Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Coming to Pass: Guest post by Susan Cerulean and David Moynahan

Welcome to guest writer Susan Cerulean and photographer David Moynahan. Susan and her husband Jeff have collaborated with David and his wife Crystal for more than a decade--creating books and events, and exploring Florida's coast and other wild places from the Suwannee River to Iceland to the Virgin Islands.  Below is an excerpt from their newest collaboration, "Coming to Pass: Florida's Coastal Islands in a Gulf of Change".


I once watched a woman collecting live sand dollars from a shallow bar off St. Mark's. She waded near me, knee-deep, fumbling for the flat rounded animals with her toes, and then pulling them to the surface of the water.

"What are you going to do with all those sand dollars?" I asked. For fear of crunching down on their shells, I had been stepping cautiously through the water column.

"I'm collecting them for party favors for my niece's wedding," the woman replied. She wiggled another palm-sized dollar free from the soft sand, and added it to the blue plastic bucket she carried.

"You know they are alive, don't you?" I asked. Her bucket brimmed with at least a hundred sand dollars. Their fine brown moveable spines, which formed a felt-like coating over their shells, waved impotently in the cool air.

The woman drew back, no doubt sensing the judgment I couldn't keep out of my voice.

"Yes, I do," she said. "So I'll have to soak them in bleach and let them dry before I can paint them for table decorations."

To this day, I cannot think what more I could have said to that woman, or done.

You know they are alive, don't you?

The deep pathology of our time, wrote cultural historian Thomas Berry, is to consider our rights and our story as human beings to be different from those of the rest of creation. One of the many consequences of such thinking is that it leads us to believe that our future is unrelated to the fate of the rivers, the shorebirds, or the sand dollars.

Susan Cerulean is a writer and activist who lives and works in Tallahassee, Florida. She has produced a small shelf full of books about her state, and especially loves being with and observing wild birds. Her nature memoir "Tracking Desire: A Journey After Swallow-tailed Kites" was named Editors’ Choice by Audubon magazine. This excerpt is from her latest book, "Coming to Pass: Florida's Coastal Islands in a Gulf of Change," with images by David Moynahan.  Please subscribe to her blog about nature and activism at
David Moynahan is an award-winning conservation photographer living in the Florida Panhandle. His goal is to help raise awareness of the precious natural world that still surrounds us. At this time of spiraling environmental crises, too many of us have become exceedingly disconnected from nature. By adding his work to the efforts of environmental groups, scientists, and policy makers - honoring the old adage "a picture is worth a thousand words" - David believes that we can re-inspire awe, respect, and stewardship of our remaining wild places. 
A Florida native, David grew up in Miami, with Biscayne Bay, the Everglades and Keys his extended backyard. He spent his youth exploring the seashores and studying the creatures that lived there. Early on, he began to paint and photograph seascapes, fishes, birds, and abstract compositions from nature. Photography became the basis of his journal-keeping as he explored biology, medicine, art, travel, and parenting into adulthood. Over the past decade, his love and respect for the natural world, eye for composition, and long photographic experience have converged into the diverse and striking images that make up his work today.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Jules Verne: Happy.

     With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?
                                                                                                                         ~ Jules Verne