Cover Reveal–Chasing Down the Night

bruce thomas witzel:

My wife Francis’ work as an educator, researcher and trauma counselor has lead her to creating the third novel of the Crater Lake Series , due to be released in mid May. Not to give away the storyline, a cougar plays a key role. The cover of Chasing Down the Night is a composite of two images. Believe it or not, the background image is of the forest that surrounds our driveway. The more amazing and prominent image of the cougar was taken by Charles Brandt just outside the porch of his hermitage. Father Charles is a Catholic hermit priest, a deep ecologist and a world renowned book and art conservator.
Please head over to Fran’s blog, Disappearing in Plain Sight, to give her a boost and a thumbs up.

Originally posted on disappearinginplainsight:

Here we go, folks. With a flourish and a bow, a drumroll and a trumpet blast, I give you the cover for the third book of the Crater Lake Series – Chasing Down the Night.

CDN ebook cover A

Back of the Book Synopsis

One might be excused for assuming that an idyllic life unfolds for those who have chosen to live and work near the shores of Crater Lake. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Long-time resident, Izzy Montgomery juggles the stress of a new job with her burgeoning home life. Family dynamics go into overdrive when Alexander and Cynthia launch plans to build a home nearby and Liam’s sister, Fiona shows up to do an internship with the local doctor. Lisa-Marie and Justin are back for the summer and sparks fly. While crusty, old Reg keeps sawmill production booming, Beulah runs the organic bakery and plans the First Annual Caleb Jenkins…

View original 100 more words

AFLOAT IN THE ATMOSPHERE – part 2, and more (CO2)

I'm flying over North America - bruce witzel photo


2015 C02 Levels 


I'm flying over Phoenix - bruce witzel photo


On average, each person in Canada, Australia, and the United States creates the worlds highest global greenhouse gas emissions.

If you look  historically over the past 100 hundred years, the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions have been created by the world’s wealthiest countries. 

This graph shows total overall annual emissions for different countries in 2013…




Poor people are the most vulnerable to climate change events like extreme drought, more severe typhoons and heavy floods.

They have done the least to create global climate change.





The Channel Islands National Park is afloat amidst the haze of Southern California… 


Looking towards the Channel Islands off the California coast- bruce witzel photo


Clouds are also afloat over the Salish Sea between Vancouver and Seattle (below). The worlds fragile biosphere and ecosystems are being harmed by more and more Canadian exports of fossil fuel.

A few days ago, April 15th, an oil spill occurred in Vancouver’s English Bay. Although it is relatively small (2,700 litres), the spill underlines the environmental threats due to our increasing energy dependencies.


Sunrise over Georgia Strait and Gabriola Island - bruce witzel photo


Canada’s Parliament led by Prime Minister Steven Harper supports further tar sands extraction and more oil & gas pipelines. He and his government are opposed to any real or meaningful reductions of our greenhouse gas emissions.

Since 1880, global emissions have caused an average temperature increase of 1.4 degree Celsius to the planet. Although this doesn’t seem like much, overall this increase is creating havoc with the air steams and ocean currents that create weather.

This Tuesday, April 14th, Canada’s Premiers (without Harper) are meeting in Quebec City to discuss plans for climate action…



Meanwhile at the federal level in Ottawa (across the river, below)

the clouds hang low over Harper…


Canada's parliament in Ottawa - bruce witzel photo


The Scientific Consensus:

Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities, and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position.


“On the one hand, you have the entire scientific community, and on the other you have a handful of people, most of them crackpots.”

Lord Robert May, former President of the Royal Society

Climate change is real



Victoria Harbour protest against Nuclear Weapons - late 1980's - burce witzel photo

THE COSMIC CHRIST & CLIMATE CHANGE (for doubting Thomas’s)

  “We are the ones we have been waiting for” 

~ Hopi Saying ~  

  The Sacred Black Hills of the Dakota - bruce witzel photo


“The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all… living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another.”

Thomas Merton (from his final address)



203_co2-graph-1280x800 Source; Vostok ice core data/J.R. Petit et al.; NOAA Mauna Loa CO2 record.


These days we do not have a very good relationship with creation, do we?

~ Pope Francis ~


Saint Joseph's Oratory, the Basilica of Mount Royal, Montreal - bruce witzel photo



  The Cosmic Christ by Sr. Nancy Earl , Center for Action and Contemplation archive

  The Cosmic Christ

~ Painting by Sr. Nancy Earl, Center for Action and Contemplation ~



photo of a photo by b. witzel


~ Peace ~


Waterfall in the forest (time exposure zoomed) - bruce witzel photo

Photography has been a hobby since I was fifteen years old when I took a wonderful course on it with my father. My first camera was a kodak instamatic.


Here I am aged eighteen, pre-digital days – no I don’t have a twin…

double exposure, from a 1976 slide  - keith launer photo

Here is how I did it:

Back in 1976 with my brand new Olympus OM-1 single lens reflex camera set on a tripod,  my friend Keith depressed the shutter taking  the first shot. Returning to the camera I carefully disengaged the film as if I were rewinding it for processing, then cocked the film advance lever, and re-engaged the film.   I stood in a different location as my friend snapped  the second shot.  Voila – a double exposure. Notice how the camera turned on the tripod slightly, creating a blur.  Taking such a picture was chancy, considering I was on a student budget and the cost of film and processing was about a dollar per photo, or in today’s 2015 dollars worth $4.23 (according to this inflation calculator). Now photographers can use sophisticated digital no risk layering techniques.


scanned photos0122 - bruce witzel photo

Back in the day, I also shot and edited super 8 movie “shorts”. Set to music in a Charlie Chaplin style, one particular film documents my “back to the land” days, while building the off-grid home (above) that Fran and myself presently enjoy. Known as “the cabin film” it was always a must see for family and friends. Who knows – maybe one day I’ll digitize it and share it with you.


Below is an image similar to the first. Set on a tripod with an open shutter of 1/4 second, I rapidly zoomed out my camera lens. Not so incidentally to the grand scheme of things, this stream supplies all our domestic water needs and a good portion of our electricity for eight months of the year, via a hydro turbine.


Waterfall in the forest, Dec. 31, 2013 time exposure zoomed  - bruce witzel photo ,


Another image demonstrating “blur”.

Waterfall with painted effect - by bruce witzel


And a final abstract shot


“Waterfall in the Forest”


Waterfall abstract - bruce witzel photo



Let us love and be grateful for earth, water and light that sustain us.


Cheers ~ Bruce

THOMAS MERTON (on faith and violence) – Part Three

The earth, crucified - bruce witzel photo


The greatest temptations are not those that solicit our consent to obvious sin,

but those that offer us great evils masking as the greatest goods.           

Thomas Merton



A spiritual reflection


~ Part 3 ~


by bruce thomas witzel


In my previous reflection about the monk Thomas Merton (click here) I left off with the United States in the midst of Vietnam War and the emerging consciousness about ecological destruction.

By 1968 Merton’s book Faith and Violence had been published.


Faith and Violence - a book by Thomas Merton


In it he writes:

“The population of the affluent world is nourished by a steady diet of brutal mythology and hallucination, kept at a constant pitch of high tension by a life that is intrinsically violent in that it forces a large part of the population to submit to an existence which is humanly intolerable… Crime that breaks out of the ghetto is only the fruit of a greater and more pervasive violence: the injustice which forces people to live in the ghetto in the first place.”


Bruce Witzel photo - original location, unknown

Merton continues:

“Violence today, is white-collar violence, the systemically organized bureaucratic and technological destruction… The theology of violence must not lose sight of the real problem, which is not the individual with a revolver but death and even genocide as big business.”


Photo of a photo - original photographer unknown



Church in Montreal - bruce witzel photo


During the 60’s, protest and change had also come to the Catholic Church, partly as a result of the the 2nd Vatican Council. The churches slowly began to crack open their windows and doors for a breath of fresh air.

By 1968 Thomas Merton was permitted to leave the Abbey of Gethesemani in Kentucky for extended periods of time.


Thomas Merton and the Dalai Lama


His final journey was to South East Asia where he met with other contemplatives, including Buddhists and Hindus.

The Dalai Lama later said about his meetings with Merton in Dharamsala, India, “I could see that he was a truly humble and deeply spiritual man. This was the first time I had been struck by such a feeling of spirituality by anyone who professed Christianity.”


Thomas Merton on Unity

Not long before Thomas Merton had departed to Asia he had also written an article about the emerging awareness of ecological destruction. It was published by the Catholic Worker, a group that helps disadvantaged people in numerous American inner city neighbourhoods.

In part it reads:

“The ecological conscience is essentially a peace making conscience. A country (America) that seems more and more to hot and cold war making does not give much promise to developing one. But perhaps the very character of the war in Vietnam – with crop poisoning, the defoliation of forest trees, the incineration of villages and inhabitants with napalm – presents enough of a stark and critical example to remind us this most urgent moral need. Catholic theology ought to take note of the ecological conscience and do it fast.”


Thomas Merton Centenary Icon painted by John Giuliani Thomas Merton Centenary Icon painted by John Giuliana


Merton was concluding his tour with a monastic conference in Bangkok. He had intended to write a book about his insights and experiences and on the day of his death, Dec 10th, 1968 and he told fellow priest Basil Loftus “The Holy Office has already condemned me before I have written it.”


Downtown Montreal - bruce witzel photo


After speaking at the conference Merton went back to his room to cool off. As he stepped out of the shower he was electrocuted by a faulty fan. His body was taken back to the United States in a B-52 bomber en route from Vietnam, sadly loaded with his fellow dead Americans, the soldiers.


Living Memorial Sculpture Garden - created by Vietnam veteran and sculptural artist Denis Smith - photo by Bruce Witzel2b


“Modern technological mass murder is not directly visible, like individual murder. It is abstract, corporate, businesslike, cool, free of guilt-feelings and therefore a thousand times more deadly and effective than the eruption of violence out of individual hate. It is this polite, massively organized white-collar murder machine that threatens the world with destruction, not the violence of a few desperate teen-agers in a slum. But our antiquated theology myopically focused on individual violence alone fails to see this.”

Thomas Merton  (1915 –1968)



Honour Each Other ~ Honour Mother Earth


“I believe much trouble and blood would be saved if we opened our hearts more.”

Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce


What follows is a common story of many tribes of the indigenous people

of North and South America;  indeed, of all over the world.

And mother earth herself… the struggle continues.


Part One:  the Nez Perce


Mother Earth - bruce witzel photo


Story of Mother Earth



Big Hole National Battlefield, Montana - bruce witzel photo

Big Hole National Battlefield near the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana 


800px-Flight_of_the_Nez_Perce-1877-map - coutesy US National Park Service


In the long summer of 1877 nearly 800 Non-Treaty Nez Perce fled nearly one thousand miles from the United States Calvary and their Nez Perce traditional homeland on the Columbia River plateau. They refused to be placed on a reservation and they were trying to reach the camp of Sitting Bull. He and his people had found refuge from war with the White Mother at Fort Walsh in the Cypress Hills of Canada. After the five day Battle of Bear Paw that ended in a bitter early autumn snow storm, the survivors were captured by the American military only forty miles south of the Canadian border. On the early morning of October 5, Chief Joseph sent this message to the U.S. commanders:

Tell General Howard I know his heart. What he told me before I have in my heart. I am tired of fighting. Our Chiefs are dead. Looking glass is dead. Tu-huh-hul-sote is dead. The old… are all dead… It is cold and we have no blankets. The little children are freezing to death. My people, some of them, have run away to the hills and have no blankets, no food; no one knows where they are – perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children and see how many of them I can find. Maybe I shall find them among the dead. Here me, my chiefs. I am tired; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I shall fight no more forever.


Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce with a United States General

Chief Joseph with a U.S. officer

(two photos of photos)

From the Nez Perce Historical Park at Big Hole National Battlefield in Montana


Red Elk speaks - bruce witzel photo



Part 2 – Occupying Alcatraz and John Trudell



Alcatraz Island o ccupied by the American Indian Movement in 1969 - bruce witzel photo



A mural located at the San Francisco Art Institute:

At the San Francisco Art Institute - bruce witzel photo


For a period from late 1969 to mid 71’ a group of young activists, The Tribes of All Nations, occupied the former penitentiary of Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay.

John Trudel at Alcatraz


Alcatraz -bruce witzel photo


1969 Proclamation to the Great White Father and All His People

From the Indians of  All Tribes


We, the native Americans, re-claim the land known as Alcatraz Island in the name of all American Indians by right of discovery.

We wish to be fair and honourable in our dealings with the Caucasian inhabitants of this land, and hereby offer the following treaty:

We will purchase said Alcatraz Island for twenty-four dollars ($24) in glass beads and red cloth, a precedent set by the white man’s purchase of a similar island about 300 years ago. We know that $24 in trade goods for these 16 acres is more than was paid when Manhattan Island was sold, but we know that land values have risen over the years. Our offer of $1.24 per acre is greater than the 47¢ per acre that the white men are now paying the California Indians for their land…. We offer this treaty in good faith and wish to be fair and honourable in our dealings with all white men. 


View from Alcatraz - bruce witzel photo


We feel that this so-called Alcatraz Island is more than suitable for an Indian Reservation, as determined by the white man’s own standards. By this we mean that this place resembles most Indian reservations in that:


1. It is isolated from modern facilities, and without adequate means of transportation.

2. It has no fresh running water.

3. It has inadequate sanitation facilities.

4. There are no oil or mineral rights.

5. There is no industry and so unemployment is very great.

6. There are no health care facilities.

7. The soil is rocky and non-productive; and the land does not support game.

8. There are no educational facilities.

9. The population has always exceeded the land base.

10. The population has always been held as prisoners and kept dependent upon others.


Further, it would be fitting and symbolic that ships from all over the world, entering the Golden Gate, would first see Indian land, and thus be reminded of the true history of this nation. This tiny island would be a symbol of the great lands once ruled by free and noble Indians.


Artwork at the Arizona Biltmore - bruce witzel photo



Homeland Security poster shows  Chiricua Apache with Geronimo on the Right


John Trudell on civilization and the great lie


Left to right – John Trudell with fellow musicians Bob Dylan, Jesse Ed Davis,

and below, George Harrison. 


(L to R) John Trudell, Bob Dylan, Jesse Ed Davis and George Harrsion (front) - photo source unknown



John Trudell quote on love of people and the earth 



Wildflowers at Nez Perez Historic Park, Big Hole National Battlefield, Montana - bruce witzel photo

Ephemeral Wildflowers keep returning to the site of the Battle of Big Hole



Near the Bitterroot Mountains and Big Hole National Battlefield, Montana - bruce witzel photo 

The land near the Bitterroot Mountains and the Big Hole National Battlefield


Attempted assimilaition of indigenous peoples of  the Americas - bruce witzel photo


We did not travel here; we are of this land.

We did not declare our independence;

we have always been free.


~ Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee ~




Butterflies in Spirit Dance Troupe - photo source unknown


We are Butterflies In Spirit


My indigenous First Nations niece, Maranda, is in the front row on the left. She is part of a Vancouver dance troupe, Butterflies in Spirit, which raises awareness to Canadians of tens of hundreds of missing indigenous women. A similar campaign is known as No More Stolen Sisters and facilitated by Amnesty International. Two more of my nieces are with me below.


Bruce, Chelsea & Jade - Violet Johnson photo


John Trudell was a key spokesperson for the American Indian Movement (AIM) during the 1970’s. His pregnant wife Tina, all four of their children and John’s mother-in-law were murdered by an arson fire in 1979. Evidence at the site of the fire (their home on a Northern Nevada reservation) was destroyed and later covered up by American government officials, who called it accidental. It is memorialized in Trudell’s song But This Isn’t El Salvador. 

In our ongoing global chorus towards world wide liberation and justice for the earth and her people, let us believe less and think more, says Trudell.

You can watch the beautiful and powerful documentary film ‘Trudell’, here, created by Heather Rae.




Another link and very detailed review about John Trudell’s life including an interview, was written by Tamra Spivey here at Newtopia Magazine, a wordpress blog.   

Trudell continues to speak out fearlessly against the present world dis-order of oppression and ecocide.  He is “extremely eloquent… and therefore extremely dangerous,” said an FBI memo. As Tamra Spivey points out, this speaks as much about government control as it does about Trudell.

Such attitudes, I might add, are become more prevalent through the world. Canada’s recent Bill 51, the so-called anti-terrorism act, gives CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Agency) broader power and moves us towards a police state mentality.

Are you listening CSIS? Recently I’ve discovered you have information on file about me.

Here is some more! 


~ I give this in love and peace for all ~

yours sincerely

~ Bruce ~





Honour each other… honour mother earth.


Mother Earth mural - artist unknown




Grandkids and Greenhouses

bruce thomas witzel:

The Old Greenhouse

The Old Greenhouse

The title of Fran’s post says it all.

I’d only add that we tore down the old greenhouse a few years back.


Tomato Seedlings

Tomato Seedlings

It gave us lots of veggies over 30 years, but had seen it’s better days…

Tearing down old greenhouse - Francis Guenette photo

Originally posted on disappearinginplainsight:

Proposed Solar Greenhouse and Shed - by b.witzel

During a recent visit with our grandchildren, Bruce enlisted their help with the foundation for our new solar greenhouse.

Leveling up the foundation - Guenette photo

Bruce is happy to make use of Brit’s levelling skills.

Stuck in the mud - Guenette photo

Oh, oh – stuck in the mud.

Brit in the mud - Guenette photo

Oh, no – fell in the mud.

Greenhouse drilling - Guenette photo

Time to get Emma’s help with some drilling.

King of the mud pile - Guenette photo

Who’s the king of the mud hill?

Pouring concrete - Guenette photo

Emma’s pretty excited about helping with the concrete.

Emma pours concrete - Guenette photo

I know Bruce will be missing his talkative and lively helpers this week but he continues to make progress on his own.

Pony wall in place - b. witzel photo

Who loves a garden [or a grandkid] loves a greenhouse too. (William Cowper)

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