I am clumsily stumbling for answers for: How to process tragedy and loss, heartbreak, ache and loss?
I clench my heart trying to grasp sense, the message and the purpose, for life’s most recent chapter. I know that, like Markus and Leslie’s mosaic, the picture may not be clear for some time (hopefully). As a parent, family and friend I have no words to alleviate an ounce of pain over the death of a child. I can only offer arms to hold, ears to listen and tears, so they do not have to cry alone. I silently remind myself of those that have gone before, that wounds heal and that one day grief will turn to beautiful memories dancing in our heart’s mind.
Although Joe’s story has ended too soon, ours continues on. With each end of a chapter the story will start to come together. There are too many twists and turns in life to even try to understand the why’s of such tragedy. Faith will be tested but our spirit is strong! The sadness is a heavy blanket that is suffocating. Salt stings, but heals all wounds — so let tears fall.
We can choose to let heartache paralyze us from living or we can choose to let our lives be a beautiful reflection of those shining brightly in the distance. People will forever be moving in and out of our story. Love and be loved, dance and drink wine, engage in interesting conversation and be genuine! Let people touch your soul and leave footprints on your heart, for life is fleeting. A beautiful mind once told me to embrace circumstance, chance, and maybe even fate! Relish in the beauty of your heart taking shape. Cry, laugh and scream — emotion in its truest form.
Joe, Joe will forever be in my heart. His life, his heart, is what began my own personal journey towards a “let it be” kind of life! I will cherish the raw, innocent emotion of him missing singing the celebration of life to his cousin Molly and how the do-over was sung just as passionately as the original. And all of the kids playing, smiling and just existing, in the carefree beauty of childhood. Now I silently sing Happy Birthday to you Joe, as it is your birthday in heaven. As you blow out your candles I imagine your wish being for happy hearts for us left without you.
I know your scarred heart was gifted to us as the masterpiece sculpted by the footprints of angels and that your final mosaic is majestically hung for us all to view someday. Thank you for gracing us in this life. Run free in heaven with your heart pumping strong and please give John Lennon a hug for me from his second-biggest Beatles fan. Rest peacefully Joe, Joe!
Love is the answer, Love is the puzzle piece. Be love… that is all you need!
“Nothing you can know that isn’t known.
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown.
Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be…
All you need is love, love. Love is all you need!” — The Beatles
“A poem begins with a lump in the throat.” — Robert Frost
I seem to have cancer today
A rude guest who won’t go away
It hunts from inside
I have nowhere to hide
It is predator, I am its prey
I seem to have cancer this week
I’m stunned at the havoc it wreaks
My corpus corrupted
My life interrupted
My plans for the future oblique
I seem to have cancer this spring
Yet somehow the swallows still sing
In pastures bucolic
While I fight to the death with this thing
I seem to have cancer just now
I don’t know, so don’t ask me how
Not a dream, not a hoax
One of Life’s little jokes
When you’re not looking… Kapow!
I seem to have cancer this year
I feel sorrow but somehow no fear
Before I check out
I have one thing to shout
At the top of my lungs, “I WAS HERE!”
For more by Jennifer Glass, click here.
For more on poetry for the soul, click here.
When you eat farmed salmon, you’re really eating another fish called the jack mackerel, or another wild species like sardines or anchovies. Salmon are carnivorous, and farms feed their fish food pellets made from these smaller wild fish. The problem is that many of these species, especially jack mackerel, are dangerously overfished.
For most Chilean farms, it takes about three pounds of wild fish to feed one pound of salmon. So you are likely eating three pounds of jack mackerel or other wild species — which are likely in trouble — when sit down to eat your pound of farmed salmon. A small number of Chilean farms have managed to reduce this ratio to one to one. But even then, it still takes a pound of wild fish to make your pound of farmed salmon.
Feed conversion is just one of many problems. Chilean farms are located in pristine, deep-water fjords off of Patagonia, where even minimal pollution could irreparably damage the ecosystem. No matter what they do, even the most responsible salmon farms will pollute their waters with parasiticides, chemicals, and fish feces. The Chilean farmed salmon industry also uses more than 300,000 kilograms of antibiotics a year to keep their fish alive, causing bacterial resistances that affect the surrounding ecosystem and people.
Salmon farming is better than it used to be, but it used to be horrendous. The answer to this problem is not, as the Washington Post article suggests, to make salmon aquaculture sustainable. It’s to make wild fish stocks more abundant using science-based fishery management instead of promoting salmon farming, which is a destructive and wasteful way of eating wild fish. As long as fisheries are managed properly, wild seafood can provide a healthy meal a day for billions of people.
Eating three pounds of jack mackerel straight from the oceans to your plate is a far better choice for the environment and for your health. By eating less-popular species you can still enjoy a healthy, wild fish, and our ocean waters can stay free of the pollutants that come with salmon farms. But this won’t happen if we keep on grinding our wild fish stocks up to turn them into salmon fish-food. So skip the farmed salmon. Opt for wild-caught, or break out of your boring (and unsustainable) salmon routine and try eating that jack mackerel, or another wild fish, instead.
Last weekend, West Hollywood officially became the first city in the country to ban the sale of wearable fur in retail stores. City council members passed the law by unanimous vote 2 years ago, and it finally went into effect on Sept. 21, 2013, ABC reports.
The ban will apply to all articles of clothing — anything made to be worn — but not to furniture items, blankets, or leather products.
West Hollywood is a city known for its animal-friendliness, with ordinances banning the sale of cats and dogs, cat declawing, and more recently, wild animal performances, according to the LA Times.
However, this latest law butts heads with another one of the city’s great loves — high fashion. In spite of some retailers’ vehement objections though, officials are remaining firm.
“This city is not in the business of curtailing business,” John D’Amico, West Hollywood’s mayor pro tempore, told Al Jazeera. “We’re in the business of creating an exciting place. Someone who is connected with the ideas that keep this city together will have a business that thrives. Someone who is disconnected with the goals of the city and has a rigid point of view (on fur) may have trouble.”
According to the Humane Society of the United States, the fashion industry’s fur trade results in more than 50 million animal deaths per year, a figure that the city has put before its coveted title as West Coast fashion capital.
“We’ve consistently worked to enact cutting-edge animal welfare legislation,” city spokeswoman Tamara White told ABC. “This is in line with our values.”
In the West, the federal government is the single largest non-tax-paying landowner. This includes 53 percent of Oregon, 84 percent of Nevada, 45 percent of California, all owned and managed by the Feds — a landmass larger than much of the eastern seaboard. For decades, local counties with struggling schools, understaffed sheriffs departments and closing libraries have posed the question the federal government either prove they own the land or pay taxes. These sagebrush rebellions flare their heads every few years but rarely go anywhere, because circuit courts are packed by urban lawyers who have no idea what the modern West is really about. But the fact is simple, rural places adjust to federal land policy, whether on fire or not.
This time of year, those of us in rural America, and those who have romantic visions of joining us, lay down our politics in order to pick up our fly rods, our bows, shotguns and rifles. Elk hunters to pheasant hunters, waterfowlers to steelheaders, we all head out to Uncle Sam’s tree farm. While our Uncle is not going to gift this land to the states any time soon, those hunting and angling, family traditions that are a higher priority than Sunday church in the fall, are as important to conservation as any federal policy.
Public lands need to stay in public hands. And the folks who live and hunt on public lands are the long-term key to environmental protection. Caretakers in their own right, the hook-and-bullet community is active in protecting and managing herds, raising money to restore fish habitat, and changing the ethic from use-and-abuse to natural restoration. Just yesterday, in a school parking lot in southern Oregon, picking up my 5th-grader, Grandpa Skip Rheault told me: “We waited 37 years to draw that unit (a wildlife lottery system), and that was probably the best hunt the boys and I’ll ever have in our lives.” I didn’t have a chance to ask about his success before he stopped me, smiling broadly, adding, “We didn’t even take an elk. Saw a lot of cows and spikes, but we only wanted a 6-point or better. Just seeing those healthy elk was worth the wait.”
Public lands bring in a lot of local dollars. In Oregon, for instance, The Outdoor Industry Association has found active outdoor recreation generates $12.8 billion annually in consumer spending and supports 141,000 jobs across the state, which generates $4 billion in wages and salaries, which, in turn, produces $955 million annually in state and local tax revenue. And you just thought hunters were skipping work on Friday. Sadly, few of those dollars return to rural Oregon after being rinsed through the colander of state government.
When hunting and fishing comes across oil and gas, emotions start to run high. Adding further tension, the hook and bullet world often polarizes segments of the American populace who didn’t grow up with hunting and fishing as touchstone rites of passage. As a result, Americans turned off by the notion of hunting feel the immediate magnetic pull of other political issues: gun control, animal rights, climate change, for instance. Coupling together disgust for hunting and fishing with popular political issues forces partisan stances on environmental issues, leaving a huge swath of our country’s best stewards out of policy decisions.
In the 1990s, that was not the case as the United States operated, bi-partisanly, on a concept called equal ground. Equal ground ensured treasured lands for habitat and protection are guaranteed the same footing as lands being tapped for oil and gas development. Both Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton were successful in placing public land protection on equal ground with oil and gas leasing, while the Obama Administration has leased 6.8 million acres of public lands to oil and gas companies, but only 2.8 million acres have been set aside for hunting, fishing and public use. I certainly hope this is not the trend and not Obama’s legacy in the West.
The blind scales of justice have a hard time with public lands and equal ground. Americans living in rural communities are skeptical of federal ownership, but that sits small in the shadow of their deep love of hunting and the chase. The annual fall pilgrimage to our great outdoors will continue regardless of what is happening in Iran, however, America must realize hunting and fishing, these families like the Rheaults and their generations-old traditions, are part of protecting public lands and wildlife for all of us. You might miss us on Fridays, wonder why our vehicles don a permafrost of dirt, and get lost in the logic of catch and release or hunting without taking a shot, but know one thing: our local communities of local hunters, local steelheaders, local duck shooters are fundamental to conservation.
Jason Atkinson served 14 years in the Oregon Legislature and is now making a documentary called ‘Why the Klamath Matters.’ He is a Rodel Fellow with the Aspen Institute. An avid speycaster, he has two retrievers on payroll, even though one does all the work.
According to the Montreal Gazette, Fitzmaurice took a wrong turn during her run and ended up on the route for the full marathon. Initially unaware of her mistake, Fitzmaurice kept running … and running. Not only did she end up completing the marathon, she also won the gold medal in the women’s event.
Fitzmaurice, who had never attempted a marathon before Sunday, said she came to realize her mistake during the race but wanted to use the experience as a training session anyway.
“I said to myself, ‘OK, well, you don’t want to turn around now because you’re not going to be happy with your time for the half, so why don’t you just get 20 miles in for a good training session,'” she told CBC Radio.
But as she continued running, Fitzmaurice noticed there were no female competitors in front of her. It dawned on her that if she finished the full marathon with a good time, she might be able to use it to qualify for Boston.
She asked a race official along the way if her marathon time would count, even though she had only signed up for the half-marathon. After consulting the race director, the official gave her the green light.
“The adrenaline just pulled me through,” she told the Ottawa Citizen of the last few miles of the 26.2-mile race. “I just kept thinking you can do this, just get it done.”
Fitzmaurice finished the event with a time of 3:11:48. She qualified for the Boston Marathon, in addition to winning the women’s race.
“I cried…[when I realized] what I’d just accomplished,” Fitzmaurice told CBC Radio.
As her surprise win makes headlines this week, the running community is abuzz over whether or not she deserved the gold medal. According to Windsor Star blogger Kelly Steele, some feel the race director’s decision to count Fitzmaurice’s time and win sets a “bad precedent.”
“Her time should either be noted under the half marathon results or unfortunately a DQ (didn’t qualify),” wrote one Facebooker, as pointed out by Steele. “One must ask the question ‘How would the Boston Marathon view this finish?’ The Amherstburg Marathon — a sanctioned Boston Marathon qualifier — should also be held to the same rules and standards as that of the Boston Marathon if we are to hold Boston as the gold standard.”
Others, however, argued Fitzmaurice ran the same course as all the other competitors and was, ultimately, the best female runner that day.
“A win is a win,” said Steele. “And on Sunday, like it or not, Meredith was having the race of her life and she was without a doubt the fastest woman on the course.”
What do you think? Weigh in below.
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