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Posts Tagged ‘mother nature’

March 13, 2019

Weather or not…

11:49 am - Posted by Gregg

One only has to tune in to see the exhausted look on virtually every TV weatherperson’s face to know that Mother Nature has many of us on a weather-related rollercoaster ride. This is just as true here in Southern California. While we are always in need of rain, the precipitation has been fast and furious this year—often arriving in torrential downpours that have lasted hours or even days at a time. Because this region is normally so dry and also due to recent fires, these storms have caused quite a bit of havoc.

One recent, very rainy Saturday, I was doing my best to not let the heavy downpours impede my normal routine. I know that may read as silly to those of you swamped by snow, but trust me when I assure you the streets were flooding and you could even spot mini tidal waves crossing the roads whenever heavier vehicles passed by.

It was while stopped at a traffic light that I noticed what seemed like a calamity unfolding across the intersection. A mother and her young daughter, both outfitted with umbrellas, were trying to safely cross the street. While there were no nearby vehicles inhibiting their journey, the rain was excessive. So exaggerated in fact, that accompanying wind caused the little girl’s umbrella to invert and immediately begin filling with rainwater (since it was now a virtual bowl aimed toward the storm clouds).

I watched with concern from my car as the little girl called out for her mom, who immediately turned around and tried to help the little girl navigate the mini swimming pool that the girl’s umbrella had become. Mom and daughter were trying to dump the water from the inverted umbrella without splashing it all over themselves. Then, suddenly, another gust of ferocious wind swept the mother’s umbrella from her hands, onto a nearby grassy embankment.

Concerned for them both, my Superman instinct took over and I immediately looked for a way to park and get across the street to help them (even though my traffic light was still red). I then looked back to the mother and daughter—finally realizing that they were both laughing with delight in the midst of their soggy adventure.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. But sure enough, they were both positively giddy as they (eventually) gave up on un-inverting the daughter’s umbrella, then scurried to the side of the street they’d originally been on to retrieve the mom’s umbrella. At this point, the traffic light changed to green—meaning that mom and daughter would have to wait for another cycle before they could attempt to cross the street again.

As my car passed by them, I was able to see not only their laughter and smiles up close, but also their palpable bond. While keeping a careful eye on the road (AKA mini lake at this point), I offered a quick smile and wave from the conveniently dry interior of my vehicle. The little girl looked at me with glee and waved back. And this was when I offered them both a silent “Thank you” for reminding me that nothing in life has the power to ruin our day—unless we let it.

This mom and daughter would have had every reason to get angry or to throw a temper-tantrum as the rain changed the course of their morning. In fact, I was initially a little nervous the mom might get angry with the little girl for lollygagging behind and accidentally getting her umbrella inverted. But no. Instead, the mom chose to smile despite the odds—surely reemphasizing lessons she must have previously taught her daughter about adversity. Because this little girl was clearly on board with the age-old edict to “Let a smile be your umbrella.”

There will be those who read this that roll their eyes. But I never want to be one of them. I really do consider the mother and daughter’s cheerful attitude to be a gift. A gift that has the potential to remind us all that no matter what we’re going through, there is a joy to be had—if we allow it. It’s all about getting out of our own way and accepting whatever so-called roadblock (or inclement weather) might be thwarting our intentions.

There will always be surprises in life after all. And Mother Nature will often have the upper hand. So trust me when I acknowledge that this reminder to find joy doesn’t mean we won’t be challenged by hardships. But we have the potential to make better, smarter and more informed decisions if we do so from a place of resolve and—if we so choose—a place of amusement.

No inverted umbrella required.

Photo Credit: Flickr

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4:06 pm - Posted by Gregg

What’s Eating Our Forests and Also Making Us Fat? One Couple’s Cry for Help.

By Carol J. Martens, Special Guest Blogger  to Just Stop Eating So Much!

It’s mid-September and the trees in the mountains are changing color in the beautiful Rocky Mountain region of the Colorado forests. It’s a time of year where many enjoy an afternoon drive  through the scenic mountain ranges to soak up the sights of fiery foliage. The aspens are changing from lush greens to vibrant reds, oranges and golds. It’s a sight to behold! But among the beauty there presents yet another shift of shades: A dreary darkness of grey replacing what where once lavish green pine trees covering millions of acres of forest. Meet the Rocky Mountain Pine Beetle, destroyer of pine trees in epic proportions. These critters lay eggs under the tree bark and leave a blue stain fungus, that in conjunction with larval feeding, blocks nutrient and water transport within the trees whereby completely killing them. Nineteen of our beautiful western states and 88 million acres of forest have been aggressively devastated by this MPB – and this is what is literally eating our forests.

Also concerning is how this issue has affected and continues to affect our mountain recreational areas. Standing, dead, lodge pole pines pose a safety risk when left by roadsides, campgrounds, lakes and trails. State agencies have struggled to clear out the hazardous wood, leaving some areas closed indefinitely for clean-up. And for all you recreational enthusiasts, fitness fanatics and overall outdoorsmen and women, this means our mountain fitness centers have been compromised! Hikers and bikers, backpackers, skiers and snowboarders and lovers of Mother Nature — along with the very activities that we all enjoy so much and that are the staples of our healthy lifestyles — are being threatened.

To sum it all up, dead trees are affecting our recreational areas causing closures or temporary closures due to increased fire risk, increased flooding and erosion are devastating our trails (biking, backcountry skiing, hiking), the landscape of ski resorts is changing and the list goes on. We are losing out on enjoying our mountain outdoor fitness opportunities and need to find a way to help clean up our forests.

My husband and I founded Studio Re3 on the core values to repurpose, reclaim, and restore materials. Holding to a dream of restoring our forests one tree at a time, we are focusing on using discarded blue stain pine to build furniture and other accessories, all the while, helping to return our recreational areas to the safe and usable space we all once enjoyed. You see, forest restoration IS good for our health!

You can learn more by clicking to our RocketHub project where you can join us in our efforts to make a difference in our forests, which in turn can help us all to keep both ourselves and the land and forests fit! To find out more, click to  www.studiore3.com and click on the RocketHub link.

About the Author 

Carol J. Martens is an artist and philanthropist writing from her home in Northern Colorado. She and her husband have founded their business on the pledge, “to do their part in keeping waste out of landfills and helping restore natural resources.” The eclectic mix of education and life experiences they share, coupled with a love of the Rocky Mountains, continue to shape their vision as showcased in the stunning and unique products they create.

© 2014 Studio RE3

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