Archive for September, 2011
HUMANS KIND TO BEAVERS IN PRINCETON, FOR A CHANGE…
SAFE AND SOUND! - Rescued Beaver, by Leigh Fadden
Sometimes NJ WILD readers send me stories, which far surpass anything I have experienced. I am always grateful for this partnership.
This is a friend of Brenda Jones’, whose splendid nature photos, especially birds, grace NJ WILD more often than not! Thank you so very much, Leigh, for your compassion and this heartening story and image.
This is Leigh’s wish as a result of her generosity — Please think of all of nature’s creatures, while you are out enjoying the wild, not only in New Jersey:
“I hope that letting other people know about her will remind them to be more careful with their garbage, particularly fishing line, when they are enjoying the Aqueduct and canal.”
Brenda Jones mentioned to me that you might be interested in the story of the little beaver at the Millstone Aqueduct after Hurricane Irene.
I first spotted her Monday night after the storm, in the Millstone River by the Aqueduct. She was too young to be separated from her family, but was still paddling around happily, eating any greenery she could grab in the water.
I went back Tuesday evening, to see if I could spot her again. I found her sitting right on the path before the upper bridge, seemingly dazed and chewing on an old branch. At first, I didn’t know what was wrong, and contacted Brenda for advice.
I then learned from a fisherman that they had watched her struggling in the water for an hour before they were able to get close enough to pull her out. When he did get to her, he found eight turns of discarded fishing line wrapped tightly around her neck. He told me he had to cut it off with a knife. She seemed exhausted, but the fisherman assured me she had revived significantly since her rescue.
Another Aqueduct regular, a plant specialist at Rutgers, stopped by. He found a willow tree by the water, and pulled down a number of young branches to offer to her. She began eating them with relish, so we pulled down hand-fulls of them for her.
We finally left her at dark, when we could no longer see her. We could still hear her munching away on her branches.
I checked for her the next day, and found most her branches eaten and her gone. I hope she found her way back to the canal, and maybe to her family. The little beaver who survived both Hurricane Irene and fishing line in a single week really captured the hearts of the Aqueduct regulars!
I’ve included the photo of her enjoying a willow branch.
I’m so grateful for your interest in her. Thank you so much! Hopefully, letting other people know about her will remind them to be more careful with their garbage, particularly fishing line, when they are enjoying the Aqueduct and canal.
I have also thanked Leigh by e-mail.
The irony is, this very week, an Animal Control Officer came to my place of work. It was all I could do not to blurt, “How could you?!”
It may not have been the man who self-appointed himself judge, jury and executioner for the beavers of Pettoranello Gardens. It could be an Officer who guards the well-being of the animals in his care. Let us hope so.
Meanwhile, thanks to Leigh and Brenda, here we have a story of mercy, compassion and kindness between humans and the wild ones.
May there be more…
Tranquility Base, Kayaking through Mapleton Aqueduct, D&R Canal and Towpath cfe
Leave it to Lawrence Durrell to astound me with a new word that feels very, very old - as in archaic. QUIDDITY swept over me like stormwinds.
I was spending Hurricanes Irene and Lee reading Durrell, “Sicilian Carousel” and rereading “Bitter Lemons.” The latter turned out to be a little too apt, its second half no longer travel, but life under terrorism, nothing ever again the same. Both were hurricanic in their brilliance, as always with this author.
Durrell describes a small chapel as having a “peaceful feeling of inevitability.” Ideal antidote for those all too inevitable, but not at all peaceful, hurricanes.
Durrell goes on to call the chapel, “the crux and quiddity of the place.”
Crux I know - heart of the matter and all that. Quiddity I had to look up in my ponderous Webster’s, which not even a hurricane might dislodge. It means ‘the essence’ of a place, with a soupcon of strangeness. To while away the dark hours by lanternlight, I began a “Crux and Quiddity” list. The answers surprised me.
Try playing the Crux and Quiddity Game, for yourself. The crux of this process, though, is to do it very swiftly, even abruptly. No rethinking. No editing. Whatever you get. What surprises you?
Here are some of the answers from those tumultuous days:
Paris — Ste. Chappelle
Provence — the Esterel Massif (red porphyry everywhere) drive through pine and oak to St. Tropez and back along the turquoise sea
Princeton — The Princeton Public Library - even before being garlanded with its capacious lively piazza
Cornwall — Tintagel
Wales — Ruthin Castle
London — ???????
Switzerland (my late husband’s country) — Zermatt - skiing
Austria — Salzburg, anything Mozartian
Maine — Quoddy Head Light - the surroundings, not the structure
Cape Cod — Harding’s Beach Light and the walk to and from it at low tide
New Jersey — THE CANAL!
Chicago — Art Institute
Caribbean — Caneel Bay
Arizona — Sedona
Colorado — Aspen, skiing
Nice — Marche aux fleurs - flower market in Old Nice
Cannes — Le Suquet - the old town, the hill town, and its irresistible marche
The World — Mt. St. Michel
Why Choose Jersey Fresh: West Windsor Farm Market cfe
Cumberland County Fall Farm Bounty, CFE
NJ Wild Readers are well aware of my passion for farms, farmers, farmlands and farm markets.
The legendary Michele Byers, Executive Director of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, gives me willing, even eager permission to quote her recent column on these topics. Because, after all, she exults, “It’s all about education, spreading the word.”
Count yourselves fortunate to have read and experienced the glory of NJ farms in these posts. And support Michele anywhere, everywhere, everyhow - in her campaigns to keep our NJ Green and Garden-y.
Farm Market Central - West Windsor Farm Market, NJ cfe
by Michele S. Byers, Executive Director, New Jersey Conservation Foundation
Cumberland County Autumn, cfe
Cumberland County Harvest cfe
Gov. Chris Christie recently approved a new package of bills that reinforce
A Ripeness of Melons, West Windsor Farm Market cfe
One of the new laws requires “Jersey Fresh” and “Made with Jersey Fresh”
Cumberland County Decorative Corn cfe
New Jersey grows more than 100 different varieties of fruits, vegetables and
An Apple A Day, Trenton Farmers Market cfe
Only those growers who abide by the state’s quality grading program are
Cumberland County Bargains cfe
So if you can’t make it to your local farm market in the upcoming fall
Cumberland County, Jersey Freshest cfe
Just as New Jersey is a top national producer of fruits and vegetables, New
Symphony of Yellows, West Windsor Farm Market cfe
The farmland preservation funds approved by Governor Christie will help
Home From the Trenton Farmers Market cfe
For more information on the nation’s most popular farmers markets, go to
Peach Abundance, Trenton Farmers Market cfe
To learn more about Jersey Fresh products, including
Awaiting Vincent West Windsor Farm Market cfe
And if you’d like more information about conserving New Jersey’s precious
During World War II, my playmates and I would chant raw insults set in childish rhymes at Hitler, at Mussolini, full throttle from jungle gym and merry-go-round. We feared and hated those two, with all our tiny bodies – raising feeble voices like fists into the bland Michigan air.
But our deepest horror, fury, and yes, vengeance, centered upon ‘the Japs.’ We had never been allowed to use nicknames for people of other lands, in Southfield, Michigan. But when it came to the winged villains who had bombed our ships and killed our men in Pearl Harbor, it was no holds barred.
Those scenes flashed to life as I waked to today, eve of the dire anniversary of World Trade Center destructions.
Far more than lives were lost and families aggrieved on that brilliant September morning.
With 9/11 as justification, our nation - even to its tiniest towns - has become severely militarized; even travel an exercise in suspicions and intrusions. The basic alteration in the role of police is signified by their (new) brutal swagger and bullying stance. I contrast those menacing strides of our soldiers, finally (!) shouldering their way down drowned New Orleans streets, with the sturdy lively stance of hardy American farmlads. You’ve seen the newsreels. ‘Our boys’, (’doughboys’ in World War i) often laughingly liberating shattered European towns, handing out chocolate and ‘le chewing‘, with the arm not ‘toting a gun’. Those soldiers were there to get the job done and get back to the farm, not to throw America’s weight around.
I bet nobody refers to today’s soldiers as ‘boys’, let alone ‘ours’.
Our hypermilitarization in the guise of security is one of many grisly symptoms of our losses of our basic rights as American citizens. How the world views us has been irreparably altered. In our own land ‘of the free’, questioning has been termed ‘unpatriotic’. Our Stars and Stripes has been turned into a swastika, for some reason whirring over highway bridges now, as if to whip everyone into war mode. People of other lands are negated because they resemble 9/11 terrorists. The Constitution is increasingly violated — all justified by vengeance. Journalism is dying in many ways, so less and less attention is being called to these losses, which go beyond death.
Even as a five-year-old, I wanted vengeance wreaked upon the Japs. As the book and musical, South Pacific, teaches us, “You’ve got to be taught to hate.” WE ARE BEING WELL AND TRULY TAUGHT.
My hatred of Japanese was stunningly impacted, however, by my first experience of Pearl Harbor (1990’s) A childhood friend then taught at Chaminade University. She’d asked me to visit to read my Hawaii poems to her class. I did not realize that her university was on ‘Pearl’, that my first steps there would lead toward that podium.
Nor did I know, [though some of my works were anti-war, especially anti-the-target-bombing of the sacred island of Kahoolawe], that all those bright, eager, yes innocent, boys and girls, were soldiers.
After the Kahoolawe poem, one of the heftiest, yet gentlest [O, have they taught him to swagger? ] had been moved by my expressed longing to wrap with gauze the red flesh of that wounded mountain. He raised his hand to tell me, “We don’t bomb her any more. Every weekend now, I lead a group to remove materiel from Kahoolawe. When we’ve removed the last remnants of the bombing runs, we will hold a ceremony of reconsecration.”
That day, my heart (that had so protested our role in Vietnam) healed with regard to our military -
Pearl Harbor Miracle #1.
The following morning, my childhood friend and I were among the first to enter Pearl Harbor’s memorial to the fallen. We filed individually into a darkened theatre. The black & white film of Pearl’s 1941 bombing would not work. I wondered at the divine plan.
We stumbled out of darkness into blinding Hawaiian sunlight. As our eyes adjusted, we realized that, among our fellow pilgrims, nearly half were Japanese. Food for thought for the little girl who’d joined in Japan-bashing on the Lathrup, Michigan playground, who’d cringed at every film image of slant-eyed bombers zeroing in on America and/or Americans, on land and water.
Each Japanese on the walkway to the Arizona wore a lei.
Bernadette and I followed four of them, in silence. They walked away from the tour guide, to the outermost railing of the submerged ship. Currents were gentle, as though caressing those whose bones remained below. Without a word, in synchrony, the four Japanese removed their leis, letting them fall softly upon the water. The four stood bent over the waters a long time. Bernadette and I moved on, finding other such clusters everywhere we went.
The former conquerors had come all that way to perform rituals of memorial and forgiveness.
The way the soldiers were healing Kahoolawe.
My heart opened to that country and its people, and has remained that way.
Pearl Harbor Miracle #2
HOWEVER, our country, in the wake of the seemingly limitless tragedy of the destruction of the World Trade Center, has chosen the path of vengeance.
All the good will expressed by friends and YES, former ENEMIES, –walking to our Embassies everywhere, including Japan, Germany, Italy and Russia, bearing flowers — all of that new fellowship which held hope for the world, seems to have been deliberately shattered. In the first days after 9/11, the world woke up to the good we had done for others in World Wars I and II. We used to be the shining heroes. No longer.
We have become the word’s bullies. Our imposed post-9/11 paradigm is toughness and swagger, bombs down the chimneys, lands in general and civilians in particular, mercilessly strafed. How are we different from those who strafed the Towers?
Our lustre is beyond tarnished.
Can Americans ever carry the equivalent of leis to the countries we are mutilating in our blind and angry revenge?
What if if the message of 9/11 was meant to be, from this moment on, fellowship, forgiveness, enlightened healing of conditions that had led to such bitterness?
If we could ask the victims, –whose souls generated such a wind! at the first-year anniversary, around the wound of Ground Zero–, wouldn’t they instead, counsel love?
See new information re “Living Our Future” from Jim Waltman of Stony Brook Millstone Watershed below…
Floodwaters, Brenda Jones
If the Weather Channel promulgates that calumny one more time, I may do what a most respected male friend admitted today - yell at the television.
HURRICANE IRENE AND OTHERS ARE NOT TO BE BLAMED UPON SO-CALLED MOTHER NATURE. RATHER, UPON EMISSIONS, CO2, BURNING FOSSIL FUELS, AND OTHER EUPHEMISMS FOR HUMAN GREED.
On CNN, of all places, just before Irene’s debut in our neighborhood, I heard a geologist (don’t ask me why they chose that field to discuss the ways of water and wind) answer, simply, almost abruptly, “Well, of course, hurricanes are intensified because of the increasing temperature of the waters due to climate change.”
This is not NEWS to NJ WILD readers. You’ve ‘heard’ me over and over again linking melting glaciers to increased seawater quantities and depths; decreased sea temperatures and therefore altered currents; increased water vapor; increased intensities of weather, and the worst of this at the poles. All of this fuels wild weather.
OK, it’s a royal pain cleaning up after Irene. All I can say is, get used to it. And start investing in sustainability and green technology, (which could also help heal the economy), while you’re at it.
I kept a semi-journal, first by lamplight, then by lanternlight. I did not go out in the storm with my trusty camera. When I can bring myself to relive those lengthening hours, I may share them with NJ WILD.
Memories are, frankly, turgid.
Waters the color of cafe au lait surged across our Canal Road, scouring the woods as they roared halfway up our steep driveway. Power was out for nearly 24 hours; no television for days; no internet until nearly the week anniversary of Irene.
Some memories are deeply tragic. I mourn the loss of that devoted EMT young man, on Rosedale Road’s bridge right below D&R Greenway Land Trust, where I work. My heart and prayers are with his family every time I drive that road, and whenever I see his smiling face in any of our newspapers or on-line services.
These recurrent, exacerbated and exacerbating storms are no light matter.
Do not fall for the ploys of any media, least of all the Weather Channel, so eager to lay blame for storm damage at the feet of “Mother Nature.” Heed not the similar ploys of politicians.
Let’s be very clear about the increasingly severe results of ceaseless emissions, of using the verb “believe” in connection with catastrophic climate change, with science itself.
FROM MY FRIEND JIM WALTMAN OF THE STONY BROOK MILLSTONE WATERSHED ASSOCIATION - HE’S BEEN PREACHING ALONG THESE LINES FAR LONGER, AND MORE EFFECTIVELY THAN I. HEED JIM:
[bolds mine... cfe]