Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Lansdowne Letters: We Love Our Land


Terry and I spent last Wednesday and Thursday traveling
from Aurora, Colorado to Laughlin, Nevada.
We traveled across some of the emptiest
and most beautiful regions of the United States,
including one stretch of I-70 that passes through 106 miles
of nothing, just a wild, natural world.







Some people find these western landscapes desolate and intimidating,
with their rocks, deserts, mesas, dry rivers, canyons, and big skies.
But this striking wilderness makes my heart sing!
It speaks to me unlike any other.



Near Parachute, Colorado, USA
Photo by M. Louise Barbour
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




Arapaho National Forest 
Near Frisco, Colorado, USA
Photo by M. Louise Barbour
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



For me, it is impossible not to think about the grand expanse of geological time
and about how land shapes people around the world.

Today, with over half of humanity living in urban areas,
I think we are at risk of losing our connection to land and to nature,
especially when we continually change the land
and try to bend the natural world to our will.



White River National Forest,
Near Glenwood Springs, Colorado, USA
Photo by M. Louise Barbour
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






New Overpass Under Construction,
Near Henderson, Nevada, USA
Photo by M. Louise Barbour
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



For many of the years I taught, my students would study the land
different groups of Native Americans lived on and how its natural resources
provided people with the water, food, shelter, and clothing they needed to survive.

On the surface it seems a simple enough concept, but it is really profound.
If you look at people throughout time and the different environments in which they lived,
it is fascinating to consider how much of their beliefs, culture, arts,
ways of thinking and behavior is derived from their lands.

As I travel through wild areas, I think about how people learned to survive in them,
and how important it is to preserve them for future generations.



Mesa Verde Sandstone and Mancos Shale Palisades,
Near Palisade, Colorado, USA
Photo by M. Louise Barbour
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





The High Desert in Bloom
Near Laughlin, Nevada, USA
Photo by M. Louise Barbour
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





Atop San Rafael Swell,
Near Green River, Utah, USA
Photo by M. Louise Barbour
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




There are still people today for whom their land is home
in ways those of us in urban areas can only begin to grasp.

I feel a deep connection to the magnificent land I traveled across
in Colorado, Utah, and Nevada (plus a tiny piece of Arizona),
but I will never understand it or connect to it the way people for whom it is home do.

When I lived in Lansdowne House in Northern Ontario as a young girl,
I didn't realize that the Ojibwa didn't think
of the wilderness surrounding them as wilderness.
They thought of it as home.

When I came to that realization later, it was surprising,
first because the wild and remote land around Lansdowne House
had seemed harsh and dangerous to me,
and second because once I understood it was home to the Ojibwa,
I couldn't imagine why I had thought otherwise.


Meeting a Summer Plane at the Hudson's Bay Dock
Lansdowne House, Northern Ontario, Canada
Photo (Transparency) by John Macfie 
Reference Code: C 330-14-0-0-95 
Archives of Ontario, I0012712



The Ojibwa in Lansdowne House, or Neskantaga as it is now called,
are currently engaged in a struggle to control
how mining development occurs on their land. 

The land the Ojibwa love is could not be more different from the land that speaks to me,
one of the world's largest intact wetlands versus the southwestern desert.

In 2012 the Neskantaga Ojibwa released a documentary 
We Love Our Land co-produced with PraxisPictures.

The documentary shows the stunning beauty of the Ojibwa land,
explains what it means to them,
and outlines the issues facing them
with the discovery of the Ring of Fire chromium deposits.

I invite you to take a look at one of the most remote
and least visited regions of Canada
to get a sense of what it is like
and the remarkable people who live there.

It is 12:25 minutes long,
so I am also posting a shorter version
that is 3:24 minutes long for your convenience.



We Love Our Land



We Love Our Land



Here are a few more photos from Terry's and my trip
across the southwestern wilderness of the United States.
These are from the Virgin River Gorge, one of my most favorite places.

The I-15 highway through the Virgin River Gorge is a marvel of engineering
and remains one of the most expensive portions of the interstate system ever built.

This portion of the Virgin River, some 24 miles long,
drops down from the Colorado Plateau to the Mojave Desert.


The Virgin River Gorge as seen from 20,000 feet.
Interstate 15 crosses the river in this photo.



The interstate highway passes through the Beaver Dam and Virgin Mountains,
a landscape of eroded, stepped cliffs and sandstone terraces.



Near the Beginning of the Virgin River Gorge
Photo by M. Louise Barbour
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved




In the Middle of the Gorge
Photo by M. Louise Barbour
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved





The Virgin River carved this long canyon and the beautiful canyon of Zion Nation Park.
I have driven through this canyon many times, and never tire of its magnificent rocks.



Along the Virgin River in the Gorge
Photo by M. Louise Barbour
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved









Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

Crossing Petite Passage
Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia
Photo Copy by Roy MacBeath 
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Personal Note:
My apology for missing another Northern Post last Friday.  Apple solved my computer issues, but then I ran into frustrating connectivity issues.  I hope I'm finally back on track.

For Map Lovers Like Me:





Location of Lansdowne House
Known Today as Neskantaga



Location of Lansdowne House
Wikimedia   edited


20 comments:

  1. time seems to lose its meaning as I looked at those rocky faces, snow covered peaks, and deep areas. How beautiful, and if we all lived for another few hundred years, would we see it all? Enjoy.

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    1. Geological time is so hard to grasp, and it only gets harder to understand time when you look into the universe and the possibility of endless multiverses. I would love to live for a few more hundred years (if I didn't get any older!!!) because there is still so much I want to learn and experience! I feel the pressure of time running out! :( Have a good one, my special friend!

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  2. While I'm a city girl through and through, I love going out into nature and being a part of it, breathing it in. Love the pics in this post.

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    1. I'm glad that you enjoyed the pics, Lynda. Today's technology amazes me. I took all but one of my own photos in this post with my iPhone while flying down the highway at 75 to 80 mph! It's hard to believe. Have a good one!

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  3. All those landscapes are beautiful. The first time my husband and I were in Nevada, we drove through the desert landscape just mesmerized. Such beauty so different from our home in the Mid-west.

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    Replies
    1. One of the great benefits of traveling is experiencing the different kinds of beauty in this world. We live on such an amazing planet! Have a great day, Christine!

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  4. Awesome photos! You've captured the timeless majesty of nature even as it endures the concrete trails we people blaze. While Nevada does have a few desolate areas, I've long been fascinated with the subtle hints of a connection between the ancient and celestial beings and the possibility that they are one in the same. I can just imagine the things they could teach us about living with and not in spite of nature.

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    Replies
    1. You've touched on a topic that I find intriguing, Deirdre. I have always thought that there is truth in the mythology of ancient times. We could use some wise help now! Take care!

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  5. Gorgeous photos, Louise, and the videos are wonderful! Happy and safe travels! Thank you so much for sharing.

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad that you enjoyed the photos and videos, Linda! In my haste to get this post set up before we drive to Phoenix tomorrow, I accidentally posted it a day early. So will I've got a good link to the internet, I'm going to try to get another written this morning. Terry is off with his best friend playing poker, and I'm back on my feet after being really sick the last two days, so I may just be able to pull another post off! Thanks for being such a loyal and supportive friend!

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  6. Great shots indeed.

    Yeah, I still shake my head as so many try and ruin such land and build new while they let the old stuff fall down around them. Pretty soon it will just be crap buildings falling down and all sparkly new. The rinse and repeat. Nature will find a way though, hopefully.

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    Replies
    1. Hopefully nature will find a way, Pat. It's having a tough time against the almighty dollar though. I hope humanity doesn't become an index fossil: distinctive, widespread, abundant, and LIMITED in geological time. Such pervasive species tend to get slapped down by nature. I hope that you are having a good one where you are!

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  7. Although I don't think I could live in a desert environment, it really has its own stark and surprising beauty. I've enjoyed traveling through the Four Corners area and experiencing it. Thanks for sharing your pictures :-)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Ellen! I grew up by water, so it's funny that I like the desert so much. It must be the geologist in me who loves rocks! Happy sailing on beautiful waters to you!

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  8. I hope they don't lose the battle for their land.
    I used to live in Arizona and the desert landscape is stunningly beautiful. I live on the East Coast now and I often miss those wide open expanses of nothing but natural beauty.

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    Replies
    1. My soul needs wide open spaces, Alex. Sometimes I find it hard to breathe in the huge old cities of the east. Have a good one, my friend!

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  9. I'd prefer that kind of road trip, especially the light traffic

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  10. Such gorgeous landscapes! It is heartbreaking when natural beauty is destroyed. I hope to travel through some of those areas at some point in the future. I want to see them up close!

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  11. You can't help but gasp at the beauty of these images. They make me want to pack my long underwear and visit. However, I can't imagine swinging in that freezing air like those girls in your father's school.

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  12. What a beautiful trip! Thank you for sharing everything with us! The wilderness makes my heart sing too! Thank you for sharing the videos too! Big Hugs!

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Thank you for your comments! I appreciate the time and energy you put into making them very much.