Patricia and the beetle

November 2008, I sat in Sacrament Service  between my two ambulatory children, daughter aged eleven years, son aged eighteen.   As the program moved into the blessing and passing of the Sacrament, my mind began its shift from observation to meditation.

Movement atop the empty pew just ahead drew my eye.   A beetle about a quarter of an inch long followed the ridgeline of the pew’s wooden back, rear end waggling as its six legs paddled its body along.   It had a dark gray carapace and a rounded, yellowish head with black eyespots.   Two short antennae sifted the air questioningly. Continue reading “Patricia and the beetle”


Cool stargazing project

The Salt Lake Tribune reports an annual event to document magnitudes of light pollution across the planet.   This project  invites  public participation.  

Every year, Globe at Night asks teachers and students, parents and their  children, and stargazers located internationally  to observe the constellation Orion, specifically his belt.    The website linked above provides all the tools and information needed, although people will need to employ whatever means they have at their disposal to find their latitude and longitude (Globe provides instructions).

The project runs March 16-28.   Orion appears in the east about an hour after sunset and maintains stellar prominence for several hours until he  does a belly flop  into the western horizon  around midnight.    

When I lived in Payson, UT, Orion and the Big Dipper were the only constellations that had  the  umph to shine through the Utah Valley light pollution and  haze with any consistency.     Where I live now, the Milky Way runs in a flood of shimmer on moonless nights—a beautiful, mind-bending swath of other places, times, and events visible from our front and back yards.   Can’t wait to get out there with the kids and see how our drop-dead gorgeous night sky compares with Globe’s magnitude charts.

Ooo, yeah.    We’ve got dark skies here that go on forever.   Very aesthetically and spiritually exciting.     Anybody not having a similarly  clear  window onto the rest of the galaxy—I’m sorry, but  you’re losing the only view that goes on forever that you don’t have to pay for, the one everybody  got  for free up until the dawning of the last century’s light craze.   Now we’re paying for not having  that view.

My best advice:  Do what’s necessary to get  back what you can of the night sky as well as  reduce your electric bill and possibly even sleep better at night.   For good and workable  ideas about why and how, go here.

I’ve also written here  about light pollution and its effects.

Bird in the hand

First published at A Motley Vision,  this essay explores the  nature of  stewardship by wondering if  we understand what stewardship is or  if we’ve  merely assumed that we understand.   Are we fully conscious of the needs of other creatures, as good stewards ought to be? Are we imaginative enough to visualize the possibilities of faithful stewardship, which may include providing other species with opportunities for €¦ oh, I don’t know €¦ progression, maybe …  or  perhaps gaining  from them insight that  endows our own progression?

An abridged version of “Bird in the Hand”  was published in 2007  in  Glyphs III,  a regional  anthology containing  writings by local writers and visitors to  southeastern Utah’s  redrock  country  that Moab Poets and Writers publishes every two years.    I’ve written more  about MP &W  here.    

In July 2005 my brother Jim and I threw camping gear into his new Toyota 4Runner and headed for a canyon in the San Rafael Swell. The object of our trip: try out the 4Runner on real four-wheel-drive roads and see petroglylphs at the canyon’s mouth. We arrived at the canyon at dusk and as evening fell  helped each other wrestle up tents in a whipping canyon wind. Continue reading “Bird in the hand”

The fly

Late summer of 2008, I was sitting in Crossfire Canyon (here are parts two and three) at one of my favorite sandstone perches when I became conscious of a persistent buzzing noise. Looking down, I spotted  an insect hovering just above the ground about a meter below me.  The insect  looked something like a yellow jacket, black and bright yellow in coloration, but in morphology it more closely resembled a fly than a  wasp. A yellow jacket’s buzz changes pitch constantly as it moves, and it’s always in motion  because it has no real talent for hovering. This look-alike hovered  like a champ, so it  droned at a fairly constant pitch  rather  higher than a wasp’s.   Continue reading “The fly”