June 4, 2021 - Sept 16, 2021

Most of this past summer was dedicated to reconnecting with friends and family in the Pacific Northwest. We left SE Arizona in early June, mistakenly thinking we were escaping the heat. We spent some time in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, with a quick peek at Bryce National Park, and headed north to see people. The focus of the summer didn't leave much time for photography, but wildness and critters were still available here and there. A stop over at Arcata, CA on the way back helped, and returning to SE Arizona a week or two before monsoon ended was great: seeing the greenness and abundant life in the Sonoran Desert during monsoon is worth a bit of uncomfortable high heat.

A quick thanks to all who made room for us in their lives this summer and an apology to any that we were not able to connect with.

Arcata Marsh

If you are experiencing a dearth of wildness, a stopover at the Arcata Marsh in Arcata, CA can be a great antidote. There are plenty of humans, and their domestic companions, but the numbers of wild critters and the dynamism of the tidal flats and holding ponds, creates a different take on wildlife and human coexistence. While the life Katie and I are choosing emphasizes low impact coexistence, the Arcata Marsh takes a step towards tackling the reality of the impact of our vast population on wildness and the ecosystem as a whole. 

The marsh integrates the processing of natural human waste from the city with the tidal flats and has created an oasis of wildness that is a wonder to behold every time I have visited it. It is still a work in progress, with the goal of being able to do away with chemically treating the sewage and having natural processes convert it into its usable components. 

The seemingly endless permutations of the seasonal cycle, the day and night cycle, and the weather, all combined with the tidal cycle means that every day there is a different experience: flocks of shorebirds flying right over your head as the tide comes in, the continual process of eating and being eaten, and the occasional times of rest. It is a good reminder of how much a part of this puzzle we are, but also how unimportant we are. While some would rather remove humanity from the equation, to me that is just an "if only" fantasy. Humanity is a result of nature, and no amount of religion or philosophy can separate us from that fact. Everything about humanity is natural. 

For me, the question is whether we can move away from a management orientation into a more coexistent and communion based relationship with our home. Nature is far better at micromanaging itself than we are. 

Sitting and watching the teaming life at the Arcata Marsh gives me some measure of hope.
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