Posts Tagged ‘water’

walking goose drawing in sand, March 2013

I come to the river because I like the sound of the water.  It does more than act upon the sand and driftwood here.  After hanging out at the Falls of the Ohio I feel relaxed because the rhythm of the water is also the rhythm of nature.  The waves that move back and forth slow my own internal sense of timing and puts me in sync with the universe.  The work-a-day life begins to lift away and a calm seeps in.  I don’t even need to be aware of the sound.  I know it is there and I trust it.  This restorative quality of water is not to be underestimated in this fast-paced, multitasking world and it is free if you are open to accepting its magic.

river erasing sand drawing, March 2013

partly erased sand drawing, March 2013

Spring is late in arriving this year.  It’s been an up and down cycle of mostly cool to cold temperatures.  Also, it seems that the river has been a little higher for a bit longer than I remember over the past several years.  2012 was positively balmy compared to this one.  It’s amazing how much difference a year can make .  Today is nice and the sun is shining and I get an early start on the day.

detail of driftwood, March 2013

Currently, there is plenty of driftwood lining the riverbank.  By studying how the driftwood was deposited, I get a sense for the water and how high it rose over the land.  Since this is Spring…I’m also on the lookout for seldom seen birds that are traveling through our area.  On my last outing, I was walking over the lines of driftwood when I spotted an unusual shorebird.  I managed a few images of it and I would like to share those with you now.  It was right in the middle of the driftwood and if it hadn’t moved…I might have gone in a different direction and missed it.  I live for these moments.

Great Lakes Oystercatcher, March 2013

head of Great Lakes Oystercatcher, March 2013

This is the increasingly rare Great Lakes Oystercatcher, (Haematopus polystyrenus) as seen at the Falls of the Ohio State Park.  It has a large red bill like the two other oystercatcher species that live along our country’s marine coastlines.  Unlike them, this bird is strictly Midwestern and prefers fresh water wetlands, creeks, streams, and rivers.  The large bill is used to pry open the shells of fresh water clams and mollusks…although it is known to take crustaceans and other invertebrates upon opportunity.

Great Lakes Oystercatcher, March 2013

Great Lakes Oystercatcher, March 2013

The reason this bird is becoming scarce has everything to do with it losing its main food source.  The Tennessee and Ohio River Valleys are the world’s epicenter for fresh water mollusk diversity which is a little known fact.  Unfortunately, because of the many changes that have occurred with our rivers, these clams have become our most endangered animals with many species having become extinct already.  These clams are fascinating in their own right and have complex life cycles.  Wherever you find them is usually a good indicator of the quality of the water.  The Great Lakes Oystercatcher won’t find much in the way of its preferred food at the Falls.  The original clam diversity is missing and these days you are more likely to encounter Zebra Mussels or Asiatic Clams and both are well-established, invasive, nonnative species.

Great Lakes Oystercatcher, March 2013

Great Lakes Oystercatcher looking over its shoulder, March 2013

I was delighted by this almost comical bird which is rarely observed in this park.  It went about its business examining the driftwood and probing the sand for morsels of food.  I also watched it fly to the water’s edge and it was intent on checking out what the river was washing ashore.  The whole encounter lasted about 20 minutes before the bird flew off for parts unknown.  Satisfied with the day, I gathered my collecting bag and headed home.

The city of Louisville as seen from the Falls of the Ohio, March 2013

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My beloved…I still live!  I hope my repair to my communication transmitter has been successful and that you and our fellow Styrosians so far away across the universe will receive this message and know that I still exist.  While exploring a little known solar system my ship was damaged in a collision with undetected fragments of space debris in orbit surrounding a smallish, blue-green planet.  This planet is the third nearest to its star. This solar system is comprised of eight other planets of varying dimensions and densities.  Damage to my guidance system made controlling my craft difficult and I entered the atmosphere of this planet like a meteor across the sky.  Fortunately, I arrived without attracting attention and I was able to affect a safe landing.  My craft, however, will need much maintenance. Hopefully, the coordinates of my position reached you before I entered this planet’s dense gaseous atmosphere? Here is an image of my vehicle which I call home and its contents are a dear reminder of the world from which I originated.  So often I have thought of you and wondered if we will ever see each other again?

I have so much to tell my fellow Styrosians that I hardly know where to begin.  Duty compels me to start with a report concerning my original mission.  I have crashed on a beautiful planet where the majority of its surface is covered by that most precious combination of hydrogen and oxygen.  I am so excited to have found water in abundance!  I have detected water in all three of its known states including gas, liquid, and yes…I have even seen ice!  It was the chemical signature for water that compelled me to take a closer look when the accident occurred.

Most of the water I have been able to analyze locally is of the fresh variety which contains many other chemical additions some of which are naturally occurring.  I have, however, been able to learn that the vast majority of the water on this planet is heavily influenced by the compounded interactions of sodium and chlorine.  I have not only discovered water…but water in different flavors!  After surviving the shock of my sudden and unexpected arrival, I couldn’t wait to explore this new environment which offers such a stark contrast to our own dry home world.  There is so much water here that it actually falls from the sky!  Please excuse me while I transmit additional self images made while engaging in water joy!  They at least offer further visual evidence of the importance of my unexpected discovery.

How I wish you were here so we could experience this together.  I have been able to further confirm that our hypothesis about the connection between water and life is correct!  The abundance of water is equaled by the sheer amount and variety of life forms that inhabit this world.  Where there is water I have found life even in the precious fluid itself! There are sessile, terrestrial life forms that process sunlight through green, cellular solar panels.  They anchor themselves and obtain moisture through a system of filaments interwoven into its supporting substrate. And there are also many animate life forms that move through space and have evolved into hierarchies where every environmental niche is occupied by a specialized life form.  Interestingly, there are even species that dominate and consume other life forms. Our scientists will have much to study in this new world! I would like to expand on one of those species which seems to occupy a very prominent position on this planet.  It is an interesting life form and is bilaterally symmetrical like us and appears to be sentient to a degree.  Monitoring their communication patterns I have been able to translate and understand something of its language and culture.  I have heard self references to being a” bipedal humanoid”, but I’m not certain if I fully understand what is meant by that.  This animal while claiming intelligence and rationality is actually characterized by numerous contradictions.  The most observable of these traits is a predisposition towards delusion and self-deception.  It does much harm under the guise of doing good. This animal (which I believe as some members of its own kind acknowledge have evolved from what are known as “primates”) is constantly engaging in selfish behaviors that are having a deleterious effect on this planet.  Ironically, they are harming not only the other life forms here, but ultimately themselves as well.

Recently, I was exploring a water channel when I saw a shape flying towards me from some distance away.  It appears to be an antique flying craft bristling with armaments.  The dominant species here is addicted to using hydrocarbons extracted from the ground which are then  further refined to produce fuel and energy.  I quickly captured this image over my head and placed it in the catalog I am compiling for future reference.  I have observed other technologically superior war-like aircraft in the vicinity before, but this one was unusual.  These so-called “bipedal humanoids” are constantly engaged in warfare somewhere on their planet.  This is one of their most primitive characteristics.  Monitoring their telecommunications I have ascertained that violence is an integral part of their conflict resolution process.  The “bipedal humanoids” are capable of rationalizing and justifying any act they commit. When they are not fighting among themselves…they are consuming or damaging resources often with other primitive machines that require hydrocarbons to function.  For instance, observe this case that I recently experienced and documented.

In a nearby field that was once occupied by photosensitive sessile life forms, I observed a humanoid operating a large machine.  This machine did violence to all that was alive in this area.  The remains of many different kinds of sessile life forms were stacked into random piles, but what is the purpose of this activity?

This area was once home to a large variety of life forms and now they have been displaced.  I have observed this before and very recently.  The “bipedal humanoids” created an area that they call the Ohio River Greenway and ironically they removed many of the larger photosensitive life forms to accommodate easy access to the river for their other hydrocarbon burning vehicles.  This seemed strange for many reasons, but perhaps our biopsychologists can figure that one out!  I was able to get a closer picture of the large machine that was utilized to sterilize this particular area and it is frightening to stand next to.  I waited for its operator to leave the area before doing my reconnaissance.

Alas my beloved, it is time for me to regenerate back at my space craft.  I will leave you for now, but I promise more from this fascinating planet.  In my next transmission I will show you more images of the life forms I have observed and maybe something of the history of life on this planet.  For now, accept this self-image made next to the many sessile life forms that lend this land beauty and interest.

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These are all common objects photographed at the Falls of the Ohio on a single cold day in January 2011.

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