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One Photo: One Story; Nuts!

Humans, a conundrum, a paradox, absurd, an oxymoron so darn frustrating. We have huge hearts which makes us so forgivable. We mean well and we’re trying our best in the Coronavirus era. We are wearing our face masks and gloves for protection. Thank you, they do prevent the spread of Coronavirus and other germs. Thank you for wearing them.

Please, please, please dispose of them properly.

Our intent on shielding ourselves and others is noble. Take one more step and throw your used gloves and masks away properly. Lately everywhere I go, I find a glove on the ground. We will not eradicate or reduce exposure by leaving gloves everywhere.

We can do better not only to protect ourselves but others as well. The person having to clean this up, may themselves be exposed to the virus unless we take the next step. Take it upon yourself to do the right thing. I will do the same. I got to thinking about other times I felt confused by human interaction with the world around us. We love natural beauty, our state parks and nature preserves. Actions tell a different story.

Here’s a journal entry from a 2016 trip to Glacier Bay in Alaska:

“Our stateroom is 7037, the people in 7035 decided it would be a good idea to feed the seagulls by hand.

Perhaps the seagulls are becoming used to getting food from passing cruise ships.

They know exactly what to do.

I’ve come to Glacier Bay twice before.

I’ve never seen anyone feed sea gulls.

It is not now or ever a good idea to manually feed wildlife.

I have seen the occasional gull at Glacier Bay, never the amount I experienced today.

I am actually disgusted by the lack of thought humans put into their interactions with animals.

This couple took a processed energy bar,

broke it into pieces and hand fed it to the birds.

The wife wanted a photo.”

“Others begin to feed the seagulls. Now thirty seagulls want food.

A woman on the upper deck gives a seagull a banana peel.

The gull actually spit the banana peel into the bay.

Now, a banana peel is added to the ecosystem.

The neighbors are bombarded by seagulls.

As they retreat into the cabin and close the door, I hear the lady say,

‘That was better than seeing a glacier’.

I yell, ‘You can see that in Staten Island!’”

Years from now when glaciologists study early 21st century ice flow and discover processed nuts and a banana peel, science will be all fucked up.

Later as we change direction, we move to the front of the ship.

Sea lions, whales and mountain goats can be seen in the Alaskan wilderness. The Sun warms the sea, the sun sets behind the ship and a half waxing moon rises to the east.

Somewhere a seagull is shitting processed nuts all over Alaska.”

Later that summer, my wife and I went to Muir Woods in Marin County, California. These are the redwoods of legend. My schoolbooks and Boy Scout manuals described the majestic forests in photos and words. It seemed to me at a very young age to be a truly American treasure. Kelly wanted to revisit after seeing the Woods during a spring break trip.

It’s the middle of summer, there are 544 acres of tourists. I was expecting a forest of solitude. Muir Woods is 12 miles from San Francisco. We are no longer in Alaska.

Throughout the park, signs remind us humans not to interfere or deface the forest. I am in total agreement. This was my exact thinking as our seagull feeding friends were handing out nut bars to wild birds.

Time alone should alter these trees or the natural world around us. Trees here are a direct lineage to the ancient redwoods. They have grown here for thousands of years.

As we walked and listened to the forest, a man walking with his family, relieved himself just off the trail in front of his young children.

We were a mere 100 yards from the public restrooms. I was speechless.

As we walked out of the forest John Muir so lovingly wanted preserved for future generations, I found a wrapper under the redwood canopy.

It was from a nut bar. Actually, a cereal bar with traces of nuts.

John Muir once wrote: “In every walk with nature, one receives more than one seeks”.

Take care of each other, lessen your carbon footprint if you can and respect the world around you. For the sake of others, birds and wildlife, throw away your trash. Please.

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