Monthly Archives: March 2012

My Otherfish Blog

For the past two days there has been a lady bug on my laptop. I let her, or him walk across and stay upon the device just to understand what message she/he had brought me. I already knew that Spring had arrived more than one moon early, but what I did not realize was that the fly away home part of the children’s rhyme is perhaps part of the message that I am supposed to be listening to.When I first began to listen to the world around me, especially the natural world, I knew not the language of the spheres, nor the language of the trees, nor did I understand the rumblings and grumblings of the Earth or the bubbling voices of the river, stream or rivulet. Even now it may require intention and from time to time, whether I like to admit it or not, I ignore the great gifts that the world around me offers without thinking. Most often my ignorance comes at a dear cost and if I just take the time to listen to the ancient ones, speaking their unique language, my days take on the richness of the ages and I gain insight beyond my own experience.

Some may call my ooga-booga “games”. I think that it is not. some “pray” to a lord, or Jesus, or whatever Gods and Goddesses they have come to know and understand. I prefer to think of my conversations with the places and creatures I encounter as building relationships. Think of your own feelings if a friend would only come to you to implore you to assist them, or who would lavish praise on you for things that you could not help doing. I’m pretty sure that those relationships would become tiresome pretty quickly. The power, or energy that flows through me when I allow the messages of Earth, the Sky, the Water or any of the creatures who inhabit Starship Earth to flow through me is every bit as important to my own path as sensibilities and awareness of spiritual issues are for others who believe, in their own way, things that are quite different from what I understand to be true.

The biggest difference between my own beliefs and those of others, as far as I can tell, is that within my own world view, the results of actions based on our beliefs are far more important than the beliefs themselves. I have never heard a tree complain about the strength of a rock, or about the fickleness of the wind or the rain. I can’t even say the the language I have learned from listening to the environment includes concepts such as could have would have or should have. I have never heard a tree say, “I wish I had grown over there!” Every element within nature has a great deal to say, if we take the time to listen. Choosing to have a relationship with our co-inhabitants, our co-creators of life demands that we use our propensities, our abilities and our insights to guide and inspire others to their own best possible realization of their unique nature.

My work here on the planet has included helping to raise more children than I can count, most of which were not even my own. My efforts to plant as many trees as possible has inspired not only the next few generations of children, but many of my friends, family and readers as well. I do not offer this as a boast. Much like nature that inspires me, it is just my way. I do what I do regardless of the cost, without regard to the effects. I will continue to do what I can. I humbly submit to the will of my guides and the spirits of whatever place I inhabit. It may sound odd, but the less attached I become to my own desires, my own creations, my own perspective, the more clearly I see the actions I take as reflections of my own true nature.

Whatever a tree, or a breath of wind, or even a tiny bug undertakes is not for us to dote upon. These things are to be revered, yes, but not worshiped in a strict sense. Just as a baker would not describe the biscuit as a creation of the baking powder, we must begin to understand that each and every element within the environment has a part to play in the creation of life on the planet. Even the lowly bacteria and fungi that inhabit the soils are essential to our continued existence here on Earth. Learning to understand their gifts can help us to create paths toward sustainability, just as surely as listening to a lady bug can help create a path to understanding.

There has been great attention paid to the idea that a butterfly flapping it’s wings in the Amazon Jungle could touch off a chain of events that leads to a hurricane or monsoon on the other side of the planet. What we need to understand is that there is no relationship between desire, ego or intention and any of this. It is just the way it is.If we do not live out our lives as functioning cogs upon the great wheel of life, or if we work at cross purposes to our truest nature, we do it at our own peril. Humans are uniquely suited to behave in ways that support and affirm life, or destroy it. We have created chemicals and devices that allow us to multiply our strength a million fold, yet we often ignore our own power to create, heal and support life.

What has always confounded me about the little song that we choose to sing to the lady bug is that we are in the bugs home and have forgotten that. We choose not to sing the same song to the spider or the fly, yet we are in their home as well, otherwise we would not be seeing them. we seem to have no problem setting arbitrary limits on our giving, how much we take, and the ways that choose to interact with the world around us. The organisms and elements around us do not set these limits on their behavior or activity. By learning to do what we do without question, without the filters that our society places upon us and certainly without presupposing our nature or influencing our ideas about who we are with old schematic approached to developing culture, we can find a path to sustainability as surely as the rivers find the sea, as surely as the tree seeks out the sun and sky, or the root finds the resources to feed the trunk and leaf.



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Sturgeon Run Starts Over One Moon Early!

In Wisconsin, we take our sturgeon seriously. One of my favorite ecotours of all is to see this fish, that dates back to the Jurrassic Period, making the annual migration upstream to procreate. It sounds odd that a person would … Continue reading

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Healing Ourselves, Healing The Planet

Since childhood I have been aware of the relationship between ecological health and that of the organisms that live within the biosphere. Until about age seven, all I had really internalized were the relationships between stress and performance. I knew … Continue reading

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Toxic Release Inventory

Since childhood I have been aware of the relationship between ecological health and that of the organisms that live within the biosphere. Until about age seven, all I had really internalized were the relationships between stress and performance. I knew how much happier and healthier I felt in a safe and supported environment as compared with the harsh world that swirled around me, assaulted by bullies and indifferent strangers. When I moved to Marinette, then Green Bay, I began to see man-made chemicals and their use and abuse as a significant force degrading both natural systems and the health of people. That started me thinking along the lines of ecology and human health as one issue, not two separate ideas.

Within a few months of getting to Green Bay, I started having extreme reactions to the massive dumping of a variety of chemical compounds that have since been somewhat reduced, but we still have not turned the corner on the path to cleaning up this neck of the woods. In this part of Northeast Wisconsin, we have by no means started down the path to sustainability. We are trying to undo some of the most heinous abuse though a massive dredging operation and the fish have come back to spawn, but health advisories on most sport fishing species remain as a legacy to the use of our waterways as sewers for highly toxic chemicals for several generations.

I was taken aback when, as a child, my doctors told me that they knew exactly what was wrong with me. They called it “Green Bay Throat”. Back then, I seemed to be the only one who questioned why my family and I had to pay health care costs and for medication to regain some semblance of health while huge corporate interests received the “free” disposal of chemicals in the river that runs through the heart of our town. Several doctors confirmed my diagnosis but each in turn told us that outside the office they would have to deny any such knowledge of the “condition”. It seems that many “professionals” knew their place back then, especially when it came to the corporate outlaws who truly run things. It is my hope that as I try to gracefully slide into old age, some of the crimes against humanity, especially those against our bodies, our health and that of our children will come to a close with the dawning of a new age. Sadly, there are still many rewards and incentives for the worst sorts of behaviors and many vile and pernicious chemicals are still spewed into our air and water with dangerous disregard for their inevitable impacts on human health and that of the environment.

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#39 Cycling

I really like the two seemingly divergent meanings that are packed into this word. On the one hand, cycling is what many of us know about, a shortened form of the word bicycling. This approach to human transport utilizes the … Continue reading

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Art, Education, Environment

Mentoring those who will inherit our planet is becoming more and more important. As more and more of our existence becomes mediated by electronica, caring and compassionate human contact is becoming less available to many. The vast majority of young … Continue reading

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Help Grow The New Culture

I know that many of my readers are from around the planet, this is an interesting group in Chicagoland that you may want to check out. Forging new alliances with Earth, Air, Fire and Water, as well as the … Continue reading

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