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Archive for November 2nd, 2009

Pilgrimage Statistics

Consecutive Days Riding: 24                             Consecutive Days Blogging: 25

Today’s Mileage: 10                                           Total Trip Mileage: 238

 stage5

Holidays and Holy Days on November 2nd:

All Souls’ Day – Catholic Christian day of prayers of remembrance and intercession for the dead. Prayers of the faithful are seen as helping to cleanse the souls for the beatific vision of God in heaven.

Guru Nanak Dev Sahib birthday – Sikh honoring of the birth of the first Sikh teacher who lived from 1469 -1539 c.e. Sacred readings, prayers, hymns, meals together.

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dawn in everglades by juanka05

Dawn over the Everglades.

    As I ride the bike today I am confronted with the question: How does one convey the sacredness of a place that does not include a shrine or object associated with a recognized wisdom tradition?  Is shear physical size, natural beauty or biodiversity enough?

 alligators by leocisneros 

ospreythumb by rodney cammauf nps

Osprey

 Jennifer Westwood in her book Sacred Journeys notes that pilgrimage sites may be “places of great natural grandeur.”  This choice can be made for three different reasons.  First, it might be an acknowledgement of the masterwork of the Creator, thereby representing a gift.  Secondly, these places may be seen as the dwelling place of God or spirits.  Lastly, such sites may induce within the viewer a sense of awe and mystery leading to a powerful connectedness with nature (nature mysticism), which is experienced as a gift.

greatblueheronthumb by rodney cammauf nps

Great Blue Heron

 The Everglades National Park, the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, boasts a large range of  rare and endangered plant and animal species. It has been designated a World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve, and Wetland of International Importance, highlighting and establishing it’s significance to all people of the world.

     While the park’s beauty and diversity is a product of nature, how did the park come into being?  The harmful side effects of dredging and draining were apparent on the landscape of southern Florida early in the last century. In 1928 landscape architect Ernest Coe began a concentrated effort to designate a “Tropical Everglades National Park.”

EVER_indigosnake

     His persistence paid off when he and others persuaded Congress to designate the Everglades as a national park in 1934.  In 1947, Marjory Stoneman Douglas published The Everglades: River of Grass, a work that greatly influence the public perception of this region.  That same year, Everglades National Park officially opened, marking the first large-scale attempt to protect the area’s unique biology.

pantherthumb by rodney cammauf nps

Panther on the prowl.

 Rather then share my views on the site any further I will let the beauty of the wildlife and scenery plus the words of a Floridian poet speak!

pelican by rodney cammauf nps

Brown Pelican.

Nothing out there by Betsy Bolger-PauletNothing whatever is going on,
    except the cicadas
    except bird voices
    except breeze in the pines
    and the long-missed sound
        of my breath, my heart,
        and my voice singing to myself.

There is nothing at all to see
    except sky and clouds
    except butterflies and wildflowers
    except tracks of deer and ‘coon by the pond
    and scenes from long-lost memory:
        visions of plans and hopes,
        and my rippled reflection among reeds.

There is absolutely nothing to do
    once the tent is pitched
    once the firewood is gathered
    once the water is carried
    but walk without destination in green places
        and stand perfectly still
        and listen and look at nothing.

 

 white bird by dayra uzeta

Evening in the Piney Woods by Betsy Bolger-Paulet

Long light at the end of the day
stretching between the pines
tinting the cloudless Western sky
and reaching tender rosy arms around the whole horizon.
The colors are like an old-fashioned ring,
in three shades of gold: yellow, white, and pink.

Luminous blue above is like painting on eggshell-thin china.
Chuck-will’s-widow calls, and summer’s last cicadas choir, 
and I’m suspended like a prehistoric insect 
in this amber light.
I lose the will to speak or move
owning only the still senses:
vision, hearing, the smell of the wet green land.

At this instant, I could be anywhere in time,
and if I could hold onto it
through the rising and setting
of our cozy local moon,
until the stars stitch bright needles 
through the black satin night,
I would find myself in casual conversation
with a soul on the far side of infinity.

flower by franco tobias

Beauty at your feet.

royal palm sunset

A final Everglades sunset!

A special thanks to the photographers associated with Panramio for the beautiful scenes from along the roadside. Thanks to the national park service photographer Rodney Cammaulf  for many of the beautiful wildlife shots. For further information, including virtual tours of the everglades visit nps.gov/ever. Also a special thanks to Betsy Bolger-Paulet for the poems you can learn more about her work at http://www.floridasongstory.com.  The information on holy days and sacred holidays comes from http://www.interfaithcalendar.org.

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