Category: Eco-Spirituality

Sea Turtle Mania

Sea Turtle Mania

IMG_4550As I hopped into the car, silver strands of spider webs swirled around me. After an 18 mile bike ride I was headed to help the sea turtle team with our three nests this morning. THREE!

IMG_4556Was on the bike just after 5.30am and enjoying the beautiful sunrise and cool temperature when my phone rang at 6.01am. It was a turtle team friend. She knows to call me before the ALL CALL goes out because I live 20 miles from our Laguna Key team beach. Rather than fumble with it I just let it go to voice mail and continued the ride.

When you are in the back of the state park on a backcountry trail, it’s going to take a while to get back to the car anyway. Why not finish my ride?

The Share the Beach ALL-CALL came in at 6.22am. I had already turned around to head back to the car so I’d check it when I finished riding. But at 6.31am my friend Cathy, who had called me earlier, texted me so I knew something was up. It wasn’t just one nest. Her text read: THREEEE NESTS!

IMG_4532So I forwarded my iPod to Prince and Michael Franti and put the after-burner on full blast. So much for a leisurely pedal back to finish the third day in a row of cycling fun. I texted Cathy: Cycling. Be there in a bit. There is an art to texting and cycling which I don’t recommend.

Back to the car by 7.10am and called to find out their location. Just starting the first nest at the far end of our section. Nice, I thought. By the time I drive from the state park to the beach they will have found eggs at the first nest and I’ll help with the other two. 

IMG_4558Unfortunately that wasn’t the case and in fact our team was split into two groups, each digging to find eggs on two nests within 100 yards of each other. I knew it was bad when I arrived and all I saw was the top of their heads sticking out from the hole. No eggs yet.

I joined in and it took us until 8.30 am to find eggs. The nest was right on the edge of the water and had to be moved by 9am. The other diggers still had no luck with their nest.

You might wonder how we know for sure there are eggs and it’s not just a false crawl. A false crawl is when we have tracks that generally are in and out of the water with no body pit or spray. An indicator of a nest is of course the crawl, an indentation or body pit and sand spray. Both nests had body pits and spray. The other nest was even closer to the water. A high tide would most likely take it out.

IMG_4560Deb found the eggs and ran to help the other group while Jan, one of our team leaders, and I started removing and counting eggs. Meanwhile Ken, the other team leader, went due north of us to dig a hole that would have the same depth and dimensions as the original nest dug by mama turtle.

We finished moving the eggs, putting the predator screen and stakes in place and marking it and headed for the third nest further east. We left the rest of our team trying their best to find eggs before 9am.

Nest three of the day was wonderfully placed by the mother turtle so we only had to find the eggs, not move them. And do all the measurements and GPS readings that we do.

IMG_4562I began digging…by digging I mean carefully using the side of my hand to gently scrap layers of sand somewhere in the spray zone of the nest. Ken and Jan started the measurements of crawl, placement and such. I hadn’t been digging long when the rest of our team showed up and helped. It was getting hot and none of us had eaten breakfast so we were quite anxious to find the eggs, take the GPS reading, erect the protective gadgetry and head home.

This is where the mother turned. Notice her body pit. Spray is to the left.

Every mother turtle has her own, unique way of placing her nests so there isn’t a formula that takes into consideration her crawl in and out of the water, the spray zone or placement of the body pit. Every one is different so that makes finding the eggs a chore.

Another view of the crawl, body pit and spray. Spray is to the left.

Thankfully, I found them within 15 minutes of scooping sand. All of our knees were nearly blistered from kneeling and scooping sand for hours. Also, our team isn’t made up of young adults. We are all middle aged plus so it really takes a team effort to do the work.

This past Sunday we had two nests, yesterday we had two nests and today three. I predict a really bad hurricane along our coast some time late August or early September. These turtles have a way of knowing when to lay their nests. I hope this isn’t the case but we’ve seen it before. Or they know the satellite tag team is about to began their work and they are wanting to avoid the capture and tagging process.

We were exhausted after our morning's work.
We were exhausted after our morning’s work.

About 55 days from now, we will be recruiting volunteers to help us with these nests. We erect black tarps behind and along the side to keep light from the houses and street out, but we really need to be present to make sure they don’t get out and crawl under houses or into the street. Surprise hatchings have yielded this result and it’s sad to see the carnage of baby turtles if they crawl the wrong way out of their nest. Third week of July if you’d like to become a volunteer we can get a free shirt and training for you. The nights sitting out under stars while the Gulf of Mexico laps gently along the shore….it’s just hard to beat. Seeing the tiny turtles in the black out conditions make their way to the water is amazing. Once in a while there is phosphorescence in the sand and their small flippers create little star-bursts of light as they touch the sand. Have I sold you on volunteering yet?

FullSizeRender 3We will have seven nests hatching around the same time. That’s crazy….and there could be more.

You never know what the day will bring. Today it was sea turtle mania. Tomorrow…who knows!

Ah-Ha Moment!

Ah-Ha Moment!

SimoneLipscomb (13)Decades ago I had a vision of living alone in a cottage as an older woman. I can’t remember the exact circumstances but it was a very strong image.

Society has certain expectations. If you are single and choose to live alone, and have the audacity to be happy,  it can make others uncomfortable. One of my long-time friends recently pointed out that living alone, choosing to be single, and being happy is a lifestyle. I had never thought of it that way before and it was quite eye-opening.

I love living alone. There. I said it. I find fulfillment and happiness by myself.

Los Islotes Shot
New friends I met diving the Sea of Cortez last autumn.

I have friends and I travel a bit and meet new friends. It would be awesome to have a traveling companion to enjoy nature with but if not, I’m still happy. I don’t really want a live-in relationship.

It seems the world is geared to people who are in relationship. I was listening to a playlist while cycling this morning and every song was about being in a relationship…with another person. What if I just want to be in a relationship with myself? Can someone please write a song about that? And make a fun one, a happy one…please.

SimoneLipscomb (8)Not to say I haven’t been in love or that I don’t still very much love a man. But who says love has to look a certain way? Can’t I love another person without wanting a romantic, rose and chocolates kind of experience? Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But are Cinderella and Snow White really the fairy tales we want to base our lives on? We never know what happened to their happy ‘ending’ after they became self-actualized.  Maybe they discovered they really wanted to live in their own castles and find joy in solitude and just invite the prince when they wanted to take a fun journey.

_TSL4466Creatively I am my most-productive when alone. I ride my bicycle alone with rare exception because I enjoy being out in nature with no distractions. My friend wrote me the other day and reminded me that I can choose to be happy in my life, but I have to consciously take that step. Today it all made complete sense.

Yesterday was the craziest day I’ve ever experienced but it opened me to this realization: I am happy. I like living alone and having a relationship with nature and my four-legged companions. I love and appreciate my friends and love a man that still brings wisdom to me even though we have been apart over four years. And I’m not closed to a relationship but I envision more of a traveling companion. But if he doesn’t show up, I’m still happy.

I wrote to my friend last week: I am clear that cultivating relationships with trees, ocean, earth, animals and learning to love…period…is my path. Love to depths that clears way anything that keeps me from being open to bringing through unconditional love and light.

Sometimes we need a reminder that we are already happy with what we have.

Mystical Predictions

Mystical Predictions

_TSL4466An email came from our team leaders this week about our schedule. I replied to everyone that we were going to have two sea turtle nests to process on Sunday. “Be ready,” I wrote.

_TSL4475Meanwhile it has been a very trying week topped off by one of my darling cat kids waking me at 2:30am this morning. Sleep never returned so I left the house at 4.30am and took my tripod and camera for some long exposure photography at the beach. Why not, I reasoned.

_TSL4503Conditions were near perfect. There was enough surf to give a very silky effect to the 30 second exposures. For half an hour, waiting for light, I stood on the beach and communed with the Ocean Mother while my camera perched on it’s carbon fiber legs soaking up the light and magic that was very present on the Gulf of Mexico this morning.

_TSL4493When it was light enough to see the beach clearly, I ran my tripod back to the car and began the mile and a half walk along the white sand. At 6.15am, 35 minutes after I began my walk, the most wondrous sight appeared.

_TSL4577A most-perfect V crawl and nest pit awaited discovery. I screamed in excitement, “YES!”I turned to the water and said with laughter, “THANK YOU!”Then I quickly fumbled with my phone to call our team leaders. As I was leaving them a message, a message from our All-Call system came in…we had another nest in the upper part of our section of beach. Immediately I remembered my prediction….be ready.

IMG_4518I hurriedly finished the rest of my walk and met up with gathering team members at the first nest. It was called in last night around 9.30pm and was already marked. This was incredibly good because human footprints completely covered the tracks. We would never have discovered it had the tourists not called it in.

We processed the nest, which had to be moved due to close proximity to the water. (Our federal permit gives us permission if the nest is too close to the tide line). But we couldn’t linger as we had nest number two of the day to process.

_TSL4642‘My’ nest had to be moved as well as it was too close to the water’s edge and high tide mark. Several of us dug (scraped carefully) to find the eggs. I found them!! Magic! Pure magic!

It had been a very rough week emotionally and as I stood at the water’s edge photographing at 5am I spoke with the Ocean Mother and shared my heart.  I felt a reply…We all make mistakes. Look…I had something to do with the birthing of __________ (politician). I laughed out loud at the thought. “Yes, I guess none of us are perfect,” I said out loud.

_TSL4578The Ocean Mother gifted me with the delight of her daughter turtle’s nest. At least that’s how I experienced it. When I arrived at the crawl it looked as if the sand had just been turned by her beautiful flippers. The eggs still had the beautiful mother turtle’s fluids fresh and stringy on them as we gently transferred them to their new incubation location, just above the high tide line.

The lesson for me this week has been to face all of who I am…the good, the bad and the ugly. There is a surrender that comes with that choice and in it are little gifts and treasures. Super-grateful for the photographs of the silky sea….which is how I see the energy of the sea…and for the mother loggerhead who gifted me with a perfect crawl and nest…and for the other turtle mother who made my mystical prediction a reality.

Psychic Simone predicts a nap in her very near future.
Psychic Simone predicts a nap in her very near future.

Here’s another prediction….I see myself taking a nap very soon. And I’m contemplating opening a psychic hotline very soon. Details to follow.

Bless the Space

Bless the Space

_TSL4000A new book has just begun the process of being birthed. For a few weeks I’ve been organizing my mind and now the task of actually organizing the writing has begun. And of course my mind is searching for distractions.

Part of the creative process involves searching through journals and other writing I’ve done in the past so naturally there are many wonderful storylines to chase. I wasn’t looking for them and they aren’t related to the book I’m writing….but gee, it was fun to chase those rabbits.

SimoneLipscomb (5)Until I realized I was distracted. (Sigh).

One of the threads I chased, however, was actually one I was searching for and who can help getting a bit carried away with John O’Donohue?

_TSL0818I was looking for a journal entry on a manatee trip but couldn’t remember the date. Never found the journal but did find the blog post. So then I wanted to find the passage I was listening to on the trip that I was writing about and found the audio file, listened and then found myself following little threads of John’s teachings. Teachings that have blessed and assisted so many of us.

Here’s a few of the threads:

From an interview with Diane Covington in 2006: “Everyone of us dreams and a dream is a most sophisticated artistic document. When you were a child you lived in an imagined world and the child-like side of the self never dies. There is a relentless pulse of creativity within us.”

From Bless the Space Between Us: “To Come Home to Yourself–May all that is unforgiven in you be released. May your fears yield their deepest tranquilities. May all that is unlived in you blossom into a future graced with love.”

SimoneLipscomb (12)John said that fear blinds us and we see only one door, one possibility, when there might be seven or eight doors. Every person is the holder of incredible possibilities. Deep down, he said, we know exactly what is going on and we have to give that truth a chance. If we can drop into stillness, silence and solitude everything that needs to happen will happen. The key is recognizing the seeds planted by others, that we have watered and tended with attention, that overshadow the truth.

SimoneLipscomb (4)He tells of sitting at people’s bedsides while they are dying and finding that regret is one of the loneliest places humans can ever find themselves. What is it that your heart truly wants to do but you are too afraid to do, he asks? What seeds have others planted that have made you doubt your own heart’s voice? How does fear keep you from living your life the way you want to?

_TSL2046“Each day is the field of brightness where the invitation of our life unfolds. The writer goes to his desk each morning to meet the empty white page. As he settles himself, he is preparing for visitation and voyage. His memory, longing, and craft set the frame for what might emerge. He has no idea what will come. Yet despite his limitations, his creative work will find its own direction to form. Each of us is an artist of our days; the greater our integrity and awareness, the more original and creative our time will become.”

_TSL2013So I chased a few rabbits, followed a few threads, and wrote a few paragraphs. All of which is sacred space, creative space. And now this space between us, may it be blessed. Thank you John O’Donohue for the teachings you shared with us.


Everyday Kindness

Everyday Kindness

FullSizeRender 6A friend shared about his efforts to start a spay/neuter and rabies program for stray cats in a remote place he’s been working. It’s such an isolated sort of place with other agendas so his efforts touched my heart deeply. Where politics and violence are the focus, he quietly and gently planted ideas for change. Compassion, kindness towards innocent creatures.

IMG_1844His story really struck a chord within that amplified ideas of late that have been rattling around in my heart and head: It’s the daily acts of compassion that create lasting change in the world. Acts done quietly, perhaps unnoticed by others.

FullSizeRender 5Big events, big gestures are catalysts for sure but it’s the daily practice that creates positive shifts in consciousness that continue and build and spread. As each of us practice these small efforts, they become the normal way of being instead of something we have to think about or remember to do.

Art on the wall in the Miami Airport!!!
Art on the wall in the Miami Airport

I used to believe that there was some big purpose for which I came into this life. Now I understand that it’s simply to be kind and compassionate to all beings and learn to love deeply, unconditionally, without judgment. This realization lifts a great burden of striving and pushing against all the uncool things happening. It seemed far too overwhelming to ever make a difference.

IMG_1969We don’t give up our efforts to bring light into the world. We just grow to understand it’s simply a way of being that brings transformation….to ourselves, to the world.

_TSL4354May we be a ray of light every day by practicing simple, everyday kindness.