African Americans, Eco-Resistance, and Eco-Inequity:
Green spaces hold complicated meaning for many . . . Read more.
At the Waterfront in Homestead, Pennsylvania, I discovered a trail with the Monongahela River on one side and a mall on the other side.
Homestead was an access point for immigrants who worked in the Homestead Steel Works during the 19th century. The immigrants moved from the river’s edge up the hill to 8th Avenue. Fast forward into the future, and I spotted a robin on a limb on the trail re-framing the past for leisure and recreation. The rivers edge is covered by trees and weeds, some flowering.
It’s great heading out the woods for a hike but we can find places to walk in urban places like Pittsburgh.
Photos by Dianne Glave on an iPhone
When I first met Dean Ziegler, he told me he was a photographer. So I asked him, “Do you have any images of insects I could use for a blog?” Don’t ask me what my recent fascination is with bugs. Well, he said, “No, but I have plenty of flowers.” And so we began exchanging emails.
The photos became a catalyst for considering my own experiences and the environment. What follows is a mixture, a Rorschach test of sorts based on the photos:These shells speak to me. My parents are from Jamaica, a place surrounded by salt water, fish, sand, and shells. When I was a child, I remember going to beaches with stretches of white white sand and clear blue water where I saw multi-hued fish and seashells.
I also remember my trip to Mykonos, an island off Greece. I went on vacation with my brother. Everyday, we went to a different beach with names like Paradise, Super Paradise, and Super Super Paradise on small boats. On one beach, I was looking at the sand one moment and in the next there was a dark-haired man riding a black stallion along the stretch of beach. Hey, it’s Mykonos; it felt like I was in the middle of a movie production.
Shells also make me think of oil. Today, life along the Gulf and beyond is endangered. Clams and more fill shells that often end up on plates in restaurants on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. The BP oil slick endangers the fishing industry and by extension the restaurant and tourist businesses. But even worse are the images of birds slimed by oil and fragile wetlands in southern Louisiana coated by oil. Sigh.
This one is easy. Two thoughts. First, when I met Dean he told me I looked like a sunflower. Such a nice thing to say. Second, the flowers remind me of my Uncle Basil’s funeral in Jamaica. Some beautiful purplish red waxy flowers appeared the morning of the funeral. It was a sad time missing my uncle. It was also a good time because these funerals brought the extended family together from points all over the United States to Jamaica.
Since I’m already talking about death, I’m ok with continuing with this theme. This photo reminds me of the dead cypresses I spotted driving on I-10 south from New Orleans on the way to Grand Isle, Louisiana. I said to my seat-mate–I was with a group–“I think the dead cypressesare beautiful.” He was aghast and said, “What about the living things?” I responded saying, “There is no life without death.” This attitude has deepened for me during my recent internship as a chaplain. I am comfortable with death, while still embracing and enjoying life.
Dean D. Ziegler, originally from Franklin, PA, resides in Harmony, PA, and is the Superintendent of the Butler District of the United Methodist Church, Western Pennsylvania Conference.
He is married to Linda, has two grown children and two grandchildren.
All Photos by Dean D. Ziegler, Copyright 2010
Rorschach Responses by Dianne Glave
Pittsburgh is a walking city. I love that kind of city. Washington, D. C., Philadelphia, and Chicago are much the same. Even Los Angeles has pockets of great walking including beach cities like Venice and Santa Monica. Downtown Los Angeles has some wonderful spots for strolling–Chinatown the garment and business districts, Little Tokyo, Pueblo, and the Staples Center to name a few places–though some might disagree because of crime and safety issues.
Back to Pittsburgh. I traveled there for the weekend and realized I had left my trusty digital camera behind at home. I made due learning how to use my Samsung Eclipse camera phone:
City→(Earth to water to sky to vegetation to food to animals to people)←City.
Photos by Dianne Glave