Saturday, November 15, 2014

Learning to appreciate the silence

I started writing this blog seven years ago. Life with Dylan has been a wonderful creative outlet for me and has served as a platform from where I could share Dylan's conservation work with people all over the world. This blog has brought much joy to my life and has changed Dylan's life in ways I can't even begin to explain. However, as with all good things, there comes a time to scale back. A time to move on.

Dylan is getting older and the intention of this blog was never to make him feel uncomfortable or that he was on some sort of public display. Yes, he is proud of his accomplishments and the conservation work he has done with San Diego Zoo Global - I don't see this part of his life stopping, ever. Despite that, privacy is becoming more important. The anonymity of our conservation work has a very alluring appeal for both of us.

On a recent weekend getaway I had the opportunity to relax in the evenings. No computer. Just me and a book and little knitting time. I thoroughly enjoyed the quiet. My brain was not spinning in 10 different directions. I was not thinking about how long it had been since I wrote a post here or shared new photos on my Flickr account; in other words, I wasn't feeling guilty.

I was, dare I say it, Relaxed.

As I get older (and wiser) I am learning to appreciate the silence and live in the moment. Sitting in the hotel room, I thought to myself "Could it be time to move on?" Back in August I said good-bye to part of my virtual world when I realized that there was a Life After Social Media. Now, three months later I'm wondering if it might be time to say good-bye to the virtual Life with Dylan and concentrate more on the real Life with Dylan.

Sure, I want to continue creating awareness and spreading the word about conservation issues that we believe in, but do I really need this blog to do that? Blogging is not the only platform out there. I can use Twitter and Instagram ... and maybe a few shares here and there on Facebook. (I'm still teetering on leaving Facebook)

I recently re-launched my own website,, as a photography site. A place where I can share my photos and use photojournalism to share my passion about conservation and nature. Photographs are a wonderful way to create awareness and tell stories, a simpler way, a way that better fits my changing lifestyle.

So is this really good-bye?
Will this be my final post on Life with Dylan?

That is a question I cannot answer.
This blog is a part of me - it has been for the past seven years.

For now let's just end with you can still find me actively taking part here ...

Twitter     @mlynnfryer
Instagram     michellefryer

As always, Life with Dylan inspires me to see the world a little differently than I did before.

Fallen leaves become art. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

And Then There Were Six ...

Today our world changed.
Not just the world for Dylan and myself, but "our world" in a sense of all mankind.

I knew this day would come sooner or later, but I wasn't expecting it so soon.
While scrolling through my twitter feed this morning I saw this "We are one step closer to the extinction of the northern white rhino. The remaining 6 animals are older as well."

What? There must be a typo because I know for a fact that there are 7 northern white rhinos left. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Opened them and clicked the link that accompanied these words. 

Tears began to roll down my face. "Damn it. No. Damn it." I said these words over and over out loud. As if saying them would make it all go away. 

There was no typo in the tweet from my friend.
There are now only six remaining northern white rhinos on the Earth. 

The heading read ... Breaking News: Ol Pejeta Conservancy loses one of its northern white rhinos - It is with great sadness that we announce the death of one of our northern white rhinos, Suni.

Rest In Peace Suni ... you are now eternally free from any harm.

According to the press release, rangers found him on the morning of October 17th, 2014, dead in his boma. Suni was not a victim of poaching and we have yet to establish the cause of his sudden death. The Kenya Wildlife Service vets will conduct a post mortem as soon as possible. In 2006, his father Saút died in the Dvur Kralove Zoo by natural causes at the same age as Suni was now.

Through the tears and the sadness I read aloud the entire press release to Dylan. All I could say when I finished reading was, "at least he didn't die from poachers". Dylan dealt with the situation better than I thought he would; however, I knew what we were both thinking. Thankful this wasn't Nola. One day this would be Nola though and that is a day I am not looking forward to.

When Dylan and I met Dr. Ryder earlier this year, he told us of plans using genetics and frozen DNA from his lab to possibly help save the northern white rhinos from extinction. These animals are truly on the brink of extinction and will most likely go extinct in our lifetime.

Last year I symbolically adopted one of the northern white rhinos living at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy for Dylan. Adopting Fatu was different from our other animal adoptions because these animals are so critically endangered. I hear people talking about extinction and how they don't think it will ever happen because "Science" will step in and save the day. Well, people ... it is happening.

Nola, resting by the waters edge at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park

With only six left in the world, two (Nola and Angilfu) at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, one (Nabire) at the Dvůr Králové Zoo, and three (Sudan, Najin, and Fatu) living at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya where they are protected from poachers, this subspecies is tragically coming to an end.

Although it is difficult to write about these subjects, it is my hope that sharing Suni's story with others will help create more awareness about the plight of the northern white rhino.

*Photo of Suni courtesy of Ol Pejeta Conservancy

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Compassion and Determination of a Child

There are times when Dylan makes me proud and then there are times when he leaves me speechless. Like when he writes something for a school assignment that brings tears to my eyes.Today was one of those times.


I am compassionate and determined
I wonder will poaching ever stop
I hear animal calls
I see me saving animals
I want to stop all poaching
I am compassionate and determined

I pretend animals will always live in peace
I feel for animals losses
I touch the hands of many future conservationists
I worry poaching may never stop
I cry for the animals faced with poachers
I am compassionate and determined

I understand I’m going against the odds
I say I’m doing what's right
I dream of a better world
I try to stop the madness
I hope I will reach my goals
I am compassionate and determined

“I am”

By: Dylan Fryer, age 11