It has been a long process, but our transition continues to be a true pachacuti in our lives, in the most positive sense of that Andean “turning over of worlds’. Closing chapters. Launching new beginnings. Re-prioritizing. Re-energizing. Refocusing. But above all, breathing in the mountains, enjoying family, and reinventing our surroundings. Such a blessing to be here! We have always had one foot in Peru, and one in the US. That will never change.
J-pod. J-35. Tahlequah
Holding her dead calf above water, wishing her child to breathe.
I still think of those seventeen days and thousand miles, of
Tahlequah carrying her child,
Holding her grief visible for the world,
Refusing to let go.
Propping her daughter on her forhead, trying to keep up,
Even as her calf decays,
Refusing to let go.
A thousand long miles and seventeen days,
The day she lets her baby go,
a call echoes in their wake.
The image remains.
I cannot let it go.
FROM THE CENTER FOR WHALE RESEARCH
Date: July 26, 2018
Subject: Newborn Orca dies
We are saddened to report that a baby Southern Resident killer whale (SRKW) died a short time after it was born near Victoria, British Columbia on July 24, 2018. The newborn whale was reported alive and swimming with its mother, J35, and other members of J pod near Clover Point on the Victoria shoreline in mid-morning. A Center for Whale Research team was on the water in Haro Strait at the time and immediately responded to photo-document the newborn calf for the long-term census study we maintain for the US and Canadian governments. Unfortunately, by the time the CWR crew arrived on scene, the newborn calf was deceased, and the pod had traveled several miles eastward of the reported sighting location. The baby’s carcass was sinking and being repeatedly retrieved by the mother who was supporting it on her forehead and pushing it in choppy seas toward San Juan Island, USA. The mother continued supporting and pushing the dead baby whale throughout the day until at least sunset. A resident of San Juan Island near Eagle Cove reported: “At sunset, a group of 5-6 females gathered at the mouth of the cove in a close, tight-knit circle, staying at the surface in a harmonious circular motion for nearly 2 hours. As the light dimmed, I was able to watch them continue what seemed to be a ritual or ceremony. They stayed directly centered in the moonbeam, even as it moved.”
Tahlequah’s Daughter: July 24, 2018 – August 11, 2018
A BLEAK REALITY FOR SOUTHERN RESIDENT ORCAS
The toxins build up, grow more concentrated with each generation.
Births continue to decline.
Of those that make it to full term, most are stillborn.
After being shot in the 50s to keep them from eating the salmon, they were hunted and captured in the 60s for entertainment. Once people began to realize that orcas were intelligent, social beings who suffer in confinement, protections were put in place. The orca population slowly began to recover. But the depletion of food supplies and increase in pollution has led to such decline that the southern resident orcas have become an officially endangered population.
Scientists are now referring to the orca as the planet’s canary, the reflection of the ocean’s health.
In a mere handful of generations, human ignorance and indifference has done more harm to the earth than we can begin to fathom. We can’t afford to duck away from that reality, a truth which can indeed be very inconvenient.
Instead, we need to amplify the voices that remind us where to focus…
“Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realise that we can not eat money.” Chief Seattle
One of my stories was picked up by Umbrella Factory Magazine. The injured workers who populate “In Every Scar” banter about life, love, and legality as they recover from accidents on the job.
Starts on page 9. Hope you like it.
The delightful fragrance of a night blooming San Pedro cactus brings bees from far and wide to its large white target. They won’t have much time to savor its nectar before the flower melts back into itself, drops to the ground, and dissolves into a puddle of decay. I imagine it in the wild, the giant flower sucking moisture from the succulent core, spiking outward for the launch in a burst of energy, eager for the pollinizing visits. Then it wilts and whithers, (wrapping itself around the theoretically fertilized fruit I have yet to witness in an urban setting)… and drops to the dry desert floor to disintegrate into the earth – to soften the soil in preparation for the gift of a new beginning. Once again, Nature showing off her brilliant designs.
Another result of the excessive rains in the north of Peru is the increased risk of mosquito-borne diseases. As if dengue and chikungunya weren’t bad enough, zika has also found its way to Peru.
Zikario – the new nickname for the mosquito that transmits zika and other awful diseases (sicario is the Spanish term for hitman or assasin)
What we know
- Zika is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus). These mosquitoes bite during the day and night.
- Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects.
- No vaccine exists to prevent Zika.
- Prevent Zika by avoiding mosquito bites.
- Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus bite during the day and night.
- Mosquitoes that spread Zika virus also spread dengue and chikungunya viruses.
- Zika can be passed through sex from a person who has Zika to his or her sex partners. Condoms can reduce the chance of getting Zika from sex. Condoms include male and female condoms.
childhood dream come true. land of fjords, home of Thor
Heyerdahl, Kon-Tiki legend who fired flames of adventure
followed currents across the Pacific
challenged Atlantic oil tankers for defiling the sea
burned his Tigris boat of reeds
in protest against war profiteers arming the mideast
(an unconventional pioneer in exploration, archaeology, environmental activism – his writing took me on my first trip to Peru, to Easter Island, to Bolivia, to Polynesia. He died in 2002, before we finally crossed paths in Tucume, but in Oslo, I have picked up his trail again – thought provoking and relevant)
Above: On April 3, 1978, after their five-month-4,200-mile-oceanic voyage, Thor Heyerdahl (center) and his 10-man crew burn their reed ship Tigris in protest of the wars raging in the Middle East. (Photo by Kon-Tiki Museum, Oslo).
As heavy rains and flooding wreaked havok along the desert coast of Peru in March and April, I kept thinking about what had happened to the Nasca culture in Peru during the sixth century, when natural disasters contributed to the demise of their society.
With almost 1,200,000 people afftected, many of whom lost their homes and farmlands, there was an initial surge of help, an oupouring of sympathy across the country and around the world. From the patio of the Presidential Palace to grocery stores and television stations – from churches to stadiums to hair salons, the rush to assist in the midst of so much disaster was earnest and widespread. The rains lightened, the worst of the emergency was handled, channels were established for getting resources to those in need, and the work of recovery has begun.
And it will be work.
What happens now must also anticipate what will happen tomorrow.
But enough for now. Have to pack for Chiclayo.
But for more about the recent flooding and why it makes me think of Nasca, you can read my essay in the Earth Island Journal.
Please have a look. tweet it. share it. think about it. comment… Thanks – I’m curious what you think.
Finding parallels between the demise of an ancient culture and contemporary environmental challenges