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Humans - Animals - Environment
"And God saw all that He had made, and behold,
it was very good.   And there was evening and
there was morning, the sixth day" (Genesis 1:31)

Block Island, Rhode Island, USA
An island in the Atlantic Ocean 14 miles East of Long Island
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(Block Island - Atlantic Ocean)  For many years, we have been flying into Block Island for a day trip.  It gives us a change of scenery, a change of pace, and a way to get away without having to pack for a vacation.  We get all the enjoyment of a vacation, and we do it in only one day.  Sometimes, while we eat our lunch, we sit on the shore and look out into the Atlantic Ocean, observing the different colors and the waves gently breaking over some rocks that are just below the surface.


(Block Island - Atlantic Ocean - a)  This is an enlarged view of waves gently breaking over the rocks that are just below the surface.




(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Mary)  Mary is standing on a bluff in a park on the Eastern side of Block Island.





(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Mary - 2)  We find that there is almost always another picture within a picture.  So while looking at this close-up of Mary, something I've enjoyed doing for the 41 years of our marriage, also look at the rock in the water with birds upon it.




(Block Island - 8 Aug 2002 - Shore - 01)  In this photo, we're looking out into the Atlantic Ocean from a dune on the Eastern side of Block Island.  Humans and animals can enjoy nature together as the lone bather and sea gulls testify.  In sharp contrast are the fishermen in the boat who feel that they have to cause pain, suffering, and death in order to enjoy the great outdoors.



(Block Island - 8 Aug 2002 - Shore - 02)  On calm days, like this one, when the waves are not splashing over the rocks, sea birds come and rest in the shallow waters or upon the rocks.  It is so nice to be able to enjoy nature without harming it.




(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Shore - 02a)  On another off-shore rock, two herring gulls are resting.





(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Shore - 02b)  We also enjoy looking out to sea and observing the sharpness of the horizon and the constantly changing pattern of clouds.  There is something very relaxing, even meditative, about such a scene.



(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Shore - 03)  This photo, taken from a dune just North of the ferry docks at Old Harbor,  highlights the contrast between the natural beauty of the Island and the commercialism that transports people and goods to and from the Island.




(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Shore - 03a)  But, if we lower our eyes a little from the commercialism of the harbor, we once again return to the natural beauty.




(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Shore - 03b)  There is a simple beauty in the ripples of the dune, the tufts of grass, and the shadows the sun casts upon the sand.




(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Shore - 04)  This is a view from a bluff in a park on the Eastern side of the Island looking toward the Southeastern tip of Block Island.




(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Shore - 04a)  This is a closer view of the Southeast tip of Block Island.




(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Shore - 05)  In this photo, we are looking into a cove on the eastern side of the Island, South of Old Harbor, where a section of road had been washed out by a storm.  The lighter colored rocks were placed there to reinforce the embankment, so that the road could be rebuilt. 



(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Shore - 06)  We are on the bluff in the park on the Eastern side of the Island looking at a quiet section of the beach.





(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Shore - 06a)  The strands of grass in the foreground give an interesting contrast to the rock jetty and beach scene.





(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Shore - 07)  A few moments later, a larger wave broke upon the rocks.




(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Shore - 08)  We enjoy looking at the simple things along the shoreline:  a driftwood log on the loose sands of the beach, and the contrast of the cemented sands of the bluffs with their plants doing their best to hold back wind and surf erosion.




(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Shore - 08a)  We found this harder cemented sand clump of bluff quite interesting.  The softer sands around it have been eroded away, leaving it to stand alone with its bushy cap.




(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Shore - 08b)  This is another view of the grasses and plants that grow along the base of the bluff where it joins the loose beach sands.



(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Shore - 09)  This is another look at the cemented sands of the bluff with its grasses and plants.





(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Shore - 09a)  One of the nice things about using a digital camera is that you can easily isolate sections of one photo to make other detailed pictures, like this one of a section of a cemented sand bluff.



(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Shore - 09b)  This is a view of another section of the the cemented sand bluff with its coarse grass and plants which contrast with the softer beach grass.






(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Shore - 10)  Just a short distance north of our vistas of the rustic beauty of Block Island is a commercial beach punctuated with the noise of rock music.  In the distance is the Northeastern tip of the Island




(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Shore - 11)  There is always something soothing about walking along the beach, or upon the grassy dunes: there's the blending of the colors of the water, rocks, sand, and grass; there's the sound of the ocean waves breaking upon the rocks, even on a calm day like this one; and there's the sound of the birds and insects joining to create another segment of God's endless symphony of loving creation.


(Block Island - Coast Rocks)  Sometimes, we walk along the beach and look at the multi-colored water-washed stones.





(Block Island - Coast Rocks - a)  There are rounded gray granite stones with speckling of black and white.  There are various shades of sedimentary stones, like the multicolored lime rock ones that surround the speckled gray granite stone.



(Block Island - Coast Rocks - b)  Some of the lime rock is almost a pure white marble (lower-left) or white mixed with orange and gray patches (center).  We believe that the orange color in from iron.  The  gray is imbedded mica, that glistens in the sunlight when the stones are dry.


(Block Island - Coast Rocks - c)  And, some of these water-washed stones are almost black.  There is such a variety of colors and textures to add interest to our stroll along the beach, that we never get bored with seeing them again.




(Block Island - Herring Gull)  In a protected cove, a herring gull stands on a rock in the shallow waters preening him/herself.




(Block Island - Duck - 1)  We always walk from the airport, and one of the ways we go takes us by a duck pond, where we enjoy watching the ducks.





(Block Island - Duck - 2)  This duck continued to gently paddle across the pond making tiny ripples amidst the larger windswept waves.





(Block Island - Duck - 3)  Another duck was gently paddling around with his or her head in the water looking for some of the tasty pond plants that were growing below the surface.





(Block Island - Duck - 4)  We could almost hear this duck say, "Look what I've found!', as he or she upended him/herself to reach for the food growing below.




(Block Island - Duck - 4a)  And immediately this duck looked way down below the surface to see what the other duck had found.




(Block Island - Duck - 5)  By this time the first duck had gotten something to eat, and was once again doing a headstand to reach for some more.




(Block Island - Duck - 6)  This is a closer look at one of the headstanding ducks.  Note the leg action to help keep his or her body up-ended.







(Block Island - Duck - 7)  Pretty soon more ducks came and began doing their headstanding feeding routine.





(Block Island - Duck - 7a)  Just in case some of us might have wondered how these ducks manage to do their headstands, this one demonstrated the leg-kick that up-ends them. 




(Block Island - Duck - 8)  This duck is cruising along looking for some more food.




(Block Island - Duck - 8a)  And then there were two standing on their heads.  When we stop and watch these ducks enjoying their lives as God intended, it's so hard to understand how some people can kill and eat them!




(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Ducks - 01)  This year, when we returned to Block Island, we discovered that there had been a drought in 2002 and the duck pond had dried up to nothing but a mud hole.  The ducks were all on the grass around the former pond.




(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Ducks - 01a)  Most of the ducks were on one side of the "pond", but they were in small groups of friends, just as we humans tend to do.




(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Ducks - 01b)  There was a group of three ducks eating grass and other vegetation in the shade of some trees.




(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Ducks - 02)  As we were watching these ducks, we couldn't help but think about part of the consequence of God granting us reluctant permission to eat animals: "the fear of you and terror of you shall be upon [them]" (Genesis 9:2).  We get the feeling that animals would rather be our loving friends rather than have constant fear of us, and that Isaiah's prophecy of the Peaceable Kingdom (Isaiah 11:6-9) is for the here and now, if we would stop our violence and allow it to come to pass.  There are plenty of plant foods to eat.  We don't need to kill animals for food!


(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Ducks - 02a)  A duck parade!  After a while, the ducks decided to go to another grassy area that surrounded the basin of the dried up pond.




(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Ducks -03)  After a short walk, the ducks decided to settle down to eat, preen and relax.  They were enjoying their lives!



(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Rose - 01)  Throughout Block Island there are wild roses growing on the sandy dunes.  This rose was north of Town on the road leading to New Harbor.  So, we took some time to smell the roses and take a few photos.




(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Rose - 02)  This is a closer view of the center of one of the roses, also called "salt-spray" roses or beach roses.  Their scientific name is "rosa rugosa".  Originally from China, they were brought here by settlers and later escaped from their gardens.  On Block Island they cling tenaciously to the sand dunes just behind the beach.



(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Rose - 02a)  This is a bee's eye view of the stamens and pistils of a wild rose.






(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Rose - 03)  This is a dried rose hip, the seed pod of the rose.





(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Rose - 04)  This cluster of buds surrounding a blooming rose caught our eye.  The beauty of the rose is a reminder that there is something very special even about thorn bushes.  Perhaps, one day we will learn that about each other and the whole of creation, and cease our warring madness.




(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Rose - 05)  Among all the red roses, was this lone white one.





(Block Island - 8 Aug 2002 - Beach Pea - 01)  We saw these beach peas growing on the side of the road.  They were climbing on other vegetation and the guide rail.




(Block Island - 8 Aug 2002 - Beach Pea - 02)  One of the developing pea pods of these beach pea plants can be see on the right side of the photo.




(Block Island - 8 Aug 02 - Beach Pea - 03)  The beach pea has also been called a butterfly pea because the upper two petals of the flower resemble the wings of a butterfly.






(Block Island - 8 Aug 2002 - Flower - 01)  A little farther up the road, we saw this flower growing on the edge of someone's yard.  We were not able to identify it, but we did notice a beach pea plant growing on it and the shrubs (right side of photo).




(Block Island - 8 Aug 2002 - Flower - 02)  This is a closer view of this unknown trumpet-shaped flower's interior.






(Block Island - 8 Aug 2002 - Mullein - 01)  We saw this mullein growing along the side of the road.  It was the first one that we ever remember seeing that has developed a branched flower stock.










(Block Island - 8 Aug 2002 - Mullein - 02)  The mullein is not the type of flower that most of us would consider to be among the most beautiful of wild flowers; but it is dramatic in size, growing to heights of more than six feet.





(Block Island - Lichen - 01)  Block Island has many stone fences and walls.  We spotted this lichen growing on one of these walls.  Lichens are composed of algae and fungi that work together to sustain the lives of both, with algae supplying the food and fungi providing the moisture.



(Block Island - Lichen - 02)  This is another picture of the lichen growing on the stone wall.





(Block Island - Lichen - 02a)  All of God's creation has a special beauty all its own, if we care to look close enough to see it.  And, if we do see this beauty, we should also desire to preserve it.  We should not say that one creation of God is more beautiful than another.  The ocean has beauty, ducks have beauty, rocks have beauty, and so does the lichen growing upon the rocks.


(Block Island - 8 Aug 2002 - Lichen - 01)  In actual size this picture is less than one inch across, but this enlargement gives us a different perspective of the rock surface of the stone wall and the lichen that is growing upon it.






(Block Island - 8 Aug 2002 - Lichen - 02)  The crystallized minerals in the rocks of the wall look like sparkling gem stones calling attention to the lichen growing near by.




(Block Island - 8 Aug 2002 - Lichen - 02a)  There are so many interesting shapes of the lichen that are revealed in these close-up photos.  Note the "tube" at the top of the photo.






(Block Island - 8 Aug 2002 - Lichen - 02b)  The upper left of this enlarged photo shows lichen growing in the shape of a mouth.  It brought to mind what we are told in the Bible (Habakkuk 2:11 and Luke 19:40): that if God's people will not sing and live the praises of God, that even the rocks (stones) will cry out, or in this case, the lichen upon the rocks.  We need to learn that being good stewards of this earth will preserve life and insure our future upon it.


(Block Island - Wind Generator)  On the more commercial side, Block Island has a wind generator.  The wind turns the three-bladed propeller, which turns the generator to make electricity.  The wind generator sits on a hill between Old Harbor and the airport.







(Block Island - Salty Dog)  Nap time for the Salty Dog!  As we were walking through town, we saw this dog asleep in the doorway.  He didn't move, even when people were coming in or going out the doorway.  We wondered if the dog came before or after naming this shop.

On 28 December 2002, Maegan Hobe, the owner of Salty Dog, wrote to us to answer our wondering about the name.  She said that the store was named after her Grandfather, who made his living at sea. She said, "Salty the dog didn't arrive until the second season of the store and I originally wanted to call him Ben but my mother insisted that Salty would be a clever name...she was right...He's the mellowest, most well-behaved dog you'll ever meet.  He's been that way since he was a puppy and he's now 5.





(Block Island - 8 Aug 2002 - Old Harbor - 01)  This is a partial view of Old Harbor and a departing ferry boat.




See our other Block Island Excursions

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