Sunday, August 8, 2010

Acquaintances Become Friends

Friend – “a person whom one knows well and is fond of; intimate associate; close acquaintance; applied loosely to any associate or acquaintance, or as a term of address even to a stranger” from Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary.

In Water From Stone, I’m quoted as saying that I know a lot of people, but I have few friends. However events in my life the past few years have lead me to questions my definition of friend.

As the dictionary says, it could be a close acquaintance. In going through this questioning, I’ve come to realize I have many friends so I retract my statement. I think Selah has done that for me . . . from the thousands of people, young and not so young, who have visited here my circle of acquaintances has evolved into friendships. Likewise, I have many of these visitors who tell me that the “Selah Moments” they have experienced here have had a profound life changing impact on them. They need to return to walk a trail, experience the changing seasons, see nature’s progress, to talk to Colleen, Steven or myself, to have another Selah Moment. These encounters over time, the familiarity from them that develops in our lives moves us from acquaintances to friends. One aspect of this that has moved me is that age, sex, religion, politics, social status, financial status, nor anything I can think of, none of these are a barrier to friendship. I’m so very pleased to have come to this realization. Reflecting on this has been a good experience for me. I recommend you try it.

Pilar and Apolos Urquieta live in Peru where they are restoring a tract of land and using it for environmental education. They learned about Selah from the internet. Photograph taken by Lois Sturm.

Kim Kennard spent three summers in Texas while doing research for her Master’s Degree in relation to bats and their value to agriculture. Kim did a short stint as an intern at Selah. Matt Valente is a Ph.D. candidate in Geography and Paleo Ecology. Photograph taken by Joanna Rees.

Ed Sones is a wildlife rehabilitator who has brought many “creatures” to the ranch for release. Here he is preparing a green heron for its new home on Selah. Grey and Willow Grote, who live here on the ranch, learn about the many animals brought here by Ed and Sallie Delahoussaye. Photograph taken by Lois Sturm.

Dr. Kunz has brought many scientists to Selah to do research on bats and along with others they have developed a system used to actually count the bats emerging from the cave. Pictured are some of the young people who spent three weeks with us in July. Their credentials are so impressive everything from undergraduate degrees, master degrees, doctorial degrees and post doc student except Lois and me who are “lowly” undergraduate degree holders. From left to right they are: Paul Heady, III, Winifred F. Frick holding their son, Darwin, Nathan Fuller, Lois Sturm, J. David, Dr. Tom Kunz, Jaclyn Aliperti, Leslie Pepin. Photograph taken by Mary Jo Snider.

Gary McCracken, Professor and Department Head Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee. Gary is a nationally known bat biologist. He is a scientific advisor to our Preserve and was very helpful in 1997 when we built the Chiroptorium. Jennifer Krauel is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Tennessee. Photograph taken by Joanna Rees.

Liz Braun de Torres, Ph. D. candidate Boston University does our bat censusing and three wonderful and interesting students who assistant her. They are from left to right Liz Braun de Torres; Luyi Zheng, graduate of Texas A&M at Galveston Marine Biology; Kristen Lear, Ohio Wesleyan University senior majoring in zoology; and Gary Kanner, Boston University Biology and Environmental Science. Photograph taken by Lois Sturm.

Most certainly my son, David K., and son-in-law, Ernie Sessums, would not fall under the definition of acquaintance! It is possible, however that, as we all grow a little older, sometimes moving far away making personal contact less frequent that in spite of the family link one may not think of a relative as a friend. This is not the case here as Ernie Sessums, left, and David K. Bamberger, right, are two of my best friends. Photograph taken by Joanna Rees.

There are so many, many good causes that need financial help. Preserving the earth itself is important. So, if you would like to help us with a donation, we are a 501(c)(3) private operating foundation and gifts are deductible to the extent of the law. You can send your contributions to: Bamberger Ranch Preserve, 2341 Blue Ridge Drive, Johnson City, TX 78636 or donate through your computer by using PayPal.

1 comment:

Susan Gatlin said...

What a lovely story and the photos of your friends and family make me smile. thanks for everything you all do to make the world a little better every day.