Category Archives: Sequoia National Park

Self-Portrait in Moss…

A facebook post…

This morning as long awaited rain shows up as a lightly tapping symphony on my roof and the natural land bows its plant heads in a beautiful hush of prayer and gratefulness, I tumble down the fb newsfeed listening to the amazing voices who have joined my circle of friends here. I see a warning from an artist in the Ukraine (Vasil Woodland) who warns everyone that “ATTENTION!!!! I stop printing my pictures, due to the imposition of martial law in Ukraine. Please do not make a money transfer. All money transfers in my name are blocked and are subject to return to the sender. I hope that these are temporary difficulties … I hope that there will be no war and that the incident will be solved by diplomatic means. Thank you for understanding!”. Another amazing artist from Iran (Naeemeh Naeemaei) laments her dirty dishes and a deepening distress not quite clear to me with the awkward fb translation with these words jumping out at me “I can’t believe that the moments of drowning in joy and discovery of life have been tied to big lies.” The rain drops pound a little harder as I type these words about drowning. And, a minister in Mississippi (Hugh Hollowell Jr.) sends a message to critics about the runoff election that happened yesterday where hate won out, “The election was hard fought. That we even had to have a runoff in a race where a Black man was running against a white woman is remarkable, and a sign of how far we have come, and the result of so much ground level organizing. I am very proud of the work we all did, and will continue to do.”

As we notice how our world stretches and moans, trying to break through the oppression and lies that know no boundaries, only to seemingly revert back to old, rigid patterns of separation and non-loving, we must continue to gird ourselves for more hard work while we wipe the slime of grief from our hearts and faces. Today I will raise my face up into the rain falling from the sky when I go outside to dig the small ditch on the uphill side of my house so the kitchen will not flood (water seeps in when one wall of your house finds itself buried into the earth itself). And, I will transplant the sacred jimson weed native plant seedlings, gathered from my sister’s small farm in Woodlake, with the hope they survive in the drought-dry, vole-invested and deer-pruned landscape around my home.

And, I finally bow my own head in praise of poetry with the early morning words (amazingly found in the fb newsfeed scroll this am) from Dry Crik Journal Dofflemyer:

No worn path home,
we make circles
following the seasons
in the shadow of the moon—

to the coyote’s yip
and canyon conflagration
finding perfect pitch
to make a chorus.

Our dreams are wild
enough to need
no fuel, no accolades
to draw a crowd

any closer. We pick
our way, break no stems
on the eternal scent
of heading home.

[“Self Portrait in Moss” photo © Elsah Cort, taken along the Crescent Meadow Trail in Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park on 11-26-18 on an unusually quiet walk with my nephew, meeting only three other people and where we heard no yelling human voices as I usually do on that trail, but only the loud US Navy jets that now fly over the high sierra mountains from Lemoore Naval Air Station, preparing for more unnecessary wars)

What’s Next?

Spent the last two days listening to scientists and researchers presenting their work and wisdom during the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Science Symposium at St Anthony Retreat here in Three Rivers. I came away with immense gratitude for these people who are tracking, observing and learning about what is happening in our local national parks and the sierra nevada mountains (and the whole planet that is warming up very quickly).

I learned about meadows that were grazed by thousands of sheep 100+ years ago, about frogs that are being killed off by a fungus that made its way up the mountain ranges of South America, passing through Central America and now in our mountains (some of these frogs have been sent to the “froggy hospital” at a Bay Area zoo for fungal treatments and then they are released back from whence they came), about caves that are being protected and cared for because of their unique biodiversity (these are very big caves, just one of the over 200+ caves in SequoiaNP has 21 miles of passageways) and bats and snakes and birds who live in high places and how standing dead trees do not mean what you think they do and fire is needed and challenged more than ever now…and much more which I will share in coming days.

It’s not just the science or the fact-gathering, it’s the “what’s next?” part that intrigued me the most. My mind expanded just when I thought I knew it all. No, that’s not exactly true, I know I don’t really know it all. My mind changed about what I thought was happening, even in my own yard of desolate plants with no rain, vole invasions for the first time in 40 years, deer pruning of my jade trees and plants I thought they did not like and now I plan to take another look at everything, starting tomorrow….

meadow in Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park, photo © Elsah Cort