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Walden ~> The Game, Not The Pond April 19, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Health & Wellness, Nature, Sustainable Living.
18 comments

I heard about this video game from Poets and Writers.

If you’ve got 45 minutes to commune with virtual Walden, this presentation by the game’s creator is a fascinating look at how and why she designed a video game modeled after Thoreau’s contemplative time On Walden Pond, where he concluded that it is not until we’ve met our innate and mundane needs for Food, Clothing, Shelter, and Fuel that we can turn our attention to inspiration, creation, and the more sublime and ephemeral aspects of life:

If you’ve got 13 minutes to wander in the virtual reeds, this clip will give you a glimpse of how Tracey has used gaming technology to slow “the quickening pace of life” allowing us to “play deliberately” and reflect, as Thoreau did, on how the choices we make change our relationship to nature and the sublime aspects of life:

If you only have a few minutes to walk in Thoreau’s footsteps and ponder his words and philosophy, this video game trailer will give you a sense of what “slow play” is all about:

Aah . . . that’s better!

 

Earth Optimist Summit 2017 in D.C. April 11, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Nature, People, Sustainable Living.
12 comments

The Smithsonian, along with a network of collaborators, is hosting the first-ever Earth Optimism Summit from April 21-23 ~ and you’re invited!

Earth Optimism celebrates a change in focus from problem to solution in the area of global conservation with an unprecedented gathering of thought leaders, scientists, environmentalists, artists, civic leaders and international media, featuring public discussions, storytelling sessions, exhibition spaces and more!

Here’s the Schedule of events & speakers:  Schedule

Proceedings of the summit will be live streamed for the public, and community events will occur around DC.

In addition to the DC summit, sister events will take place around the world.

To learn more:  Earth Optimism Summit, April 21 – 23

Aah . . . that’s better!

A Heron, an Osprey, and a Fish March 29, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Humor, Nature.
32 comments

The other day, I stepped out onto the back deck and observed a peaceful scene.

Several turtles were busy sunning themselves on the far bank of the lagoon.  A lone vulture circled on hidden currents overhead.  A Great Blue Heron on the far bank stood guard over his respective territory, a white egret fished at water’s edge, while an ibis pecked in the dirt for grubby morsels.

Just then an osprey flew overhead with a fish clenched in its talons.

The osprey took in the scene, circled back (doing a 180), and swooped low over the head of the Great Blue Heron who squawked in protest, flapping his wings at the intruder.

Unperturbed at the GBH’s vociferous annoyance, the osprey finished his fly-by, circled back again (this time doing a 360 turn) to swoop low over the head of the Great Blue Heron a second time.

The osprey sang out, “Hey!  I’ve got a fish and YOU do NOT!”

Once again, the GBH barked and croaked in protest, screeching out his displeasure while shaking his “fists” at the sky.

With that, the osprey winked at me and went off to enjoy his sushi.

I got the sense that this was NOT their first encounter with one another.  Perhaps the GBH had boasted about one of his prior fishing trips, thus nettling the osprey.

In any event, the only player who got a vote of sympathy from me . . . the fish!

Aah . . . that’s better!

 

The Topiaries Are Tops! March 21, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Home & Garden, Humor, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
21 comments

Before Florida temps rebound for the sultry summer season, we’ve been “hitting the trails” to enjoy the fine weather ~ around the neighborhood, on the beach, and at Disney.

We got annual passes for the first time this year and have logged LOTS of miles traipsing through Epcot, the Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and the Magic Kingdom ~> 6.7 miles, 10.4 miles, 7.6 miles, 5.1 miles, 5.9 miles.

On our last 2 visits, I’m not sure how far we walked because my pedometer went on strike!

One of our favorite things so far has been all the gorgeous gardens and topiaries.

A Giant Panda in China enjoying a sunset snack of bamboo:

A Troll in Norway who seemed FROZEN:

Bambi, Thumper, and Flower in a bed of flowers:

Rafiki and Simba . . . “Ah Zabenya!”

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice & Bewitched Broomsticks:

A trio of glamorous ostriches enjoying the bright blue skies too much to bury their heads in the sand:

And these topiary wannabes ~ Dory and Marlin ~ who, I must admit, looked like two fish out of water:

Aah . . . that’s better!

 

 

 

A Baby Orangutan ~> SWEET! November 3, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Nature.
29 comments

3d-apeBabies are cute and often a cause for celebration.  No matter the species.

For the first time in 25 years, primate staff at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo are celebrating the birth of a male Bornean orangutan. He was born at 8:52 p.m. Sept. 12.  Both 19 years old, female Batang and male Kyle bred in January . . . 

Animal care staff have observed Batang nursing the infant who has been clinging closely to his mother, and they are cautiously optimistic that the newborn will thrive.

The Great Ape House will remain closed to provide Batang a quiet space to bond with her infant.  

To read more and see some precious shots of Batang’s baby boy:

Orangutan Born At Smithsonian National Zoo

Aah . . . that’s better!

 

Plitvice Lakes National Park October 31, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
31 comments

If my bucket list ever expands to include Croatia . . . Plitvice Lakes National Park is on my itinerary!

For more amazing images:  Plitvice Lake National Park

Aah . . . that’s better!

Red Tide At Night . . . No One’s Delight October 11, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Less IS More, Nature.
31 comments

Before moving to Florida, I’d never heard of Red Tide.  Well, let me tell you, Red Tide STINKS!

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Red Tide is an algae-bloom that starts far off shore and moves with the tides, killing fish in its wake.  The dead fish wash up on the beach in droves and do what dead fish are wont to do ~> emit foul odors.

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At the end of September, a significant Red Tide bloom made its appearance known to us on our morning beach walk.

P.U.

We held our breath and made a mad dash for the car.

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A few days later, we decided to chance another walk on the beach.

We didn’t bump into any dead fish (they’d been raked up and dumped into a dumpster), but it smelled “fishy” down at water’s edge.  So we walked up near the dunes instead.

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Maybe they better add “NO Red Tide” and “NO Dead Fish” to the list of beach and pier prohibitions!

Aah . . . that’s better!

When A Tree Falls In The Forest . . . August 29, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Life Balance, Nature.
42 comments

Perico Preserve, a bird rookery, opened up across the street from us this summer.  On a cool-ish Sunday evening we went over to check it out.

While wandering the trails, we bumped into this massive tree lying down on the job.

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At first, we assumed it had just recently keeled over due to heat exhaustion.

WRONG!

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After walking underneath the tree’s arching trunk to the far side, we noticed numerous stout branches straining skyward and several muscular roots keeping the tree grounded and well fed.

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The tree did not give up when it fell down . . .

It adapted to the challenges of its new position, refusing to abandon its continual quest to reach for the sun.

Ain’t nature grand!

Aah . . . that’s better!

A “Tardy” Post June 7, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Humor, Nature.
39 comments

I took this photo in July 2012 while “stationed” in New Jersey for several weeks after my dad’s death.  I’m a bit “tardy” in sharing it with you.

At the time, the profusion of Black-eyed Susan blooms whispered:

Think of all the beauty still left around you and Be Happy.  ~ Anne Frank

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Here’s a “tardy” view from our front door of a single bloom.

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud, was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~ Anais Nin

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I took this next shot in December 2015.

It’s taken me all that time to get over the shock of stumbling across this shocking Pepto Dismal Pink.

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It looks so much better is “dusty rose.”  See . . . even Flo the Flamingo agrees.

“Yo, Flo!  You’re looking fine-feathered, my friend.”

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Aah . . . that’s better!

A “Catwalk” Through A Cypress Swamp May 23, 2016

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Nature, Travel & Leisure.
38 comments

When we lived in NC, we spent many wonderful weekends camping and hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains and Great Smokies.

Blue hills

We loved to pack a picnic and hike to a waterfall where we could park our butts on a big boulder mid-river to enjoy the rushing water (and an adult beverage, or two).  Here, there is plenty of water but waterfalls are few and far between.

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BFF misses our mountain meanders ~ not enough to hike the Appalachian Trail, but enough to wander in the woods and set a spell.  We came close earlier this month.

Wanting to fit in another road trip before Florida temps rose from warm to steamy, we headed to Sebring for a short visit.

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Emphasis on short.

We enjoyed a quick peek at Lake Jackson . . .

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And strolled around the Circle Shops, stopping to visit a pottery studio, before bidding adieu to Sebring.

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With Sebring in our rear view mirror, we headed to nearby Highland Hammock State Park to do some hiking in the woods.

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Our first hike started out as an easy flat walk along an elevated boardwalk.

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High above the muck and mire.  Just the way I like it!

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Without warning, our easy hike turned into a balancing act along a narrow “catwalk” suspended over the murky Cypress Swamp.

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The catwalk had a handrail on one side and NOTHING between us and the swamp on the other.

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The people who built it must have had a good laugh at the one-sided structure they left in their wake.

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To make matters worse, stuff kept falling out of the tall tall trees because a big storm had blown through the  night before.

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Every time a big limb dropped with a CRACK, we jumped.

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Especially after seeing the creature from the black lagoon rising from the swampy soup.

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To claim the boardwalk for lunch.

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We didn’t see any gators or snakes.

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We were OK with that.

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We did see some interesting hoo doos.

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And pixies hiding among the primordial ferns.

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Eventually the canopy gave way to blue sky and we climbed down from the catwalk to terra firma.

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Happy we lived to tell the tale, we readied ourselves to hike another trail.

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Which turned out to be a very gnarly one.

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After meeting up with this wise old oak . . .

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We continued along the trail until we heard “a bear” crashing through the forest in our direction.

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Deciding we’d had enough nature for one day, we fled the trail.

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Aah . . . that’s better!