The Trees Are Crying

I have not written anything on my blog since late May and my entries have been sporadic since late spring hit and with it the abundance of yard work. Then I flew back out west to help my family. Life has been busy for us but that is okay.

Nearby…too close…developers have cut/are cutting down all of the trees, clearing yet another area for more stores and townhomes. This work began while I was out west with my family and I asked my wife what is going on when she picked me up from BWI. It is not only going to add to our traffic backlog but create worse results for our friends in nature. They are destroying more of Earth Mother’s habitat for her living beings outside of the human race. Too many people do not comprehend how important the trees are to all life on our planet that has been gifted to us and that we are destroying them on a daily basis. I doubt that the construction workers with their big machines asked the trees or said even a quick prayer of thanks and apology before they felled them all, clearing the path for the real estate developers. The industry of humans involves wanting more and more, well beyond what each of us really needs. We waste our natural resources that provide for our daily lives. Trees are the filters of our planet. They give us oxygen.

In my daily somewhat random readings in Earth Prayers, the pages opened this morning to a poem that is relevant to the disturbing mass felling of trees in the section entitled “Healing the Whole.” We must be better stewards of Earth.

Let the Trees be consulted
before you take any action
every time you breathe in
thank a tree
let treeroots crack parking lots
at the world bank headquarters
let loggers be druids
specially trained and rewarded
to sacrifice trees at auspicious times
let carpenters be master artisans
let lumber be treasured like gold
let chainsaws be played like saxophones
let soldiers on maneuvers plant trees
give police and criminals
a shovel and a thousand seedlings
let businessmen carry pocketfuls of acorns
let newlyweds honeymoon in the woods
walk don’t drive
stop reading newspapers
stop writing poetry
squat under a tree
and tell stories

John Wright, in Earth Prayers from Around the World – 365 Prayers. Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth, ed. Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon (San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins, 1991), 105.

Our Favorite Earth-Friendly Companies and Products

We do our best to help the environment and others in need. Last year my Subaru Drive magazine included information about environmentally-positive companies. We noted three that seemed to be right up our alley, tried their products, liked them, and are regular customers. Below are three of our new go-to businesses for household necessities.

Bee’s Wrap – It is no surprise that this company is based in Vermont. Say goodbye to plastic wrap! We have numerous Bee’s Wraps of various sizes and they work great and are reusable. Check out their story at https://www.beeswrap.com/

Stasher – Goodbye ziploc bags! Stashers come in multiple sizes and colors and we just added four of the newest travel stashers with carabiners to our growing collection. We have given them to family as gifts. They are awesome. Check them out at https://www.stasherbag.com/.

Who Gives a Crap – This company makes bamboo and recycled paper products – toilet paper, paper towels, kleenex, and dream cloths. Having tried both types of TP we recommend the bamboo in the black, gold and white wrapping although the colorful wrapping is fun. All shipping and wrapping materials can be recycled! They build toilets for people across the globe who do not have this luxury sanitation device. Check them out at https://us.whogivesacrap.org/.

We have quite the lovable and needy pack of four-legged family members so we need a lot of cleaning and other supplies, so we try to keep it as earth-friendly as possible. Many we make ourselves, to include laundry soap and rinse. We recycle and compost everything that we can but still have a least one trash bag weekly. Our favorite bags for daily litter box cleaning, and pup poop patrol are: EcoLeo Cat Litter Waste Poop Bags – X-Large, Compostable, Plastic-Free, Thick, Leak Proof, Pet/Dog Poo Bags with Easy-Tie Handles,10.5 x 18.5 inch, (120-Count). They fit the scoops that hold grocery bags, which take forever to degrade. I buy these on Amazon. For the tall kitchen bags I prefer Hippo Sak Tall Kitchen Bags Made with Recycled Ocean Plastic, 45 Count after reading reviews of similar items and bought these. I also buy these on Amazon.

If each of us does something it adds up to saving our planet, her natural resources and species, to include the human race, which is the most destructive animal residing on Earth Mother. As a collective, humans have the knowledge to save our planet and precious resources that are vital to the survival of all living things and the entire life cycle. So be it.

Annual Meetings 2021…Virtual Reality

This time last year I was ramping up and excited to attend my first historical association meeting in New York City, hosted by the American Historical Association (AHA). I took the Amtrak regional from BWI and it was great. I schlepped my small roller suitcase to my hotel in Hell’s Kitchen and achieved my 10,000 steps, and then some, during my daily hikes to and from the convention downtown. As always when I get to visit NYC I tried different cuisines and enjoyed my time, albeit by myself. Little did we know, COVID was likely already lurking and had already begun its invasion, waiting to claim its first victims.

One should not fear venturing out alone and it can provide much needed introspect at the right time, to include a renewed appreciation of our homes and those with whom we share that adventure called life. It was nice to be in NYC again and I was looking forward to attending the 2021 AHA in Seattle as two of our closest girlfriends live out there, and we both could have traveled and extended our time so we could visit our friends. Well, we all know what happened and the AHA annual meeting, and at least the others that occur prior to the summer season, are now virtual. The decision to take these large events virtual is responsible and in keeping with taking care of the collective of humankind. No, I am not afraid; however, I am cautious.

I am attending the Society for Classical Studies (SCS) 2021 annual meeting, which is virtual and still overlaps the AHA annual meeting. It is a long meeting from 5-10 January and in reviewing the session agenda, looks to be very interesting and worthy of my time, and moreover, the time of the historians who are presenting their papers. I am looking forward to attending this professional event and that of the Association of Ancient Historians (AAH) for three days in May, again virtual because no one really knows when the last severe wave of COVID will pass through and we will collectively venture out. For now, virtual meetings are among the responsible moves required to get in front of and eventually push COVID into our rear view mirrors. So, long live the virtual meetings, which will likely remain regular routines in our foreseeable future.

My Foundations

I was raised on a farm/ranch in northeast Colorado. I learned about academic achievement, discipline, ethics, integrity, and hard work from my parents and teachers. I learned how to lead by example and participation in school athletics, band, thespians, and Scouts. I headed off to college in Wyoming and had no idea what I wanted to do, so after three semesters, I joined the US Army. This was among my best decisions…ever. I served on active duty in the US Army for twenty years and retired as a Chief Warrant Officer Three (CW3). I continued to serve our nation as a Department of Defense contractor and civilian for nearly an additional decade. I was assigned to Germany and South Korea, deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and was stationed in several CONUS locations.

These and other experiences laid the solid foundations that enabled me to chart my course in life. What I thought I needed out of life was at times altered, sometimes drastically and not within my realm of control. However, I worked through the rough times and became a better human…most of the time…there is no perfect human. I try to love like our dogs and know I fail regularly, but I keep paddling against the waves of anxiety and unhappiness that opposes my noblest desires. This past year, 2020, has challenged all of us to find that happiness that resides inside ourselves and can be brightly illuminated by those we love and who love us in return…just because we are special to them through thick and thin.