Tag Archives: nature

It Takes A Village

There are 3 million species of animals living in tropical rain forest, and one of them, the red fire ant, lives underground, under constant threat of annihilation from flash floods. Nature doesn’t care, if a species wants to survive, it has to prove it deserves to.

When the floods come, fire ants hold on to each other, creating a living raft that could float until the water recedes, months if necessary. So how does the species figure something like that out? Instinct? Trial and error? Was there one fire ant that was being swept away by the rushing water, and grabbed on to another ant, only to find that together, they could float?

–Touch Series

fireantsPhoto National Geographic

Kingdom of Chaos by Estela Caballero

They say if you have enough information about what is happening now, you can predict the future.  They’re called algorithms and even though you might not believe it, you have used them.  The Weather Channel–it’s one of the main reasons we got to algorithms.  When I first heard that I thought it meant something else.  I’ll save you from making the same mistake–  this is not about Al Gore Rhythms, like Al Gore dancing.  Not that kind of rhythms.

There are two kinds of physics, the big and the small.  We are taught that one rules all things big and the other describes the small.  Nothing rules the smalls.  Nothing we understand yet, anyways.

In the land of these laws, I meet the definition of big.  My problem is there are millions of smalls and their smalls floating around in me, I am a kingdom of chaos.  Memory and time have robbed us of the knowledge that might lead to that one last thing we need.  It will be the last thing until it’s not.  Maybe it’s better this way.  Among us today walk a few keepers of the ancient language. They share it freely and we nod, hurry by and smile.  We’re in a hurry, searching for that thing.  So she paints.  So he plays.  I know, who has the luxury of time for things like that– music and art.

What’s the difference between sound, music and noise?  I went to the wisest man I know.  “It depends on who you ask,” he said, like that was an answer.  I began to consider I may need to expand the circle of people I know.  Me, personally, I don’t like a lot of noise.  Now my heart, riddled with armies of smalls and their armies of tinies– they dance to a tune we won’t understand for years.  It sounds a little like noise to me.  They like it and I don’t tell them to turn it down– haven’t you ever heard the saying, “The heart wants what the heart wants.”

What do you see when you shut your eyes?  The wise man was gone and in his place a boy.  The wise man was off his game and this boy didn’t inspire much confidence.  He appeared to put much effort into what would have naturally occurred about 18 times in a second.  In fact, he kept his eyes shut for two seconds and basically erased 40 blinks from the universe.  All to give me an answer.  Maybe the wise man told him about me and my impatience.  As I closed the door to his room, I tried it.  Damn it, he’s right.  I had it all wrong.  Chaos and order seem at opposite ends.

That was the last time I looked for an answer from wise people or those filling in for them.  A few days after my walk I heard the most ridiculous thing.  Rainbows are completely round.  I would settle this quick, fast and in a hurry.  The source was a pesky know it all that took great pleasure in throwing completely random information at me when I was making a good faith effort to do important things.  He worked me like a remote control.  It’s true.  How would the Double Rainbow guy from YouTube take this?  He could dress up a cat and have him play piano and mourn the double rainbow that never was.  What about all those leprechauns?  We’ve all seen what happens when they lose their pot of gold.  I don’t think Hollywood has enough pixie dust to capture the wrath of the entire population of leprechauns.  If the know it all knew and Google knew, why had this important information never reached my ear or inbox?  I am checking the settings on my spam filter.  There could be emails from Steven Hawking accepting my invite to guest blog.

If you ever doubt the magnitude of everything and whether we are in the big or small, stop looking and chase a rainbow.  We’ve built kingdoms around the assumption that we live in a place where math and art are opposites.  Reminders of a time when knowledge hadn’t been broken apart in an attempt to keep it that way are everywhere.  Music, math and art are one and the same.  You don’t have to choose, only accept the possibilities that there is greatness in you.

 

 

You don’t have to choose weak or strong.  Beautiful or intelligent.  Brave or afraid.  It’s still a world with rainbows and this is the wise man’s gift.  Order and chaos depends upon where you sit.  From some places, rainbows are round.  True story.

 

Sink or Swim

There are 3 million species of animals living in tropical rainforest, and one of them, the red fire ant, lives underground, under constant threat of annihilation from flash floods. Nature doesn’t care, if a species wants to survive, it has to prove it deserves to.

When the floods come, fire ants hold on to each other, creating a living raft that could float until the water recedes, months if necessary. So how does the species figure something like that out? Instinct? Trial and error? Was there one fire ant that was being swept away by the rushing water, and grabbed on to another ant, only to find that together, they could float?

–Touch Series

fireantsPhoto National Geographic

Pause by Estela Caballero

Yeah, that’s right…

4utu

Life doesn’t stop just because you went away

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From a distance by Estela Caballero

In memory of the 150 souls on flight 9525

I boarded a flight early last week.  I saw the curve of the Earth and I wished the moment could have been shared with my children and husband.  This was a business trip and the first time I would be away from my family for so long– ever.  Two weeks flies by in familiar territory.  I was definitely not in familiar territory.  I crossed more than time zones on the flight from Washington state to Arkansas– the Natural State.  I knew the camera on my phone would produce a decent picture of a moving and powerful view. The fuzzy image would have to do– I’d do my best to try to describe what cannot be described when I recounted it to my family.

Getting to Arkansas from a tiny airport is an all day trek.  Over the next few days and weeks, the story of another person who had witnessed similar sights to my own was inescapable.  As I prepared for my trip that morning, they did as well. They tiptoed into their children’s bedrooms to do what parents do when they catch an early flight.  A caress of the head with kisses and promises that they will be back before you know it. I imagine that more than a few on that flight had their stomachs in knots, just like me during the take off.  Even among strangers, there are kind souls and faces that seem so familiar they can put one at ease during the uncertainty of parting from the ground as the plane climbs higher and higher.  I kept my eyes on the back of the head of a tiny girl travelling with her parents.  She had sticky hands from a lollipop the stewardess offered her after asking if she was excited about the flight.  Take off.  Fear gives way to wonder and the perspective of flying above things you usually see from a whole different spot on the planet makes most forget about their phones for at least a few minutes.  At that point, they are really of no use unless you have music on there since the small plane was lacking in free pretzels and Wi Fi.  Flight did not come naturally to man.  The curiosity that gave us wings does. Cars begin to look like ants and I remember the first time I looked out the window and thought this must be what people mean when they say things like, “…bigger picture.”

Flight 9525 carried 150 souls.  None of them made it home last week.  We all know one parting will be the final one but no matter the years we are lucky enough to live, they never seem to be enough.  No matter how sweet and loving a conversation, how many would say they are fine with it being the last time with that person?  You are here today.  Make it count.  Please ❤

Here are the window shots.
I love this song by Bette Midler and as the news in the coming days jumped between peace talks down to the wire, laws met with public outcry and the heartbreaking new information on Flight 9525, I could not escape the words.

acurvedearth

From a distance

From a distance the world looks blue and green,
and the snow-capped mountains white.
From a distance the ocean meets the stream,
and the eagle takes to flight.

From a distance, there is harmony,
and it echoes through the land.
It’s the voice of hope, it’s the voice of peace,
it’s the voice of every man.

From a distance we all have enough,
and no one is in need.
And there are no guns, no bombs, and no disease,
no hungry mouths to feed.

From a distance we are instruments
marching in a common band.
Playing songs of hope, playing songs of peace.
They’re the songs of every man.
God is watching us. God is watching us.
God is watching us from a distance.

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Frog Tacos by Estela Caballero

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It would be hard to imagine life without being a country girl.  There is a sense of wonder and appreciation for life that might not burn as bright in me without that connection.  Summer vacation was a break from school for me but being the bossy older sister in charge of babysitting four siblings required creativity.  I would make “homework” for them to keep them quiet– more out of selfishness so I had more time to spend playing or reading.  About noon they would get rowdy and at least two fights among us would have broken out.  Deals were made to not tell on each other.  During the time of peace that lasted for about an hour, we would all be great friends trying to make the other forget about the sting of hair being yanked– allegedly yanked.  If only I would have known that word back then.  Well then again, maybe it’s better I didn’t–  my mom would have probably not liked me talking around the alleged incidents the younger traitors ran to her with as she came through the door.  The peace deal was off.

There were also summer adventures to break up the fake homework I gave my students.  I loved digging for dirt frogs and catching grasshoppers.  So did the tattletales.  They rarely caught anything but the thought of being the first to say they had either was their motivation.  They ran around telling each each other how close they almost were.  As fast as they ran to catch them, they ran when I chased them with the one I would catch.  They were afraid of them and the chase they gave to catch them was a farce I would stay quiet about.  Muddy feet were sure to hit the floor of the trailer as they ran in trying to escape.  My own muddy feet quickly behind them telling them it was time to eat—  egg tacos that they were convinced were made of fluffy frogs.