Monday, November 7, 2011

Remind me to bring a candle next time...

Tiring of eating in a Chinese restaurant with coughing booth neighbors, I decided to do something different tonight.

I bought a Chinese carry out meal; stopped and got some coffee at the only fast food establishment in Long Beach--one where the gals have learned to provide quadruple cream at the outset--and then drove to the Seaview Beach approach where I had recorded the moonset video last month.  (I've had 178 hits now, thank you m'am.)

I wanted to be quiet and alone for the space of an hour.

November's moon was floating languidly in and out of clouds in the eastern sky, but she was still in the waxing gibbous stage and wasn't providing much light as I stared into the hypnotically beautiful and rhythmically sighing distant surf.

The tourist season is definitely over.  I was alone.  I was quietly roll up your window and lock the doors of the truck alone.

Don't laugh.  There are black bears on the Long Beach Peninsular and I didn't want one that smelled my food to come and attempt to share it with me.

I began the meal as the last vestiges of twilight in a darkening western sky provided faint illumination.  I was able to separate the tofu from the water chestnuts at first.

And heck, my eyes would grow accustomed to the darkness as it fell, I told myself.

Not necessarily so.

A few minutes into my Chinese fare, I was sitting in inky darkness.  There are no street lights at the Seaview approach.  I mean, it was DARK!

Attempting to impale bits of broccoli, tofu, and snow peas by touch and with only a flimsy plastic fork quickly became a challenge and a chore.

I reluctantly switched on the interior light of the Ranger, which lent about as much ambiance as a law officer's flashlight shined into my window would have.

But I finished and enjoyed my meal by the light of that 12-volt bulb that works sometimes; flickers at others; and ceases to work altogether occasionally.

Next time I'm in one of those home and hearth establishments that sell scented candles, I will acquire one, along with a small lighter, and keep them in my truck for the next meal by the surf.

What do you think?  I always liked vanilla candles.  Would vanilla go well with Chinese food?

Or should I go with a pumpkin pie spice candle?

D. Grant Haynes
November 7, 2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Consolidated all Long Beach material on new site

I found that I could improve the quality of my videos by setting up a new site with wide parameters. The videos are running larger and their full width is not compromised.

Also, I have added some still photos that I shot on Cape Disappointment at Long Beach June 16. The west side woodlands of Washington State are magnificent, as you will note from the photos.

The URL for the new site titled, "Sights, sounds of Long Beach, Washington" is:

Sorry it took me so long to get all of my Long Beach trip material up.

D. Grant Haynes

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dandelion patrols out en masse

Two dandelion escapees with seed and a third that has already released seed (horror of horrors), ensuring continued disgusting dandelion presence for another spring! (Photo by D. Grant Haynes)


Well, my neighbors, as well as management of the apartment building where I reside, are into their "kill every stinking dandelion in Washington State" mode at this time, as every spring.

The grounds where I live have already been "treated" and thousands of dandelions are wilting and dying at this time.

And my neighbors each patrol their lawns in the afternoon, trigger finger cocked on a herbicide gun, ready to zap any dandelion that dares to rear its illegitimate, unwelcome, disgraceful head on their manicured lawn.

Why do people hate dandelions so much?

Dandelions offer cheerful yellow flowers early in the spring when lesser herbs linger in the cold ground.

And dandelions grace the landscape with their fluffy, sun catching, graceful seed heads when the bloom has performed its essential role.

And besides, dandelion greens are thought to be a delicacy by some. Did you ever hear of zoysiagrass greens?

I like dandelions and I enjoy their presence in my world.

I believe men in this farming region of North America, especially, despise any plant that they can't control completely and bend to their wills--most especially a plant that, in addition to being ornery, doesn't represent a cash crop for them.

I see more herbicides applied here than anywhere I have ever lived. A few people back home used to pull up or hoe out what they considered to be weeds. But not the wheat farmers of Washington State and their kin. They do not bend their waists to eliminate any weed. They spray it with a herbicide, the residual effect of which will last for years.

And who should wonder that the ground water here is dangerously polluted with agricultural chemicals or that old folks are dropping as flies now that crop spraying is going at full tilt again?

Dandelions refuse to be tamed and domesticated. Dandelions refuse to give up. Dandelions do not ask anything of men--no fertilizer, no watering, no cultivation. And they grow in a wide variety of terrains, soils, biomes, and climates. A friend in Moscow, Russia, sent photos of downtown Moscow recently and darned if there weren't dandelions growing in cracks in the sidewalk there even!

So, here's to dandelions! May they long prosper and continue to confound controlling men who believe themselves to be masters of all there is on the face of the Earth.

There'll always be one more wild dandelion to challenge them!

D. Grant Haynes

Monday, May 2, 2011

Any man's death diminishes all men

Why did Obama's chest beating gestures about "gittin'" Osama bin Laden leave me cold?

Why did the hair on the back of my neck not rise, and why did I not stand and sing the Star Spangled Banner after Obama's statement May 1?

Because, in my opinion, destruction of a human life is always an undesirable solution.

I cannot gloat over Osama bin Laden's death, as do millions of Americans at this time. While I seek to avoid judging them and their motives, I am, quite obviously, in a differing place, spiritually and philosophically, than are they.

English metaphysical poet John Doone wrote, "Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

I agree with Doone.

D. Grant Haynes

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The darkling beetle saga--Part 2

D. Grant Haynes with darkling beetle

In early January when all was frozen outside and the days were frightfully short, I shared with you, my readers and browsers, the story of a darkling beetle (Eleodes spp.) that had emerged from somewhere and entered my warm apartment. The little fellow had paced back and forth for three days and nights when I became aware he would dehydrate and die soon if I did not take some action.

As related previously, I set up a small terrarium on my kitchen floor and sought to make the darkling beetle happy. I knew nothing about the care and feeding of the tiny creature. He, obviously, knew nothing about the large entity that was offering him aid and comfort, rather than squashing or spraying him.

We learned much about one another over the next weeks and months.

Now, more than three months after offering safe haven to one beetle that would have frozen in January's cold, I have six darkling beetles. No, there has been no multiplication of the species here. Rather, other darkling beetle wayfarers have emerged from the woodwork of the apartment from time to time. I have introduced each to the original boarder and they seem to have all gotten along well.

One of the beetles was found outside my door early on a particularly cold March morning. He appeared to be close to expiration. I assume the cold, or possibly some residual pesticide from management's determined spraying of each threshold last summer, had affected him. He could move nothing but his antennae when placed with the others. I expected to find him dead by the next day, but to my surprise, he gradually recovered!

I came to appreciate these harmless little vegetarian creatures more when I observed the healthy ones come and sit quietly by their ailing brother day after day. I cannot know what was communicated nor what healing touch or energy they conveyed, but it apparently worked.

I realized darkling beetles are capable of the rudiments of compassion and other soul qualities men in their arrogance may think are reserved for themselves.

I had read that darkling beetles eat decaying plant material. Not knowing what else to do, I introduced them to mulch from under conifers in my yard and changed the mulch every week or so. They survived on whatever they found in it for over two months. But recently, on impulse, I placed a small bit or raw broccoli (a leaf) in their enclosure. I learned that they love broccoli! Within minutes, they were lined up as tiny pigs at a trough, each munching on the broccoli. They receive a ration of several bits of broccoli daily now.

How long must this continue? When will I put them outside and, in doing so, turn them back to God, Love, the Universal Spirit, from which we all emanate and in whose merciful arms we all ultimately reside? Soon, I hope. I would have expected them to have been liberated long before the third week of April. But the winter has been a severe one in Eastern Washington and the nights are still dropping below freezing quite often.

I am anxious to release these harmless creatures so they can do "beetle" things during the brief summer they are allocated as a life form indigenous to Washington State. I hope to do so by May 1.

My visitants have taught me much and I am grateful to have known them.

D. Grant Haynes


I released my seven little darkling beetle charges today, May 19. I had never intended to keep them so long, but cold nights persisted well into the present month. And they had appeared to be comfortable and at peace in my care.

Still and all, they deserved to be free to do beetle stuff during the brief Pacific Northwest summer about to begin in earnest.

I released the beetles far from human habitation with its pesticides, herbicides and lawn mowers.

I made a brief video of their departure--something I may seek to incorporate into a comprehensive statement about my philosophical underpinnings and my long-held belief in the sanctity of all life forms.

D. Grant Haynes