A Circle of Hope and Action: Blogging 101

Carol A. Hand

Imagine sitting in a circle of people from all across the globe gazing at the same object positioned in the middle (Storm, 1972). Let’s say for the purposes of this exercise, it’s a mountain. Each of us would see something different from our unique vantage points. Alone, none of us would see the whole. We would only be able to get a glimpse of other parts of the mountain by sharing what we see with others and listening to their descriptions. Is there one truth or are there many?

This exercise came to mind when I thought about today’s question for blogging 101, “Who are your dream readers?” In part, they are people who share what they see and listen to what others share in a thoughtful way, engaging in dialogue to discover each other’s truths. Yet, there’s another important dimension that I feel is important. It has to do with action to preserve life and beauty based on what we see.

maui the road to hana

Photo Credit: A Pacific View from the “Road to Hana” – Maui – 1998 (Photographer, Jnana Hand)

Imagine that what some people in the circle see is a mountain that is covered by a forest that can be clear cut for profit, gold beneath the surface to mined, coal to be removed and burned to fuel their machines. Overtime, the mountain that was once was covered by forests, streams and waterfalls, a haven for all types of life, has become, in some places, barren and pock-marked by deep wounds. There are still some places of untouched beauty, but others will never be the same. Is it wise to assume that the places that remain undamaged will be spared? Is this the best future for all of the people who gaze at the mountain, even those who only see what will fill their pockets with gold, a meaningless socially constructed advantage for a moment in time?

As I gaze at the mountain through the vantage points of the people in my blogging community, I see both the beauty and the threat. I also witness the contributions each makes to preserve what is left while using their gifts to end the destruction. Although the task seems impossible for each of us alone, hope is born from knowing the others are part of the resistance. Our work reminds me of the story of the starfish.

There are many versions of the parable, yet all share a similar message. Starfish were stranded along miles and miles of ocean shore when the high tide receded. One person walked the shore, bending down to rescue as many as possible, throwing them back into the water one at a time. A critical commentator walked up to point out how hopeless the task was given the millions of starfish that would surely die. After a moment, the “starfish thrower” bent down to resume his or her efforts, commenting that while the effort seemed futile, it mattered to save the lives that he or she could.

The original story ends with a hopeful message.

Later, after some thoughts on our relationships to other animals and to the universe, the narrator says:
…”On a point of land, I found the star thrower…I spoke once briefly. “I understand,” I said. “Call me another thrower.” Only then I allowed myself to think, He is not alone any longer. After us, there will be others…We were part of the rainbow…Perhaps far outward on the rim of space a genuine star was similarly seized and flung…For a moment, we cast on an infinite beach together beside an unknown hurler of suns… We had lost our way, I thought, but we had kept, some of us, the memory of the perfect circle of compassion from life to death and back to life again – the completion of the rainbow of existence” (Loren Eiseley, The Star Thrower, p.181).

Many of my “dream readers” are already part of my blogging family. They are people who are each standing on a shore doing what they can to create beauty and preserve life, while encouraging those on other shores to do the same. I hope the circle continues to grow.

(The other part of today’s blogging 101 challenge was to embed images and media that we have not used before. Because I almost always do so in my posts, I decided not to do so today. Instead, I am challenging myself to use words that can hopefully encourage others to envision their own images. Please let me know if this works.)

(A editorial postscript and thank you to the friends who commented about images. I have added two that took a little work because of my software – converting printed photos into PDFs, and then using WORD and Paint to turn them into photos again. Some of the clarity is lost in the process, but images that are slightly ethereal seem fitting given the fuzzy nature of the past memories they represent.)

maui 1998 horseback

Photo Credit: Another Pacific View – from Haleakalā on Horseback – Maui – 1998 (Photographer, Carol Hand)

Works that inspired these examples:

Loren Eiseley (1969, 1978). The unexpected universe. New York: Times Books.

Hyemeyohsts Storm (1972). Seven arrows. New York: Ballantine Books.


Copyright Notice: © Carol A. Hand and carolahand, 2013-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carol A. Hand and carolahand with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

21 thoughts on “A Circle of Hope and Action: Blogging 101

  1. Carol, I always think you are amazing at creating mental images in your storytelling without actually having the hard copy images. Today was no different. I often feel guilty when I read about all the hard work people (like you) do in their efforts to make the world a better place–especially environmentally. And I also question myself why I spend my time talking about abuse–it doesn’t seem to make a difference. But your starfish story really struck me as being a little like how I should be looking at it: “while the effort seemed futile, it mattered to save the lives that he or she could. ” So thank so much (again) for your amazing ability to open my eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mandy, I am so grateful that you are part of my blogging circle. The work you do to help heal and prevent trauma is so important – you help save lives and help people realize how to move beyond merely surviving.

      Knowing the work you do makes you thoughtful comments even more meaningful to me. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Carol, this is such a beautiful post, and the example of the starfish saver is quite profound. If all of us believed we could do nothing, then nobody would get to do anything at all. Perhaps the critic would help by saving a few lives too?

    I love the way you see the mountain, the way you share, listen and give deep respect to your readers.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Reblogged this on nicciattfield and commented:
    The always eloquent Carol Hand shares the importance of doing what we can, no matter how large the task at hand. “What difference can I make?” is perhaps one of the biggest obstacles to change. All voices are important when working towards a better world, for humans and non-humans alike.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with Mandy, your words are often very visual and this piece especially so. However, I also know that in this crowded blogosphere people are often pulled in to read something because of a picture or graphic. Your starfish story reminds me of a Buddhist quote I read a couple of days ago, basically saying the same thing. No matter how small our efforts may seem whatever we do to help others, to make the world a more loving place is worth the effort and contributes to creating a whole compassionate world.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Chi Miigwetch, Skywlaker. I so appreciate your insights about the importance of doing what we can “to make the world a more loving place.”

      I am also grateful for your thoughtful response about the use of images. In response, I added two that did take some time and effort.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Miigwetch, Skywalker. I wasn’t sure what images would work. (Initially, I thought of emailing you to ask if you would be willing to share one of your lovely photos of the ocean. Instead, I pulled out an old photo album and converted photos into digital images.)

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I recently returned from a cruise vacation to Alaska. During our stop in Ketchikan, I was fortunate to take a flight over the Tongass rain forest and majestic Misty Fiords National Monument. From the air, we viewed ample evidence of clear cut logging (since banned) in the Tongass. From that vantage point, it seems so obvious we possess great responsibility to protect such natural wealth–and, when we do “partake” of such resources, to do so respectfully to ensure their beauty and sustainability. As you note, however, there are others–an influential minority plugged into power and wealth–who simply view our natural world as a limitless trove be exploited. They react to our preservationist points of view suspiciously. We certainly all need to “do what we can” to preserve our world for future generations. But I’m afraid our hopes for success hinge to a great degree on overcoming the ambitions of those few, but well connected, “exploiters.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ditto, on all the above comments. Carol, you’re gifted; your words are images. However, and this may be a moot point, depending on your point of view, SEO likes images. That would be Search Engine Optimization, for whatever that’s worth; I think it should be worth something. Good SEO helps people who are searching for particular words or phrases that link to your articles.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Peter. I appreciate your kind words as always 🙂

      I also appreciate the lesson in what SEO means and why it matters in this virtual world. In response, I’ve added 2 photos that did require overcoming some technological challenges given my skill-level and software.


  7. “A critical commentator walked up to point out how hopeless the task was given the millions of starfish that would surely die.”…this critical commentator sounds like they’ve crunched the numbers and precisely calculated the risk-benefit ratio for their labors. Yet another critical commentator might theoretically walk up to the first critical commentator to point out how callous and inhumane it would be to let even one starfish die.

    Peace to all you starfish throwers out there.

    Liked by 1 person

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