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User / Ramen Saha
Ramen Saha / 443 items

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The other day I met an unique goose who had two bodyguards, the wildest temper, a matching swagger, and was an albino. I named the dude the Lieutenant after Al Pacino’s hyper-angry character in Scent of a woman. The Lieutenant chased other geese aggressively and made them run for their lives. He was either very bitter or was just having a 'my bestfriend eloped with my girlfriend' sort of a day. It was fun to watch and photograph him from a mere distance of six feet although his frayed temper and loud honks were enough to trickle my adrenaline. At one point, after successfully kicking arse of two wimpy geese, the Lieutenant returned to his bodyguards and gave them a piece of his mind for staying back and being total slacks. The poor bodyguards knew better and did not yell back.

I have been panning the internet (including scientific literature) for the past couple of days trying to learn about the albino Canada goose. Funny, there is nothing related to be found although I stumbled on published information about strategies to introduce contraceptive pills to these birds in overpopulated areas! We humans are freakishly control-freaks, no? Anyway, my rusty zoology wonders if this is the result of a mutation in the bio-synthesis pathway of melanin, the brown/black pigment found in our skin and also in birds. Similar mutations result in human albino phenotypes. However, the Lieutenant has few colored feathers which make me wonder if he is more leucistic than an albino. Thoughts?

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Activists for birds and wildlife

Tags:   Albino Canada Goose Canada Goose Canada Geese Branta canadensis Ramen Saha

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Killdeers have very long legs. The other day, I realized they have long wings as well.


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Tags:   Killdeer Bird Killdeer in flight Plover in flight Plover Ramen Saha Charadrius vociferus

N 26 B 4.0K C 37 E Nov 12, 2012 F Nov 13, 2012
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“It is the nature of ebony, people say, as it grows wild in the forest or bush, to hear signals about what is going on in the human world, and it is these secrets which are revealed in consultation. The ebony knows the grumblings and suffering of people… (People) offer the ebony their problems, attend its signal in silence, and seek their salvation through it. The ebony can aid the people because it has listened to their voices.”
The Listening Ebony: Moral Knowledge, Religion, and Power among the Uduk of Sudan.
-Wendy James

Belief in the extraordinary, especially in their healing abilities, is inherent to human nature. The reason for such predisposition of the human mind could be many but at its roots, I suspect, the reliance on supernatural is an acknowledgement of and reconciliation with our limited self-healing abilities. Whatever the reason, such conceptualization reveals a marvelous feature of our brain… its ability to sew together unrelated concepts and ideas into a coherent strong narrative which is easy to believe. Uduk speaking Sudanese, over centuries, have believed that ebony trees (Dalbergia melanoxylon) can recall conversations held in their vicinity. This memory can be ‘retrieved’ by burning the black core of a branch and interpreting ashes and smudges formed when the burned stick is dipped in water. So strong is their belief that ailing Sudanese prefer interpretations of ebony diviner over modern medicine. While rational scientific thinking will strongly disapprove of the entire exercise, yet, thousands of Uduk-speakers believe in the listening ebony. Ask them and they will swamp you with their ‘rational’ about how a tree can indeed listen, remember, recall and heal.

The human psyche is deeply encoded to juxtapose human elements (hearing, memory) and the supernatural (to heal) together and assign it to nonhuman everyday objects to ‘make it’ believable. It is perhaps our latent innocence from ages ago that remains subconsciously active today and sculpts these seamless hard-to-dismiss narratives of supernatural healers. Healing, I admit, is an innocent process and there is no reason why a tree cannot heal, whether it can listen or not. Perhaps, counterintuitively, trees can listen and speak too?

On a recent nature walk with my two and half year old son on a somewhat melancholic morning, I suggested that he should try and talk to trees, for they listen very patiently. Amazed at my suggestion, he stared for few seconds at the big tree we stood under and then said calmly, “Daddy, listen to tree. Do you listen to tree?” These were his exact words.

Dismissing his comment would have been easy, but I could not. Perhaps, like the Uduk-speakers of a faraway continent, his unburdened mind has retained the innocence to hear whispers and hushes of trees. Perhaps, in trying to understand myself at an exaggerated level, I have exhausted my virtuousness and the sermons of trees and every other healer around me has become inaudible.

I should listen to my son. I should listen to the tree, the whispering tree.


Tags:   Fall colors Autumn Autumn Leaves Tree Ebony Tree Uduk Sudan Ramen Saha Crape Myrtle Crepe myrtle Lagerstroemia sp.

N 1 B 212 C 6 E Sep 4, 2010 F Sep 11, 2010
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Somewhere near the Lookout Studio on the Rim trail.
Grand Canyon NP, AZ

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My ego was severely battered last Friday when 12 fruitless frames later I had nothing decent about the red-tailed hawk I was chasing. As part of the healing process, I decided to keep an extra-sharp eye atop everything vertical on my routes. It should not be that hard spotting the most common North American hawk, I told myself after all the whining and cursing comforted no more. Guess what? I met this charming lady the very next morning! She was sitting on an electric pole that I passed by at 60mph. Well, my car has good brake-shoes; so I put them to an abrupt use and turned. This was to the USPS mailman's utter dismay who had parked nearby and probably had no idea about who was watching all his moves very closely.

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Tags:   Red-tailed hawk Buteo jamaicensis Hawk Bird Raptor Ramen Saha


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