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07 April 2009

COLORADO COLLEEN: Aspens on Vail



Enjoy these slender, sylvan aspen trees on Vail, at left. We skied all the way to the slurpy bottom and hockey-stopped to say hello to this aspen grove toward the bottom of the run known as Whippersnapper.

If you're curious about aspens, check out my post "Phoenix of the forest" somewhere on this blog.

But bear in mind that I left out the most controversial part: Aspens have been on the downslide. When I reported the story, firs were overcoming the forests. One forester called it "an outbreak of firs." And many species rely on aspens for habitat.

Also yesterday, I shot a couple of less-than- picturesque images of a tree dying from Mountain Pine Beetle. This is a huge problem in our Rocky Mountains, leaving shocking swaths of rusty red throughout the evergreen forests. Of course, many voices speak out on this issue. I'm not well posted enough at this point to say, but I'll show you some photos for those of you not exposed to this blight. Some say that within a few years all the lodgepole pines will fall.

I don't have ready facts for you, but if you care about these trees, please Google away: I'm sure there's lots of information. One thing we can all do to help all trees is use less paper--so even as my beloved newspapers are evaporating across our nation, I can see that the electronic media has benefits.

Like blogs. (Can you tell I'm hooked?)

If anybody has any good sources on aspens, lodgepole pines, or Mountain Pine Beetle, please sound off here and leave a comment.


But back to nature.


Years back, beginning in the mid-90s, I wrote a feature titled "The Nature of..." for The Denver Post. They gave me a whole page every other week in the old, large broadsheet format. That kind of real estate is unheard of in the pages of today's newspapers! I wrote a main story and a sidebar, and they ran some wonderful art to illustrate the pieces. I was thrilled to be writing about subject matter I cared about profoundly. At the time, the whole green movement was not yet in vogue. Looking back, I see I was something of a visionary, if I may say so, with a message of wonderment from the natural world of canyons and clouds, hummingbirds and snow crystals. Feature after feature, I looked closely at a plant, animal, mineral or weather form and attempted to distill its essences. Always, I stood in awe.

But always, too, I seemed to be reporting a message of alarm: butterfly populations and thunderstorm patterns and aspen populations and prairie dogs colonies and wildcrafted medicinal herbs all seemed to point to what we now know is true: Our planet is in peril.

Yet we are waking up, in earnest. We are saying no to plastic bags in favor of cloth. We enjoy cloth napkins rather than paper. Paper we do use, we recycle, along with glass and cans and aluminum foil and all the rest. We turn off the water when we brush our teeth. More and more people are carrying out more and more actions on behalf of Creation.

I'd been a nature girl since I can remember, playing in my yard, my neighborhood, the library gardens, at my grandparents' farms, Girl Scout camp. Researching and interviewing and writing about all these awe-inspiring aspects of nature taught me so much and introduced me to people passionate about their life work in the natural world.

Here at Bluesox headquarters, we're in the process of distilling those stories down to blog-sized bites. I'll share more nature photos, too. I guess I believe that by sharing the mysteries and facts we've gathered about nature, we can learn from other living beings and find ways to live more harmoniously on the big blue marble.

NATURE POSTS TO COME:
Rabbits
Lilies
Butterflies
Dragonflies
Hummingbirds
Lightning
Clouds
Canyons
Medicinal Herbs
Peppers
Zinnias
and more.
Thank you for making time to read.
Please stay tuned.

Namaste'.

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