Journal Archive

Chaos, Power Tools, and Rampant Alien Species

I have been at my new post for one month now, and have had my hands full – too full to post an entry until tonight. So where shall I begin? Well, to start, when I arrived on Day One, I took a little while to look around and grasp the magnitude of the circumstances I had been dropped into. I had been given a sort of "fixer-upper". Like various movie scenes where the character(s) arrive at their hotel room in some backwoods locale – or the abandoned villa they just bought in Tuscany – and begin to inspect the doors, the appliances, the rusty water sputtering from the kitchen tap, I found a mounting despair and sense of anxiety. I had to get outside for some air.

Multiple invasive species strangle and trees and smother native plants.Now, while the plumbing was fine, and the building sound, the chaos and disorganization of certain areas was impressive. The existing office desk (a broken hand-me-down) was cluttered, filthy and had computer network cables and a CPU crammed under space where one's legs should fit. After my initial assessment I concluded that it must be removed and tossed in the dumpster immediately.

As I began removing desk drawers and looking for salvageable contents, I found several large mouse nests with attendant sunflower seed hulls packed into the drawers behind, in, and around the hanging file folders. Some of these folders were converted by industrious white-footed mice into shelter insulation material with a flagrant disregard for the important information contained in said folders. Typical rodent attitude.

Mouse hideaway in desk drawer.So that is the beginning. Even the simplest task requires 3-5 precursor steps before arriving at the original objective. Most of the power tools so critical for carrying out the duties of beating back the jungle of alien invasive plant growth were not working well, or at all. Not my idea of a good time.


Four Men in a Leaky Boat Without a Pencil

Part of my new duties require regular lake water testing for dissolved oxygen, water levels, salinity, and temperatures at various depths. The large corroded aluminum boat that the four of us had to use to get out onto the lake began to take on water almost immediately, and the outboard motor housing kept falling off. We reached the middle of the lake preparing to start taking readings when we realized no one had a pencil, or any other writing implement. Great start.

We headed back to the opposite shore to beach the boat and retrieve a writing tool, and soon we were back in business. I looked at the water rising in the boat and mentioned it to the "skipper" who's job I was taking over in a week. He said, "Uh, yeah. . .it's okay." Not reassuring enough for me. We had plenty of life jackets (that were now floating around in the water sloshing back and forth in the boat), so, um. . . we were good.

I am not a wimp, but I do not risk life and limb unnecessarily. Since I nearly drowned when I was 14, I have had a significant concern around large bodies of water. I do not swim very well, and my stamina for it is moderately poor. A boat that keeps water out is important. They are supposed to keep the water out and hold the humans in – that's their essence, I should think.

For future lake tests, I will head out by kayak – much more suitable, and surely the ducks, cormorants, and Great Blue Heron's won't miss the offensive outboard motor.



Time to Make Lemonade

Well, I guess I did commit to beginning an adventure in my very first post. . . Since then, I have been notified of my transfer to another worksite. While stuff like this and worse happens to good people all the time, it is my first direct experience of this. I don't like it.

I have been working through the emotional elements and the logistics, and I have been looking ahead to my future. I must follow my heart-path, my personal vision no matter what others do to me. So I have arrived at the place of knowing that bigger forces of creation are working for me in my life helping to manifest my vision in a grander and more successful way.

Lemons make a swell drink IF you have some sweetener. I am looking for a sugar bowl to transform this sour cup.

As for this blog, I do not know where it is going yet either. Perhaps it will end up being deleted in the end. Stay tuned. . .


About Me

My desire is to help people develop a relationship with nature and spirit that guides and feeds the soul and leads to more joy, peace, and deeper wisdom in the world. Through observations, experiences, words, and images, I share with you my exploration of life, spirit, and nature. In this way, the ordinary becomes extraordinary. That is my purpose for creating this site. It is a work in progress – like me.

A Bit More About Me

Born in Jamaica, Queens, New York 50 years ago, I am smack in the middle of a line up of seven children my parents brought forth into the world. From a very early age, I was fond of observing and experiencing the natural world around me, both seen and sensed. Without anyone to mentor or encourage such tendencies, my intuitive sense and impressions of the spirit behind the physical world grew naturally. In fact, it was a long time before I realized that not everyone perceived the world the way I did. I was genuinely surprised at this. On many occasions I would sit on the lawn area in front of our house on warm spring and summer mornings and slip away into meditation. I never called it meditation mind you – I had no idea there was such a thing at that young age. I would just sit there, back against a tree, and let the drone of traffic that flowed by on the expressway across from the house hypnotize me. I could sense so many things at once in such an expanded awareness and I began to understand a deeper nature of things that was beyond words. This deeper nature was invisible, yet it was everywhere at once.

The author at age five in his stylin' outfit! Look out ladies!When I look a what direction my path has taken me, it is amazing that I ended up as a naturalist because as a kid, I rarely left the urban environment. No adult friend or family member to take me fishing or camping or even buy me a field guide to insects or birds. My parents were too busy trying to support feed, clothe, and educate seven kids that there was not much room for such excursions into the wild. My connection to spirit and nature was so strong that it never let go of me despite the wandering path I took growing up.

After finishing my tour of duty in catholic schools, I was free to choose a college and a career path. Free to choose because I paid my own tuition. After a short period of sheer panic over what to do with my life, I chose a career path that resonated with the powerful intuitive energies surging within me. Art school seemed like the perfect pathway.

Fast forward: After attending Parson's School of Design, I worked for twenty years as a graphic designer in NYC before a career change reached out and grabbed me. In 1995 I began offering programs on wilderness survival, tracking, and nature awareness – skills I had learned from ten years of intensives with Tom Brown, Jr. at his Tracker School in NJ. This was the beginning of life path change for me. As I realized how much I loved learning from nature and earth's spirit, a pressing desire to share this with others grew steadily. In March of 2001, after a leap of faith that concluded the story of my graphic design career several months earlier, I got a job working and teaching at the Trailside Nature Museum in Cross River, NY, and eventually was promoted to museum curator in just four years. I served there until fall of 2009 when I was assigned to another nature center where I continue doing more or less the same thing.

This brings me to this website and blog, which I feel is another piece of the mysterious and exciting journey of my spirit. I hope you find some value and inspiration here and choose to visit this site regularly. I appreciate your support – thanks for visiting!


A Call to Adventure

Okay, so I've finally done it. A blog. . . never really liked that name. I mean, it sounds too much like The Blob, which was a scary movie for its time (in the days before Hollywood hi-tech), or "slob", which sounds unlovely at best. I'll get over it soon, I promise. Meanwhile, welcome to my . . . web log.

A journey of a thousand miles begins. . .

The world of nature and spirit that surrounds us often goes unnoticed, unappreciated, and thus invisible despite its constant influence in our lives. This world I speak of includes patterns, textures, tracks, natural processes, moods, spirit, plant and animal relationships and the ecosystems they belong to. In short, all manner of forces that swirl within and around us. This world I am exploring also holds the simple and miraculous events of our daily existence. The ordinary becomes extraordinary when we stop to appreciate it and its implications. A chance encounter of old friends. . . a kind deed . . . the smile of a stranger. . . a droplet of water on the tip of a leaf. Yes, even a "bad day" contains gifts to unwrap, though perhaps at a later date.

So, with my feet at the threshold, my pack slung over my shoulder, and my sights set on the horizon, I take the first step. Surely this will be an adventure in the true sense of the word: "A daring and exciting activity calling for enterprise and enthusiasm".


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