Where did you go my friend?

The internet can be an amazing thing. Almost everytime you turn on your computer, there it is, waiting for you to head out on an adventure of digital discovery. You can meet interesting people and strike up friendships – well you typically don’t meet them IRL (In Real Life), but they can be friendships just the same. You share things you might not share with IRL friends, you discuss things that you might not discuss with IRL friends – or do. You follow and comment on their blog (if they have one), and they follow and comment on yours (if you have one).

In some cases, you learn quite a lot about the person, and in some instances, they don’t share a lot of details such as where they live, what they do for a living, their background, family, etc. You might not share a lot of details either, and that’s alright. We all need our boundaries – that safe area around us that we don’t let just everyone cross. I think boundaries are more respected on the internet in a way. Most don’t pry or pressure. There is sort of an acceptance of the relationship the way it is. At least that is the case for me.

I’m very grateful for my internet friends, and to all of them I now say thank you for your friendship (internet though it is); your sharing, your listening, your comments on my blog.

What makes it hard though is when one of them just disappears seemingly without a trace. You email, you leave comments on their blog; no reply, just the echo of your fingers on the keyboard. This happened this year. An internet friend sent me an email late last year, I replied and didn’t hear back. When I went to their blog, there was a post there (end of the year), so I assumed they were just busy with their move (they relocated too). The post mentioned a slight break, but that they would be back. Then after a couple months you begin to wonder, but life gets in the way, so you forget to email them and when you remember, you get no reply. You visit their blog from time to time, when you think of it, but there, staring at you, is that same old post. Other internet friends – many whom you know – leave comments, and then you all start wondering where they are, and asking, almost pleading with them, to get in touch, or just to put up a short post letting their internet friends know they are OK – or not. No response.

A few of us get together over email and decide to start doing a search to see if we can determine what has happened. We all share what we know.  One long-time IRL friend (thankfully) has their real name (where the rest of us had only their internet nickname), so we start searching. We find things that fit the picture that all of us have been able to piece together from the various bits we each could offer, but still no luck. When the open internet fails, we resort to paying for some of the people search sites in hopes we can find our friend. We keep broadening our searches to include even the most remote clues, but still no luck. But then you reach that point where even the completely irrelevant clues have been searched for from 10,000 different directions. Finally, apparently, sadly, the great internet has failed. You have come to a dead end.

We of course still hold out hope. Maybe, somehow, someway, we will figure out exactly what terms to put in that search box to bring news of our friend, or possibly that one of us will say something in an email that will give us a new direction to search, or possibly, miraculously, a new post will appear on the blog explaining the absence and we will jump for joy.

Or not.

I would be fooling myself if I didn’t consider the possibility that our internet friend has moved on; made her transition to the other side of the veil. Still, it would be nice to know if she has or not. I’ve journeyed on it before to get only the silent treatment from upstairs, which typically means I’m not supposed to know, for whatever reason (sometimes you are simply not supposed to know). You just have to accept these things sometimes.

Where did you go my friend?

Where are you now?

Life in the tropics

Kona coffee cherries ripeningI had planned on getting a “meatier” post up this week, but I’ve been busy with other stuff. I hope to have something more substantive up in a few days.

How many of you have ever seen coffee “on the hoof?” This image is from right outside the house I’m living in on a sustainable, organic coffee farm. The owners are quite happy since the trees are heavy with coffee cherries this year. At the elevation, and in the area I’m living, June and July are the wet months, and although the first few months I was living here were very, very dry, June and July have turned out quite wet—at least wet as far as this ex-Wyoming boy is concerned. We’ve been getting at least an inch or two of rain each week, and this last couple weeks has seen an inch or more each day. I’ve got yard work to do (weeding and such) but haven’t been able to get out to do it. I might just have to put on my board shorts, a tee shirt and flip-flops and do it in the rain.

Looking out my front doorThe first couple months here, the front area of the house was virtually just bare ground except for a few tropical plants that were somehow managing to survive the drought. Where as before I could look up the hill in front of the house and see the car parked up there, now all I can see is lush tropical plants (and of course the inevitable weeds). Weeds are good though. This island is a rock and dirt and topsoil are scarce actually on most of the island, so you have to create your own soil, and those weeds, which can grow 4 or 6 inches in just a couple days, become soil once composted. The soils here are quite loose, so pulling most weeds is very easy. There is probably a couple days work to be done in trimming stuff and pulling weeds, but the weather report for the next several days or so calls for at least 30% chance of rain, and here in this area and at this elevation, 30% is more like 100% this time of year.

I still have to pinch myself every so often to make sure that living here isn’t a dream. I’m thankful for every day, and each morning and evening, I express my gratitude to the spirits of this incredibe island.

New photo galleries section added

walking on fireI broke down and added a photo galleries section (see top navigation tabs), and will start going though my photos and getting the best of the best into the gallery pages. I’ve still got a lot of 4×5 film transparencies from trips to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons that I have not yet scanned, but I have a lot that I’ve taken with my digital SLR from other trips, although most of them are still in “raw” file format so they have to be processed.

So, check back over the coming weeks to see what’s new in the Galleries.

Oil slick around Mississippi barrier islands

NASA satellite image of oil around Miss. barrier islandsI just checked over at the NASA Earth Observatory web site, and they have a new image up for today showing the massive amount of oil that is collecting around the Mississippi barrier islands. All the silver-ish swirls you see on the water is oil from the spill. I’ve downsized it from its original size. You can, if you want, visit this page at NASA to see or download the original full-sized image.

I’ll let the image speak for itself.

Our addiction to oil: The cost in pictures

NASA image of oil spill June 19 2010I don’t post the following to make people feel sad. I post it because there are those out there that need to wake up and really see one of the many tragic consequences of our petroleum-fueled lifestyles, and what it is doing to the world we live in and depend on for our very existence. [Cropped satellite image from NASA Earth Observatory, image of the day.]

This tragedy is the direct result our our addiction to oil, pure and simple. BP was simply the instrument we used to produce it. The Ixtoc spill in the waters off Mexico in 1979 should have been a wake up call. The Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska should have been a wake up call. All the oil spills around the world should have been wake up calls. Sadly though we have gotten too good at ignoring and forgetting. That has to change.

Change is going to come from each of us, as individuals, making conscious choices to reduce our dependence on oil and our impact on mother earth. Real change always happens from the level of the individual and then moves up though higher and higher levels of society as a whole. If you are looking for real change to come from the top down be prepared for a very long wait. True change though cannot happen until we each realize who we really are, and that we are not only all connected to one another, but to all life everywhere; the whole continuum from the smallest one-celled organisms to the Source of all life itself.

The Christian Science Monitor ran a story today titled “Gulf oil spill’s wildlife toll: sharks near shore, turtles incinerated” that I humbly suggest you read. The Christian Science Monitor I find to be a news organization with integrity and a good source of truly “fair and balanced” reporting (unlike the news organization that touts being “fair and balanced”). At the end of that story is a link to a slideshow called “Sticky mess: The Gulf oil spill’s impact on nature” that I again suggest you view. Then spend a little time thinking about what you can do personally to reduce your burden on this wonderful world. If enough people choose to make even small changes, the combined impact of those small changes can be dramatic.

One such change we can all make (and Obama, unfortunately, got a lot of flack for this during his campaign for President) is to check our tire pressure regularly and keep our tires properly inflated. According to the US Department of Energy, underinflated tires cost the US 1.25 billion gallons of gas per year; about 1 percent of our total gas consumption. One bonus to keeping our tires properly inflated is our tires will last longer. Another is that we reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we put into the atmosphere. There is no downside.

Journeys through the mist