07 October 2009

Stumbling Toward Mindfulness: the beginner's mind

It's been a busy few weeks on life's Zen River:

(1) The US Fish & Wildlife Service settled with us in our court challenge of the agency's decision that Big Hole River grayling (aka Montana fluvial Arctic grayling) were "not significant" and therefore did not merit protection under the Endangered Species Act. Along with getting the word out about this, it's time to decide "where to next." [see separate post, below]

(2) Superfund is in a demanding 5-year review process on several key sites in the upper Clark Fork River Basin of western Montana. It is amazing how much a handful of volunteers and a few overworked technical staff accomplish for the two EPA Technical Assistance Grant groups, CTEC & CFRTAC. [see separate post, below]

(3) Two conferences are coming up, and I'm working on papers about the unexpected connections between environmental activists that promote cleanup and historical preservationists that value industrial artifacts. Stay tuned on this one--I'll be posting some pics and an outline of what I've found.

View of Granite Mtn memorial overlook, a historic mining landscape in Butte, Montana:

(4) Classes. Teaching seems to run in some mysterious cycle driven by the moon's orbit, sunspots, and gravity waves sloshing around from the Big Bang. At any rate, I am more excited about teaching than I have been in many years. This is primarily because students in several classes are so incredibly good this year, particularly the sophomores in Technology & Society and a couple of grad candidates. Makes life worth living. Thank you, students!

(5) Personal Stuff. Wish this was on the same high point as teaching. In life, most everyone we deal with is positive, happy with who they are, and supportive of others. But somehow it only takes a few who, perhaps because of their own personal unhappiness, dedicate their life to causing problems for others. One, let's call him "Pardner," even connived a way to create legal problems for a friend who has moved from the area. It cost Friend some money. Pardner had nothing to gain from this and he had even been befriended by this guy in various ways. This kind of Stuff makes the Zen approach of the beginner's mind [Shoshin] more difficult some days than others.

On that note, however, I will end with a story from Karma 101: Old Pardner was disturbed when someone drove up a road (legally) below where he was hunting. On the way down, Pardner rolled large rocks into the roadway. Several weeks later, Pardner drove up that road himself, broke an axle on a rock: expensive tow & repair. Recently, Pardner caused a friend of mine some legal trouble. Cost Friend a few bucks. Can't wait to see how this one turns out.


troutbirder said...

Congratulations Professor. It looks like your & others dedication might be starting to pay off.

secret agent woman said...

Looks like instant karma got Pardner. Knoked him right on the axle.

Judy said...

Must remember that story, for the days when I need to breathe more deeply!
Glad your classes are going well, and that you are telling the students that. It would inspire them to continue their efforts!!

Max said...

As someone often stuck between the two mindsets, I can't wait to see your results concerning the cleanup vs historical preservation conundrum.

Janie said...

Pardner sounds like someone I do not want to meet!
Glad you have some interested and promising students.
A species that's "not significant"? Outrageous!