Youngblood Blog

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Clinging to Mother Earth or Exploding to the Stars—the Writing Option

CLINGING TO MOTHER EARTH OR EXPLODING TO THE STARS—THE WRITING OPTION
April—Busy Month for IWSGers and A-to-Z Challenge Writers

East Island French Frigate Shoals atols and seamounts in Polynesian Pacific ocean, with levels rising

One WORD after another WORD after another WORD is POWER
Margaret Atwood

Somewhere amid Pacific Ring of Fire shaking last night—two Mag.6.2pointers in Aleutians & Solomons, Mag.5s in Baja and Peru—a mother Humpback whale with last year’s calf in tandem, swims into spouting distance of the black sand surfing beaches of Big Island, Hawai’i.

No seagulls, no hummingbirds, but Big Island has Hawai’ian Green sea turtles and…

She will not be disturbed. Neither will the pool of Hawaiian Green sea turtles doing swim relay within yards of a famous surfers’ beach.

The Hawai’ian chain has no native species of terrestrial reptiles or amphibians. But loads in the ocean.

On land lizards, geckos, salamanders and Coqui frogs were introduced—in contrast to marine reptiles—green-sea turtles and sea snakes—that are native. Offshore vast schools of whales, dolphin, orca roam. The Islands are pitstop and mating grounds for hundreds of Humpbacks every winter; babies returning to visit the following year.

Indigenous to the islands is Nene, the Hawai’ian goose and national bird, along with Hawaiian Monk Seal and Hoary Bat which live nowhere else. Geographic isolation has triggered their evolution here as endemic—wildlife not seen elsewhere. The absence of hummingbirds is striking—importing them is banned—but multicolor treecreepers and honeycreepers are vivid and acrobatic.

From Whales and Turtles to Lava and Myrtles
Tragic errors were made by colonial benefactors. An example is the 1883 effort to reduce (introduced species of) rats, mice and larger rodents by allowing predation by the Indian mongoose.

…and exultant fire turtles exploding from neighboring volcanoes in active flows

Hawaiian crow, Hawaiian goose, and other endemic birds of the archipelago have been lost to this predator. Unlike hedgehogs beloved of motorists in Britain, these spiny omnivores are illegal in Hawaii—where the mongoose—not a rodent but an (Herpestes) Ichneumon akin to a shrew—has taken over the territory. Original reason for importing Mongooses to the islands is not clear. They are famed for killing large snakes in India. Kipling made sure children read and made friends with Rikki-Tikki-Tavi in Jungle Book. There are feral cats, dogs, boar, goats. Miraculously, no rabbits.

Coqui frog—Eleutheradactylus coqui—can climb trees and serenades at night

And there are no snakes in Hawai’i. No monkeys either.

Indigenous wildlife groups guard the islands from ‘invasive species’ like the (right pic) onomatopoetically-named Coqui. I find his mating nighttime frogsqueak charming, and his consumption of mosquitoes a blessing; but he is considered a ‘pest’. Mosquitoes hitched a ride from Asia.

Unlike the inhabitants of Easter Island who cut and burned their own trees to extinction, Hawai’ian tradition has cherished and nurtured successive forests of a miracle hardwood—Ohi’a—itself under threat from within. Indigenous, multi-tasking, adaptable in elevation, from sealevel, jungle to volcano peak, it has served as lumber for sacred structures, roof-tiles, fencing and fuel. Its flower is the Lehua, below.

Sacred Carving, Weaponry and Ritual
Volcano goddess Pele became jealous because she asked the handsome warrior Ohi’a to be her consort and he refused, saying he already had a lover, Lehua. In her anger Pele changed Ohi’a into a gnarled and twisted tree. Lehua was heartbroken, as she and Ohi’a were inseparable. The gods took pity on her and turned her into a flower on the tree.

Sacred Hawai’ian hardwood Ohi’a tree with red Lehua pompom blossom, unique in creating its own subsoil on fresh lava, is under threat from within

Ohi’a hardwood was used for canoe decking and seats; for house building, cooking bowls, poi/pounding boards (traditionally beaten with a volcanic basalt pestle), furniture, spears and tools. The Lehua flowers and buds are used for ritual lei-making.

Folklore has it that if you pick the sacred flower, separating her from her tree lover, it will rain.

The tree grows in crazy places—tolerating a range of soil conditions, rainfall and temperature. At sealevel, in jungle, marshes and rainforest, all the way up to the treeline at 8,200feet on Mauna Loa—the world’s highest stratovolcano—twice the height of Mile-High Denver. There it forms a straggly succulent creeping plant, beloved of bees, unique in burrowing into fresh lava, establishing its own compost, root tendrils breaking down subsoil, creating new ecosystems.

In May 2018 lava emerging from under the cinder cone of Pu’u O’o several miles east of Pele’s Mauna Loa and Kilauea, completely submerged Leilani township in fresh basalt. The human residents left. But almost twelve months later the magic myrtle Ohi’a-Lehua has found cracks, created a new existence where nothing else could.

What do these ocean creatures and spirits have to do with writing, you may ask. Our fearless starcruiser Cap’n.Alex and #AtoZ Challenge Chief Arlee Bird might be busy bloghopping, but I think they’d agree—all of us—writers or readers—are going to be affected fairly soon by ocean rise, plastic absorption, mammal and fish death and by the need for clean water. I am the first 2nd.Lieut-in-writing to applaud their tenacity in reaching for the stars. Writers Rulez forever!

Thing about crises on a planetary scale, we writers-bloggers-A-to-Zers mostly just thank our stars we’re still breathing, turn back to the keyboard and…
Write on.
©2019 Marian Youngblood

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April 3, 2019 Posted by | authors, blogging, calendar customs, culture, earth changes, environment, fiction, nature, novel, ocean, popular, publishing, rain, seasonal, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Survival: Celebrating Spring the Insecure Writers’ Way

MONTHLY IWSG GET-TOGETHER

Darth Vader snow sculptures help relieve ongoing weather stress

Darth Vader snow sculptures help relieve ongoing weather stress

Spring has sprung
Da grass has riz
I wonder where da boidies iz—

Da boid iz on da wing—

Dat’s a funny t’ing
I t’ought da wing wuz on da boid—
Ain’t it absoid?
attributed c.1940 to Two Black Crows

Writerly Guilt
While weather is usually a poor writing subject, we may be forgiven this month for waxing eloquent on continuing and (apparently) continuous freak weather circling the globe. If my writing suffers, blame the Cosmos, IWSGers. Or alternatively pleeeeze lay blame where it is due: at door of our long-suffering Cap’nAlex.

Spectacular aurora borealis mirror accelerated CME solar activity

Spectacular aurora borealis mirror accelerated CME solar activity

Were we of less hardy FANTASY Sci-Fi stock—blame that on our fearless Ninja leader, too. Space Captain Alex has a wizard A—Z challenge on Cult Classics—oooo 😉 this month—
—And I am not forgetting all my [non-sci-fi but hugely scary] fellow insecure buddies here on the First Wednesday—we might hide our heads in metaphorical sand and write on.

There are, however, unforeseen dangers in the cosmic waters ahead.

SOLAR WIND INCOMING—Man All (Earthship) Decks
Last week’s coronal mass ejection was deflected by a freak shift in our father, Sol. This week’s CME is coming straight at us.
Duck.

Last week's CME missed us. This one won't:. Electromagnetic image courtesy SOHO

Last week’s CME missed us—deflected at last moment by Earth’s radiation shield. This one won’t miss. Solar Wind Incoming. Electromagnetic image courtesy SOHO

Coronal holes are places in the sun’s atmosphere where the magnetic field opens up and allows solar wind to escape. In the extreme UV image, right, curved lines trace the sun’s magnetic field. Arrows indicate the flow of gaseous material (solar wind) out of the deep-purple coronal hole.

Because this coronal hole crosses the sun’s equator, the solar wind it spews is likely to hit Earth squarely this time—no misses. ETA: April 2nd or 3rd.

Italics and Earth Warning message are entirely those of SpaceWeather, but we might be prudent to prepare for a little more than pretty aurora ovals… just sayin’…

Nightly dose of cosmic fireballs add sparkles

Nightly dose of cosmic fireballs add sparkles

Within the inner solar system, left, all fireball orbits intersect at a single point–Earth. Orbits are color-coded by velocity, from slow (red) to fast (blue)

And, in case we were wondering if life can throw any more at us, enJOY the magnificent total lunar eclipse, Saturday morning, April 4th, sky watchers in the USA can see a brief but beautiful occultation of the Moon. Totality will be visible from Mexico, western Canada, across the entire Pacific Ocean, Australia, Indonesia.

Earthship or Jefferson Airplane? Home is Best
When all around are losing theirs———I don’t have to repeat favorite poésie to my erudite IWSGers to capture the mood.

When in doubt, do what Jefferson Airplane and Janis Joplin said a long space-time ago—with Big Brother and Holding Company and many of us singing along— in a famous long-ago song:
Keep Your Head.

Thanks, as ever, Alex, for letting me “rabbit’ on. 🙂
Happy skywatching. Easter-Passover has never had it so good.
©April 2015 Marian Youngblood

April 1, 2015 Posted by | astrology, astronomy, authors, birds, blogging, earth changes, fantasy, fiction, weather, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment