Monthly Archives: April 2017

Wood’s Journal, Friday, February 24, 2017

Photo by Martin James Wood

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This featured post is in celebration of Arbor Day!!!

Becoming a Wood’s Member supports preservation of our forests and wetlands!

This particular post is a journal entry from the “Wood’s Journal” page. Please enjoy your trek along “The Wood’s Edge” and check out more on the “Wood’s Journal” page.

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Written by: Martin James Wood

Friday, February 24, 2017

Sky: blue sky with altostratus clouds

Air: warm with a constant breeze

Precipitation: none

Ground: clear and damp

Sunshine: occasional bright sunshine

Temperature: 70 degrees

Time out: mid-morning

Pennsylvania’s woodlands have seen temperatures ranging quite dramatically this week, from the mid-twenties on up to peeking in the mid-sixties to mid-seventies. Temperatures as this, can fool one into thinking it’s Springtime. What a welcome to see and feel temps such as the sixties and seventies this time of year…! This morning, some of my family and I are visiting and hiking McConnells Mills State Park, outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. And It appears the 70 degree temperatures haven’t just brought us out to the park, as I can see there are many vehicles and people about enjoying this break in the weather.

The highlights for the news this week seem to focus quite a bit on President Trump. There is liberal backlash after he makes a promise at a Florida rally to do whatever he can to not let media getaway with false or distorted press while seeming to capitalize on their own agendas. Lieutenant General H. R. McMaster has been named National Security Advisor on Monday by the president. He also named retired Army Lieutenant General Keith Kellogg as Chief of Staff of the National Security Council. Kellogg has been recently acting as National Security Advisor since the president fired Michael Flynn from the job. The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington was visited on Tuesday by President Trump and his chosen cabinet member Ben Carson, who also is the president’s choice for Housing Chief.

Other news; marijuana is at the center for some controversy with jurisdictions of state and federal laws. Federal laws have final authority over state when there are conflictions. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ reputation is not one to be in favor of marijuana use, worries marijuana activists and industry. Homeland Security has issued, on Tuesday, documents stating to faithfully execute the immigration laws of the United States. Also on Tuesday, Coyote Creek crested 14.4 feet causing major flooding. Evacuations of about 14,000 people were necessary along with an evacuation advisory for an additional 22,000 people to leave their homes. San Jose, California hasn’t seen flooding of this magnitude since 1997 and creek flooding records like this since 1922. Army Corps of Engineers ordered for Dakota Access Pipeline protest camps to be shut down by 2:00 pm on Wednesday. Arrests were made Thursday for those who wouldn’t leave… There is talk of drilling in Alaska. U.S. senator Lisa Murkowski pushes for legislation to open America’s largest wildlife refuge, Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, for oil drilling…

I’m all for a healthy economy and improved industry. We all know our country is in desperate need for these. I just hope and pray all can be mindful of a healthy balance for our environment and our nation’s economy. We have to remember the price that can be brought onto ourselves if we are not careful about discerning our regulations. We can’t guarantee ALL to be responsible when mining, drilling and disposing of industrial waste and pollutants. When a mountain is leveled for coal extraction or any other mining endeavor, it can not be put back to its natural state. When a stream or a tributary is redirected or terminated for the same, it can not be put back to its natural state. Certain sacrifices just aren’t worth making… I believe that we may have been overregulated and that some deregulation was, and is necessary, but as I said, we have to be mindful of what we do, and how we do it… We have to be creative and tread lightly. We owe it to ourselves and our future stakeholders in this land… There is no room for selfishness. We must be responsible… And,,, not be like foolish children leaving irreversible messes behind, just for a quick good time…

Walking this trail along the Slippery Rock Creek, I notice a dramatic difference in temperature from where we started out higher up the gorge. It must be ten degrees cooler down along the creek bottom… The steady cool breeze blowing down the creek sure adds to the chilling effect. The hemlocks are quite a sight this time of year as they are the only green along the banks in addition to the assortment of moss and ferns.

Photo by Martin James Wood

The trail we are on winds along the creek falling and rising with the bank. The creek at times becomes wider and more turbulent. At other times the creek is deeper and appears less turbulent, but I’m not fooled by that, as I can see the quick smooth swiftness of the flowing water over the large boulders… These massive rocks climb the hills up both sides of the gorge, decorating the banks with moss and tree’d outcroppings on the rocky ledges above… These hemlock cliffs of boulders and promontory places are definitely the reason for the cooler air along the Slippery Rock Creek bed. The cooler air aids with maintaining the stream’s cooler temperature which is a necessity for cleaner water along with its fast moving flow… So, not only are the gorge walls a sight to behold, but they are serving a purpose as well which man could hardly recreate. After all,,, it had taken mother nature thousands of years to do this…

As we traverse the trail by the creek, we decide to move onto another path which ascends a steep wall of rocks and hemlocks. We follow a small tributary until we come to a small skinny stream of water about two stories above us pouring out from some boulders higher up. More ice cold water exiting the earth and finding its way downward into Slippery Rock Creek. I have to think of how there are many more of these little hidden tributaries among these gorge walls which are feeding that monstrous current below…

Photo by Martin James Wood
Photo by Martin James Wood

These hills and forests provide relaxation and recreation for so many people. They also provide an ecosystem necessary for our environment which also benefits so many people. It all appears to be a “win, win” from where I’m standing among these hemlocks underneath this blue sky, sunshine and ice cold water.

Photo by Martin James Wood

It is so refreshing to be out and about in this environment today. I couldn’t imagine having it leveled and distorted from all of its beauty, and I wouldn’t appreciate it if some big corporation were to change it in any way for an agenda of theirs. That would seem very selfish. We all benefit from this environment and we should all have a say in what happens to it… Because it affects all of us eventually, in one way or another…

Do you like what your reading and want more? Hike on over to the Wood’s Membership Subscription” page  and check out the view!!!

© 2017, The Wood’s Edge Publications/Martin James Wood. All rights reserved.

We Are Like Mountains

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This particular post is a from the “Wood’s Reflection” page. Please enjoy your trek along “The Wood’s Edge” and check out more on the “Wood’s Reflection” page.

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Photo by Martin James Wood

Written by: Martin James Wood

Mathew 20:28 NKJV

“…just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been spellbound by mountains,,, and all their natural beauty within. As a child, I was always drawn to the woods and nature. Drawn by the sounds, beauty and hidden peace that was offered. A person would only know of what peace and solitude it had to offer, by entering in… I loved walking the trails and paths within, and was always mesmerized by what might be around the hidden corners… And as I’ve mentioned, mountains,,, ohhhh mountains,,, and the woods together, would just multiply that awestruck feeling of mine…!

I can stand at an overlook and stare out at a mountain range for hours. The sight of them just brings a peace and a comfort that is hard to explain… It is difficult finding anything that compares…

How I love to explore the mountains and forests. As an adult, I find myself becoming a child again, every time I have an opportunity to explore nature, and especially, the mountains. It’s almost embarrassing,,, this fetish of mine… But nothing can break me of this obsession. I’m driven by it, in almost all that I do…

My favorite colors are,,, you guessed it,,, green, like the dark green pines lined along the forests’ rocky cliffs above the river, or like the light green colored buds dotting the woods’ edge in springtime… And brown, like the brownish grey of the bark on an old weathered maple protruding out along the leafy forest’s floor, or the dark brownish black of earth along the edges of a meandering creek opening up to a small waterfall rolling over an assortment of smooth rocks into a clear mountain pool… And orange, like the wonderful color of the fall foliage shimmering in the wind upon the mountainside, or like the deep orangish-red glow of sun setting through the timber along the ridgeline just before dusk… And grey, like the soft grey boulders heeped along the hills with dark green moss strewn across them in the shadows of the wood…

The mountains possess so much beauty and mystery for me that it’s hard to avoid appreciating. When I walk the wooded hollows and ridgelines, I feel as if I’m receiving something that is good for me. It is giving to me; providing a service per say. Providing rest and peace. Providing inspiration and refreshment. Providing privacy and solitude. By these, I am also receiving strength and revitalization which also helps provide knowledge, wisdom and understanding. And by these, I receive maintenance for my sanity… The mountains serve me and the betterment of my being, if I just choose to enter the atmosphere behind the tree’d environment with rivers and uncultivated splendor and allow it to affect me.

I have to think, during this Easter season, of how this is like Jesus was and is for us… He came to provide all these things for us. Through his teachings and love. He was serving us with these and teaching us to be the same. He is like the mountains of splendor which is offering so much to be taken… all we have to do, is enter and accept. Even by entering, we don’t have to enjoy what he has to offer. We have the choice to look at what is there and allow it to affect us,,, or not. But what it can provide for us, if we do… And by receiving, we will be able to offer the same for others. Thus, we are also mountains, and the health of our mountain’s environment, depends on how we take care of our mountain.

Jesus is able to offer so much because the health of His mountain is superb. The mountain of Jesus allows for the trees and the rivers to be plentiful and full of great health. This is all God, our Father, which is being offered through the health of Jesus’ mountain. Every healthy brook, every healthy pine, every healthy meadow and every healthy wild creature is a fruit borne by the mountain. The healthier the mountain, the healthier the environment on the mountain. The healthier the environment on the mountain,,, then the more pleasant and beneficial the experience for the guests upon the mountain. We are to bear the same healthful fruits for others and serve in an unselfish manner much like Jesus did for us. He didn’t worry of what and who was trying to damage the mountain. This would have only distracted him from the nourishment he was to keep receiving for the environment; the sunshine; the nutrients from the rain and air; the growth necessary by the winds against the trees; the seasons’ production of decomposition for the earth and the shade and dens needed for the animals. The mountain must devote all of its concentrated efforts on the heavens and sun to continue to provide for its rich environment. It can not worry about who is entering its passes and paths attempting to destroy it, it has to remain focused on receiving its nourishment for the environment it has to provide…

Like Jesus, who sacrificed His life and continues to serve us with His mountain, so that we may be able to walk and explore it in awe and be comforted, we too are to be mountains… Because His human life was destroyed, doesn’t mean the mountain He left for us was. The mountain He left is alive today and forever. It is there for all who choose to walk the paths and trails of His beauty and breathe the crisp clean mountain air. Drink from the clear mountain brooks. Smell the sweet pungent aroma from the autumn winds. Watch the aspens shimmer along the hillsides in the morning’s sunshine. Feel the coarse bark with your hands of a tall hickory along the edge of a lonely mountain meadow and dwell in peace and solitude with comfort and refuge… He is there,,, we just have to enter…

We are like mountains too, and what we give back is the determination of what kind of mountain we are, like Jesus. We may be abused, defiled and debased, but we can’t let that affect our focus of the mountain we are to be. We must remain focused and concentrate on the nourishment. Our mountains’ health depends on it. We have to keep our focus on God and continue to look up and seek his rain and sun for our nourishment. We can’t focus on what and who is attempting to tear down the forest of ourselves. God will provide the protection necessary for the roads and passes onto the mountain. We can’t waste energy focusing on that because that will only distract us from God’s nourishment…

I recently read an article of an individual who is a doctor and a grandfather who was recently dragged off a flight of a major airline because the flight needed to remove someone for its overbooking. The manner in which they removed the elected gentleman was inexcusable. He was ruthlessly beaten and dragged bloodily from the plane. There are many cases of selfish, uncaring, non-serving behavior such as this and worse in our world.

To be like Jesus, we have to serve with love. Not be served… Are we mountains worth exploring? Are we providing the services needed for others to find sanctuary on our mountains? Will they find peace upon our mountain? Will they be awestruck by what they find on the mountain? Will they feel inspired and refreshed on the mountain? Will they be rested and rejuvenated at the mountain? Will they feel stronger from a visit to our mountain? Will they gain knowledge, wisdom and understanding from our mountain’s environment? And,,, will they feel safe at the mountain and be compelled to return…?

Do you like what your reading and want more? Hike on over to the “Wood’s Membership Subscription” page and check out the view!!!

 

© 2017, The Wood’s Edge Publications/Martin James Wood. All rights reserved.