Too long between posts here. My bad. I love posting on Alice’s Wanderland and have been annoyed with myself for not getting here more often. But that’s a waste of time. Best to move on and get my life re-adjusted so that I have time again for this labor of love.
For a while I tried to post some new image or video every time. But the fact is, I have a lot of old photos and videos that also deserve posting. And I have come to realize that blogs give us a chance, paraphrasing Paul Simon, to preserve our memories because, increasingly, they are all that is left. Like most people these days I have so many pictures and tapes. I can’t post them all but this discipline of a blog forces me to choose the best. I can share AND have a spot where I know my memories are safe from cluttered hard drives and paper stacks.
Today’s post is one of my all time favorites. It is a short video (5 minutes) that I put together following my trip to New Zealand in 2006. The pictures are all mine. The music is from an electronic group called AeTopus. On their website it is said, “With subtle, pastoral elegance, AeTopus reveals a world that is simultaneously foreign and familiar – an aural mosaic rich in spiritual contemplation, seasonal variance, and ancient ritual.” That is a perfect description of their song “Psychic Slumber.” It is also a perfect description of New Zealand.
October in New Zealand is equivalent to April in the Northern Hemisphere. It is spring. So we saw flowers and snow, waterfalls galore and lots of baby lambs. And we saw penguins, in the wild, following a rather harrowing hike through trees and streams…in the pouring rain. It was cold. I have rarely been so ecstatic. When you see the final image of the video you might understand what I mean.❧
Tell someone you’ve been to Australia and you can expect to hear, “Wow! Did you see any kangaroos?” The answer is, “Yes!” But the ‘roos I saw were not what we think of here in the USA. On my first trip, in 2001, I did see one of those big ‘roos, hopping down the fairway on a golf course!
On this trip the sightings were less dramatic. We saw several Red-legged pademelon (Thylogale stigmatica) which Wikipedia describes a “a marsupial rainforest kangaroo.” They are quite shy and hang in the shadows which makes photographs difficult. This little guy is probably an adult which means she/he is about 2 1/2 feet tall when upright. Because their habitat is rainforest the range of the species has shrunk and Wikipedia says it is a vulnerable species. Australia has many preserves where these charming creatures can live but we humans, frankly, are crowding out everything. It would be too bad to lose a creature with such a lyrical name. ❧
That’s me in Australia and that thing above my head is a Stag Horn fern — a relatively small one. They grow like weeds Down Under. Same with Birds’ Nest Ferns. It is a magical place. This particular picture was taken on Fraser Island, just off the Sunshine Coast. It is the largest sand island in the world and is listed on the U.N. Heritage Sites which means, hopefully, it will remain as pristine and special as it is today for generations to enjoy.
Australia is quite keen on ecology and environment, as well they should be. They have been able to protect so much of their unique flora and fauna even with the massive amount of global travel and commerce. In one park we visited, another U.N. Heritage site, there are machines where you clean the bottom of your boots with a disinfectant and brush before hiking so as not to track in contaminants. Despite that effort there are invasive species of plants and fungi. Still, you must do what you can do.
Today I am back in the States, finally emerging from jet lag and trying to “get back into it.” That won’t be easy, especially as I begin the sorting of my 2,000 pictures. Stay tuned…plenty of Aussie pictures coming soon. ❧
Hello gentle readers. It has been several weeks since I have posted to this blog but Alice’s Wanderland is truly living up to its name this week.
Greetings from Australia! I am mid-way through a three week holiday with a bit of business at the very end. It has been a wonderful time.
Australia is fun. It is at once very familiar and, at the same time, very different. Coffee is a good example, as you can see in the above picture. It is a simple cup of coffee with cream (milk) but Down Under they call it a Flat White and the very best of them have wonderful designs created from the milk. This particular cup was enjoyed at a cafe called Emelia’s in Gympie, which had wonderful food, coffee and pastries.
I forget how much “foreign” travel can do for the soul. It pushes to the rear all the day-to-day stuff that consumes our lives and forces a re-awakening, a re-visiting of attitudes and customs, a great kick on the door marked “Learn” to throw it open as wide as possible. Everyone travels these days. Age doesn’t matter…from 8 days to 80 years and everything in between. All colors, languages, dress…and all with a slightly wary eye on our fellow travelers because it is, dear friends, a dangerous time too. But at the end of 8,000 miles you can emerge in a land where people make hearts on your coffee. And I am certain in every land there are these gestures of acceptance and welcoming. Humans, most assuredly too numerous for their own good, nevertheless have great hearts and show them in a hundred different ways. Keep looking. ❧
Devil’s Tower, Wyoming
One month ago I was at Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. Made famous by the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” the rock is massively beautiful.
Our weather was not the best. It was a white-gray sky that occasionally opened up with torrents of rain. Not exactly the best day for photography but it didn’t matter. Devil’s Tower is such a wonder of nature. The Native Americans call it Bear Rock and legend has it the striations in the rock were caused by gigantic bear that tried to claw his way to the top after the earth spewed forth the rock to save several children (some legends claim it was three girls, another claims it was two boys). The rock literally rose from the ground after the children prayed to be saved from the massive grizzly that was chasing them.
I like thinking of it as Bear Rock. I spent some time looking at websites about the rock and one website said this, “Of course, Devil’s Tower is a white man’s name. We have no devil in our beliefs and got along well all these many centuries without him. You people invented the devil and, as far as I’m concerned, you can keep him.” You can read more here.
Bear Rock or Devil’s Tower, it is something to behold. We enjoyed a nice hike in the region surrounding the rock. Needless to say, it dominates the landscape (it is visible for miles, truly) and it was a constant backdrop for our hike on Joyner Trail.
Mary hiking the Joyner Trail.
Humboldt County is very large and quite diverse. Geographically it is about the size of Connecticut. There are the notorious marijuana grows in the mountains and forests but there is also a lot of other agriculture in and around this county. The area is also very old and some towns have maintained the architectural flavor of their history. Ferndale is a perfect example.
Crossing Fernbridge (above) you begin to immediately feel that something is different. The dairy farms that dot the landscape are neat and well maintained. Signs welcome you to Ferndale and upon arrival you are transported back in time to the Victorian era that marked a heyday of this town.
Catholic church in Ferndale
The Catholic Church is a prime example of the Victorian architecture that has been maintained throughout the town. All the storefronts in the town are from the late 1800s and early 1900s. It is very peaceful and gives you a real sense of how American used to be. ❧
The Victorian Hotel where lunch is a relaxing and enjoyable experience.
This store sign shows the wonderful Victorian typography.
Such a clean and welcoming garage!
Yesterday I posted a picture collage from the Lady Bird Johnson Redwood Grove near Orick, California. Today’s collage is also from that beautiful spot but the images are more detailed with close-ups of the fantastic bark and burls that characterize these beautiful beings. ❧