week.