Extirpated from the wild in most of Africa, I had the good fortune to see black rhinoceroses on a private preserve in Zimbabwe last year.
Finding them after dark, a spotlight illuminated a calf scampering about behind its placidly eating mother. Her horns were cut off to deter poaching and the animals are under 24-hour armed guard.
The black rhino population dropped from an estimate of several hundred thousand in the early 1900s to 2,410 by the late 1990s. The primary cause for this decline is poaching. Several subspecies are extinct.
These photos are fuzzy and full of nighttime darkness and shadows. At first, I was disappointed by them. A year later, they seem to appropriately suit their state in the world.
Wary of the light and strangers, a rhino calf hides behind its mother.
The mama rhino has been dehorned as a measure of protection against poaching. Her dehorned shadow is visible on her calf’s side as it moves behind her.
Rhino back, fade to black. What will the world be without rhinos?
For too many years Hart Mountain was out of my line of travel and added just enough extra time and miles to the trip at hand that I by-passed it. This spring I made the effort to go there, just there, and was well rewarded. It is a long slog from anywhere, the roads can be quagmires, the dust invasive, the heat crushing, and the mosquitoes draining. May it always remain this way.
Swallowtail and balsamroot
Looked down upon by a northern harrier
Subtle layers of color and texture
Bumblebee with balsamroot
On the executioner’s block: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah
It is already true that one can be dropped on any commercial strip in the USA and have no idea where they are. Each is so much the same, so not unique, that Chattanooga and Bakersfield look much the same. We have eradicated the prairies, slaughtered the forests, and filled the wetlands, must we also quash the individuality of the national monuments and make them conform to the ideals of capitalism, consumerism, and corporate expansion? What of calm, contentment, and courage to step outside of the box, to appreciate the subtle realm of time, space, and light that is not under our control? Where will we go for peace when we have used up all that is wild?
You have seen my photos over the last year. Many of those photos were taken in national monuments (including the two on this page). If you enjoyed my meager attempts at conveying the intensity of these landscapes, you will enjoy this (free ebook) photographic journey through the national monuments by exquisite landscape photographers
And, I hope you will send comments in support of retaining the national monuments.
Stay the executions.
Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
At first glance, covering the brilliant colors of the Painted Hills with snow seems an affront. Slowly, though, you realize the colors are more vivid and the landscape patterns surreal; it is a study in negative space. The intensity of the snow and depth of the shadows create an otherworldly effect that makes this fabulous place more so.
When I was in third grade, the elementary school principal came into our class to speak with the students. I don’t now remember what the primary reason was for his visit; what I remember is only a fragment of his lecture.
He stood at the chalkboard and wrote in large letters:
M A N
Stepping to the side so everyone in the class could see the letters, he said, “Without man,” he stepped back to the board and wrote “wo” before completing his sentence, “you cannot have woman.”
On the board was the word:
Almost 50 years later, I can still see this man saying these words, spewing ignorance and sexism across a new generation of children.
The principal of a school stepped into a classroom to tell half of the students that they were not of value or importance, that without the other half, they simply did not exist.
At the time, I am not sure that I understood all of the implications of his words – I was, after all, a child. But, I still think about this often; clearly, it made an impression upon me.
To be told that, as girls, our very existence is entirely dependent upon men fundamentally undermines all that we intuitively know to be true about ourselves, our intrinsic value in the world, and all that we think ourselves capable of doing.
Women innovators, explorers, and scientists the world around and for generations back have been discouraged from their pursuits. Surely, their place in the world did not involve pushing boundaries. Too many women have been punished for pursuing their dreams, for questioning the status quo, and for attempting to break barriers.
Sexism must die. In light of the recent election, the dis-ease that it has created, and the long road that lies ahead for us, it seems particularly important to bring these words out of the dark. They are words that can no longer be whispered. They must be clearly spoken, believed, and lived by every thinking person: sexism must die.
The possibility of a quiet revolution or a slow paradigm shift has passed. Improving women’s status has repercussions well beyond the individual; it has been proven time and again. Yet, repeatedly, women are held back, pushed down, and thrown out.
And, of course, this extends beyond women to every other minority (whom, collectively, create a majority).
Imagine a world where all genders, orientations, colors, and religions are celebrated. Imagine collaborating across the board, and finding the best place for each of us to shine. Imagine if we were each encouraged to pursue our inherent talents and were supported in our dreams. What an amazing world we could create.
It’s time. Whoa! Everyone. What a cool world we live in.