Wildlife in Alabama – A Tribute to a Friend

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D. Rishel Lucas

Writer, Reseacher, Artist, Jewelry Designer, Hypnotherapist at When Life Talks, LLC
Certifications: Law of Attraction Wealth Practitioner, NLP Holistic Marketing Certification, Business Women's Leadership Skills; Rokhurst College Continuing Education, Environmental Educational Program Development and Instructor
Degrees: Basic Art Degree; Art Institute, Milwaukee
Continuing Education: Certifications: Uncommon Knowledge, Law of Attraction (LOA)
Awards: As Director of Ruffner Mountain Nature Center I worked with colleagues to develop new Environmental Education Programs which were named to the Environmental Success Index by Renew America Foundation, Wa., D.C., the Best Environmental Education Programs by the Center for Environmental Research and Service at Troy State University, First Prize-Education in the CIVIC Category of the 1990 TAKE PRIDE IN AMERICA CONTEST. Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Development of Artist Skills-featured inILLUSTRATOR Magazine.

Activism: Helped establish and served on the Board of Directors of The Hillcrest Aftercare Association to aid those in prison and half-way houses, Published works in the One Voice; a Catholic Newspaper, The Shooting Star; quarterly newsletter to members of Ruffner Mountain Nature Center, the American Poetry Anthology; available in Colleges around the Country, the Publication of my first book of poetry.

I am a Freelance Writer, Researcher, Artist, Activist, Entrepeneur, and offer hypnosis sessions.I also wrote two instructional programs, for professionals like myself, to help children who have or are suffering(i.e., trauma, death, divorce, etc.) When the programs are used correctly, individuals will gain a greater insight on how to teach children relaxation, meditation, and the use of hypnosis so they may have the opportunity to learn or relearn imperative 'life skills', lost (due to trauma, etc.)during various developmental stages. Adults who suffered as children also benefit greatly from hypnosis. You can retrain your brain as well as change your thinking. It is only spontaneous "thoughts" we have no control over. How we "react" or "act" on those thoughts is what we can change.

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Alabama Wildlife

“Wildlife in Alabama – A Tribute to A Friend”, is a blog containing one of many articles written and published in “The Shooting Star” (a quarterly newsletter that was mailed to members of Ruffner Mountain Nature Center). It was years ago while working for Ruffner Mountain that I would meet a musical prodigy; Marian Harnach. At that time she was a volunteer with the Center while continuing with her career as a musician with the Alabama Symphony. Very soon, we became inseparable as friends, and it did not take long before her and her husband Fred were frequent visitors at the house. They never missed one of my children’s birthdays, Christmases, and in a short time were attending all holiday celebrations. Our relationship became much more like mother-daughter, later when Fred passed and relations with my own family had disunited, I grew to love this woman as a friend and a mother.

She left this world a few years ago and I miss her dearly. The enclosed article, “Reflections” is a favorite of mine she wrote years ago, a beautiful piece where she describes, so eloquently, a moment in time, during one of her many travels across country in order to perform with the Symphony. She was an excellent literary composer and while reading you begin to feel as though it is you who is in the midst of this story by the way she depicts a quick view of America through the window of a bus. A traveler myself, during my youth, I was inspired as I could easily relate to the many feelings conveyed within this example of her writing abilities.

During the time we worked together, Ruffner Mountain Nature Center was a little over 500 acres of pristine forest nestled within the East Lake area. Her services were invaluable to the natural preservation of Birmingham’s history; specifically land and wildlife preservation. As a thank you from staff and the Board of Directors, a sign was placed at the beginning of her favorite retreat in which it reads, “The Marian Harnach Nature Trail”. This signage not only represents years of dedication and hard work but devotion as well to preserving this domain for future generations. Ruffner’s entrance is now located in the Irondale area of Alabama and includes a substantial increase of preserved land. It is well worth a trip if you enjoy the outdoors and viewing indigenous wildlife in Alabama.

It strikes me funny when I think back during a time my daughter performed a Ballet recital the “Funeral March of A Marionette”, while Marian and her husband performed their sequence with the Alabama Symphony Orchestra. We did not know each other at this time however concurrent events would soon transpire, bringing us together for the remainder of her life here on earth. I find these events fascinating, upon reflection, as we were two completely different people, each in need of the other. Today, thinking back, it seems our relationship was inevitable.

Reflections…..
written by: Marian Harnach

During my 37 years as a professional musician I saw a great deal of the south, mostly through the windows of a charter bus. And while my fellow players slept, read, or played bridge, I gazed out at the scenery – the incurable tourist, determined not to miss anything.

Away from the terminal, the seamier side of the city gives way to sprawling farmlands. A weathered house, its porch sagging under the weight of a vintage washing machine, looks out over acres of peaches and pecans, cotton and collards. Settled into rockers, an old couple watch the passing cars; beside the highway their weary-faced mongrel dozes, seemingly unaware of the bus thundering by inches from his nose. Next to a chimney – all that remains of a burned-out cabin – a forlorn cemetery disappears amid rank weeds. Who lived here, and where have they gone? Is there no one left to remember?

At Florida’s Sunken Gardens I once photographed an egret, then turned my camera to a nearby pond, where a magenta-colored water lily bloomed. Beside it, half submerged, lay a 3-foot alligator – a striking example of Beauty and the Beast. The egret, serene and stately, drew admiring glances; few noticed the ‘gator, perhaps because it was not what one expected to see, and therefore, in effect, it did not exist.

From the grandeur of a lazily-circling hawk surveying his domain with flinty eye to a tiny chameleon his coat of camouflage green, the wonders of nature abound. The universe, born so explosively billions of years ago, still night sky; the constellations wheel majestically overhead on changes, and we stand in awe of it all.

Poet Alfred Noyes wrote: “Fools have said that knowledge drives out wonder from the world. They’ll say it still, though all the dust’s ablaze with miracles at their feet.” Being attuned to all that life has to offer can bring rewards beyond measure.

 Thank you Marian for being a friend, a mother, grandmother, and wildlife advocate like myself.  I'll see you and Fred soon.

 I included the above reference because she loved Mozart!  This article contains information regarding a prior performance by the Alabama Symphony.  It is a link, for all of you who love the symphony as much as I, to quickly acquire information regarding upcoming performances in Alabama.
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2 thoughts on “Wildlife in Alabama – A Tribute to a Friend”

  1. What a great person she was. She volunteered for years, helping Ruffner Mtn Nature Center, and hiking the trails looking for wildlife. She was quite an inspiration to our children. She is missed.

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