Written by the Mediterranean Sea on March 15, 2018, in Netanya, Israel.

Breathe in

Breathe out

All is gray in the sea today.  Perhaps it is mourning the death of 76 year old Stephen Hawking.  But rather than mourning such a totally remarkable life, perhaps its grayness is simply marking his death.

I can vaguely see the light of the sun mostly blocked by clouds.  The clouds form a thick layer rather than the puffy pictures they often draw.

Stephen Hawking, for all his physical trials and tribulations, never lost his sense of humor.  Ah, perhaps keeping his sense of humor allowed him to be mostly a very active brain encased in a very disabled body.  He knew the sun would come out again.  Perhaps that was the secret to his survival.  He understood in ways 99 and 9/10ths of us never could how humans are inextricably intertwined with the ultimate mother — Mother Nature.

I don’t understand even a mere fraction of what Stephen Hawking did, but I do know that I am also inextricably intertwined with Mother Nature.

Rest in peace in whatever dimension you now inhabit.

Breathe in

Breathe out



I have just read the shortest, deepest book I can remember.  Famous author Alice Walker has recently written “The Chicken Chronicles.”  Yes, the book is based on her chickens.  The subtitle is “Sitting with the Angels Who Have Returned with My Memories:  Glorious, Rufus, Gertrude Stein, Splendor, Hortensia, Agnes of God, the Gladyses, and Babe:  A Memoir.”  The subtitle is the wordiest part of the book.  Otherwise, each short sentence and chapter reaches deeply into emotion, philosophy, psychology, spirituality, life lessons learned.

Writing to her chickens, either from home or while traveling far away, Walker refers to herself as Mommy.  She watches over her chickens like a hawk, and watches the hawk that watches her chickens.  She patiently tries to figure out what is going on in their minds, and in their relationships with one another.  She puts herself in their place.  She talks to them and listens to what she thinks they’re saying to her.

Because she is a persistent learner, the chickens teach her about humans, life, love, Buddha, and nature.  The author of “The Color Purple” and 10 other books, shortens what she wants to say into only 186 pages of wisdom gleaned from her non-English-speaking chicken companions.  We all too human readers have to run along at her pace to keep up with her thoughts.

She has given me words to say to my local City Council on Wednesday about banning foie gras within our city boundaries (more on that in blog post to come).  We see what she likes about chickens and what she likes and doesn’t like about humans, whom she dubbed Space Nuts. “I coined this expression — and use it a lot — to apply to the human race.  Here we are hurtling through space so fast we’re not even aware of it, and doing some extraordinarily unhelpful things.  Fighting each other, murdering the planet, eating extremely bad food, lying about everything, and so on.  Then there are the good things:  we try to stop war; we take care of Mother Earth as best we can; we pay attention to what goes into our precious, once in this lifetime, bodies.  We honor Truth.  Yaay, Space Nuts!”

Although connected to her “girls” as Mommy, she feels the bigger picture through them.  “…human Mommies, like all Mommies on the planet,  whether of fish or fowl, insect or reptile, are only surrogates.  In fact, all creatures on the planet have the same parent.  You demonstrate this to Mommy every day.  Because no matter how much you depend on the mash and grain Mommy provides, no matter how much you enjoy sitting and napping with her, the real excitement comes for you when she opens your gate and you are free to rush into your real mother’s bounty…It is exactly the same with Mommy, who realizes that she is, like you, only small.  A tiny being hanging (though seeming to walk or even fly in planes) off the side of her Mother.  For Mommy is not the same as Mother, and certainly not the same as The Mother…This Mother, unlike Mommy, never worries; time is her toy.  Being is her thought.”

Comments??  Please e-mail Suellen@ZimaTravels.com


The April AARP Bulletin raised some poignant points in the month of Earth Day.

Although there are more than 11 million species living on our planet, humans have named about 1.7 million of them.

More than 70 million barrels of crude oil are produced in a day.  The 806 million cars and light trucks in the world burn 260 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel a year.

Every square mile of ocean contains 46,000 pieces of plastic trash.

Known species extinctions since 1500:  869; known species at risk for extinction today:  18,351.

In the last 8,000 years, Earth has lost 11,000 square miles of forest.  (Just look around you to see where all the trees have gone.)

Renewable energy provides 8% of total U.S. energy.

In the last 50 years, the U.S. share of auto production dropped from 47.9% to 4.6% and China’s grew from less than 1% to 21.7%.

In the last 50 years, the average cost of a new car rose from $2,600 to $27,958.

In 1950, the average U.S. house size was 983 square feet; in 2010 it was 2,377 square feet.

You can save 90% of the energy needed when you wash clothes in cold water.  Reducing your time in the shower by 5 minutes can save 25 gallons of water a day.

On the good side, the ozone hole is at its smallest size since 2004 due to reduced chlorofluorocarbon usage and it is predicted to disappear altogether by 2050.

Since 2001, the bald eagle and nine other U.S. wildlife species have bounced back from endangered species.

How badly we often treat our mothers; none moreso than our Mother Nature.

Comments??  Please e-mail Suellen@ZimaTravels.com



March 13, 2011

The first sound I heard this morning after waking was the delicate trill of a little bird perched on my patio singing its tiny heart out.   That little creature started me thinking of the double edged sword that nature wields.  What a contrast to the horrendous stories of survival and death coming out of Japan.  Are the birds still singing in Japan these days?

Since keeping one’s balance was impossible with the waves of the earthquake and/or  the waves of the tsunami, people did what they could manage once they realized this was not just “an earthquake as usual.”  I remember one woman saying she ran outside to one of those artistic Japanese rock gardens and just clung onto a rock.  There is an irony in clinging to a piece of nature to help survive nature’s wrath.

Since I’m a night owl, I heard many of the early eyewitness accounts.  One American living in Tokyo said he had heard (although he didn’t say where he had heard it) that there were problems with two of the nuclear reactors.  The news commentator was quick to point out that the government spokesmen had said that everything was under control at the power plants.  Eventually, the yes/no stories converged and are still being reported and contested today.  And thus enters the man-made disaster of nuclear power plants that are ultimately also in the control of nature.

I don’t usually object to the term Mother Nature, although I’m not sure where it comes from.  And I wonder if every language has its equivalent of Mother Nature because I do know that in English we have “the man in the moon,” but in China it’s “the lady in the moon.”  But when nature takes such shakes, twists, and turns as happened in Japan, I don’t like thinking of nature as Mother Nature.  It just is the way things are when this rotating ball we call home goes by rules we human parts of nature barely grasp.

Humans have become very arrogant in their belief that they, or anything they can invent, can control Mother Nature.   Days like these in Japan, with their earth, sea, and man-made catastrophes should make humans humble and think more of how to live with nature rather than trying to conquer and mold it.   Mother Nature needs more respect.

Comments?? E-mail Suellen@ZimaTravels.com

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