Feeds:
Posts
Comments

The Eyes of the Forest

Ambling along this damp morning, I was stunned to see two beautiful spiderwebs quivering between their anchor trees. This one looked like an extravagant theater curtain slowly being unfurled.

This arachnid architect is sure to catch breakfast, lunch, and dinner in its net. The water clinging to its many strands made this look like a glistening chandelier. But linger longer. The more you stare, the further in you go, its geometry pulling you to the center of the web and beyond.

This second web was above the first and to the left. Looking at it, I felt like I was being looked back at. Yet no one else was around save a distant Steller’s Jay and some Dark-Eyed Juncos.

Rotating the next photo, I realized that, yes, not only was I watching the forest, but the forest was watching me as well.


©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

Luna Y Marte

Here in the Northwest, we don’t yet know if our intermittent clouds will allow us to see Mars’ closest approach to our planet for the next 15 years. This occurs before sunrise on October 6th, 2020. Mars has been blazing in the night sky and will continue to do so for weeks, but Tuesday is when the red planet and our home marble meet to shake hands.

It is difficult to find clear patches of night sky without light pollution so I have learned to embrace the trees. If you’re not near trees, you’re probably near a building or city.

There was nothing else shining near the moon and Mars at this time on this night, making this all the more dramatic. Since the weather may or may not cooperate Tuesday, I figured I’d snap some photos in the absence of clouds.

This last photo deserved some FX. Mars was far bigger and brighter than it appears here. Tuesday it will be a mere 38.6 million miles away. Be sure to look up on October 13th, 2020 as well, when Mars is at opposition to the sun.

The planet Mars — crimson and bright, filling our telescopes with vague intimations of almost-familiar landforms– has long formed a celestial tabula rasa on which we have inscribed our planeto-logical theories, utopian fantasies, and fears of alien invasion or ecological ruin.

David Grinspoon

©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

Smoke On The Water

Driving home from a friend’s house late the weekend before, I had to stop to get photos of a toasted cheddar moon and blazing red telluric Mars just above it. Little did I know that, courtesy of the fires raging in Washington, Oregon, and California, we soon wouldn’t be able to see the sky for a week or more.

The smoke began to funnel northward through the I5 corridor late in the week. At first it looked like fog. Then, on Saturday, September 12th, 2020, we woke up on an alien planet. It looked like Mars outside– yellow, hazy, dark, and foreboding.

This is the Edmonds ferry dock at Brackett’s Landing. The whole world looked like pea soup. You could barely see the ferry that had just left.

The ferry loomed like a ghost ship and was then sucked into a void. Normally you see an opposite shore. Today, there was nothing, just the edge of the world.

I zoomed in as the ferry plowed westward, but at best it seemed like an apparition in a sandstorm.

These photos have not been edited at all. This is how the beach actually looked that Saturday. You can see scuba divers coming in. I found it odd that people were still out diving, but does hazardous air quality affect visibility in the water enough for them to care?

Even the plants’ colors seemed off. Everything was saturated in this weird, otherworldly glow, like we had survived some nuclear horror and were slowly crawling out of our shelters afterwards.

As I snapped the photo of the famous orca, I mused how it appeared to be swimming in pollution. Then it hit me– how similar this is to the disgusting pollution our resident orcas live in. This is what we do to their world. This is a constant for them. Because we so callously pollute the water, each local orca could be considered a floating superfund site.

We used to rejoice when their babies were born. Now we just pray they survive the lack of traditional food sources and the industrial waste. They often don’t, and humanity goes on complaining about lack of entertainment during COVID, or rioting, or obsessing over the latest cosmetics, ignoring their cries.

I have stood here many times, but I’d never seen it look so foreign.

All day, no matter where I went in two counties, I noted an absence of birds. Far fewer birds than normal braved the rancid, tar-filled air. This crow and his seagull buddy foraged along the beach in tandem with few others in sight.

Yep. It was definitely Smoke Time.

Arriving at the north end of Lake Washington, this panorama seemed straight out of a sci fi movie. We were supposed to have temperatures nearing 80 degrees with near full sun, but last time I’d checked the temperature it was 58.

Walking out on the dock felt like walking out to the edge of a flat earth. You usually see land on all sides. Seattle, however, had disappeared. The middle of this scene had simply vanished. There was smoke, and then there was nothing.

Gazing down into the lake’s milfoil mass, I imagined one of those menacing merpeople from Harry Potter reaching up and grabbing me. No thanks.

These logs, although fixed, appeared to be swimming away from the yawing nothingness in the middle of the lake.

A gaggle of geese bobbed around like nothing was happening, the lighting exactly like the filters used to portray Mexico City in the movies. Ever notice that, that Mexico City always shows up in hazy brown or sepia tones on the big screen?

These old pilings looked like a pathway into another place or time.

Zooming in, no birds roosted here today. None flew through the air either. Aside from traffic noise, there was an eerie stillness.

One rebel Canada goose floated leisurely through the soup apart from the others.

As I was chatting with a local, we looked up and said, “what’s that?” It was the first time we’d seen the sun in a couple of days. It was a grapefruit-hued pinhole in the sky, barely piercing the blanketed glop of destruction.

The sun’s reflection in the water was just as bizarre.

At times there was a blush or rose color playing upon the undulating mocha of the lake.

While forecasters had originally said the smoke would start moving out earlier this week, that didn’t happen. The Seattle area was enveloped in a dense yellow fog again this morning… except it wasn’t fog. By afternoon we saw a bit of sunlight, prompting me to go to Juanita Beach in Kirkland to see what I could see.

Sure enough, there was the sun, sparkling down upon the latte-like lake. Yet it seemed to be a sun from John Carter, Pelelandra, or Tatooine.

The ducks were happy enough. But there were still no birds in the air.

It seemed like dusk, not afternoon.

Beyond the boardwalk there was just a fisherman and faux fog. No Seattle. No 520 bridge. Just empty space, because the west is on fire and we continue to pray for rain when there otherwise would have been summer through the end of September.

Smoke veils the air like souls in drifting suspension, declining the war’s insistence everyone move on.

Jayne Anne Phillips

©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

Part 6: Church Security

How does your church respond to domestic violence– and are they prepared for when it affects the congregation and church property?

Christian Coalition for Safe Families

Photo by delfi de la Rua on Unsplash

In February we began a series of articles regarding What The Church Can Do. In Part 1, we defined domestic violence. Part 2 advised churches to start by believing when they learn of abuse. Part 3 contained pointers on communicating with victims, and Part 4 discussed how churches can network with advocates and authorities so they are able to respond to domestic violence efficiently. In Part 5, we touched on training your staff and volunteers plus having a list of resources available that you can safely give to victims.

That’s where most advice to churches stops when it comes to this scourge that affects a significant part of your congregation. We want churches to understand what domestic violence is and who to go to, but it’s still commonly treated like a private matter between the victim, suspect, and maybe a church…

View original post 2,103 more words

Part 5 in the What the Church Can Do series has been published. Find out more about what your church can do to respond to domestic violence.

Christian Coalition for Safe Families

Photo by Andrew Pons on Unsplash

In Part 5 of our What the Church Can Do series we will tie together some concepts presented in previous articles to ensure that your church is ready to act when you hear of domestic violence. It is important to ensure that your staff is trained to respond and has appropriate resources at the ready. Without some basic training and preparedness, critical opportunities to help victims can be missed. Lives can be shattered and lost.

Many churches require their staff and volunteers to complete CPR and first aid training. Some mandate child protection training, some have their ushers and greeters meet certain standards before they can serve. But only a few invite a local domestic violence advocacy agency or law enforcement officials to speak at their meetings or training sessions, and even fewer do this regularly. Ironically, given that one in five American families…

View original post 754 more words

Continuing to Matter

The memorial to the fallen Bothell police officer continued to grow last week. Department employees and volunteers kept a watchful eye on it, removing spent flowers and pulling certain pieces to share with the officer’s family as more tributes arrived. Signs around the community show their support as well. The Yakima Fruit Market, espresso stands, Brooks Biddle, and grocery stores among others are boldly proclaiming their appreciation.


©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

Last night a visit to the growing memorial to the Bothell police officer who was murdered resulted in the post You Matter. I visited the site again tonight and spent some quality time with both strangers and friends as we honored this brave man. The memorial continues to grow. People of all types continue to gather there to express appreciation to our area officers, including the officer who was wounded in this incident.

The world needs to see that the Northshore area respects, appreciates, and values the men and women who take great risks every day to keep the peace in our increasingly restless society.

Shortly after I arrived, the woman on the left burst into a beautiful operatic rendition of The Lord’s Prayer. It was another spontaneous moment that hushed onlookers and bowed reverent heads.

See her arms raised as she lifts her voice towards heaven…

A question has been asked at this site repeatedly: what can we do to show support like this on a regular basis? How do we ensure that they always feel that the majority is behind them?

Bothell’s chaplains are doing an amazing job. The support surrounding agencies are offering Bothell PD is phenomenal.

Note Matthew 5:9, above: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.


Courage is not simply one of the virtues but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means at the point of highest reality.

C.S. Lewis

The details of Officer Shoop’s murder are here. The circumstances of his death are horrifying. May peace blanket this agency and community.


©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

You Matter

This morning the greater Seattle area woke up to learn that a Bothell police officer was killed in the line of duty and another was injured. No, no, no, no, no. There has been widespread animosity towards police in our nation lately and this is exactly what we didn’t want to happen.

Like many of us, I have friends and family in the profession. Officers face dangers and split second decisions that most of us never will. It sounds like a traffic stop turned deadly, leaving a family broken and grieving for the loss of a young man of solid character– who was also a veteran.

LEOs, I want you to see the outpouring of support for this officer and his department. At Bothell City Hall tonight, people of all creeds and colors poured in to leave flowers, signs, write messages in chalk on the pavement, cry, talk, and express their gratitude to Bothell PD. I was there for quite a while and adults and children came from all directions to show their support.

This coming together, this show of strength and unity, is being posted here to show you that in your town, you matter. Never mind the hate and the calls to strip your funding, we are still with you and you matter.

I noted that the candle here is called “Seeking Balance.”

This deputy came all the way from Whatcom County. He was graciously stopping to talk to kids and give them badges.

This was a remarkable moment. I was standing near Bothell’s PIO when I saw this man walk up and introduce himself. Captain Johnson thanked him for his service. The man explained that he had put on his uniform and driven to the memorial to play Amazing Grace. That he did. Then he quietly left.

Unbeknownst to the performer, a man sitting behind him on the stairs raised his hands in prayer as the song was played.

I left about 6 P.M. Just as many people were silently walking up to the memorial from all corners and leaving mementos as when I’d arrived. It’s the hottest day we’ve had this year so far and few seemed to notice. They stood, they sat, they hugged, from babies to wizened seniors. It was an astounding show of gratitude.

Out at the corner of 522 and 527, close to where the incident happened, a crowd of Blue Lives Matter supporters were demonstrating. Many, many drivers honked their horns as they went past.

The woman waving this flag is a retired deputy who has a child entering the profession. While she had a successful career and fully supports law enforcement, she expressed concerns about those following in her footsteps given the increasing dangers officers face.

Nowhere were those dangers more apparent than in downtown Bothell, Washington the night of July 13th, 2020.


Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, and who is neither tarnished nor afraid.

Raymond Chandler

©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

Moonrise on Independence Day, July 4th, 2020 in Seattle was 9:11 P.M. By that time the penumbral lunar eclipse was happening, causing a slight shadow to fall upon the full moon.

People asked me what I was waiting for when they saw my camera. One woman seemed to think my wait was pointless until– SHAZAM! The moon came out from behind the trees.

Glorious…

A passing boat had this patriotic light display on it.

Then the fireworks started to happen.

It was amazing to see the fireworks light up the water next to the shimmering trail of moonlight.

This picture reminded me of a face, specifically that of Gypsy in MST3K.

The moonlight stretched further and further across the water as if extending a path to onlookers.

As it darkened, Saturn emerged like a pinhole was poked in a dark canvas. I expected to see both Jupiter and Saturn, but only saw Saturn (I think…)

What a blessing to have this light show going on along with the fireworks.


©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

Independence Day 2020… the first Fourth of July in my lifetime without parades and fireworks and the usual community mingling. So imagine my delight when I learned of Lakeview of Kirkland’s drive-thru parade for their residents and seven veterans!

Lakeview is a senior living facility south of downtown Kirkland, Washington. Among their seven veterans are two World War II veterans– and I love those guys and gals. They have a twinkle to them and loads of character. So I put the word out and raced to Kirkland.

Upon arrival, I found employees directing traffic, flags everywhere, and a carefully socially distanced parking lot where Lakeview residents could sit far enough from the vehicles coming through but close enough to see them. I was thrilled to learn that one of their seven veterans is a female veteran.

After driving through and thoroughly enjoying the patriotic cheer from a generation that loves our country, I went up the road to rally the troops via cell phone so more people would atttend. As one car passed me, they dropped a flag in the middle of the roadway and didn’t stop. “Ironic!” I thought, because I couldn’t find my medium-sized flag earlier. So I pulled over and picked up that flag.

I’d seen Tim Hickey, a well-known Kirkland do-gooder, driving around earlier, and was standing near the entrance when he pulled in waving his flags. It was great to see a few other vehicles out on the road waving large flags today too. Seeing his campaign signs truly made it feel like the Fourth of July because it’s so very American to see candidates out and about on this day.

Unfortunately, some residents had already gone inside when I took these photos, but you can still get a general sense of the festive atmosphere.

I am not entirely sure what I captured in the above photo but it’s funny. Maybe the dog was singing the National Anthem.

These flag waving ladies were eager to see who (or what) else pulled into the parking lot. Right about this time a ridiculously cool vintage Porsche pulled in.

I had to zoom in because I was nowhere near the building, so was glad to get this shot of these America-loving, festive locals.

The decorations, distancing, and everything was spot on. One item that came up in conversation was the lack of participation from the larger community in traditional American holidays. That is exactly why we need community celebrations and parades– so our neighbors who aren’t American or are new to America can experience the joy of people of all political beliefs and faiths coming together to celebrate what we have in common.

The staff was friendly and attentive to residents.

Again, I didn’t want to get too close so was zooming in and snapping random photos.

They even decorated the sidewalk!

Yes, heroes do work at Lakeview. They worked hard to ensure that residents, especially veterans, still had a fun Fourth of July. Good job all!

After this I decided to hang the flag out the window as I traveled through several cities. A few people honked, just a small fraction of those I passed. If you watch people’s faces when they drive, a majority don’t seem to have good situational awareness. They’re either looking ahead, not turning their head right or left, and seem fairly oblivious to anything going on outside their vehicle. If they’re stopped, they’re often looking down. So I doubt many of them even noticed.

On that note, I decided that if we can’t have fairs and parades and fireworks, I was going to stir up some good old fashioned patriotic sentiment anyway. For over half an hour I stood at one of the area’s busiest intersections and waved the flag at cars going by. Here’s what I found:

  1. Some never looked anywhere but straight ahead or down, either oblivious or not wanting to make eye contact
  2. Some seemed embarrassed or sheepish, like young girls
  3. Many waved and honked, mostly couples, families, or those over 30
  4. Only one truck full of gross younger men yelled something obscene
  5. Pedestrians and bicyclists almost always said, “Happy 4th!” and waved
  6. Young employees in a nearby business came out in a group and cheered and waved
  7. A majority of passers by did not respond, but I was pleased by how many did

Earlier I’d seen an older man waving a small flag near a business I needed to stop at. I was going to tell him how much I appreciated that. As I got closer, I realized he was yelling, “Spare change? Spare change?” It brought me back to the original premise of today, that there are many seniors struggling right now. Even those who have a nice place to live may be severely lacking in opportunities to be joyful and connect with other human beings. So I’m greatly pleased that Lakeview hosted this well-orchestrated event that protected their residents while allowing them to party with their neighbors.

Happy 4th all! Feel free to go stand on a street corner and wave a flag yourself!


©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

%d bloggers like this: