Google Earth, or Captian Planet?

Rather than throw useless entries up on this site as filler until I leave at the end of the month, I thought I would use this time to remotely take you to some locations that deserve some attention, even if you never step foot there. A great way to do this is using Google Earth.

For this entry I want to take you to Pike County, Ky. In reality though, it could be Anycounty, Appalachia. I am directing you there to show you a form of surface mining referred to as mountaintop removal. It’s Getting Hot In Here has a short video worth checking out and SEATTLEDIRT has some great aerial photography showing mountaintop removal sites in West Virginia. This is a site I found using Google Earth (click the image to view full size or download Mountaintop Removal.kmz):

Pike County, KY

If you don’t already have Google Earth, you can download it for free. It is a great resource and I have a link on my download page. If you have Google Earth, expand the Global Awareness layer and make sure the Mountaintop Removal layer is checked. This will show you many other landscapes that have been altered due to this process. Once you view a few locations you won’t really even need the layer because you will be able to identify these sites with little effort, even without zooming in very far. They literally scar the entire Appalachian landscape. If the process can create this much change in the physical landscape, can you imagine how great an impact it has on the lives of those inhabiting the surrounding areas?

Coming into focus

begin verb \bi-ˈgin, bē-\

1: to do the first part of an action : go into the first part of a process

2: to come into existence : to have a starting point

Choosing to begin something typically makes me nervous. Life is filled with numerous external stimuli that create opportunities to begin, but in those cases, beginning seems more like a response, not a choice.

To choose to begin though, that is freedom. The ability to control when, why, how, where, and what you begin can be very revealing. This also tends to make me feel very vulnerable. It is as if I expect the world to look at what I chose to bring into existence at that moment, and judge how I spend my time.

Part of me hopes it does.

My life was a beginning gifted to me through the actions of another. A reflection of what stood before me, made of the same but with a perspective altered through the looking glass. This idea seems contrary to my previous view on life: “I am writing the story of my life.” This no longer seems accurate.

I am a character in the story of life.

This statement admits that while I control my actions, any direction, tone, or meaning of life rests in the hands of the multitudes. This also begs the question: if we are all co-authoring such a grand piece of literature, who is our audience?

Someone infinite in nature.

A supreme being that reads our story and knows how each individual character is connected to the whole. This being knows that I expect great things of myself and am currently doing nothing to move toward them. My potential is limited only by creating excuses to continue sitting idly in a town with which I have grown too comfortable. Watching the town grow, rather than my self.

It is time for some character development.

On August 30th I will move from my old Kentucky home of  seventeen years to an archipelago in the middle of the Pacific. My hope is that Oahu will give me a greater understanding of aloha so I can share it with the world. Grant me some of your time and I will give you my perspective of a  journey to better understand the story of life and the characters writing it. Maybe along the way I’ll get an opportunity to shake your hand.

Now I have begun.