Hitchabout Nice – Antibes – Aix-en-Provence – Arles | back to Montpellier

I think it was the fastest I’ve ever gotten rides in my entire hitchhiking experience. Residing in Montpellier, France, I had decided to hitch to Nice, the day before. I had anticipated it, knowing that my sister and her British husband go there regularly to escape the York, England chill. It was these two who had visited Montpellier several years earlier on a regular basis. That put this town on the map for me. I liked the sound of it. When I’d googled the town back when I suddenly had the proposition to go to the East coast from Taos, New Mexico, I learned that it’s the fastest growing city in France, of which 25% are students that emerge during the academic year. I sort of made the decision to go there in particular, and base myself . I was actually still deliberating on whether Portugal might be a less expensive and lively place to live while I was purchasing the bus ticket from Paris for Montpellier. At some point I decided I wanted to be closer to other countries in Europe and also where I have a semblance of knowledge of the language.

Mont_Saint-Victoire Paul Cézanne

Mont Saint-Victoire notoriously painted by Paul Cézanne among others

Nice, didn’t appear to have any available couches to surf on. The weather which has been continually warm and sunny, dropped about 10 degrees with predicted rain. I decided to go anyway. My bicycle had just been stolen 4 days earlier in the middle of the day around the corner from the cafe I was working in. After the initial discovery, I decided it was a gift for whoever took it. They not only got bad karma, but also a bike that didn’t work. It was hurting my knees because the gears basically didn’t move and I had to get off frequently, to walk up hills. Montpellier is full of them. Many at gradients of 55ª angles.

When I’d arrived in Montpellier the first day I asked a woman sitting on the tram near me “where is the mont”? She discussed it with her friend and decided that she didn’t know. My guess is that the whole town is so hilly that they decided to call it Montpellier, which means mountain. So, the missing bike precluded transport into town outside of the tram TAM, so it was as good a time as any to check out some other places along the Mediterranean. Nice, France is really close to Italy and Switzerland. By the time I finally left the house after consulting google maps to know what destinations to write on a sign, it was going on 2pm. The drive is a little over 3 and a half hours.

I strolled to the end of these outdoor tables with people seated there where I spotted a large white clean piece of cardboard tossed on the ground beyond the tables. I was already steering myself towards this cafe to ask for cardboard. Nice start, I had markers. The entrance to the highway was basically right there. This area was a short walk from where I’d currently been living, conveniently on the edge of town. I noticed several cheap bus lines departing from there, Sabine. I incidentally had been told two days previously that I needed to move out by the end of the month, a day after the bike theft. I had two weeks to decide my next moves. That was another reason to make this trip, a few pairs of ears to discuss my options. I was now less convinced that I wanted to stay in Montpellier. The housing situations had been a challenge.

I watched traffic stopping and starting at a traffic light, and was standing right before an indentation in the road for busses, perfect for cars to pull over. I had written Nice on one side of the sign and was starting to write Aix-en Provence on the other, flipping it up for cars to read both sides, when the first small truck pulled over after only a few lights. I hadn’t been there more than 10 minutes. He’d been working in Montpellier for the day and was on his way to Aix. He’s an Albanian man from Kosovo, his name packed with consonants, Xhemil Iveseldaj.  He’s been living in Aix-en Provence among other members of his family, for 40 years. He was returning from his work week in Montpellier where he stays in a hotel. His boss pays for that, along with his tolls and I guess all travel expenses. He works in such a specialized field, that he’s been accustomed to these long commutes for years, sometimes sweeping countrywide. He’d previously commuted to Paris from Aix, and before that by plane to another town. I learned a fair amount about his life and his two sons. He is one of 7 siblings, five brothers and two sisters. He said in Albania the families tend to be even larger. He said he doesn’t believe in a ‘God’ but in nature. We agreed about that, ‘Nature’ is our ‘god’. I asked if he believes in climate change. We discussed it for quite a while along with other topics.

He had missed his turnoff and I was wondering if I was going to be dropped off in the middle of the highway at an inconvenient place, but he then went back through toll booths, and tracked back to the highway where we were now still heading towards Aix-en-Provence en route to Nice. He’d seen the Aix on my sign. Works every time to have a sign. Xhemil always seemed a bit impatient when coming to any toll, as if seconds shaved off his time were going to critically screw up his day. I guess he was simply in a big hurry to get back home at the end of his workweek. He brought me to a good place where all traffic was heading in the direction of Nice.

I was happy to find a bathroom next to an odd parking garage area where on one side there were buses, ironically, one on its way to Nice. I had covered half the distance already and didn’t bother to approach the bus to ask the driver, preferring to hitch. Someone saw my signs and was yelling out to me from the top story of this large round parking garage building. I ignored him/them. It took about 6 minutes, maybe less, for a car to stop. I heard the responses from above as I was getting into the vehicle. The driver was Olivier, a local who lived in a little town with a great view of this mountain outcropping Saint Vincent from one side. He was on his way to Cannes for the evening. Olivier is an engineer, specifically works on plane engines. He lived in Paris for a stint, said he learned a lot working for Air Bus. He still works for them, and was relieved to move back to his home ground.

Mont Saint-Victoire, Paul Cézanne

Olivier says this landmark outcropping of rock Mont Sainte-Victoire, changes color frequently and has been a feature of many painters.

He and I had a nice rapport. We talked the entire time and really had a lot of similar points of view about the quality of simple things in life that give it value. He dropped me off at a very convenient location at the entrance to highways from Cannes. I was sorry to see him go.

My next ride was with a professional chauffeur, John Christopher. He had made sort of a precarious stop to pick me up. I guess as a local he knows what he can get away with. He was going to pick up his clients on this late afternoon to take them to a fundraiser gala event, hosted for wealthy families who were donating money to hurricane victims in Saint Martin, a French island in the Caribbean. He has worked for this same family exclusively for 15 years. He said that this event was perhaps at a hidden location. He knew that football stars, actors and actresses were going to be there among the very wealthy patrons. He described what these evenings could be like, and how he had to always be available for and and all things that might occur. He might have to make the commute over the bridge to pick up one item left behind, or drop off kids at different places. I enjoyed this little scope into the lives of the upper crust there, from the chauffeur’s point of view. A very gentle guy, he left me off before taking his route to the home of his employer. We left with smiles lingering.

Nice, France first shots - pastry and me

A bridge separated me between where I stood where everyone seemed to be racing to their next destination. I’m guessing I was at St.-Laurent du Var by this bridge. I wondered how long this ride would take, since now I was extraordinarily ‘out of place’. A hitchhiker with a backpack among demonstratively expensive cars and high income drivers. Surprisingly, a car stopped. It was Raphael a medical student in Nice, where he also was raised. He looked distinctively Spanish or Italian. He did me the courtesy of using his phone to dial my contact number and drop me off after crossing into Nice to a very familiar cement way lined with Palm trees before the beach. The Promenade des Anglais is where a demented man drove a truck moving down pedestrians on Bastille Day on the evening of 14 July 2016. The Nice attack killed 86 people and injured 458. Sound familiar? The whole area has since been reinforced to block vehicular traffic, involving bringing in full-grown palm trees with cranes.

historical Nice, France and cemetary

I wound up spending several days in Nice, endowed with lovely weather. Took various local rides ferried to different parts on cool excursions with family into the hills looking back down over the city. I had particularly wanted to see Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat.

Nice page 1 of second group inlaid stones

Nice, France inlaid stones

When it came time to leave, I finally noticed a text message on my cheap French phone, an invitation from a friend I’d met years earlier, who had actually invited me to stay at her and her boyfriend’s place. I texted her back explaining I’d missed seeing her text. In a little while I made my way to make a start, found some cardboard and what appeared to be the entrance to highways. I stood there a short time up in the hills. I saw a dread-headed girl across the street who when she crossed, approached to tell me she’s hitched a lot, and if I’m going to Aix-en-Provence, I’d have better luck down standing down by the water – once again before the Promenade des Anglais. I thanked her and walked down the hill. When I turned the corner I saw a group of people waiting for a bus a hundred yards away. I thought to myself, they’re probably wondering about what I was doing. Within several minutes, my first ride stopped. A smartly dressed man in a nice car on his way to Aix-en-Provence. I laughed to myself at how easy I made it look for the people standing there waiting for a bus. He made a phone call to his wife indicating he was on his way. I mentioned that I’d come from Montpellier to Nice and still was trying to figure out where to land. He mentioned that for using English, Aix-en-Provence would have better opportunities than Montpellier due to its larger influx of British because of the nearby seaport. He convinced me in fact. He said forget Montpellier, it’s mostly a college town, whereas Aix has an English speaking presence and a sophisticated flair.

mazza

mazza

 

Manu

Manu

The text was from a woman whom I’d met with her boyfriend 5 years earlier in Krakow, Poland. I was now getting out of the car upon receiving the text, only half an hour or so from Nice and 100’s of km before where I thought I was going. That was a great timed text, minutes before the Antibes exit. I had a splendid visit with these friends and their wonderful feline creatures. It was the therapy I needed, the playful cats along with friendly and inspiring conversation and inclusion.

Edwige and Bernards in Antibes

Edwige and Bernards in Antibes

 

Edwige, Antibes

Edwige in Antibes

Edwige and Carol Antibes

Edwige and Carol Antibe

I departed from my friends and the kitties in Antibes who I was already missing. Once again I got fantastic rides, two rides from Antibes. A young baker, boulanger, who told me stories of his life and his wife and 2 kids. At the moment that I noticed a sign for a rest stop I asked him whether there was another like it prior to where he was going. He wound up immediately pulling over, because he in fact was getting off soon, where the town was so small he explained I’d probably have very fewer ride possibilities than here at this highway stop. I parted farewell from this sweet guy and was walking into the rest-stop restaurant and showed my signs to the people as I was walking by them. They were a couple, and happened to be driving to Montpellier. I said that that’s where I live, but am going to Aix-en-Provence. They said they could take me there, it’s on the way. I hung with them a bit at the outdoor tables after I returned. We had a few interesting exchanges before getting in the car. A huge lovely white dog accompanied by a man entered the picture. I said, ‘elle est belle’, and the girl laughed, saying she has exactly the same type of dog, whose name is Belle. It’s unusual for a couple to offer a ride, very rare. They have to be really confident with one another, and these two were. Thomas and Gwendoline were very animated. At one point I mentioned out of the blue that I’d like to go to Istanbul, and they laughed, saying they’re going there next Thursday. They each engaged in conversation the entire time. We really connected. He owns 2 businesses in (IT), one which he originally started doing web design and the other advising companies on how to work more efficiently. She isn’t currently working. We talked the whole time, They were on their way to Montpellier to visit his father, and in fact he drove me into the center of Aix-en-Provence which he loves, and Gwendoline had never been.

Eight weeks earlier I wouldn’t have been able to understand but a quarter of what they were saying, now 8/10th percent. She spoke some English cuz she lived a year in New Zealand doing a WWOOF with baby sheep! She visited Australia too. She joked that she’s probably more conservative politically than he. He described that he believed the French president Macron would have more possibility to take a center stage in the global political arena. As we were driving into Aix from the highway, I commented that I believe trees may be more conscious than we are. To my surprise, Thomas the computer guy, heartily agreed, saying that he despises that people believe that they’re at the top of the pyramid of life, when in fact all life forms have intelligence. Thomas so much admires the town, that I decided after walking around a bit that for my saturday night, I’ll stay in Aix-en-Provence, regardless of where I may or may not sleep.

Aix-en-Provence, France

On this late summer Saturday afternoon in the street of Aix-en-Provence  I came upon a group of woman doing a spontaneous dance exercise; an an all female dance troupe. They were doing an improvisation exercise in their practice. I sort of guessed that this is what they were doing. Later when they were less involved in any presentations, I asked a few. One woman with eye that met mine with a sparkle in her eyes and large smile approached me and handed me a flyer.

She was in fact the director who organized this theatrical dance art group. http://cie-mariehelenedesmaris.com

I had decided to stay there regardless of not having looked for couchsurfers. It was a Saturday evening, it’ll be fun. I asked the right couple on my walk, who described several different options, pointing to areas on a map I had of specific areas to find things going on.

I went to a cafe to catch up on writing and organizing my pictures, and wound up hanging there into the late hours, with co-workers and guests. As the evening progressed, I was invited not only to stay that evening, but for an extended length of time, if I was demonstrating that I was doing the work I needed to do. I could now stay at this apartment there in Aix-en-Provence with these two brothers. However that vanquished at the point that the one breached my trust, and caused me to launch myself out back into the streets of Aix with the approaching dawn. It seemed like it might have been the semblance of a good thing, if not for the immediate security violation. One of the brothers was already in bed, it appeared. I was ushered into a room, fine, ah, but wait, no lock on the door. I waited before getting into bed with my pully and pack on by the door. listening for a few moments, when suddenly the door swung open, with me standing right there. I’m sure it surprised him as much as it did me; bursting into the room allegedly having misplaced his cell phone. Not only did this maneuver make me feel quite uncomfortable with the thought of sleeping there, but it also immediately dissolved that opportunity. So, I was heading out from Aix that morning, and still not sure what would define my future. This town hadn’t particularly welcomed me; no couch surfers, no housing possibilities and no tolerance for an opening in a bachelor den that was the epitome of neglect.

 

Arles, France, Nice, hitchabout

I hitched to Arles from Aix-en-Provence that morning. Maybe I’d go to Nimes (Roman ruins in both towns) on the same day.  The two cities located in the Occitanie region of southern France, were an important outpost of the Roman Empire. Nimes is known for its well-preserved monuments such as the Arena of Nîmes, a double-tiered circa-70 A.D. amphitheater still in use for concerts and bullfights. Its Maison Carrée white limestone Roman temple and Pont du Gard tri-level aqueduct are around 2,000 years old. I wound up staying in Arles instead.

Shortly after arriving at a good departure point in Aix, a woman stopped in her sleek car. I assumed the boy of about 11 sitting in the passenger seat was her son. She was an attractive, well dressed, middle aged woman who appeared professional, everything intact.  She was on her way to Nimes. The song that was playing on the alternative rock station was fairly pop, and each of the songs became progressively more hard-edged. The music didn’t seem to go with her appearance at all. The volume was so high that it impeded the ability to talk. When I asked, she staccato answered that she lives in Aix. That was my first and last question in an attempt to engage them in conversation. Her son and she didn’t say a word to one another the entire time.  She drove very fast and agilely on the highway on her way to Nimes, maneuvering efficiently. I was surprised she picked me up at all.  I pictured that she was dropping her son off at a midway point in an agreement with her ex, as they trade time with the child since divorcing. I decided that she was annoyed to have to drive him there, the hour and a half, now wait, 3 hour journey altogether to drop him off in Nimes and return; an invasion on any other activities she might have wanted to do on that Sunday. I didn’t ask. I let them ‘not talk’ to one another or me. I felt sorry for the kid. The music was quite loud. The silence was fierce.

Michael Jackson T-shirt, Always Be Yourself

Michael Jackson T-shirt
Always Be Yourself

I’m sitting in a cafe putting these pages together, sitting near the bathroom entrance. Many people flow by. One guy was waiting in line, a tall Arab guy, I saw in between the edges of his jacket a skeleton, and I said pointing, “is that Michael Jackson”? He said, yes and opened his jacket. I said, trying as I could in French, after multiple plastic surgeries that destroyed his cartilage, he’s now a skeleton. He said, exactly. He and I were both laughing pretty hard at this point as he was now walking into the bathroom, since it wasn’t supposed to be that obvious. I asked him when he came out to get a shot of the shirt, which is even more hilarious, saying below the image ‘Always Be Yourself‘.

In Arles I met a man whose eyes met mine from where he was perched on a balcony of this cloister.  I was like, what, are you WORKing there or what? Later we met on the stairs where he offered me an extra ticket to the last day of the photo exhibit there. He’s local. So, he’d waited until the last day of the exhibit to finally go see it. I had the impression that in this town that flowed regularly for most months of the year with tourists, that it was well stocked with woman accessories.  I wondered whether he took advantage of this, and lead a sort of double life. I was sort of expecting that we’d hang out together more, but he had other plans, probably a dinner gathering, or going home to dinner with his family. He bade his farewell and disappeared into the dusk, cutting through this building. Perhaps I seemed too risky, an American woman who happened into the town and didn’t know where she was going to sleep that night.  It was a nice exhibit. I wound up wandering away from the middle aged man who vanished to walk up a hill to find myself watching bats fluttering about and looking out over the valley, and instead talking to some young North African teenagers.

I had wandered around the periphery of the olympic Roman stadium and along streets in the town looking at the sites. I had gone into a lovely church where I learned some history. It was later, much later that my bed found me.  I was walking around a building and saw this little sort of fenced in courtyard that was merely following the contours of the rounded building. There was a low decorative iron fence around a small curved plot of soil, encasing a few bushes and a tree or two. I spotted large pieces of cardboard neatly wrapped up and tied together stacked vertically on the outside of this area. I learned years ago from a French (North African) truck driver that cardboard can be used to insulate from the cold. (Who I wound up driving with through Italy to Germany where during Ramadan, he’d chain smoke and start drinking his coffee before the sun came up or went down, and had packed a delightful gourmet assortment of foods home-made by his wife who packed them for his holiday fasting). I picked up the cardboard, pulled the pieces out, saw that they weren’t soiled and laid them out to form a platform to lay on. I had no sleeping bag. It wasn’t cold. I felt quite safe there and happy to not have to carry my backpack any more.  A pretty ‘sleepy’ town, I didn’t sense that anyone was going to look for me there. I didn’t sleep, but was comfortable. The night before in Aix-en-Provence I hadn’t slept at all.

I had already decided to stay in Arles that night. It was still pretty warm, September 25th, 2017. Later that evening, my resting place found me.

Arles rockin an auberge cardboard style at the hidden concave of a building

It was the last ride, Phillippe Lu, (great grandparents or grandmother came from China to Cambodia, where his parents were from. It was the intelligent conversation I had with him and his power of persuasion, which now convinced me after all that I should in fact plant myself in Montpellier; offering English courses with all the university separate buildings spreading over the north of town. He said I could make €15 to 20 per lesson. He texted his son to get the coordinates of an umbrella organization for all the universities called CROUS. He helped to give me some wording for a sign to put up. I since had looked up C.R.O.U.S. and gone there several times to get as much information as I could from what I’d written down while riding with him. They had info about housing, the university of lettres (languages) and basically I followed through and later wandered the labyrinthe of different buildings that a part of the university, that spreads across the north part of town that had been 50 years ago, fields. When I’d returned to Montpellier I was now homeless and searching through many different sources, mostly online, for housing. It was on the eve of the beginning of the month that one friend pointed out a site I’d already disregarded, judging that it was too expensive. I told him I’d already looked at that one, and it tends towards more expensive listings. I noticed that my friend had fr.fr in the beginning of the web address and mine us.fr, because I had first viewed it from the United States (I started viewing housing listings from the moment I booked an inexpensive flight). Turns out the subtle difference in the website made a huge difference in what was offered. The local listings offered a category unto themselves, anglophone families looking for English native speakers to live with them for reduced rent in exchange for some prerequisite time and activities. I’ve since found the most remarkably perfect situation, a win-win.

my signs for the return trip

my signs for the return trip

Montpellier Zoo, Jardin des Plantes

Montpellier Zoo Jardin des Plantes and street pics

It started, or rather was continuing a year ago in another desert, in the high desert of New Mexico, bordering Colorado. Luna was Bill Light’s dog, who built his home in the canyon 5,000 feet above Santa Fe, New Mexico en route to the ski area. His wife had died a few years earlier. I stayed for several months in a cabin adjacent to his home which he built for his daughter. I lived there in the autumn of 2016.

I quickly became a fan of going on walks with his dog Luna. She was a fan of walks as well, and would actually come over to the cabin and tap on the door with her foot. Wow! She absolutely loved the excursion off the property and a long a path cutting through a narrow valley to the National Forest land. In the late summer twice with Luna, I was exposed to bears. It was because Luna discovered them, and barked them into submission.

 

Luna, Bill Light's, Santa Fe New Mexico 2015

Luna my friend at Bill Light’s cabin in Santa Fe New Mexico 2015

I lived in the cabin next to Bill Light’s home in my first months above Santa Fe, New Mexico where my nice landings began. Luna and I would cut through trails up to the National Forest land and then either move further into the canyon’s or launch up to the ridge. These became my sketching/water color excursions. Luna launched and climbed the hill with ease and I followed.

Bill who had an earlier bought with cancer which had gone into recess, got it again, and died from pneumonia since I had moved out. It’s a strange thing that he was there and actively doing all sorts of things, and now gone. I don’t know what happened with Luna, certainly she was completely at home in the mountains. I hope a neighbor took her in. Besides seeing lots of deer in the late summer and the few incidences with Luna barking a bear and her cubs up a tree, I would mt. bike into town from there, regularly. I cycled 7 miles up 5,000 feet to get to the property. I never used any bike lights or reflectors, despite the fact that there were no street lamps. My eyes would adjust whether it was a new or full moon. i figured it was a good way to balance out staring into a computer screen. I find a bike wherever I go and also animals that I love. Now there are stray cats where I am, and I’ve just landed, with muscle and sweat and help with several bike mechanics, a bike that I am delighted to ride.

Now there’s no dog present like in Santa Fe and the ones I affectionately grew acquainted with and loved immediately in Taos, New Mexico the following spring. There are a bunch of stray cats however here in Montpellier. It occurred to me to look for a used bike at this place I’d become a member of months earlier. Le Vieux Biclou. After asking a guy in the street when I knew I was in the vicinity of the bike shop if he knew of where it’s located, it turned out he was on his way there. There I spotted the mt. bike I wanted, and the following day during opening hours learned of its one major obstacle; a seat post jammed all the way down that wouldn’t budge. Several technicians, pounding and myself instructed to scrape off the rust of the now ejected post, and a day later going to another bike shop to get a lock appropriate for the rampant bike thievery in this town, I purchased bolts to replace the quick release wheels and seat, and was assisted in mounting the lock to the frame. After riding it the second time i realized that this bike runs flawlessly, enabling me to climb any steep slope with ease. Stoked!

I’ve since made my signs and printed them and edited my contact cards. I wanted to get this blog out, put up the signs in various excursions, and begin today on a singular path to complete my book between my father and mother’s birthdays. That’s pretty immediate. The difference, no noose around my neck to pay a rent that squelches my time and psyche.

And as is typical, I ask for donations. Thanks! PayPal Donate Button  Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music composition

carol keiter, blogger, Nice

blogger in Nice

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Emotionally Stunning video ‘Canuck & I’ Explores the Bond Between A Crow and His Human

I found this video through one of the Facebook groups which I hold sacred ‘The More Beautiful World’.

Canuck and I, Bond between Crow and Human, Audubon

Canuck and I Bond between Crow and Human Audubon

‘Canuck & I’ Explores the Bond Between A Crow and His Human

Now I know why I chose to make another espresso and stay ‘home’ to watch this, prior to going out with my laptop to visit some places, print new cards, sit in a cafe to work on my book and new music.

It’s because I mentioned on Facebook when posting this that I already had tears in my eyes before knowing anything about it, and well, I had tears flowing down my face the entire 20 minutes.

My mother would easily tear up expressing emotion. I simply love animals so much. There is such a vast universe, well, in this case, planet filled with fish and mammals in the seas and animals and birds from tropical forests to deserts.

Humans can be so much more. Our lives can be enriched so, so much more by opening them moment to moment and valuing all of the creatures that we share this planet with, ALIVE.

Hopefully sharing this video will bring warmth, loving feelings, compassion and a desire to protect the habitats of the magnificent species with whom we share this planet.

Walk more, bicycle more, have less children, aim for education to share empowering stories more and buy and consume less. Living healthier and happier lives by living more simply and feeling gratitude and authentic joy from doing things that empower ourselves and one another, will reduce the dependence on needing more money, pharmaceutical companies, insurance and automobile manufacturers, psychiatrists, and help to alleviate addictions… 🙂

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Carol Keiter le_blogger, writer & illustrator, musician & composer

Carol Keiter le_blogger, writer & illustrator, musician & composer

Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music composition

Carol Keiter, nomadbeatz, donations, writing, photography, illustrations, eBook, music composition

Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music composition

Nightingale Song and Coyote encounter on Midnight Prowl in Sonoran Desert

Last night, i was on my way bicycling – taking a different route home as always – to discover in the darkness (also daylight) all of these different lovely residences with cool plants and/or lighting at night here in Tucson, Arizona. I’m presently charging the batteries of my camera to go out on a night trek to capture the fact that all over in this town, strangely, there are ‘christmas’ lights that remain, uh, year round, as it is approaching the end of June and they’re all still there.

nightingale pics

nightingale pics


I stopped to listen for quite a while to the song of a nightingale, then left, heard my phone beep, stopped to look at it and it occurs to me to go back to capture the sound via video. I went back to the bird. (I have since downloaded an app for audio recording) I stood there motionless with my one arm up in the air like the statue of liberty, my phone next to the tree, when I saw activity down the block. Too big to be a cat, a family dog no. As a figure in the darkness silhouetted against a wall approached, I realized it was a coyote. To my delight, there were at least four of them. One of them started trotting directly towards me from across the street, which caused me to turn around, which startled them. It darted away and several emitted some low barks. I turned the light of my phone on as I was still in video recording mode. Though I wasn’t successful in capturing them, as i shown my light towards them I saw several motionless pairs of illuminated eyes looking back at me as they stood still for a moment in curiosity, trying to figure out what i was all about. The nightingale was still singing away, a plethora of tunes, in such a dramatic range of sounds and octaves…what a wild few minutes of this evening.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhCRzwxVnv0&feature=youtu.be

I’ve just found out that the best means to get an mp4 out there to the world, is not by attempting to upload it to Facebook or WordPress, but to my (your) youtube channel, and then providing the link. voila. Here’s the link to the video, during which time at 2:45 into the tape, while capturing the nightingale’s melodies, you here the barks of the coyotes.

This is a dark video, for the purpose only of capturing a tiny fraction of the immense diversity of song of the nightingale.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_nightingale

“The common nightingale or simply nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos), also known as rufous nightingale, is a small passerine bird best known for its powerful and beautiful song.”

coyotes difference between dog, wolf, coyote, jackal and fox

coyotes difference between dog, wolf, coyote, jackal and fox

Coyotes are slick, coming into the town during the night. It was about midnight. How cool! I then got on my bicycle to follow them, found one lagging behind that darted into bushes. Tucson is mostly flat, one story houses. I’ve seen baby quails, lots of lizards, have seen a coyote during the daytime by a dry river bed, but not yet any javelinas (wild pigs). I love nature!

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/coyote/

“The coyote appears often in the tales and traditions of Native Americans—usually as a very savvy and clever beast. Modern coyotes have displayed their cleverness by adapting to the changing American landscape. These members of the dog family once lived primarily in open prairies and deserts, but now roam the continent’s forests and mountains. They have even colonized cities like Los Angeles, and are now found over most of North America. Coyote populations are likely at an all-time high.”

Tucson, Arizona is located in a small fraction of the immense area that encompasses the Sonoran desert.
https://www.desertmuseum.org/desert/sonora.php
Sonoran desert region presented by the Sonoran Desert museum.

Sonoran desert region, subdivision , sonoran desert museum

Sonoran desert region and its subdivision -sonoran desert museum

I have since downloaded an audio app, to record the unfathomable richness and amusing song of nightingales. 🙂 delightful encounter!

Don’t know why it sounds like i’m standing next to a fast moving river – – ha aha – – here in the desert. poor audio. i’m working on it.

Carol Keiter, blogger, musician, composer

Carol Keiter the blogger, musician and composer

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Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations to her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music composition

The New Story | Sustainability | Capra & Luisi’s ‘Systemic View’ | Heart Dimension

Sustainability may not be widely discussed in the network news channels, as ‘action’ news stories often focus on human conflicts, disasters and economic problems of immediacy, rather than delving into long-term repercussions or solutions. Often one is not presented with situations from the standpoint of how you, the viewer, can potentially get involved and help to transform the situation.

In fact we have often received information, from the top-down, through a hierarchy of stations delivered by a few news networks, owned by a few individuals. However, even the new story, implies a new way of gleaning information; through social networks. This implies horizontal sharing of information which a person can actively investigate on their own, delving into sources of information that offer alternative views or by talking with one another, sharing ideas or even taking a walk in the woods to contemplate. So rather than being spoon-fed bits of information, it’s a process of actively investigating and sharing. In other words, thinking, for oneself.

You really Are What you Think.

Sustainable Man, A New Story of the People

Sustainable Man A New Story of the People

The “New Story of the People” is narrated breathfully by Charles Eisenstein; his story of ‘a more beautiful world’.

A New Story, being in service to something larger than yourself

A New Story being in service to something larger than yourself

With respect to the ‘Sustainable Human’, Eisenstein talks about how in the last hundred years science has been focused on dissecting and reducing things to their elemental parts in the quest to understand our universe and the matter which makes up our world. Yet during the scientific process, the influence of the subjective viewer has come to be understood as influencing the object of study. In the past, this would have been discounted as something that can not be empirically proven. As the Western World expands beyond its scientific rationalism and objectification of the world in the ‘Industrial Age’ into a new view of the web of connections through the discoveries during the ‘Information Age’, our definitions are changing. And these spill over from the scientific view of the universe, into parallel pursuits in other arenas, such as recognizing that there is really something to the wisdom traditions of Eastern spirituality and mysticism. A perspective that has been compatible to various indigenous people all over the planet for millennium.

Eisenstein metions that “A new paradigm has begun to evolve along with this scientific view that emerged out of physics; a paradigm which sees the universe not as discreet parts with everything distinctly separate, but as interconnected.”

paradigm shift of perception, from separateness to interconnectedness

We are in a paradigm shift of perception, that moves from separateness to interconnectedness

When I was younger, my interest in science as well as consciousness, spirituality and mysticism, drew me to read the book “The Tao of Physics ” written by the physicist Fritjof Capra.

Fritjof Capra, an Austrian-born American physicist, described in this book what the new sciences were disclosing, a completely new way of looking at the universe, particularly looking at the world from the scientist’s perspective of probing the smallest building blocks.

The Tao of Physics, Fritjof Capra

The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra

Capra went on to write together with biochemist Pier Luigi Luisi “The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision”. The authors mention that the book primarily deals with the question, “What is Life?”. Their years of research reveal that from bacteria, to cells, to organs, to living organisms from plants and insects to birds and mammals involve networks.

At the core of this paradigm shift, is a perception shift from ‘separateness’ to ‘interconnectedness’.

Rather than looking at isolated events or bodies within its skin or shell, the most obvious characteristic of life are the relationships among networks with other bacteria, cells and creatures as well as relationships between different species, organs and colonies of beings. Life of all kinds, is not a distinct entity which can merely be quantitatively measured and classified into a particular domain, but the very essence of life is a qualitative interconnection between others of its kind and the whole ecological system of relationships between different species.

The common thread of all life is that it is the network. the network is a pattern consistent through all of life, the network is a series of relationships. the science that describes this new perspective is called the ‘Systemic View’. Nature sustains itself in the sense that every organism, from a cell, to an organ, to a body, to the social nature of a species, to the planet itself is an autopoietic system that regenerates itself. This works because it is in a set of relationships within a network system.

Vita e Natura - Life and Nature - video intro of Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi's book - The Systems View of Life A Unifying Vision

Vita e Natura – Life and Nature – video intro of Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi’s book – The Systems View of Life A Unifying Vision

Here is an “essay excerpted from The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision”, presented on the (CEL) website Center for Ecoliteracy, which Capra co-founded.

Capra and Luisi argue “that many of the most important problems we face today – from financial instability to climate change and ecological degradation – reflect our collective inability to appreciate just how the world operates as a holistic, networked system in which every part depends on every other. This is something that can be approached and healed, from the systemic view. We need to live in a way that allows the planet itself to regenerate itself naturally. This leads us to consciousness of ecological sustainability and the intent to build and live in sustainable communities.

You are not distinct from Nature, You Are Nature

This New Story is all about sustainability: the capacity for human individuals and societies to live in a way that reduces the amount of the earth’s resources that they use, to a level that is compatible with the earth’s ability to regenerate itself and maintain a healthy balance.

This recognition of life as a network of relationships that are holistically healthy and regenerative only insofar as each of the interconnected parts are, as articulated in the Systemic View of life, is beginning to emerge in all different aspects of human relationships, as something to aspire to.

• in the individual – recognizing that we are as healthy and strong and happy only insofar as other members of the human community are also compatibly accessing education and opportunities as well as healthy environments
• in the cohesion of the human social community – in which cooperation rather than competition, diversity in participation and sharing between disciplines and groups is a healthy circulatory system
• in the realm of health – towards new ways of gardening and farming as well as the recognition of health sustaining nutrients inherent in foods and spices
• in emotional well-being – bringing the mind and the body into an interactive balance of movement and stillness; movement for healthy circulation, stillness to allow oneself to connect to that dimension which is beyond our immediate focus
• in spiritual continuity – recognizing that diversity is the spice of life; homogeneity breeds incestuous, narrow-mindedness and stagnation
• in economic behavior – towards openness & transparency, collaboration, horizontal sharing of ownership and the subsequent democratization of wealth
• in political systems – the more open and transparent the governing representatives, the more trust and mutual consensus for what is relevant and important in the fabric of existence; which includes humans, a healthy environment and relationship with all species

Diversity is healthy, whereas homogeneity breeds incestuous narrow-mindedness.

The New Story has evolved as our stories about ourselves, and the place of the human being in the world evolves.

You really Are what you Believe.

Ego vs Eco | Ecological Thinking for Business Transformation | The Nature of Business

Ego vs Eco | Ecological Thinking for Business Transformation | The Nature of Business

The premise of the organization “Ecological Thinking for Business Transformation” is that our perception of reality and our worldview has been outdated. “We are witnessing a change in business paradigm from one suited for the industrial era to one suited for the interconnected era.”

In 1995, the physicist Fritjof Capra together with the philanthropist Peter Buckley and think tank director Zenobia Barlow, founded the Center for Ecoliteracy with the intent of sharing the awareness of the systemic view with students, through a series of educational programs that support ecological principles and systems thinking to curricula and projects in habitat restoration, school gardens and cooking classes, partnerships between schools and farms and curricular innovation among K12 schools. Among other things, the center helps to develop projects in habitat restoration, school gardens and cooking classes and partnerships between schools and farms, with the awareness that health begins with a healthy diet.

You really Are what you Eat.

Ecoliteracy dot org Education for Sustainable Living

Ecoliteracy dot org Education for Sustainable Living

Frijof Capra says that he has studied agroecology or regenerative agriculture.
Agroecology or agroforestry combines; forestry, agriculture and livestock. It is beyond sustainable, it is actually regenerative.

Jeremy Wickremer’s mentions in his article for The Ecologist Connecting the Dots: the Big Permaculture Picture ”Just like you need a holistic vision for a healthy mind and body, the same applies for a healthy planet. One way of living that seeks to do this is permaculture. To put it simply, permaculture is agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems. It is a design system that mimics nature, where everything in the design supports everything else.”

Syntropyc, Regenerative Agriculture, Ernst Götsch

Syntropyc Regenerative Agriculture, Ernst Götsch

In terms of sustainable and regenerative agriculture, Agroforestry is land use management system in which trees or shrubs are grown around or among crops or pastureland. It’s another example of replenishing the environment with nutrients and water, without needing chemicals or pesticides. This encourages growth in biodiversity and is healthier for farmers.

Besides the growth of food and the reflection of these sustainable practices on all of the other creatures with whom we share our planet, there are plenty of business solutions that are as well following this New Story, emulating what already clearly works in nature. One group is “Ecological Thinking for Business Transformation” also speak of the “out-dated worldview, a perception of reality inadequate for dealing with the volatile and globally interconnected business world.”

Having attended the “People and Planet First” conference in September of 2015 presented by the (IPS) Institute for Policies Studies in Baltimore, Maryland, the panelists also talked of a “New Story“. Among the speakers were Annie Leonard “The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard” and historian and political economist Gar Alperovitz who mentioned that though this new stream of activity towards cooperative business and horizontally-shared ownership is happening in discrete communities all over the United States, it isn’t being consciously driven, yet.

Eisenstein, in his Sustainable Man video about The New Story, talks of stepping out of this paradigm of control and allowing oneself to be of service to this larger body of which we all are a part. And that as we direct our questions and intent to ask what we can do to serve having a healthier body, mind, well-being, community and world, that indeed, the answers and direction will arise in response to the intention.

step from paradigm of control, ask how you can serve, and the opportunities will arise

When you feel that you are here in service, and bow to that, opportunities will arise to allow you to act on that intention.

Besides the rational means of digesting information, there is the whole realm of the invisible. I’ll call it the domain of the heart. Herein lies the capacity of a person to intuit something and feel whether the information is in alignment with the words. A person can sense whether they feel good around a person, or uneasy. A person can have an impression beyond the rational, about whether the words of another person seem to convey the same as their gestures, or whether something is not quite in synch. One can sense whether something they read or see feels accurate and sound, or whether there is something amiss. Many animals can sense with a heightened capacity – with sense organs much more highly tuned to frequencies beyond those of human beings – to see, hear, detect movements and subtle alternations in the environment.

I mention the heart literally and figuratively as a metaphor. The heart is the central organ in the body – lets just talk about human beings – that is consistently circulating oxygen, nutrients and carrying away wastes throughout the body. The heart pumping station, is also by its nature generating an electromagnetic field which is larger than that produced by the brain. The heart also has a complex system of neurons, cells that are consistently transmitting information to the rest of the body. When the heart is in synch in the individual with feelings of joy and love, this invisible field expands. When an individual is more channeled into negative emotions of fear and anger, this field constricts.

Every Small Gesture Has Significance

The perception of the heart has everything to do with the health of all of the other organs of our body, of individual health in general, of the health of societies, permeating into healthy relationships with other organisms and with the health of the earth, which is an organism just as we are.

The heart is also metaphorically an organ of connection with others. Besides wonder, exuberance, joy and gratitude that a person can feel within him or herself, the words love, compassion and empathy typically imply a connection with another.

no external universe, every action we do, we do  to ourselves

And as we begin to take tiny actions that follow the logic of the heart – which knows that each act is significant – the logic of the mind of the older world begins to be replaced. This power of repetition which can physically build muscles, is what occurs mentally, neurologically. Each time you think differently, you are rewiring your brain. This concept called Neuroplasticity has to do with the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. This rewiring allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment.

My introduction into the wisdom of the heart probably began through readings of Deepak Chopra. A physician and author, meditation guide and founder of the Chopra Center; who introduced this awareness that has been understood for Millenia in various Eastern spiritual traditions, of the effectiveness of meditation and this connection to the vast unknown dimension of energy. Chopra has teamed more recently with Oprah Winfrey to bring this domain of the spirit, of tapping into the hidden world of energy through stillness and meditation.

I then was introduced to the practice of ‘Heart Rhythm meditation’ which purports a harmonious and healing relationship within oneself and the universe beyond, through simply aligning the rhythm of one’s breathing to the rhythm of one’s heart beat. It is a practice introduced to the West by a Sufi Hazrat inayat Khan who descended from Pashtuns, an ethnic group originally from Afghanistan and Pakistan. This meditation practice was brought to me by a certified AMA physician who understands the multidimensional healing that this practice provides – from reducing stress, to lowering blood pressure, creating a more harmonious heart rate and allowing oneself to access in this stillness, the domain of energy that stretches way beyond the physical heart and body.

It was in this meditative state that I posed questions regarding what I can do of service, which sent me through a leap of faith to Paris during the COP21 Climate talks to the Place to B, an integration of lectures, workshops, panel discussions and barrage of information sharing, attended by 600 people from 40 countries. This sharing of information about climate change and sustainable alternatives took place simultaneously with the COP21 Climate Talks. The Place to B: Place to Brief was conceived of and founded by the journalist and author Anne-Sophie Novel and the director of production Nicolas Bienvenue. They were surrounded by a team of people who coordinated the continuous flurry of learning events and entertainment, with a tremendous group of visiting presenters, entrepreneurs and activists who each delivered their scintillating information and testimonies of successes and inspirational savvy from all corners of the world. 600 people representing 40 countries arrived in Paris to participate in what the Place to B/Place to Brief offered; alternative media, a collective with presentations, speakers and workshops, panel discussions and music and yoga and meditation workshops all happening at one central location throughout the two week duration of the Climate Talks.

One of the workshops I attended was the Transformational Media Summit : Storytelling and Media for a Better World. The New Story summit was hosted by Jeremy Wickremer, co-founder of Transformational Media Initiative In his presentation, Jeremy Wickremer spoke of the fact that each of us are potentially change-agents, with the capacity to do actions that can have a big impact on the environment – our own lives, our communities and the larger environment. And that what is more potent than merely drawing up solutions from a logical methodology, is to start with the right questions, which prompts creativity in itself. Specifically, he mentioned that your intention – within the guise of a question – will often be answered. He more recently wrote in an article “Our Invisible World” about the fact that many things which steer human behavior, emotions, health, psychological and spiritual well-being have to do with the energy that lies beneath the actions. And that the common illnesses which affect modern man and the crisis of violence that threat human cultures, have to do with a disconnect. This disconnect is within our own selves, our patterns and habits of how we live our lives. There is a disconnect within ourselves, among one another and that humans have with other creatures and nature; which is presently resulting in the greatest magnitude of habitat destruction, dissemination of species and global ecological balances and health.

The biggest disharmony of all is perhaps our relationship with the natural world.

Daniel Goleman is the psychologist, science journalist and author of “Emotional Intelligence”. He posits that non-cognitive skills can matter as much as a person’s I.Q. (Intelligence Quotient) for workplace success in “Working with Emotional Intelligence”. In 2007, Goleman wrote about “Social Intelligence” and in 2009, “Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything

So called ‘primitive people’, without having had the use of technological tools that more ‘advanced’ civilizations have had at their disposal and for their distraction, have had thousands of years of penetration into the invisible world that the modern Western world has only been starting to grasp is in the last 50 years. And with the spiritual and emotional well-being deficit that modern man has come to feel, this dis-ease of the human spirit, disconnect with oneself, growing obesity, growing psychological disorders and reliance on quick-fixes such as pharmaceuticals, and growing disharmony and feelings of isolation, have reached towards and cherished many ancient traditions that have evolved in the Eastern World to ease their dis-ease and treat their disharmony with something more than a quick fix of treating the symptoms instead of the disorder. They have reached towards practices of meditation, yoga, t’ai chi and walking into nature and silence, with a visceral understanding that these practices have short and long term benefits.

Listening to Intuition is the Wisdom of the Heart.

There is so much we can do, and we do have the ability to consciously act towards sustainability.

Many little voices make a tremendous noise, and many little gestures, create big changes.

United States of Anxiety | the Commercial Messiah

Yet another mass shooting in the United States of Anxiety. Why did he do it? Where does the anger come from? or feelings of powerlessness?…Well, after watching the newscast which switched to a commercial break (which I usually mute and ignore), I looked at the commercials as a stranger in a strange land. Advertisements about happy, carefree, beautiful people who are laughing and having fun together … about to purchase more things to embellish their perfectly happy lives. Thou Shalt Buy I thought to myself; these messages are enough to drive a person who is already borderline weak and emotionally unstable, to feel even less worthy and more resistant & envious; magnifying what they lack, and increasing their loneliness and neediness…

I’m looking at this (shooting trend) not from a behavioral standpoint of an individual who’s been diminished and criticized with words by their parents -emotional abuse, physical abuse, or neglected completely – or as someone who perhaps all his/her life was deprived of comforts and security. I’m not looking at it from a psychological or chemical imbalance standpoint or the lack of nurturing families.

I’m just looking at it from the container of the cultural message packaged and sent out – of which TV is the most powerful medium – the lure of the commercials within the belly of this heavily lopsided consumerism bent world. The message; to buy more, purchase this or that and you’ll be happy. The message is laden with competition, to strive to be as cool as your peers.
Buy More
Television and film/video is such a powerful medium: images fused with music to hit the emotional chords. The messages could be: the world is a wonderful place and we are in this together… kind and loving people here to help you and guide you… this world is awesome with all of its creatures and look at how happy and joyful you can be through the simplest activities. Well, yes, these messages are out there, and yes, one can turn off the television and electronic devices. Yet instead, the predominant messages coming from the TV is, if you don’t have this, or own that, you are ‘left out’ and socially bankrupt. If you don’t get in with the action and buy this or have this, you won’t get the attention you want and you won’t be able to pretend to fabricate this gleaming and glittering reality. If you are unattractive or weak or not in the ‘in crowd’, these commercial messages will be even more venomously received with anger and hatred.

That was my response looking at the commercials after listening to Obama’s words to the nation after yet another massacre. For the most part, the perpetrators of mass school killings are not doing it out of racism or inequality – they are typically caucasian males who randomly shoot without much care of the target. The killings seem to be rage from people who feel outcast within their own groups/schools/communities who see reality and their prospects as bleak.

Add the easy accessibility of guns to the equation and it gives the people with the anger, emotional rage, chemical imbalance or a history of being victims of torment and abuse the ability to easily carry out their impulsive or well-thought-out plans of (suicide / homicide ) with ease.

Buy what thou hast no need of

Buy what thou hast no need of

So I’m saying that this stems from the dis ease of the messages of rampant consumerism infiltrating our culture. It’s the slickness of the mirage that advertisers create for the companies who wish to sell their merchandise, at any cost. Okay, i’ve said enough, or not enough. Buy NowWestern culture is so bent on profit and short-term, short-sighted goals – at the risk of genuine human happiness and the welfare of all the different creatures that share our planet – that both the haves and the have-nots, have anxiety; the former, because of the threat of it being taken away, the latter, because of the material things dangling before them, which they can’t have.

 

Just a theory about a culture that keeps getting further and further away from the real, simple joys in life, enjoyment through sharing company with oneself, with others and with the natural world around them.

better place DaykEgner Mamasweed Kurci and Kay Degner

better place DaykEgner Mamasweed Kurci and Kay Degner

Go out into Nature and get Lost, without anything

Go out into Nature and get Lost, without anything

Certainly this epidemic can not be reduced to blaming it on capitalistic commercialism. What’s the remedy? Go out into nature, without any electronic gadgets or stuff, and get lost.

Carol Keiter horse NYC Climate March '14

Carol Keiter horse NYC Climate March ’14

Body and the Brain | Expeditionary Learning | Montessori ‘Hands-on’ Learning

Back when I was on my way hitchhiking to San Francisco in 2012, I encountered some teachers who had just attended a conference on the subject of Expeditionary Learning. I wrote about it. https://carolkeiter.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/hitchabout-san-francisco_expeditionary_learning/

Several days ago the subject of Montessori schools and hands-on learning popped up. I had to investigate if these are in fact, two ways of saying the same thing. I have a feeling that they are. Well, ‘jein’ as a German would say, ja und nein (yes and no) together! They are and they aren’t the same. They are two distinct schools of learning, yet, quite parallel and sort of extensions or facets of one another – in that they are each rigorously proponents of hands-on, getting intimately involved in the entire scope of learning about a subject, interdisciplinary and relying on your own curiosity to motivate you to further investigation. Both involve exploring cooperatively as a group and diving into the whole scope, rather than slicing off disparate parts.

Expeditionary Learning?

what is Expeditionary Learning?

The area of study is called embodied learning.

As young children move and explore their worlds, they are learning through touch. Early bimanual training correlates with the robustness of the corpus callosum, a part of the brain that facilitates quick communication between the left and right brain hemispheres.

 

 

Just as body movement and involvement can have a huge impact on learning, so too can the spaces where we learn.

 

Corpus Callosum neural fibers connecting two cerebral hemispheres, brain

Corpus Callosum neural fibers connecting two cerebral hemispheres of the brain

Mind Shift, Kids, Move, Touch, Experience.Learning

Mind Shift – Why Kids Need to Move, Touch and Experience to Learn

 

 

This article featured on KQED news written by Katrina Schwartz March 26th, 2015 “Why Kids Need to Move, Touch and Experience to Learn” describes how Maria Montessori, founder of Montessori Schools, highlighted the connection between minds and bodies in her 1936 book The Secret of Childhood “Movement, or physical activity, is thus an essential factor in intellectual growth, which depends upon the impressions received from outside.

 

 

Through movement we come in contact with external reality, and it is through these contacts that we eventually acquire even abstract ideas.”

Maria Montessori was best known for her philosophy of education that bears her name. It is an educational approach based on the model of human development.

I see that yes, Expeditionary Learning is an extension of what the Montessori school education is for children at a younger age. The Montessori Method are classes which consist of children of different ages together in what resembles more of a real world environment. The younger children (age 3 to 5) focus their ‘work’ on materials that develop cognition through seeing, tasting, smelling and touch through direct experience. Elementary-age children in the upper grades shift away from the concrete (sensory) to focus more on abstract tasks. The materials and curriculum are inter-disciplinary, and children begin to apply their knowledge to the real world. For example, students may study a map of Europe, and not only learn about it in terms of geography, but also incorporate learning about art and history of the continent; a process which allows the topic to be studied from the whole, not merely discrete separate parts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expeditionary_learning_schools (ELS) are models of comprehensive school reform based on the educational ideas of German educator Kurt Hahn, the founder of Outward Bound. There are more than 150 expeditionary learning schools in 30 states and the District of Columbia. They are exemplified by project-based learning expeditions, where students engage in interdisciplinary, in-depth study of compelling topics, in groups and in their community in which the students become involved with real topics, in real communities, involving the various different subjects that otherwise would be isolated and sliced out of the entire picture. The emphasis is on people working together and involvement in the whole picture.

History class, ELS, students, curiosity

History class ELS NY students create projects suggested by their own curiosity

Open World Learning http://open.spps.org/expeditionary_learning informs us that Expeditionary Learning is built on ten design principles that reflect the educational values and beliefs of Outward Bound. These principles also reflect the design’s connection to other related thinking about teaching, learning, and the culture of schools.

1. Primacy of self-discovery – Learning happens best with emotion, challenges and support…students undertake tasks that require perseverance, fitness, craftsmanship, imagination, self-discipline, and significant achievement. A teacher’s primary task is to help students overcome their fears and discover they can do more than they think they can.

2. Having wonderful ideas – Fostering curiosity about the world and giving students something important to think about, experiment and make sense of what they are observing.

3. Responsibility for Learning – Learning is both a personal process of discovery and social activity. It encourages both children and adults to become increasingly responsible for directing their own personal and collective learning.

4. Empathy and Caring – Students’ and teachers’ ideas are respected and where there’s mutual trust. Out of the hierarchy, into having an adult being an advocate and older students mentoring younger ones.

5. Success and Failure – Students need to be successful to build confidence and the capacity to take risks and meet increasingly difficult challenges. Yet students must learn from their failures and learn how to turn obstacles into opportunities.

6. Collaboration and Competition – Students are encouraged to compete against their personal best, not against each other. Individual and group development are encouraged and integrated towards valuing friendship, trust and group action.

7. Diversity and Inclusion – Students investigate and value their different histories and talents as well as those of other communities and cultures. They recognize that diversity and inclusion increase the richness of ideas, creative thinking and problem solving.

8. Natural World – A direct and respectful relationship with the natural world refreshes the human spirit and teaches the important ideas of recurring cycles and cause and effect. Students learn to become stewards of the earth and of future generations.

9. Solitude and Reflection – Students and teachers need time alone to explore their own thoughts, make their own connections and foster their own ideas and thinking, They can then exchange these reflections with others.

10. Service and Compassion – We are crew, not passengers. Students and teachers are strengthened by acts of consequential service to others, and one of an Expeditionary Learning school’s primary functions is to prepare students with the attitudes and skills to learn from and be of service.

Love & Life | Documentary about Dian Fossey | Life Quotes to Act on

Tonight I did something unusual. After a full day of activities and finishing dinner at about 10pm, I turned on the television. Typically I’d prefer to play piano or bass guitar, go out to an open mic or chess night, or write…However after enjoying nature earlier in the day while doing some stuff that needed to be accomplished around the home, making sure that the animals and birds that make our yard (like a mini forest) their home were given ample water and seed, afterwards, I bicycled to the library to work all day on my book. On the way home, I visited a farm owned by Milton Hershey properties where I’ve met several of the care-takers over time, because I’m caught on their surveillance video cameras every time I stop there to visit the horses, a donkey donkey, and three cats which I’ve named: Goldie, Gordo and Groucho in this photo; from fore to background. Returning to this barn in 2014, I’ve sadly learned that Groucho has since died, hit by a car on the busy highway next to the property.golde_gordo_groucho_2

Yeah, so besides music and sports and writing and investigating things, I really do love animals.

It soon became clear why I ‘intuitively’ turned the TV on. I tuned in to a documentary “Gorillas in the Mist” about the American zoologist Dian Fossey played by Sigourney Weaver. Fossey studied gorillas in their habitat in the forests of Rwanda. She was initially encouraged by the anthropologist Louis Leaky and became one of the foremost primatologists in the world while she was alive.

Because I love animals so much and by the way studied ‘cultural anthropology’, I was mystified and mistified by the movie. Yeah, I made up the second word, because my eyes were tearing up during a lot of it. I could fully identify with Fossey’s love of the gorillas, instinct to protect them and fury over them being brutally killed just to serve as trophies for wealthy people. dian_fossey_gorillas

There is currently an illegal trade of endangered species which makes me ill. As you can read in this short segment about poaching in Africa “War Against Wildlife: Tusks and horns are no match for automatic weapons” in Sierra Club’s ‘Sierra Magazine’ July/August 2013, “Poachers are rapidly killing off Africa’s most iconic megafauna to make keychains and impotence cures.” They also mention that “wildlife poaching is highly militarized. Last year hundreds of Sudanese militiamen swept 600 miles south on horseback to slaughter 300 elephants in Cameroon. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, scores of elephants are being gunned down with automatic weapons fired from helicopters-some of them linked to the region’s national armies.” Here’s a photo of anti-poaching rangers and Congolese soldiers patrolling Garamba National Park-too late for this elephant killed for its tusks. Sierra_Magazine_shot_Congolese_anti-poaching_rangers The writer Paul Rauber also mentions that “the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species seems inadequate to deal with the crisis. Its decision in 2008 to allow African nations to legally sell more than 100 tons of stockpiled ivory to “accredited traders” in Japan and China revived what had been a moribund carving industry.”

Often Hollywood makes me ill as well, for different reasons. Each time a commercial came on to advertise some stupid made-for-TV show, I was irked as I hastily muted it and focused my attention on my computer screen. Yes, I was multi tasking – reading emails at the end of my work day. And no, I don’t have a ‘job’ with income, yet I am taking my work of writing and marketing my first eBook, very seriously. ‘-))

Yeah, so despite the fact that Hollywood does deliver some good material for sure, like this movie, I still snarl at a lot of the gimmicky stuff.

I wan’t so shocked at the end of the movie when Fossey was murdered, after seeing how personally involved she became in protecting these animals when in fact, she was encroaching on the livelihood and ‘habits’ that spread over several generations of the indigenous people who share their same habitat. I quickly looked Fossey up and sure enough, wikipedia states that the murder case was never solved.
Dian_Fossey_Art_of_Conservation
Point is, that I feel happy to have learned about her life, studies, about these creatures and just had an all around great day because I fully felt gratitude, enjoyment of communing with nature and animals, satisfied and thrilled with the writing I’m doing and just full of joy with appreciation of the simple things, riding a bicycle to commute, love nature and the animals I encounter and enjoy humans whom I meet as well. ‘-)

It was with this sense of feeling satisfied, that I happened to ‘bother’ to open one of the emails delivered to my inbox, which more often, I skip.

To explain, over the last years, in the process of trying to understand why I was drawn to stay in a relationship with a guy who was basically abusive towards me and critical more than supportive, I would investigate what it is about ‘me’ that caused me to devalue myself to this extent. In the process of trying to wrap my head around this and seek information, I’ve wound up ‘signing up’ to receive emails (in one of my email accounts) spanning topics on emotional health, codependency, narcissism, empowerment and well-being. In other words, in trying to fix ‘the problem’, I began to realize that it starts with fixing ‘oneself’. Over time I learned that I have to be accountable for my own actions and that I am ultimately responsible for my own happiness.

So even though in time I soon figured out that some of these (email saviors) are actually trying to entice the reader into ‘buying in’ to their system, there are genuinely some that deliver good messages.

I decided to share this one, because several of the life quotes’ I read were actually ones that I have heard and embraced before.

So here it goes, sponsored by ‘Its All About Women’ “Ways to LIve Life to the Fullest”

Sometimes, we just need to be reminded.

What are you going to do today to live life to the fullest?

Don’t wait ’till tomorrow to chase your dreams and goals. Because life is too short to just be a spectator…

Dare to be adventurous and step out of your comfort zone.

Notice the miracle of life in every moment, even the seemingly ordinary.

Chase your goals and dreams with discipline and determination, but never lose the childlike wonder that is thrilled by the ups and downs of the roller coaster ride.

Every day holds endless opportunities for you to participate in life, instead of just watching it go by.

some ‘quotes about life

• “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.” T.S. Elliot

• “Life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing.” Helen Keller

Helen Keller quote Security does not exist in nature - life a daring adventure

Helen Keller quote Security does not exist in nature – life a daring adventure

Helen Keller quote character not developed in ease and quiet

Helen Keller quote character not developed in ease and quiet

• “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” Charles Darwin

• “There are only two ways to live a life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein

• “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” George Bernard Shaw

• “Enjoy life. This is not a dress rehearsal.” Anonymous

• “The chief danger in life is that you may take too many precautions.” Alfred Adler

• “It is better to wear out than to rust out (fade away).” Richard Cumberland

• “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” Goethe

• “Life, like a mirror, never gives back more than we put into it.” Anonymous

• “And in the end it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln

• “Life is a choice. Choose well.”

• “It’s the things that you ‘don’t do’ that you will regret.” Susan Sarandon

thanks for reading!

oh whatever, that's me the blogger c'est moi!

oh whatever, that’s me the blogger c’est moi!

By the way, I have so many things that I want to continue to blog about in addition to completing my eBook and beginning once again to compose more music, and yet, because I have no ‘funding’ or ‘sponsors’, I am barely able to keep afloat. Presently living in Berlin, Germany again, I have not even been able to pay all of my rent this last time. So I think I’m about to go off on that daring adventure “called life” into the unknown, since I will soon not really have a roof over my head. Therefore, hint hint, any donations will be accepted /-)) or if you know of billionaire, ask him/her to give me a little .001 %. Donate Button

a Splash of ColoR to lighten up my blog & tribute to Steve Jobs !-))

You can read some interactive highlights about the life of Steve Jobs in the Guardian and The New York Times.

In the New York Times interactive feature, there’s a speech that Jobs gave to the graduating class of Stanford University, in CA, which has some very fun and inspiring points. He gave this commencement address on June 12th, 2005 (in the time line, where you can watch the video). He talks about doing what you love, and not settling for less. Following your heart, and never letting yourself become complacent; but always staying on the edge/remaining hungry for new things and keeping a foolish streak! He also talked about a (Carlos Castenada style) of awareness of death, so that if you are to ask yourself each day when you wake up and look in the mirror “is what I’m going to be doing today something that makes me happy and is satisfying, and is this what I would like to do (potentially) on the last day of my life”…that if you find yourself not satisfied with your answer, then make the necessary changes!!

He has offered through his life, a love and devotion to technology and creative design, which has resulted in affecting millions of peoples’ lives for the better!! I and many people were shocked to hear this news this morning!

Featured is some kid’s art I discovered on a bridge in Berlin and some paintings I did in a gallery on the street of my previous residence.

I happened to go onto the sidewalk of this bridge I’ve bicycled over many times, and for the first time, checked out all these painted cylinders. A project instigated by a grade school; Neumar Grund Schule. It’s fun & playful artwork. Most are done by kids, whereas a few appear to be too intricate to be just child’s play !-)

At the end are some paintings I did in “Galerie Ardes”, Willmanndamm Strasse 16, 10827 Berlin. They hosted an ‘open canvas’ weekend long party. They offered blocks of paper on two easel’s and acrylic paints/pastels, for anyone to join in the interactive experience of painting. At the end of the process they held an auction. It was very fun!

By the way, on this same street on Friday evening, a painting school was holding their 2nd year Anniversary. At one point as the evening was winding down, a hedge hog appeared, waddling it’s way under the parked cars. It was adorable, and seemed to be oblivious to myself and another girl, giggling as we followed it and watched it disappearing and reappearing under the cars. I’ve seen red and blond foxes in the middle of Berlin a number of times, finding myself astonished to see them literally in the middle of the city. Berlin has an enormous amount of green; trees in many of the streets and loads of parks. It’s one of the most green cities, if not THE most green city in Europe. Apparently there are a lot of wild boars surrounding the city too! pretty cool!

I just moved to a new hood, and have much more to show and tell, coming up!

Oh yeah, the Bareback Karaoke in Mauer park was another fun filled entertaining event this last Sunday, in which the park was as usual, packed with people. The karaoke as well as the Sunday flea market draw in the crowds.

the crowd at Bareback Karaoke in Mauer Park, Sunday afternoon in Berlin


Mauer Park is one packed park with people, especially on Sunny Sundays!

If you want to see some great art, check this out. I’ve attended a few Italian art gallery openings, among which http://www.emilianobaiocchi.com/index.html Emiliano was featured. He told me recently that he made a commitment to himself to post a new picture daily on his Facebook page, which is a great way to discipline oneself to keep kranking out new work!! Here’s his website which shows his lovely works.

Tuesday night I went to see my friends in their band, “Jah of York” perform among some other musicians, hosted at http://www.tausendberlin.com/.

Jaheed and his band also perform regularly at the Friday Neo-nights jam sessions, (which he hosts). The stage opens up to anyone who wishes to play music, throughout the evening. I play bass guitar there pretty regularly. http://www.facebook.com/n3onite

Wednesday evening I headed over to the http://www.king-kong-klub.de/ to check out a few English speaking poets I’m acquainted with, doing their thing at the Beatstreet poetry night.

And Thursday I’m going to hang out with some French folks drinking some French wine in the Mitte district, should be delightful !-))

By the way, the one cylindrical ball that was merely tagged with this “Monsanto Stinkt zum Himmel / stinks to the sky”.

I’ve written about and referred to this greedy multinational corporation with its dubious practices, as well as Halliburton previously. I was therefore happy to see this ‘politically accurate’ forecast!

http://digesthis.wordpress.com/2011/05/02/repercussions-of-monsanto/
http://digesthis.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/the-future-of-food-ouch-halliburtons-globalization-chess-game/

Viewing endangered species in the USA

A directory of endangered species by region in the United States.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/05/13/travel/endangered-species.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=thab1