Wednesday, February 13

This I Believe

This is a paper that I had to write for my English class. Our assignment was to write a "This I Believe" essay. According to their website, "This I Believe is an international organization engaging people in writing and sharing essays describing the core values that guide their daily lives." It began long ago in the -50s and was continued recently by NPR. You can listen to and read essays here at their website: 

Here is my essay. I'm unsure about the ending and perhaps how strongly I make my point so let me have some feedback about what you think! (also, I have not yet had time to proofread it, so if you notice any typos, let me know!)


The Desert vs. Man

      Last summer, my mom, brother, and I visited my friend where she worked at Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is located at the southern end of the Great Salt Lake Desert in the middle of nowhere—over three hours from a major city, with two of those hours driven along a rutted dirt and gravel road. I loved the feeling of being out in nature, away from humanity; it was blissful. Overall, Fish Springs is perfect, except for one thing: that two hour drive.
     My mom had driven on the way to the refuge and she did not want to be the one to drive that road again. Alas, I ended up driving on the way back. Before long it was dark and we all had headaches from the incessantly bumpy drive. At one point we thought we saw the end of the road ahead of us, only to be greatly disappointed. When that moment finally did come when we reached solid pavement, we were so relieved that we simultaneously burst out cheering. But, we were greeted by something even greater than smooth ground; we had awoken the life of the desert.
     Anyone who says that the desert is a barren wasteland devoid of life is greatly mistaken: this, I learned that night. After driving hours without catching a glimpse of any other living creature, suddenly we were surrounded. Tiny kangaroo rats were running in and out of the grass and onto the road. A black-tailed jackrabbit bounded across the path and away into the night. Flying along beside us for a short distance before it dove to hunt in the grass was a burrowing owl. My mom, brother, and I were all laughing with joy as we observed the magic of the desert at night. This spectacle is something that I am forever grateful to have experienced, for it showed me that even in extreme environments where life may seem impossible, there can be found the means for great vitality if one only looks. Driving down that road with the bustling activity of all the desert’s creatures around me, I realized that I believe…
     And then the rabbit ran in front of car, too close for me to stop.
     I saw it only briefly, just long enough to tell it was a desert cottontail. Then, it was out of sight and we all heard the thud as the tire hit it. I kept driving for a while; I had not yet fully understood what had just happened. When the realization finally hit me, I broke down into tears and stopped the car. Nobody spoke. My brother handed me a tissue.
     I spent only a moment stopped there, just enough time to clear my eyes of tears so I could see, but then I continued driving. The sudden death of the rabbit had broken the magic. I do not deny that the night desert is mystical, and I still am thankful to have been able to share that knowledge with the desert. However, this is what I realized: we did not belong there, and there was nothing I wanted more than to get away. The desert was a place for the creatures of the desert, and when we intruded, nothing good could come from it.
     I believe that humans are inherently monsters. I do not believe it is normally mankind’s intention to do wrong, but we do. Perhaps it is best said in the words of author Ursula K. Le Guin in her short story The Finder: “I look at the world, at the forests and the mountain here, the sky, and it's all right, as it should be. But we aren't. People aren't. We're wrong. We do wrong. No animal does wrong. How could they? But we can, and we do. And we never stop.”
     This is what I believe, for we, as people, too often think that the world is ours—ours to dominate, ours to build, and ours to destroy—and in our blindness, we do what we think is right for the world and right for ourselves. Look around you. What do you see? Buildings, cars, lights, roads. We have ignored the millions of other creatures we share this world with, taking their homes, their land, their lives where we deem appropriate. Even in the middle of nowhere at Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge, I, as an ambassador of man, sent a stake through the heart of nature as I killed that cottontail. Everywhere we go, destruction stalks in our shadow, whether we want it to or not.
     There is nothing we can do to change mankind—we are what we are, and there is no denying it—but I do believe that we can at least apologize for the ruin we bring to this earth. To this day, the thought that I killed that cottontail haunts me, but every time I think about that moment, I tell Nature that I am sorry. And I continue to apologize for the rest of mankind for what we have done.


This is a true story, as true to my memory as possible, free of exaggeration. And yes, even the part about being haunted by the memory of killing the rabbit is true...

Tuesday, September 4

Rosie and Winter

I had to write this for a class but I so enjoyed writing it and the outcome that I decided to share it. This is an emotional response to Aldo Leopold's "A Sand County Almanac" chapter one, January.

Rosie and Winter

Last year was the first year that my dog had seen actual snow. She turned thirteen that winter.
We had just moved to Riverton from South Carolina, a place where even the threat of snow cancels schools and sells out grocery stores. My dog, Rosie, whom we have had since I was just five years old, came along with us, not sure what was going on. We arrived in summer and the heat was too much for a double-coated dog. Luckily, she didn't have to wait long for snow to come.
I am unsure what breed of dog Rosie is, but from the looks of her she must be some sort of German shepherd mix. She has very long and thick hair, and though she enjoys romping around in summer, especially if there is a cold stream to splash in, she prefers colder temperatures where she can run for as long as she wants without worry of overheating. This is why I knew she would love the snow out here in Utah. When summer was finally over here and the first snows began to fall, you could see the excitement all over Rosie's face every time we went outside. Some people may argue that dogs cannot smile, but their argument would be forfeit upon looking at my dog's face when she is out in the snow. There is no denying that Rosie is meant for the snow.
There was one part of every day that I looked forward to: suiting up in coat, gloves, and hat at night and taking Rosie along the path near our house. I brought along a leash just in case, but it was not necessary; plus, it takes complete freedom in order to enjoy the snow to its fullest. Rosie would romp through the deepest layers of snow, tongue lolling and a huge grin on her face. She would bury her face in the ice and come up with a mouthful of it, taking pleasure in the biting cold as it melted on her tongue. This was pure bliss.
Rosie is an old dog: this year will be her fourteenth. She has been diagnosed with Lyme disease and malignant tumors cover her body. She has cataracts that nearly blind her and her hearing is almost completely gone. Some would say that it would be kinder to just let her go, but this is not just my dog, this is my sister. I have grown up with her, watched her grow from a puppy to the mature dog that she is. When I was sad and did not know who to turn to, she was always there to comfort me. And I have seen that she is not finished fighting; I have seen the snow revive in her something that we had all thought long gone: vitality.
We have experienced snow before, but never to the caliber of last year's "mild" winter. This was something completely new, not only for Rosie to experience but for me to watch her experience. Though I enjoy playing in the snow myself, there will never be something I enjoy more than watching one of my favorite people (yes, even dogs are a people) transform simply by the influence of nature. This is why I believe the natural world is important to sustain. This is why I have been pushed towards a degree in natural resource management. I believe that experiencing nature is an important part of your life, and even an important part of every day. Nature can restore vitality to you or awaken new meaning within you by just simply being a part of it. This why we must conserve the dwindling nature that is left to us, for it is something that all generations should experience and be a part of. Nature is something life changing.
For the mouse, snow may mean freedom from want and fear. For the skunk, it may mean something entirely different. But for Rosie, it means freedom and life.

Wednesday, December 15


when it happened the first time
i didnt think anything of it
i was simply driving along a two lane road
and a van pulled onto the road and into the opposite lane of traffic
right in front of me
it wasnt that big of a deal
id had people pull out in front of me before
and i was only going 25 mph
there were cars parked on the road
so i thought maybe he just couldnt see me
but after he started pulling out
he started accelerating pretty quickly because he did see me
i hardly had to push on my breaks
collision avoided
but when it happened to me again in the same week
i began to wonder
another van
it pulled out in front of me entering the opposite lane of traffic
this time a four lane highway
two lanes per direction
this time i was going 35 mph
i didnt even have time to check behind me
i just instinctively slammed on my breaks
luckily there wasnt anyone behind me
and luckily i missed disaster
i was on the way to school
and i didnt think much of it
except that i was stupid not to look behind me
or check to see if there was someone beside me
in case i needed to swerve out of the way
it happens again
the third time in one week
this time
it is a red suv pulling into my lane of traffic
my speed is only 25 mph
they are on a collision course with me
i think that they see me and continue on
thinking they will stop
but they either didnt see or thought they had the right of way
(which they most definitely did not)
they just barreled on
i ended up having to swerve out of the way
which was no big deal
because the roads here in utah are a mile wide
but i cant help but think that there is something wrong with this picture
this is more than just mere coincidence
i thought of what the explanation could be
here is what i came up with
1) someone wittily placed a sticker on my car saying "crash into me please" without me noticing
2) my car is invisible
3) there is a conspiracy planning my death
i dont know which it is
but if you happen to know
then dont hesitate in filling me in
or if you have any other possible ideas
then let me know those too
thank you
i dont know if this has any significance
but i noticed that the first time it happened
taylor and my mom were in the car with me
and the next time
only taylor
and this last time
only me

Monday, November 1


so its been a long time since i last updated
i will try not to make this too long
but a lot has gone on
so there are no guarantees
here we go

not too long ago
clint taylor mom and i went to goblin valley
with uncle ians family
we had a blast
if you have not been there
then go now
right this second
because it is just about the coolest place in utah you can go

last week
mom and i went to see 20000 leagues under the sea
the 1954 version
at the local library
for a while we were the only ones there
but then this older couple came also
it was entertaining
and the special effects were surprising for a movie made that long ago
while we were there
i also got to look at the library
and i must say
i love the design of the building
the whole thing it so cool looking

mom melissa and i went to rock canyon trail
we didnt get to hike very far up the trail
because i had to do a photography project for school
but it was still fun
and we saw mountain goats of some sort
(i am hoping we will go again sometime and hike the whole trail?)
then we went to panda express
it was the first time id ever eaten there
i liked it
but i must say
jin jin is better
by far
we then bought ice cream at smiths
went home and ate it
vanilla frozen yogurt
and blueberry pomegranate chocolate chunk (melissas choice)
and they were both delicious
then we watched lords of the gourds
and i must say
if you ever get the chance to watch it
then do
or purchase it for a steal of only $24.99
(im not being serious
dont buy it
any maybe dont watch it
though i am serious about it being funny)
it was really funny
luckily for us
because we had not already eaten enough ice cream
grandma brought us some more ice cream and some cake
i felt so fat by the end of the day

so that is what ive been up to
and ive noticed that not many other people have been keeping up with their blogs
and i am curious to know what youve been doing
and then i will no longer be curious

Sunday, September 19


how could there only be 40 left in the world
the unlucky amur leopard
though they have conservation efforts going out for this species
they are doomed
there is such a slim chance of them ever making a come-back
please help before it is too late for other species
take steps to saving them now
before this is a planet full of only humans cockroaches and rats
tigers are down to 3200 total
25 sumatran rhinos
7500 sumatran orangutans
2500 mature wild pandas
20000-25000 polar bears and numbers are dropping rapidly
300-400 snow leopards in nepal
3000-5000 blue whales
(fact: blue whales are the largest ever animal in existence
larger than any dinosaur ever discovered)

Wednesday, August 25

first day of school

the first day of school is over
apush sounds hard
and i think i had work to do over the summer
that i obviously didnt
and we are going to have to read and write a lot
and the class is huge and loud
and i do not like the teacher
then i had band
and i did not like that either
i have to play with the marching band for football games
on my flute
and i really dont want to
that is the least fun part of marching band
and im not even in marching band and i have to do it
then i had french
which is full immersion
and she said even we are only allowed to speak french
i think they know a little bit more than i do
but i knew some things they didnt know
so that is good
i think i will like french
and then we had lunch
we went to susans
and even though she wasnt there
she left us some brownies
and a not that said we could make ourselves at home
she is too nice :D
she asked us our opinion on what the wall colour should be
and i liked spring brook or something like that
a nice cool blue color
i think it will look great
but whatever she picks i am sure will look great
after lunch i hurried to math
but was late
and the class seems hard
and i already have homework
but not too bad like apush did
and at least it will count for college credit
but i figured out that my college grade is determined only from two grades
a midterm which is 40%
and a final exam which is 60%
so if i do bad on either one
my college grade can be jeopardized
i dont think it will be too hard
the good thing about math is that there is a problem
and all you have to do is apply what you know to solve it
and maybe even what you dont know
but with things like history
if you dont know a specific name
or date
then you could fail miserably
the grading scale here is on tens
like 90+ is an a
and 80-89 is a b
unlike south carolina grading
tomorrow i have chemistry photo economics and english
how fun...

Friday, August 20


so i beat pikmin
in two days
and i liked it
and now i want to play pikmin 2
but i dont have it
so if someone has it and is willing to let me borrow it
let me know
pikmin 2
for the gamecube
im getting ready for the new pikmin 3 that is coming soon
cant wait

Wednesday, August 18

change of schedule

i have changed fourth period from ap music to digital photo
and i have filled in my empty class sixth period with drafting design
i now have another empty class semester 2 fourth period
i will take care of that later

Tuesday, August 17

class schedule

currently my classes are as follows
1 ap us history
2 cp chemistry
3 symphonic band
4 ap music
5 french 2
6 economics (semester 2 empty)
7 concurrent college alg/trig
8 ap english lang/comp
it might change

Friday, August 13

I would tweet this but I just tweeted something else

pim must have gas
because she is stinking away here