I teach Cultural Geography at the university level, looking at the intersection points of people, culture, religion, politics, economics, and environment. I see our world as one great tapestry, about which I love following all the individual threads to see what set them off in a certain direction, what patterns the threads make when they come together, and how the tapestry is a living and breathing entity. I’d like to say I fully understand this planet of ours, but would be amiss if I made that claim. It’s a continuing puzzle, but I enjoy trying to follow the energetic threads.
I help learners explore all of these dynamics, finding common threads and patterns while seeking newer paradigms to bring about change. I also enjoy taking the classroom “live” out into the field and do so each year by taking adult learners on cultural immersion trips around the world.
As a writer and photographer, I also enjoy doing what I can to capture a moment, an experience, the soul of another person in our global tapestry. This blogsite holds some of those stories and photos. Enjoy (and respect that all images and stories are copyrighted).
“Ten Thousand Cranes”
The words “ten thousand cranes” came to me through my dream space more than a decade ago. They repeated themselves to me for several days and left me pondering their significance. Then several days later, I found myself in Monte Vista, a small town on the western edge of the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado. The town lies at the mouth of the river valley canyon that holds the headwaters for the mighty Rio Grande River. The area, with its agricultural fields, multicultural mix, and mist-laden foothills of the San Juan Mountains, is magical. I pulled off the road on the outskirts of town early one morning in March. The mountains were dark, saturated with the previous night’s dusting of snow. A heavy mist draped over their tops while beams of sunlight broke through the clouds above. An indistinguishable background noise filled the crisp air. Then suddenly there was an explosion of activity. A flock of enormous birds lifted off the sleepy wetland ponds in a cacophony of sound and flurry. And soon, everywhere nearby came alive with the same activity. The Sandhill Cranes had migrated from New Mexico and were fattening themselves up in the wetlands and stubbled fields of Monte Vista before continuing on their journey north to Yellowstone or Canada. There were 20,000 of these magnificent birds who boast a wingspan of 6 feet and a body height of 4 to 5 feet. My dream words suddenly had meaning as I basked in the delightful aeronautical and terrestrial performances of these creatures. They are a sight worth witnessing, one of those experiences that reminds us of our connection to all that surrounds us.
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