Our world is a miracle, nothing less. It is a lifeboat in the vastness of space. Its ideal combination of gases that we call air and the plentiful liquid water resulting in a remarkable diversity of life…life easily taken for granted in our daily rush but truly miraculous.  The 21 degree tilt that give us seasons and, more importantly, moves air and water around the globe in currents and in the process spreads life to every corner.  Its “thin blue line” of ozone and strong magnetic core providing a force field shielding us from harmful radiation and preventing the planet from overheating.   Earth is a miracle planet!  A one in many billions planet.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that ever more clearly.

I was not a wildlife photographer until recently.  Taking hikes into nature with a camera gives you tremendous appreciation for the life that surrounds us.  Even here in heavily urbanized Long Island, we have remarkable wildlife…if you just look.  We need to take care better care of this planet. If we ruin this place, there is no other for mankind.  Although some have dreams of colonizing Mars or some other mythical place beyond our solar system, and I am all for exploration, that simply won’t happen as anyone who knows the science will tell you.  “Mars ain’t no place to raise your kids/In fact it’s lonely out in space,” as Elton John famously sang in Rocket Man.  We are so lucky to have this place to call home.  That is what our exploration has taught us so far!

The Story So Far…

Where it all began.  With Mom, Mineola NY, 1959  My mother was truly inspirational to me, the smartest person I’ve ever known.  She was born July 16, 1928 and passed away January 3, 2012 after a long battle with Parkinson’s.  Along the way, she escaped depression era poverty growing up in hardscrabble Elizabeth NJ with the help of her beloved mother Divina Malanga and a loving family, ultimately earning a PhD, teaching at a variety of universities including NYU, Columbia, Pace, William Patterson College and others (and to her great satisfaction, a guest lecture spot at Harvard).  She was the foremost scholar in the world of the New York legitimate theater (“Broadway” to the rest of us), curator of the Museum of the City of New York Theater Collection, member of the Tony Awards committee, writer of numerous books on the theater.  And she was an incredible, loving mom to her three boys.  Always missed and never far from my thoughts.  Mom was featured in a New York Times obituary, a well deserved honor.

 

Christmas with my Brothers 1962.  Rockville MD.  Christmas was always wonderful in our home.  Santa, as usual, got all the credit but it was mom and dad that made it real.  I have very fond memories of waking up just after my parents had gone to bed to sneak down and look at the tree.  Some how the living room went from empty to full of presents in an instant…and the cookies were gone from the table!  We wanted to believe long after we had figured out the truth!

Fall of 1979, age 20.  I was on the last leg of the longest hitchhike of my life, from UVa in Charlottesville, Virginia to Granville, OH to return to Denison University for homecoming.  I had gone to Denison my freshman year.  Lots of adventures along the way.  I would not do it again!

Tokyo, Japan.  2007  My first trip to Asia, which included stops in Hong Kong and mainland China, for the B&W Group.  I logged many miles over the next decade.  My fascination with our world was only increased.

Lyon, France. 2013.  Lyon is a beautiful city bisected by the Soene and Rhone Rivers in the shadow of the Alps.  I had only a brief visit and hope to return one day.

Old Furnace State Park. Killingly, CT 2017  2017 was an eventful year with the loss of my dad (my mother having passed in 2012), a dear friend and a career change.  I am a born optimist, however, and accept the trials and greatly appreciate all the joys of life.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.  Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain