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Leaving the place better than we found it
Seeing with my eyes closed
Thomas Jefferson on gun control
How to lie convincingly
Our hardy heartland
Breaking the cycle
How to catch the sun's comings and goings
Thoughts from the inside
Leveraging the internet to build our walls
Twitters from the past
And the invincibility of youth
Without ego projection
Yet another gift of the road
The charming side of obstinance
The creative part of photography
A movie critic looks in the mirror
We are not alone
You are on this page
Mastering your master
The end of Kumbaya
The wanderer's poet
Running out of dirt
Striking a balance
The Bay of Fundy, where the sea breathes
How to photograph them with anything, even your cellphone
A simple question we get every day
We may be failing to fail
And why no one should hesitate to examine them
Becoming a hero in one's own life story
A writing assignment
A new discovery of something old
Finding new eyes to see old landscapes
Hick humor
Toys for photographing wild places
Experiencing life with God
A radical thought about our radicals
Redemption with style
Hidden heroes among us
Resetting our parallel processor
A village with heart
A lesson from the road
The bullet dodged
A soul sparkles
Isolation in style
Painless ways to lose your virginity : 11/12/15
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Nature's Children
As part of the system
09/15/16

Cleveland, Ohio has the distinction of having had the most polluted river in the country. The Cuyahoga River was so polluted in 1969 that it caught fire several times. Even we Republicans had to wake up to the idea that we were ruining our neighborhoods, if not the whole planet. Many say the Cuyahoga River converted the environmental movement from fringe hippies to mainstream.

So it was that I paid a visit to the Cuyahoga River, and I'm happy to report that smoking next to the river is no longer hazardous, except of course to your lungs. Cleveland's parks and waterfront gave further proof of a rebirth, an invitation to nature to return, and to be greeted more kindly than before.

Looking back to the time of the Cuyahoga's burning, I recall a transition from being a member species, as free as black bears to roam about doing whatever we wanted, to a stewardship role unlike that of any other creature. We had been kicked up to management, responsible to develop and enforce a business plan for the business of running the world in protected mode.

And we became outsiders as surely as Lenin viewed management separate from the proletariat, culminating in massive management projects such as turning down the temperature of the entire planet.

Watching the majesty of a storm rumbling in from Lake Erie, I was seized by a thought; what if we swing the pendulum back to considering ourselves as just another member species, albeit with some strange characteristics?

What if an oil tanker spill is as natural as locusts devouring the countryside? What if our extermination of species is as much a part of nature as the same done by asteroids and volcanoes?

But if so, so is our emerging environmental awareness, an evolution in our social consciousness as natural as the evolution of our brains. We can call it our artistic evolution. For some reason not yet clear to us, we all carry around inside us a feeling that an undisturbed mountain glade is more pleasing than the aftermath of a strip mine. And we have to act in accordance to these changing urges as surely as a caterpillar eventually has to act like a butterfly.

The result is rather similar to what we do as environmental managers, but the perception of ourselves is different. We are not overlords screwing up our job, but fellow children of nature learning our evolving role and acting accordingly.

We are brought back to the age old observation of Chief Seattle that we are but strands in the web of life, but we are that, and not just outsiders pulling strings. We can take delight in the rebirth of the Cuyahoga and Cleveland, the return of the bison from the brink, and many other instances where we have shown fidelity to our nature to love and heal what we touch. We have more to do as our evolution continues, but as residents of Noah's Ark, not its captain.

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Downtown Cleveland

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Cleveland's old waterfront

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Cuyahoga River

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The Canal District

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Peter B. Lewis Building

For more pictures of Ohio, click here.


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