Arm chair naturalist

african print (2)
Sometimes we just can’t  physically get there, so this was the next best thing; a virtual expedition!

At first glance one would think that there was no life at the Djuma Game Preserve watering hole. Over eight thousand miles away, however, I was able to look through the lens of a camcorder and peek into the private moments of the South African wilderness. 16:39 Central African Time Zone (CAT), which is Greenwich Mean Time plus two hours had earned me a new title; I had become ‘the armchair naturalist’.

An oblong watering hole flanked by mounds of grey dirt and shrubby trees came into view. There was a slow almost deliberately lazy flow of water, which I sensed was rather shallow. Every now and again a disturbance by some water insect would set the surface in motion with the same rings that are set off by someone skipping a rock across a lake; and from the center outward small ripples ruffled the otherwise tranquil water. The background trees, some sparse of leaves while others like a full head of green hair were mixed together. I found myself being very still, as though my movement would rouse any animal or creature that might choose to make itself present. There was a constant caw of birds and the buzzing of insects; however, they knew when it was their turn to make a sound for not one seemed to interrupt the other. Crickets perhaps, and the coming and going of feathered fowl, some in flight and others taking a leisurely paddle in the grey murky water gave life to what seemed to be an uninhabited spot.

Yet, out of the background, as though the spindly tress had suddenly sprung legs, there was definite movement; not that of a bird, but yet a larger and more deliberate force that one could only assume was a mammal. Several tall and graceful beasts made their appearance, and though they were not easy to see, my knowledge of zoo animals clearly identified them as giraffes. Their colors were hazy and though these creatures came upon the screen ashen and white; apparitions they were not for the outline of slender necks reaching almost as high as the tallest branches gave way to their distinctly original features.

nyala,_maleWithin only a few moments, as if by invitation from the giraffes, a half a dozen shy nyala, appeared. Not taking any risks, they remained half hidden by the scruffy brush as they half-heartedly scurried about, only to be upstaged by a rather bold and curious water fowl that found a sumptuous meal by dining upon the very muddy banks of the shore. Its grey and white feathers blended in with its surrounding, while the only lively color on the shore was verdant green lichen attached to a rock that the water bird found flavorful; for between sips it pecked favorable at the mossy fauna with its long pale yellow beak.

And then, just as quickly as the watering hole had invited life, so did it abruptly become dormant. For suddenly the only conceivable measure of being came from a listless breeze, which carried the hum of insects and the startled cry of birds across the hemispheres while the view from my corner of the world once again became a game of hide and seek.

Here’s the site! Djuma waterhole

 

Thoughts from a word-catcher

cat at breakfast small

Old fashion words never go out of style, they just seem to be brushed aside. However, from Old-English to around your grandmother’s kitchen table, a person comes across these once familiar words like old friends. Although language is evolving, and word mutations have entered modern day language, it is not uncommon, especially for writers who wish to authenticate their jargon, to add flair and accuracy to their works.

And so, today’s blog plays tribute to the retired words, and like good soldiers they should not be forgotten. Whether you express yourself with brevity or tend to be long-winded, there is always room to rediscover.

once upon a time words_2582 (1)

 

Shameful perhaps, however, I hope it is more thought of as a helpful guide, I have slipped into my blog conversation my title, Once Upon a Time Words: Definitions of Often Read but Seldom Spoken Words. As you might imagine, I am a word lover.

 

A gentle reminder

see sawAs more and more information comes to people by way of social media, their reaction to  input has been, shall we say, varied, many times misguided, and more than often  confused among the minutia of “stuff”.  So, for those who may have forgotten or even never really digested the most primary of facts (as stipulated in the Constitution) regarding the United States branches of government; here is a rudimentary check list.

Today’s blog is dedicated to The Three Branches of Government.

Pretend that three people who weigh the same take turns on a seesaw. No matter which two people are on the seesaw at opposite ends, they are balanced. Our government is the same way. The three that take turns riding the seesaw are: –

(1)  President – Executive Branch, (2) Legislative Branch, and (3) Supreme Court – Judicial Branch

How do these branches balance and check each other? Each branch has different powers from another branch. But each weighs the same.

Using the lists below you can imagine a seesaw to show how each branch balances the other.

***

separation_of_powers

Executive branch- President:

• Makes treaties with other nations
• Carries out laws
• Vetoes bills Congress passes if he thinks they are wrong
• Appoints judges in the Judicial Branch for a life term
• Writes the budget Congress:

Legislative Branch- Congress and Senate

• Makes laws
• Can override a President’s veto of a bill by 2/3 vote
• Can impeach (fire) a President for misconduct
• Must approve presidential appointments for judges and justices
• Gives the O.K. on budget spending and treaties
• Can remove judges from office for misconduct

Supreme Court- Judicial Branch

• Interprets laws
• May decide that some laws that Congress makes or decisions that the President make are not right according to the Constitution.

***

For whatever it is worth, take into consideration these facts and when confronted by a tide of media input, throw this out as a lifeboat and tow in the truth.

Looking for Lincoln from within

Lincoln by Brady

We have never met him, nor have we ever heard him speak yet we all feel as though we want to be like him, to embrace him, to live up to his standards. Such a man was Abraham Lincoln, a person from humble beginnings who became the President of the United States. His relevance today is applicable for the same reasons he was relevant to his contemporaries; he was a man of integrity, determination, and honesty.

Are these not the attributes that we wish to instill in children? Regardless of differences and similarities one cannot dispute that Lincoln was a leader with human qualities that each of us can find some connection to. He reminds us that it is okay to be who you are, that it takes hard work to make a difference, that not everyone will believe your way is the right way, but rather to live and try your best is a more noble route than to pursue an easier servile path.

The list of reason why Lincoln is relevant today are clearly demonstrated in the stories and speeches he left behind. Great men with great souls will forever remain relevant, and for Abraham Lincoln, from his Kentucky beginnings to his tragic death in Ford Theater, he will live among us forever. As long as those from humble beginning and not so humble beginnings continue to pass along his knowledge,passion, and legacy, we will continue to inspire the rising “Lincolns” among us.

Image: Lincoln-portrait by Brady, Matthew B. Photographs (1864)