"Billions upon billions"...Carl Sagan
This is one of my favorite pictures of all time. It is The Hubble Telescope’s deep field photo of the galaxies in our region of Space-Time. I include it because the other night I was on my bodega roof and caught the faint glow of our nearest neighboring galaxy, Andromeda. When I put the field glasses on it, it was a sight to behold – 2.5 million years in the past. Please note, these are galaxies (islands of stars orbiting a black hole and separated by millions of light years from the next galaxy) and each contains at least as many stars (suns) as The Milky Way. There are somewhere on the order of two hundred billion of these in our “known” universe...and we are the only life?? Over eight hundred extra-solar (outside our solar system) planets have been discovered in the last decade. To think that life does not exist “out there” is like thinking that evolution through natural selection is a theory!
Well it just keeps getting greener. Tropical Storm Norman passed close enough that we received another good amount of rain this year. I am walking through 3-6” grass on the paths that have been stark desert for the past four years that I have been here full time.
A small part of Norman
This is a minor squall just off the village but one that gave us a fine, gentle rain for hours.
One of the things all the rain has brought out has been millions of butterflies. I mentioned these in my last post. One of them is actually a moth called The Black Witch. Here’s her pic, I had a “coven” of eight of them in my bodega – super good luck!!
And lots of the insect called the Walking Stick.
This one watched as I repaired a screen door outside. We carried on a very one sided conversation but informative nonetheless. This is a male. Females are beautiful green and considerably larger.
I caught my first whiff of mountain air coming from the highlands of Mexico and California. I woke up to it and could almost smell the pine cones!
I have been reading Will Durant’s first volume (of ten) of his “The Story of Civilization” literary epic. There is NO WAY that I could over emphasize the grandeur of his work. The man was brilliant, absolutely brilliant and though some of his archeology is dated, his analysis of the development of the story is breath taking. I read it during my cocktail hour which has now become my scholarly pursuit just before dinner - the book, not the cocktail...delightful.
Now to get to something I really dislike doing but is nevertheless necessary.
It is time for me to begin my fund raising for the 2013 whale season. This note is to ask you to help me in my effort to insure the survival of the great whales of the eastern pacific. These are the same whales many of you see returning each summer to the waters of California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska for massive feeding and “communion”.
Some of you may be aware that the past eight years of my work, supported 100% by private donations, has helped result in the strong possibility that the cape region will be soon designated as a Marine Mammal Protected Area. This is one of only four breeding/calving grounds in the entire North Pacific Ocean and is the winter home for as many as 6-7,000 humpback whales. We also have a substantial number of blue, fin and Bryde’s whales as well as Orcas and a number of species of dolphin.
The MMPA will be only as effective as our continued monitoring of these whale populations allows. I therefore ask you to donate what you can to my efforts. Every dollar I receive goes to just one thing, “boat time” (paid panga & pilot) in the field. I have never taken a dollar of the donations for my time spent tracking and photo-identifying the whales.
The work has also generated an interaction with “The Whale People” that I had not anticipated and that is now described in a book I have written (THE OTHERS “The Whale People”, A Personal Journey of Discovery, Transformation and Healing) that has been published by Balboa Press.
It is available online at Barnes & Noble Bookstore, Amazon and Balboa Press (with the best return to me). Though the book may generate some revenue it will be miniscule and I therefore must continue to ask for donations at this time.
I also have an “Adopt a Whale” program whereby for a $50.00 donation, you will receive a photo of your whale (the identifying fluke shot), a data sheet for that whale, an opportunity to name it and if I see it again you will be updated. This makes a wonderful and valuable Christmas gift.
All donations can be made out to MioSah and sent to me C/O Susan Janssen, 106 Canyon Dr., Ukiah, CA 95482
Donations are tax deductible and if you are adopting a whale please indicate so in your letter and provide an e-mail address where I can send the photo and data sheet.
Your donations have been instrumental in the success of our work to protect these highly intelligent and delightful creatures. You know my track record with this work, we are accomplishing what we set out to do – insure the survival of “The Whale People”.
And I leave you with this photo, our local area of the galaxy. May we find knowledge and peace in it’s magnificence.