Here in the Midwest, we are privileged to fully experience four distinct seasons. Summer brings endless encounters with our natural world, especially within our wetlands, perhaps my favorite nature-embracing environment on a sultry summer day.
Summer is a great time for outdoor adventure. It’s the season for picnics, fishing, hiking, gardening, yard work, and early-morning trail running. But don’t end up like poor Leo. Leo is now homebound and totally miserable because of poison ivy. An extremely itchy, red rash with painful blisters covers his arms, legs, neck, upper chest, and much of his face, a face that’s slathered with calamine lotion. Note: “Leo” is not an actual patient I have treated or observed while working as an ER paramedic.
Nature’s way is rich with memorable moments of wildness. Some of these moments brighten the spirit and remind us that nature has predictable patterns. Sometimes, we have to search for those moments, but other times we just stumble upon them and are left in awe and feel like celebrating. The latter happened to me in the first week of June, along a trail I know well.
Two of Oakland County’s top leaders and community members highlighted the progress made by Black Americans and the ongoing challenge of achieving freedom and liberation in the 156 years since enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, learned the Civil War had ended during a virtual gathering held earlier this month.
The occasion; a panel discussion titled, “Juneteenth: Then and Now,” highlighted the continued presence of racism in America and challenged the notion that Black Americans had already accomplished justice at a time when police brutality, health disparities and other systemic challenges persist in the United States.
The panel, which streamed live Thursday, June 17 on Facebook, called attention to the history of Black citizens in the U.S. and challenged the community to consider how past events continue to influence the present-day realities for Black Americans.