Nature Report from: The Galapagos,
The National Parks of Thailand,
Kathmandu Valley, the spiritual centers of India,
plus an eye and earful on Elephants!
engaged in a lively conversation, Espanola Island, Galapagos.
Photo by Tom Blagden who's work has appeared in Sierra Club, National
Audubon Society, and National Geographic Society calendars. Tom can
be reached through inspiredplanet.com
"There are rare moments for a photographer when the experience transcends the photographic potential, when the improbable combinations become a profound event of nature at its greatest resonance and complexity. The episode may be a more fleeting moment or a more contemplative experience. Whatever its pace and character, it binds with a powerful sense of place, revealing a hidden spirit."
We received these
emails from Zak Zide, environmental educator
with San Francisco's Academy of Science, who helped lead a
nature tour to the remote islands off the coast of Ecuador
where Darwin was so inspired:
-Tom Blagden, from Wetland Wilderness.
"I got back last night from the Galapagos! Am still
sifting through visceral images of hawks attacking
baby sea lions, marine iguanas that projectile sneeze
to rid their bodies of salt water, the brilliantly
colored scarlet flycatchers, walking in the presence
of a 150 year old, 500 pound tortoise, etc...it was
amazing to say the least! one must stop and think about the
impact on the animals, though, and at times i did feel
like our group of 80 thrill seekers were less than
sensitive to the personal space of some animals."
Diversity and abundance.
This world is a tapestry of languages and dialects,
epicurian curiosities, sanguine survival, and
epistomological extremes. The road is at once
challenging and inviting, old and new.
"The National Parks of thailand are not to be ignored
(though they often are)! get out, weather the leeches
and the rain and explore the unique biodiversity
living in the jungles! a feast for the senses, those
with the desire, stamina, curiousity and patience will
be well rewarded with a brilliant living showcase of
colors, textures, buzzes and smells. check out the
book waterfalls and gibbon calls about khao sok.
it should be noted that if, while visiting khao sok, one decides to take
the cave tour (and one should), please exercise great
care and caution with any and all cave formations.
cave geology is extremely fragile and takes eons to
create. although it is tempting to touch a
stalagmite, doing so will destroy this pristine cave
(the oils from your happy hands break down the
minerals in the rock). unfortuantely, the local
guides neglect to mention this, as environmental
education is apparently a low priority. stay
at the khao sok jungle huts with the super friendly
number one and number two. tell them superman sent
you, and say hello to Peanut for me."
Zak sent us these observations from the Kathmandhu Valley:
Perceiving Bhaktapur's magic, we observe the timeless
and seemingly unchanging rituals of life: rainbow
colored grains laid out on burlap sheets; people
collecting water or washing under the communal stone
spigget; dyed yarns hung out to dry on 400 year old
crumbling walls; children running in the cobblestone
streets pushing tires with sticks, or else playing
marbles!; potters hard at work, their wears laid out
to dry, changing color as moisture fades; women
placing flower petals on stones as an offering to the
various hindu and buddhist gods; (mostly) men hacking
and spitting constantly (as often as cars beep -
almost as often as one is pesterd by hustlers and shop
keepers. it is not uncommon that this most unpleasant
'huk-tooh' will be the first and last sound of your
day). wedged between a small shop selling vegetables
and a garbage heap, i see large and various body parts
of indistinguishable animals, spread haphazardly,
embarassingly unsanitarily on half-tarp-protected,
dirt infected ground - blood stain butchers hacking
away with a sundry and sanguine supply of knives; arm
up, metal down, flies scatter, flesh parts, bones
snap, crackle and pop. mmm...rice krispies.
massive wooden wheels, a good eight feet in diameter,
lean their heavy husks, three deep, against the brick
of a 14th century temple. shaded for the moment from
the aging affects of the sun's heat, the surface of
these giant cart bearing beasts wear wise ambient
grooves, all-knowign nooks and assiduous crannies.
could i coax you to spill the yarns hidden in your
cracks? could i feel the emotions in your holes? smell
the centuries in your dried out cellulose?
Letter from Sultana -- a member of the Inspired Planet family who spends winters in Northern India especially Rishikesh and Dharamsala:
Link to Sultana's letter