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LMRD 708

Announcement: This coming Saturday, Feb 9th, we’ll be doing a Community Half Daytrip 9am-1pm on the Sunflower River in partnership with the Lower Mississippi River Foundation. Jump on board the big canoe and reconnect with the Sunflower River! Great deal ($25 each, $5 for kids accompanied by parents). The forecast says it will be sunny and cool. No previous experience necessary. Details below.

Beaver, Canoes, Full Wolf Moon Eclipse (John Ruskey)

A Little Mercy Now

I hope you can bring your new year’s dreams and resolutions to life. Big on our list is living within the needs of our planet, and bringing some much-needed balance back to our community. Canoeing is earth-friendly. Same for kayaking or paddle boarding. Except for the short drive to the river, the only fuel we use is what’s in our bellies, and the only carbon we add to the atmosphere is what comes out of our mouths through normal respiration.

Squirrel (John Ruskey)

The earth could use a little mercy now. The following story is a little off track, but it circles back to the main point, so bear with me a minute: I found a dead squirrel in the middle of the road Sunday on my way to mass, a male squirrel. Poor baby — run over in front of the church, caught forever in the act of running, his cheeks deflated by winter’s austerity, but his body full and healthy, his blue black hairs highlighted by a fiery orange tawny felt underneath. When I picked him up off the asphalt he was still warm and supple, which means he had just been killed.

Tawny Squirrel on Ritchie St in front of church (John Ruskey)

This death seemed wantonly violent and not Christian like at all. Maybe sacrilegious. Killing another creature because you're in a rush getting somewhere. What sin would that fall under? Greed? (Placing your own needs above others?) Or maybe sloth? (Too lazy to slow down, or swerve to the side to avoid smaller creatures?) On this same day I discovered another victim halfway across the 2nd St Bridge, a small tiger-striped cat. I could only imagine the horrors this youngster experienced when it discovered itself in an alien concrete jungle hounded by hulking metal creatures and heavy rubber tires. I am including photos of the squirrel, and some sketches I made. But the cat was so severely mauled I cannot bring myself to share.

Tawny Squirrel Closeup (John Ruskey)

The death of the squirrel seemed especially poignant as it lay on the street in front of church. Pope Francis recognized the importance of all creation for the survival of the world (Laudato Si). The animal kingdom could use a little mercy now. If you can’t avoid the squirrels in the road, maybe it would be best to walk to mass. Walking (or biking) would be better preparation for religious experience anyway. If it's too far to walk, then surely you can take a few extra seconds as you drive to service to avoid God’s creatures innocently involved in their everyday activities?

Every creature is important to the whole, we all have our place in the choir. Squirrels have a special relationship with trees; they are the caretakers. Trees take care of squirrels, squirrels do the same for trees. One cannot exist without the other. They are the monkeys of North America’s woodlands. By planting nuts (the ones they forget in the ground) and by consumption of harmful insects, they help keep the forest vital and healthy. Trees shelter and feed squirrels. We have a similar relationship with trees: the forests also protect us, feed us, and cool us down. Every time we lose a tree, a squirrel family might go with it. We are losing trees, we are losing squirrels. I don't want to raise my daughter in a world without squirrels (or monarch butterflies or starfish or coral reefs). We can do without coffee, but not squirrels or butterflies. What a sad world that would be, and maybe unlivable. It is too late to save species already gone extinct like the passenger pigeon, so already I will not be able to raise her in a perfect world. This makes me deeply saddened and full of regret. I have been in pains on how to move forward, as I am sure many of you have. But the hourglass of time is running out for self-reflection. Never one to sit idly in thought, I want to do something, and I know many of you feel the same. Here’s a small thing we can resurrect in the New Year: our monthly day of fast.

Snow Geese (John Ruskey)

Add 1 Hour on the 1st Day of Each Month

We had to sideline our monthly cycle of fasting last year, but it’s time to get going again. Many of you have written me and expressed just how meaningful that practice was in 2017. And now the earth is calling more than ever. So now is a good time to restart the monthly cycle, with a new mechanism: on the 1st day of the month. Starting March 1st fast the number of hours that equals the number of months since the US left the Paris Accord (May 2017). March will be 21 months, so fast for 21 hours on Friday, March 1st. Every month following add on one hour. So in April fast 22 hours; in May 23 hours, and etc. I will send out a simple monthly reminder, and restart the petition, but nothing more. Participation is purely voluntary of course.

Beaver, Moon (John Ruskey)

Why the 1st day? The US left the Paris Accord on June 1, 2017. So it’s an infamous date to signify. But more importantly, the 1st day is always a special day: the 1st day of the year, or the 1st day of the week, or the 1st day of the month. It’s like a journey. The 1st day sets the course for what follows. The first day of the year is that day we make our resolutions for a better life. The first day of the month is a new beginning in a fresh month. It’s the day when all the doors are open, and the possibilities are limitless. Every morning the world is remade, and every day is a new day. Every month a new month to remake the world. The 1st day is the 1st day of the rest of your life, it is the 1st step on the long journey ahead, it is the 1st paddle-stroke downstream and into the wonderful mysteries that lie waiting around the bend. And all creation is suffering, and could use a little mercy now.

Squirrel Climbing Cypress (John Ruskey)

Hint: personally I am most successful at fasting when I do it in nature. If possible include a long walk or hike, a campout, or an overnight canoe trip as part of your fast. It’s easy: don't pack any food. You’ll find you think about eating a lot less when you're surrounded by nature, and the temptation of food will be removed by not packing any. But be sure to pack plenty of water! Every time you feel a growl in your stomach take a sip of water. Write me if you need help or support. If you live anywhere close to Clarksdale, or Gulfport, join me on the water.

Map Turtle, Sunflower River (John Ruskey)

Is anyone up for this? The US left the Paris Accord on June 1, 2017. This embarrassment continues to smolder across the globe, along with smoldering forests and increasing rates of warming and carbon output. The 2018 US rate is greater than previously predicted. And the polar caps are melting about that same speed -- faster than predicted. Penguins, orcas and starfish are in dire straits, all God’s creatures are dangerously effected. We burn more fuel than any other nation except China, and yet we are the only ones not to sign the accord. You can join in on this fast to meet your own personal or religious purposes. Doing it together makes it more meaningful, both personally and communally. We have friends from Austria, England, Sweden, Japan, Australia and elsewhere around the globe who joined us last time. Their countries had signed, but they wanted to join us in our quest because they believe in us Americans, and the atmosphere knows no boundaries.

Rainbow Swimmers (John Ruskey)

The waters connect us all, and all we all breathe the same air. And our time is running out. The Harvard Business Review gives us 12 years to figure this out (see below for article). Fasting is a simple thing, and will help the solution, for at least 1/30th of the average month. If you want to make your fast even more effective, turn off the lights, your computer, your heating & cooling systems, and step outside — and don’t make any purchases. Make it a day for creation. As recommended above, leave your house and spend a day in nature. Make it a “Date with Creation.” Bring a notebook, pens, pencils, for writing and sketching. Practice your art form, whatever it is. Explore new art forms. Pack a prayer book or other inspirational reading for when things get slow. Pack a hammock. Nap a lot. Meditate. Be prepared for visions. Record your dreams. If you can’t take a day off, incorporate fasting into your work day. Yes, it will be uncomfortable at times, but you will feel great at the end of the fast, and those temporary stomach pains will pass, and your small effort will help ease the suffering of the all.

Venus, Waning Wolf Moon, Jupiter, Canada Geese (John Ruskey)

Confession: I use vehicles when I have to in my life and business. But I also walk or bike whenever possible. I am sickened by the number of critters I see on the highway, in the last week alone the count includes a beaver, a coyote, several raccoons, and several squirrels. I would gladly give up driving if it meant saving creation. But to make it work, we will all have to do this together!

Communities that Canoe Together:

Big Canoes on Sunflower River (John Ruskey)

Once you go paddling on the Mississippi you are part of a pretty special club. A club that knows how magical the river is and how much it needs protection. We need more people in the club! That's why we're hosting community canoe trips in Helena and Clarksdale every month. If you've never been out on the river before this is the perfect opportunity to test it out. If you've been before, come back and bring a friend! Discounts available for local youth and educators.


Anyone is welcome! No experience or equipment necessary! Just meet us at our office in Helena or Clarksdale and join us for a morning canoe trip.

Trips will leave at 9 am and usually return by 1 pm. Bring a lunch and water bottle.

For trips on the Sunflower, you can also bring your own boat and paddle along with us!

50% discount for local educators!

For reservations or more information, contact:

Shannon McMulkin



Saturday, February 9, 2019

9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Meet behind Quapaw Canoe Company, at bottom of ramp, on banks of Sunflower River

Join us for a short half day trip on the Sunflower River. No experience or equipment necessary.

$25 for adults

$5 for youth under 18

Call 870-228-2421 or email to register

We Have About 12 Years Left

According to the Harvard Business Review “We Have About 12 Years Left”

The world’s scientists sound a final alarm on climate

We have about 12 years left. That’s the clear message from a monumental study from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). To avoid some of the most devastating impacts of climate change, the world must slash carbon emissions by 45% by 2030, and completely decarbonize by 2050 (while, in the meantime, emissions are still rising).

The IPCC looked at the difference between the world “only” warming two degrees Celsius (3.8°F) — the agreed upon goal at global climate summits in Copenhagen and Paris — or holding warming to just 1.5 degrees. Even the latter, they say, will require a monumental effort “unprecedented in terms of scale.” We face serious problems either way, but every half degree matters a great deal in human, planetary, and economic losses.

It wasn’t just the IPCC that told a stark story. Thirteen U.S. government agencies issued the U.S. National Climate Assessment, which concluded that climate change could knock at least 10% off of GDP. Other studies tell us that sea level rise is going to be worse than we thought, Antarctica is melting three times faster than a decade ago, and Greenland is losing ice quickly as well. If both those ice sheets go, sea level rise could reach 200-plus feet, resulting in utter devastation, including the loss of the entire Atlantic seaboard (Boston, New York, D.C., etc.), all of Florida, London, Stockholm, Denmark, Paraguay, and land now inhabited by more than 1 billion Asians).

All of this suggests that business must dramatically change how it operates: companies will need to push well past their comfort zones from areas like politics and policy to engaging consumers to how they make investment decisions.

--Click here to go to original story--

Quapaw Canoe Company
Calendar, Spring 2019
February 2019

Sat, Feb 9
Community Half-Daytrip - Sunflower River, 9am-1pm

Sun Feb 10 - Mon Feb 11
"The Mighty Mississippi: A Mosaic of America's Growth"
Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock
(Live Dugout Canoe Carving Demonstration)

Sat, Feb 16
LMRF General Annual Membership Meeting
Helena Outpost, 107 Perry St, Helena
12noon - 1pm, Cleanup in Helena Harbor to follow, 2-3pm

March 2019

Sat, Mar 9
Community Half-Daytrip - Mississippi River

Mon Mar 25 - Sat Mar 30
Pearl River Expedition — Naturalist’s Retreat in Voyageur Canoe

April 2019

April 11-14
Juke Joint Festival 2019
Camping,Carving, Booksignings, Canoeing Sunflower River
And much, much more!

Sat, April 13
Community Half-Daytrip - Sunflower River, 9am-1pm

April 18 - May 18
Water, Water: A Pop Up Invitational
Walter Anderson Museum of Art

Mon April 22 - Sat 27
Horn Island Expedition — Artist’s Retreat in Voyageur Canoe

May 2019
Sat, May 11
Community Half-Daytrip - Mississippi River

Mon May 20 - Sat May 25
Pascagoula River Expedition — Naturalist’s Retreat in Voyageur Canoe

June 2019

June 3rd-7th
LMRF Summer Camp
for Mississippi and Arkansas youth!

Sat, June 14
Community Half-Daytrip - Mississippi River

June 15
Buck Island Adventure
Experience the East Arkansas Mississippi River Canoe Float
9am-5pm from Helena, Ar.
In partnership with the Mississippi River State Park

Our Dream for Quapaw Canoe Company in 2019:

"To share the raw, wild, power & beauty of the big river
with patience, balance and compassion
for our clients
for the river
for all its creatures
and for our mother earth"


The Lower Mississippi River Dispatch "Voice of the Lower Mississippi River" is published by the Quapaw Canoe Company. Photos and writing by John Ruskey, Mark River and others. Please write for re-publishing. Feel free to share with friends or family, but also credit appropriately. Go to www.island63.comand click on "Quapaw Dispatch" for viewing back issues of the LMRD.


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