Saturday, July 14, 2018

There is Hope for Humanity

     Politics. Shootings. Anger. Judgement. Division. Loss of compassion. Loss of hope. A disturbance in the spirit of humanity. Don't let those be the clouds that shadow the light in humans. The dark parts only allow the rays of light to shine more fiercely. The seed that catches those rays will grow to towering heights. To places where perhaps even the clouds can't reach it. Then, it becomes the the stuff of poems and dreams. Inspiring hearts. Hope is what shines brightest in the shadows. It is the tie that binds. I am idealistic, but I see that light in the majority of those around us. Sometimes, they just don't see it in themselves. At times I may have to hold on real tight, but I will never give up on humans. Ever. We need to nurture and kindle a tiny spark, if we ever intend to warm our spirits with the fire it promises.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Get ready for this extremely long story. I ran a herping camp one week. Herps are reptiles, and amphibians - Herptiles. Snakes are often the flagships of the herping community. The weather had been seriously eliminating the likelihood of any snake cameos all week. Needless to say, most of the group was wishing for summers "Secret Santa" to bring us some snakes. Most of the boards I seeded (placed out) the previous month were all flipped by some careless individual who failed to replace them, greatly harming the odds of a snake find farther more. Then, on the last day, we were modestly gifted by a couple of Garters. My assistant ran through my youthful squad of snake enthusiasts, to get a front row seat. He, of course was forgetting he was an assistant and not a student (I don't blame him) and in his excitement, he even brushed a couple kids aside, only to scare the snakes into a hole in the ground. It seems my students had learned the herping etiquette better than he. I dove forward just in time to grasp the second snake just in front of its ventral region. I knew I must be careful not to harm the snake, but had to gain fair purchase, lest it escape into the depths of the under Earth. Through effort, I managed to coax her out. The kids were all around me with eyes of glittering glee. While I was handling the snake, I was adamant about pointing out my methods of  interacting with the snake were less than recommended, but I had promised them at least one wild snake. I then pointed out each and every warning sign displayed by the agitated garter, starting with the musk all over my hand. A bite was imminent, and I made sure everyone knew it was coming if I didn't release the poor snake. Well, one of the students was Russian and had never seen a snake as it was his third day here in the U.S. I held on a bit longer for his first sake sighting. Wrong! Allow the vice-grip of countless teeth to commence! Within a second, four rows of teeth were successfully caressing my metacarpals with much enthusiasm. I kept my "teaching face" and continued to explain play by play what exactly was occurring and that I was fairly warned and I deserved it. The snake had fully extended its gape just on point of impact, thus locking on and unable to release. There was blood. Lots of blood. Garter bite means anti-coagulant. What was most unfortunate at that very instant, was that a squadron of first graders arrived on the scene because their guide got word I found a snake and wanted to share it with their class also. My kids were mostly 4th graders in age - give or take. I immediately asked them to form a wall, so as not to allow the wee ones to glimpse what would likely traumatize them. They did so with success and suave. I explained to my group that this should never have happened, and that I caused it. Snakes do not look to bite people and she gave me so many warnings. My rough retrieval of her did not help. It was a good opportunity to demonstrate that it's best not to handle wild animals, and that they choose to flee rather than bite, and even then they bite as a last resort. The students understood well. The thing is, I have been bitten by various things before, though very rarely. Surprisingly, this particular bite officially hurt. A GARTER of all things. They usually won't bite and if they do, it barely hurts, if at all. To add to the discomfort, there was snake musk seeping into my wounds. Not how I wanted it to go. While I am teaching, I often talk with my hands, and there was some humor behind gesturing with my hands while a snake hangs off the back. It took some time and effort to unhook the teeth from my skin and remove the snakes jaws from my hand.  You could follow my bloody trail into the building where I gained access to the rubbing alcohol. I felt so unprofessional, but I seized the opportunity to teach about what went wrong and the science behind the bite. Far better than one of them getting hurt for sure! One of the students was a little shaken from the visual, but I remedied that quite well. The following year, some of the same students ran into me and told me how well I handled the situation and that, for them, it was an exciting adventure, though better perceived than experienced. They remembered every lesson I had given about the snake, and shared the story with others. They also thought I was Rambo - lol.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Chris Egnoto's Blog : March 7 Snow Storm

Chris Egnoto's Blog : March 7 Snow Storm: I just wrote myself an article on spring about a week ago. In this article I went on to say that March is often the month that bea...

Thursday, March 29, 2018

March 7 Snow Storm

I just wrote myself an article on spring about a week ago. In this article I went on to say that March is often the month that bears the most intense weather of the year. While the warm spells of March are of the variety that send countless families to the park to enjoy the treat and soak in the promise of even more beautiful days ahead, winter still drops in with all its passion from time to time, just to remind us that it hasn’t quite left the building yet. This is now one of those nights. I am sitting here typing this at one in the morning (Mar 7th) and I gotta tell you, the snow is coming down in flakes the size of doves feathers! It started about 25 minutes ago and it is a sight to behold. It was raining for the past couple of hours and now that famous arctic air mass has moved in to waltz with the warmer moist air from the tropical Atlantic near the equator. It has made the biggest snowflakes I have seen in years. The fresh smell of the snow falling, mixed with the fragrant gases emitted from special bacteria spring soil is famous for, is nothing short of exquisite. Oh how I wish I was in the woods right now. Sitting under the tangled vines and holly, that seem to catch the snow and form a rounded canopy. Like sitting in a tent with the door unzipped. I know of such a spot. I have enjoyed its embrace many times. This spot shares the company of giant beech trees, maples, hickories and oaks. Hollies, pines and viburnums. And a half dozen species of shrubs and bushes for several acres. I am longing to be in that space right now. Where deer and foxes tip toe about the night, to get a final meal before the storm puts its full back into it. A million white petals of frozen water floating down from the great black sky above. Listening to the snow delicately fall and tumble off the dried beech leaves of last years growing season and hearing it meet the Earth, is just about my favorite thing to do in the cooler months of the year. I would be sitting there. In total serenity. Perhaps I would be walking about the meadow between the two stands of woodland or laying in my favorite tree. Maybe just cozied up with my sleeping bag, underneath a simple tarp tied between two of those growing pillars and out of humanly sight. Taking it in. Appreciating all of it. 
       Unfortunately, I am sitting on the floor of a closet in the apartment my Mom and brother live in. The apartment is in a decent area. Clean and safe. But it is too urban around here. Too developed. Shopping malls, strip malls, highways and streetlights. Everywhere. Every building has a flat roof. Every sound is a report of human population in full bloom. The rain I heard earlier and the snow I hear now, is that which you hear spinning off car tires sailing down the road. The footsteps of deer are replaced by those of nameless tenants on the other side of a couple of layers of drywall and some two by fours. The occasional trees I see, are surrounded by stamps of grass and lakes of concrete. I have no home of my own right now. No car or sense of security in fact. But, my people are nice and good to me here. They make me feel very welcome. I love my family, and I am lucky to have all I have. It is my home away from home. My dog and the woman I love are a hundred miles away. They love me, too. I think about them, and I think about how nice it would be to be able to turn my head and look at them. To hug them tightly. I get up frequently, to peer out the window of the family room. The room has no furniture in it and so I have a small sense of adventure. Like an animal holding up for the night while away from its den. I see the snow catching the glare of the light outside the window as it summersaults on through its beam. 

I so need a place of my own. In an area that is more…me. A place in the country, or perhaps just beside a considerable sized forest. A place of nature, where I can grab my backpack, a sandwich and something nice to drink and venture on out. Out into this gorgeous weather that always seems to pull at me like a dog on a leash. “Come with me” it says. “How can you stay inside while this masterpiece is taking place?” “I can’t” I say. “Maybe next year I will be free again. Maybe next year will be the year I can come back to life”.  As the snow falls, I try to think of it as the obstacles in my life falling to the ground. Falling away to set me free again. Free to soak up Mother Nature - to journey out and immerse myself into creation like a colt set loose from the starting gate. I am no colt, I assure you, but I am aching to get out of my cage! I feel like I reach out at life with both hands, only to stub my fingers on a wall of glass that I forgot was there. That glass can be thick. Yeah, my body hurts and all, but my spirit hurts greater. Give me freedom. And give me the means to appreciate that freedom. My spirit cherishes great creation. And it can’t stand to miss another second.                    

   - Chris Egnoto 
     March 2018

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The beauty of a summer storm rolling over the land.

             This is one of those storms where first, you start out with a nice, hot summer afternoon. Then, you notice a dark mass far on the horizon. Minutes go by as the breeze dies down and the flights of birds and insects alike, seem to become a figment of our imagination. We hear the robins singing their storm song as we look toward the horizon yet again, only to notice the black skies are nearly upon us. Like some rolling cavalry of iron giants. It just takes but ten minutes before the wind and rain slams into everything as the world about us becomes the realm of shadows. Releasing a thousand determined breaths, laden heavily, with sheets of water and leaves, dancing about like phantoms set loose from some ancient urn. Trees bending, air screaming and raindrops pounding the earth is something I long for when summers cadence has long since gone to rest to allow winter to move in and stake its claim. This video consists of me relishing one such moment. Come have a look, and tell me that you too, don't thirst for the summer storms. If even just a little. ;)