Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Pass it on

Jennifer challenged her readers today to write a post about three new things. We all know there is nothing new under the sun, but there sure are a lot of things under the sun (the very hot sun!) that I do not know. I left for a walk before I had breakfast today. We have had very hot, humid weather this week with thunderstorms each evening so an early hike seemed like a good idea.

As I started on the trail I passed two Moslem women in conservative attire collecting something from the nearby bushes. I greeted them and asked what they were gathering. They were picking large leaves for making stuffed grape leaves, a dish similar to our cabbage rolls. I had not noticed the wild grape vines growing up the trees and shrubs until they pointed them out.

This particular trail is paved for 4.5 km and is very popular for biking and roller blading. I moved aside as an older lady, most certainly a grandmother, rode her bike past me with two young children. She was enthusiastic about everything she saw, pointing out the butterfly weeds and other wild flowers.
"That's Blue Vervain", she told the girl. "Now you remember that!"
I made a mental note as I looked at the wildflower and will remember that myself.
A while later I passed them again. Grandmother had gone off the trail to the river's edge and was showing the children more interesting things. All I could see was her straw hat through the tall grass, but I could hear her voice as she continued to teach her young charges.

I drove around to the other side of the river to check the Osprey nest at Snyder's Flats. As I walked toward the river, a gentleman stopped to ask me if I had seen the Osprey. He told me he had seen three young birds fledge two weeks ago and described how the adults had encouraged the fledglings to soar high up in the sky right away. The birds were still being fed by the parents in the nest, and needed more fishing experience before they were independent. He also told me where to find Bald Eagles in the region and gave me the name of a nature centre that does raptor walks. As we talked, the Osprey returned to the nest with a fish and I was able to get a number of action shots.

How exciting! So much to see. So much to learn.
How important it is to ask the right people the right questions.

Our newspaper printed a disturbing story yesterday. A man, now deceased, had willed his property to the city for use as a park. He had a small house on the land and had invested his time over the years planting many trees and developing a haven for birds and animals. The property is accessible to the public and is near a very upscale subdivision. Recently there has been a lot of vandalism at the site. Trees have been destroyed, the house has been trashed and the place has become an insurance risk for the city. A place that could be enjoyed by many has been ruined by a few thoughtless, uncaring youth. As I watched the old lady with the children today, I thought to myself,
"Those children are fortunate to have someone who cares enough to teach them about nature. They will grow up to respect the environment, not destroy it."

I learned more than three things today and time flew by quickly. My pre-breakfast hike ended at noon and I was hungry, hot and tired, but enthused about what I had seen and heard. Now I can sit and look up the names of all the beetles on this butterfly weed.


  1. What a wonderful idea! I'm going to look for 3 new things tomorrow.

  2. Absolutely true--how important to show values to young people who will determine what they chose to value in their own lives.
    And that's a lovely close-up of the butterfly weed--you can tell its a milkweed at that distance. Cool.

  3. "Three new things" sounds like a wonderful way to keep one's eyes open to new sights and experiences, even in an environment that you think you know.

    That's sad about the vandalism, though. I've never understood the mindset behind pointless destruction.

  4. Good idea.
    Nice Osprey shot!-Too bad about the vandalsim.-That reminds me of when the boy scouts put up a dozen Bluebird houses and some other kids burned them all up for firewood.

  5. What a fun "learning" morning you had Ruth! LOVE the photo of the osprey in flight with breakfast!!!

  6. Anonymous7:10 am GMT-4

    I really enjoyed this post. Not just the three new things idea, but also the grandmother passing her knowledge of the outdoors to her grandchildren. Very inspiring-and hopeful. I'm certainly going to pay attention to the three new things idea, too. Thanks.

  7. Great idea! What a good way to make sure every day is a good day. Wish I knew that grandmother....

    I have never understood how anyone could tear up something that doesn't belong to them. The whole concept is alien to me.

    New to your blog; love it already!

  8. Ruth - you've beautifully illustrated the reason I'm never bored. There's just so much wonder in the world if we pause to look and, yes - ask the questions.

  9. Lynne- I look forward to you sharing them.

    Nina- Children do learn by example. The simplest outings are often the best. I love the butterfly weed too and will have to get some for my garden. It obviously flourished in drought.

    Bunnygirl- The "old people" I work with who have stayed young are the ones who learn and embrace change. I think a lot of vandalism is a group pressure thing.

    Larry- Bluebird house destruction ...how sad for the birds and the boy scouts. I was very happy that the osprey picture turned out. Thanks.

    Jayne- It was so hot I looked like a dishrag, but I did have fun. I was alone, so who cared!

    LauraO- That grandma was inspiring. I wish I had paid more attention to my grandmother's wisdom. She knew so much about nature...more than i cared to know at the time.

    DGuzman- Nice to meet you. Thanks for commenting. I will be visiting you too.

    Cathy- I hate it when people say they are bored. They usually are high maintenance people who require entertaining. How much better to have an active, inquiring mind.

  10. Ruth--I agree with Larry--the osprey photo is spectacular.
    On boredom--when my kids were little & would say they were bored, I said--how can you be. There's so much to learn, to see, to do in the world. How can you be bored.

  11. KGMom- Thanks. My children knew very early that the word "bored" was a bad one to use around me. It was a sure way to land a chore.

  12. OK, here's that Osprey! Even the smaller size photo is fantastic.


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