Archive for the ‘Nature’ category

TUNNEL FAIL

October 30, 2017

Ever been disappointed in yourself?    Well, that’s me last week.  “Tunnel Fail.”  Or rather  “Me Fail.”      Me-in-the-Tunnel Fail.

I needed a new photo of the Spruce Tunnel for a project I was planning to do.  No problem driving there.

ST road and pasture

In fact, it was a beautiful autumn road, with colorful trees on one side and a pasture on the other side.   (You can’t see the horses from my windshield.)

Then closer and down the hill . . .

ST road to

… to a flooded area aside the Spruce Tunnel area:

ST flooded

Actually, that was beautiful in its own way too.

I parked my car and began the trek in to where the Tunnel would be.  The leaves had made a gorgeous carpet.   Lighting just right.    Fun to walk on.

ST orange pathway

You get this only once a year!

It was a busy day for me and I had allowed myself only twenty minutes for my mission.   I still had more walking to do.

ST approaching tunnel

The lighting changed and bleached out the colors.   That dark spot up ahead isn’t the Spruce Tunnel,  but it’s the approach to the Tunnel.

I walked on,  into the beginning of the Tunnel:

ST pathway

And just as I got to about where I wanted that new photo I hit a dilemma —

ST barrier

Now, that doesn’t look like much of a barrier in this photo,  but the fallen tree is maybe forty feet long,   into the thicker brush,  and  about four feet high, just about to my waist.   I used to love running hurdles.  I was good at it.  It was a joyful thing to do!    But I was thinking  “used to.”

Also, those little branches sticking out in every direction were, in reality,  rather thick – and unyielding.    Unlike my skin.   There was really not a big enough gap in those branches for me to sling my leg through and over.    I kind of tried but my face began to get scratched hard by those littler branches.

Also I was hanging onto a big purse with long tangle-able straps.

Also,  I’m afraid of spiders.   (Big factor in my dilemma).

Also I’m a “woman alone.”   No one to pick me up or run to my rescue.

I accepted the challenge.

And then I thought again  of all the  “might happens.”

And then I was determined to meet this challenge.

And then I thought again.

(Repeat about six times.)

How disappointed I was that I  . . .  just . . .  didn’t.    I could have done it.   Somehow.  But I had a camera in one hand,  a big purse in the other.    Maybe I couldn’t have done it successfully.

The “old lady”  in me won out.    Maybe that was wise;  but it sure isn’t fun.

I’d like to go back to that day,  that spot, and this time  just  LIVE A LITTLE –  and jump that tree.

Sorry.

This is a sad ending —  and not because I never got that new photo.

 

Advertisements

BEAUTY AND THE (you know) BEAST

September 10, 2017

I hate to be trite and use this well-known phrase to apply to the  hurricane —   but  I really was struck by the Beauty of some of the storm pictures:

Irma Palms over Miami

There are many photos like this,  showing the beauty of Nature in a storm;  the symmetry and strength,  the power,  the immediacy of the winds;  the seemingly unaffected   human dwellings far removed in the background;   danger and indifference . . . .

But of course,  the Beast:

Irma Beast

Many photos like this too, and many more to come.

As I write this, my sisters are  in harm’s way:

Irma map

See where the “95”  is?    My sisters don’t live in the same household,  but both live just slightly below that number 95,  one of them just a few miles from the ocean. 4,  5 miles? And the other one just about smack in the middle of the state.

The outer bands of the hurricane is roaring above them right now with heavy rains, strong winds and gusts, and waterspouts and tornadoes aimed their way.

Actually, in a much smaller way,  we here in the Far North may be impacted next week — we’re a little north of  the top edge of those tracks,  right in the way of the remnants of Irma.    For us it will be “interesting”  and “fun” if you like rainstorms.   Hurricane remnant rainstorms are noticeably different from regular rainstorms.

IRMA tracks

We all are praying there won’t be serious and widespread tragedies to mourn when it’s over.    Yeah, “prayer changes things.”    But humans are not in control.

We do what we can – to prepare and shelter and put things safely away:

Irma flamingos

Flamingos?    Even the flamingos in Busch Gardens (Tampa area)  need to be protected.   A long line of them were marched into shelter.  Kind of cute.

I’ll be keeping an eye on my favorite place in Florida:   Tuckaway Shores beachside motel apartments;    Bizzaro’s Pizza on Melbourne Beach with the best New York pizza you can order –  if you can understand their rapid-paced Brooklyn accent!

And, of course, this –

Irma Ron Jons

Ron Jon’s  (Surf Shop) of Cocoa Beach!   I stop there twice on each trip to visit family,  once coming and once going.   I don’t surf;  but I enjoy being a Tourist!

Unity?  Solidarity?  Community?  Empathy?    Stay tuned.   We’re all part of the vulnerability of the “human condition.”

 

 

 

FAREWELL WALK IN THE SPRUCE TUNNEL

August 19, 2017

I think . . .  I don’t mean . . .  a permanent farewell. . .      Deus vult.

Bar Cross in middle

 

The little traveling car is fully packed now,  very early!   I  don’t actually depart for another 18 hours,  but I’m already saying  “good-bye” to all my favorite things around here.

I needed to visit the Spruce Tunnel and I won’t say “for the last time,  ”  but . . .  well.

So here’s my visit:

The Spruce Tunnel is located in the middle of a county park, full of instructional signs:

35Sp 1 history

I know we had mastodons here,  but I have to travel west before I start seeing any actual mastodon bones.    It’s  (partly)  why I’m going.

There is an indoor museum of local wildlife, though.

3 Sp 2 turtle resting

I think we have lots of reptiles around here.

3 Sp 3 turtle simming

I’m really not that interested in turtles,  but they have a nice home there in the little museum.

3 Sp 5 turtle for children

That seems to be the theme this summer.    All right.     I promise to look for turtles.

Now we enter the pathway that will lead us to the Spruce area.    From this spot you can already feel the dark quiet dampness of a forest.

3 St Public Eptrance

I’m a bit rebellious  about government signage:    “Don ‘t run over pedestrians with your bike.”     ” Don’t ski in the summertime.”     “Take your poop with you  (if you have a dog.)” “Don’t make sudden loud noises in the presence of a horse.”    “This park cost a  lot of money so  don’t  . . .  touch anything.”

But apart from the signs,  that really is a very inviting entrance.

 

3 Sp 7 Fresh Air

There is quite a long pathway to enjoy.     You just have to slow down your pace —  maybe look sideways off the path.      Eyes wide open because it’s  more  than trees.

Breathe deeply.

3 Sp 8 sign scent

I already was smelling the pine scent all around me, and more —  something in my kitchen . . .  herbs,  fresh herbs.

Eventually I came to . . .  this place.

3 Sp 9 Bench and Light

It’s not just a bench.   It was one of the benches Hubbie had to use to “sit and rest for a minute”  during the last time he and I walked the Spruce Tunnel together.

I didn’t know,  had no idea,  that in a few short weeks he would be “entering the Light” by himself.      This feels like a dangerous  place for me;   it takes a bit of courage to keep on, just,  maybe doing what I’m supposed to be doing in this life.    That’s his bench . . . .

I reach the curved entrance to the “Tunnel.”

3 Sp Curved Entrance

I enter the place where the tall Spruce grow.   There’s not much to hear here.

3 Sp 6 Path into tunnel

 

All other thoughts are just a faint echo,   the packing- getting- ready- for- the- trip  frenzy seems far away.

3 SP Tunnel Bench

The Spruce Tunnel has a “bench” of its own.  You can sit there next to the Spruce for a while when you don’t want to leave quite so soon.

I capitalize “Spruce”  because these trees were living a hundred years before I was born, and most will still be here for another hundred years.

How often I’ve told you:   I hope you find a Spruce Tunnel of your own.  An actual place that is both physical and spiritual.

3 St above came for

 

After a while I found what I came for.

(That will last me for a few thousand miles!!)

 

 

NOW WHAT?

July 22, 2017

(A little Object Lesson from Nature):

________________________________________________________

Lawn and John 270

 

Remember that brand-new battery-operated lawn mower I wrote about a few posts ago?     Still going strong!   Still wonderful!  We’re delighted each time we discover new features — like its headlights!!  Imagine mowing the lawn at dusk – using headlights!

 

The lawn has a nice, even  texture now:

Bee lawn

It seemed like we had the yard “under control” now for the summer.

But –  as Son was mowing a few days ago,  he came across this:

Bee Hole

It is a “nice, even”  round hole.    The ground bees are back!    Son got gently buzzed off by a sentry bee,  so we got to work making plans to get rid of them, later that night,  when it was dark and all the bees were “home.”

At 11:00 that night,  we came out with a flashlight and carefully poured . . .   a “substance” . . .  down the hole.   Son thought he heard some buzzing, but it soon got quiet. He poured some dirt into the hole and placed a small white rock over the hole,  pressing it down with his heel.

Mission accomplished!

There is a problem,  you assess the situation, you find a way to take care of the problem,  and you execute the solution!   Smart us!

But – I walked out there about 36 hours later to check things out,  and a bee flew right up against my pants leg with a gentle bump.

Bee reminder

You’re trespassing!

I got the message.      From a little further away I saw several bees buzzing around.

Then I looked down where the original hole had been.

Bee HOLES

The bee colony had torn up more of my lawn!   Now there were many holes around that initial hole, still covered by the white rock.     All we had done was make them mad and they came back with more power, more destruction — more bees.

Now what?

We’ve got some ideas.

But it got me thinking:    Sometimes we have to fight.  Safety versus danger.  Right versus wrong.  Good versus evil.

It’s the Nature of the human predicament today.    You’ve heard many times:  “All that is necessary for Evil to triumph is for good men to do Nothing.”

So we fight.

A man fights.  A man of virtue, valor, and courage fights against what is wrong and evil.      Choose your profession.  Or choose your avocation.    Somewhere in your life you’ll have to take a stand.

And if a first assault against the Enemy wasn’t strong enough,  we fight again.   And again.

(I’m going to delete all my examples)   because  we all understand that there are battles out there that deserve a good fighting opposition from us,  each in our own proper station in life:   from standing up to protect the good values of our religion and of our country

. . .    to defending right against wrong in our personal lives . . .

. . .   all the way down to fending off the bees . . . .

 

bee flight.jpg

. . . . again and again.

 

St. Paul wrote:    Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.   (Galatians 6:9)

RADIATION AND PERTURBATIONS – I

April 9, 2017

 

Sorry I couldn’t get back here right away after the storm.  I’ve been “perturbed.”

But we’re still here:

2nd Tree and moon

That tall tree that twisted and turned so menacingly in our big storm is still standing.  The sky the next day was gloriously blue.  Innocently blue:  “What?  What storm?”   The pond level remains high but the raging torrent has returned to a normally high spring-level creek no longer uprooting trees and gouging out the creek bank.

Nature is calmer,  but this week becomes one of “perturbations”  and turmoil in the spiritual world,  during which Christians try to enter into the experience of Holy Week,  Jesus’ last week of life on this earth.   Try to enter into;  try to figure it out;  spend time  uniting in the experience, the story, the details.

The time approaches.

2nd Tree and Fist

 

Next to the photo of the top of the tree is a moon becoming full.  Not just any full moon;  the Paschal Moon,  for it is always full on Passover, and therefore on the Thursday of this particular week.    I put up my fist to measure the height of the moon.   One fist = 10 degrees.  The moon was about 50 degrees high in the sky.   As Thursday evening comes, it will be about that high,   but it will be just about at its highest point later in Gethsemane,  where Jesus had his  unspeakable agony,   sorrow beyond our understanding.

“Perturbations” 

2nd Waves

So, the storm that Mother Nature gave our area is past, but the wind still blows little waves and ripples across the pond to accompany our unsettled feelings during our Holy Week meditations.

And now there is the storm our politicians are giving us in international affairs.    “Russia threatens war,”  the new headlines say.     Well,  yes.   We attacked a sovereign nation.   One which Russia was working with to defeat ISIS.   They would be “perturbed.”

And   “Perturbations in Egypt.”     Palm Sunday today, and 43 Christians were killed in their churches by Islamic bombs.    “Innocent children and women  should not be killed in that manner”   . .  .  to use the words of the American president commenting on events in Syria.    I hope he is not so perturbed that he takes advice to retaliate against Egypt.   And if not,  why not?

(Maybe an unnamed “chemical gas”  is supposed to perturb us more than a more familiar bomb-attack.)

“Perturbations” as Islam advances apace in the Western world.

This week, after a few months of listening to a lecturer from Yale present Late Ancient and Medieval history,   he suddenly began giving lectures falsifying  (and sanitizing)  the history of Islam —  I could have thrown fifty books at him that tell a very different  history,   and consistently different throughout the centuries of experience with Islam,  some of these books written long before this man was born.   I suppose he has to agree to say these things or else lose his tenure.

But, gee — if you can’t trust a history professor from Yale,  who can you trust?   (That’s a joke, my friends.)

But again, “Islam advances apace.”     Look up that word “apace.”

GO BACK AND DO IT AGAIN !

March 21, 2017

Okay,   this might be my last post title that sounds like a command.)

I returned  again this year on a  March cold-almost-spring day to  where —

1.5 Trees with pails 350

—   to where  buckets hang from trees.

Sugar maple trees, specifically.

I’ve been writing lately about the importance of doing something new or different,  but really,  sometimes you should just go out and do something that you’ve done before!  You know,  been there, done that.    It  might be worth a repeat effort  too.

I was very surprised to meet Son and his friend there at the arboretum  – they were busy at one point drilling a hole in a tree:

4.5 Son and Friend drilling 300

That gives the sap a place to run out.

5 spout

And, yes,  we all tasted the drops.

6 sap licking

Sweet in a gentle, diluted way –  but sweet.   Like rainwater with a grain of sugar.

And we watched exactly how the Indians made maple syrup, collecting the sap,  hollowing out long half-logs with burning coals,

mani hot stones

and making birch bark baskets,  boiling the sap . . .

8 Boiling syrup 220

I’ve seen all this before because I’ve been here before.

I was glad to do it again.   I was glad to learn all this again.  A few old facts stuck out in my mind differently this time.      Like,  I knew the North American Indians — in the northern part of North America, that is —  were the first and only nations to develop the method of making maple syrup –  but, wow!   That’s  big.    I’m glad they did.

pancakes

  I’m glad someone did!

Now,  there is a lot to see in  the arboretum where these sugar maples grow and where the demonstrations were held,   but,  since I’ve “been there, done that,”  I’ve also posted it all before.

It’s worth a click:       CLICK!

https://thesprucetunnel.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/maple-syrup-time/

And then for the   “Native” American lesson,  there’s more to see:       CLICK!

https://thesprucetunnel.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/a-maple-syrup-lesson/

 

Or you can find some place to drive to your own maple syrup demonstration if you live near a nice, fresh sugar maple grove outdoors on a cool spring day . . .

 

thicker than

 

Maple Syrup!        Mmmmmmm.       So important!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DON’T STAY HOME !!

March 19, 2017

At least don’t always stay home!      (mostly photos today)

I have a tendency to be mildly interested in activities that go on around here — and then decide not to go out to them  after all.    I can get by like that without any trouble at all.

But this weekend I chose to be “different.”     So if you’re at all like me sometimes,   come, take a walk with me today.

______________________

I’ve been seeing these ads all over my house for a while:

HGS 1 ad

I guess I’ve been saving these ads in case I might be interested . . .   This is not my cup of tea, really.    But,  who knows?

I had my typical morning today.  Woke up at — literally woke up and got out of bed at 9:20,  and was in the car and on my way to church at 9:30.    Believe me,  after Mass the only thing I wanted to do was to go home and go right  back to bed!

But I didn’t.   Guess I was too sleepy to say “No,”  because I ended up here:

HGS 2 pavilion

Now, that is one giant building on our university campus.    It was a long walk from my parking place.    And –  I’ve never been there before.

HGS aisles

Inside were probably a few miles of aisles.  You want to check out something like this first —

HGS map

On the other hand,  there was too many small words to read . . . .

So,  I do have a yard to take care of;  back yard,  big pond in the back yard,  front yard, stone stairs going downhill on one side,  and a fenced in dog run and other stuff on the other side,  a rock garden . . .  it’s not just a rectangular yard full of grass;   there are interesting places and one who has skill and imagination can probably see a lot of possibilities in my yard.

So I’m wandering around inside that immense pavilion looking for “possibilities.”

HGS flower array

I wouldn’t know how to create that, but it looks nice.

And I have a raised area, a little hillside,  that would look nice like this:

HGS raised

My stone stairway doesn’t look like this,  but . . .  maybe  . . .

HGS stone setting

I do want a pretty place to walk in one certain  area of my back yard:

HGS walkway

Remember,  this is all  indoors!

HGS flower booth

 

I wish I knew how to make nice arrangements like this —  not in a vase on my table,  but outdoors,  in a little corner of my back yard:

HGS yesllow flowers

There were opportunities for instruction everywhere,  demonstrations of waterless cookware,  shampooing your roof,  soil feeding, whatever you’d want to know:

HGS lecture

I peeked in, but didn’t “participate.”   But this next display caught my interest:

HGS learning stones and fill

have to get a load of topsoil delivered to my yard this year …  and probably some other things.     there are plenty of interesting “substances”  to spread around in your yard.   So many interesting things to do with stone and water:

HGS fountain

I’d love to get a little waterfall or fountain going back there this summer.

Well,  you get the idea . . .   a little bit interesting.    There were other things in parts of that big pavilion too:

HGS quilts

Exquisite quilts of all colors and patterns.   My Mom made very beautiful quilts.  I don’t know how she learned,  she just start making them one day.  And whenever I see a beautiful hand-made quilt,  I miss her very, very much.

Here’s another one:

HGS pink square

The embroidery was exquisite.

There was a flower contest too –  I guess they’re called Flower Shows.  Here is a Blue Ribbon prize  white orchid,  nicknamed the Moth Orchid –

HGS orchids

Somebody worked very hard and long to nurture these thick, beautiful flowers that just seemed to glow with white light from within.

I didn’t come out all excited and clapping and saying “Wow!”

But I think I gained something by going.     Something slightly unexplainable.

 

 

HEIGHTS AND DEPTHS

February 20, 2017

(Heights.  Depths.  Metaphorically speaking.)

One good thing is that there is National Geographic out there that produces for us some of the finest photography that makes us feel as though we’re right there in the scenes!

top-kneeling

Here is a man just having reached the top of Mt. McKinley (Denali)  in Alaska.   Thanks to a National Parks  DVD set from National Geographic,   I followed him and his companions all the way up the brutal trail that took the men almost past their limits of endurance.

Then,  once the men caught their breath, as best they could,  this is how each of them felt!!

top-hurray

Exultant!

And so did I.  Whew!   Quite a harrowing trek.  I’m proud of our human race!

So many rewards.

denali-aurora

I saw the aurora sometimes when I lived in the Far Far North,   but I haven’t seen them for a long time down here . . .  in the Far North.    Son wants so very much to witness the Aurora Borealis, and he keeps threatening to go to Hudson Bay sometime.    Where the fierce polar bear live.

(He could catch that on a DVD.)

That was the “one good thing”  about National Geographic.    The one very bad thing, embarrassing, really,  is that they have fallen hook  line, and sinker for the global warming mythology.    You know,  the  Climate Change Doctrine that UN officials from time to time freely admit that Climate Change is actually a scheme for the massive transfer of wealth from First World countries to third world countries.

As in “carbon tax.”    The embarrassing narrative on the National Geographic video about the Everglades,  part of the set on National Parks,   actually stated that carbon dioxide is a “toxin.”

Tell that to the plants of this world!

Script after script about the Parks promoted the idea that global warming is putting the planet in great jeopardy.   (Did you know that it is HOT in Death Valley National Park?)  And it might possibly could perhaps maybe some day in the far future record a temperature higher than the 134 degrees we recorded in . . .  1913?      Over a hundred years ago – and we haven’t topped it yet.

Perhaps they should tell us the whole story about this global political scheme:

china-no-carbon-tax

Here is a  country,  which seems to be producing quite an abundance of carbon dioxide and lots of other toxins besides,  and it  is NOT required to pay a    “Carbon Tax.”

This is China, which regularly donates its pollution to the west coast of the United  States, via the winds that cross the Pacific Ocean.

In fact,  the  countries which produce the most pollution by far are exempt from the carbon tax.    The United States must pay for their global warming sins.

A massive transfer of wealth from First World countries to the Third World.

With the United Nations as the “helpful”  middleman.

Sheeesh!

angry-bird

I think next time I take out a set of nature videos from the library,  I’ll choose that one that was not produced by National Geographic.     The real old-fashioned one, made decades ago.     When the “scientists”  told us to worry about the coming Ice Age.

“THESE RUGGED TIMES”

August 8, 2016

(Oh, my;  has it been a week?   A very dismaying week;  fruitful for my mind,  but not for my writing. )

This photo doesn’t match “the Times.”

BACK YARD

So many dire and dismaying news stories this week, all wrapped in a packet of lies  within lies  within lies.   “News” stories are made up;    fabricated as an author would think up an interesting or controversial story-line, and then presented as though true;    and then argued about, debated about,  and tsk,tsk,tsk –  until  the controversy itself “proves” the lie.

It produces a Turmoil in the mind.     These days are difficult for us;   “rugged times,”  as John Jay wrote a couple hundred years ago.   He wrote about all the “sensations” that intrude into our minds.

He was born two hundred years before I was,  but yet he describes the process as we can perfectly  witness it  today:

“In such Rugged Times as these, other sensations are to be cherished.   Rural scenes, domestic bliss, and the charming group of pleasures found in the Train of Peace — all fly (away) at the approach of war; and are seldom to be found in fields stained with Blood, or in habitations polluted by outrage and desolation.”     (John Jay to Robert Livingston,  as war and revolution approached.)

What is he telling us?     That there are two opposing sets of “sensations”:      Rugged Times versus the Train of Peace.         “Train of Peace” may be an old-fashioned and poetic way of stating it,  but we’re not so stupid that we can’t understand – and deeply feel – what he means by that phrase.

Rural scenes, with all their charm and tranquility.   The photo above is looking out from my back window.

Such scenes provide a “charming group of pleasures . . .”

SAMSUNG

A morning sun ascends onto (the possibility of)  domestic bliss, promising a “Train of Peace.”

SAMSUNG

Morning Sun

John Jay and others eventually wrote that this country is to provide for the Pursuit of Happiness.    This is a state of affairs that allows men to pursue their dreams,  to see the fruit of their labor,   and to rest in a state of confidence and peace,  that if they work hard at a goal,  it may be attainable.

Opposing this is a tyrannical government that decides things for us.  Big Brother.  A  powerful State.   Laws, rules, regulations that put us into submission to the State.    We live by permits and licenses – and by “staying under the radar.”    We must believe their publications.  We agree to be entertained by their “entertainment-news media”   which is the source of the “pollution” that John Jay made reference to.   Facts polluted with  deception and lies.

And if we see behind the outright lies,   when we admit the many “outrages,”    and we witness the “desolation” of our country,   our peace “flies” away at the “approach of war” and our “pleasures” are fleeting indeed.

This “war” that approaches must be fought.   Don’t think of war as  physical altercation with physical weapons.

War is the deliberate opposition of one side to the other.    It means paying attention;  choosing a side;   standing up;  confronting the enemy (if it insists upon being an enemy);   choosing a method of opposition best suited to your abilities;    and getting busy to do the actual fighting.

I fear huffing and puffing and tsk-tsk-tsk-ing will get us nowhere.

Kronos on an urn

Kronos eats his children

 

Lies being told to conceal the identity of an enemy who has declared war against us and to lead us to believe that we somehow deserve the attacks are a kind of mental pollution,  not worthy to be taken seriously.

Lies that are being told to protect the one political candidate and to attack the other political candidate are not really worthy subjects for our entertainment  while we experience the “approach of war.”  (John Jay) .    Lies waste our time.

And the one thing that Time does is . . .  pass.

And we may still have time for these Rugged Times to produce great minds,  great men of truth and of valor.    These Rugged Times may be our awakening  that America is a real concept and that the United States is worth saving .     We may yet learn and understand the wisdom of our Founding Fathers.       We may yet find the strength to do our part with determination.

“These Rugged Times”    are our times too.

 

 

BEING A BEIGNET

July 23, 2016

I’ll try not to be too philosophical here.   The food deserves to speak for itself.

B Beignet plate

THAT is a beignet.    Delicious, one of a kind taste.    A French deep fried pastry with an interesting, though quite mild, flavor.   I had never had one until I followed Hiawatha to his home country this past week.

There in the Far Far North was a genuine Cajun restaurant,  with a chef actually from New Orleans!       Unfortunately – and unfortunately for the beignet – his restaurant,  The Lagniappe,  didn’t open until 11:00 a.m.  on the day I was supposed to leave.  I hung around and delayed my journey home until I could get an order of beignets and of jambalaya to take home with me.

The beignets didn’t quite make it.  Oh, the one I had as I started off was wonderful!   Warm,  light,  fluffy,  airy,  and oh, so tasty!     But then I had to drive some more.   Hours later,  the first bite into the second beignet was cool and chewy,  not quite . . .   good.

Home again,  I had an idea:

B Beignets 2

Now it was warm again,  that unique flavor came through, but it just wasn’t the same.  The texture had been lost.     (Which is not to say I couldn’t overlook that!)

How perfect is the beignet at its right time and place:   immediate, in its “present moment,”  and close to its origins,  I’d say about ten feet away from the chef’s  deep fryer.

Its delicate existence has a perfect place and a perfect timing;  like the snowflake in winter that landed on your jacket and you run in the house to show your Mom – and it lasts about 7 seconds;    like the beignet,  about 7 minutes;  like a man,  whose common given lifespan is 70 years.

But I said I wouldn’t get philosophical . . . .

 

B jambalaya

The jambalaya was heartier.    I make good jamabalya so I wanted to taste the recipe of a master(new Orleans)  chef.    That’s his.    At home,  I took it off my red plate and doctored it up a bit.    I like more cooked tomato, more celery and green pepper.    And I added the rich flavor of filet gumbo!

I took what someone made –  and I made it better,  tailor-made to suit my tastes.      You take what is handed to you,  not passively,  not as a victim,   and you add some creativity and individuality.

But I said I wouldn’t get philosophical . . . .

 

B gitche gumme fish

I visited the Land of Gitche Gumme.    Gitche Manito had given the People an abundance of food:   animals big and small,   plants that grew easily in the forest soil;  and fish.

I took some home with me, prepared the way Hiawatha would have known:

B Fish

One is a Menominee;  the other is a Whitefish.    Smoked.    Deep rich flavor.    They will feed me through many meals.    (Maybe too many;  they didn’t have smaller pieces!)

Eating from right out of the earth and the waters.

Right away in the early chapters of Genesis,  mankind was given for food the fruit of all the trees of the earth and of the herbs of the field.     Later in chapter 9 of Genesis,  flesh was added,  meat and fish:   Gen 9:3 – And every thing that moveth and liveth shall be meat for you: even as the green herbs have I delivered them all to you:

Fruit, vegetables, herbs, meat, and fish.   Of course, we have to work to produce, catch, and prepare our food;  and the further away from nature that we get,  the more labor is put into the food.  But the more we labor and tinker with the food,  the less like natural food  it is.

Being a beignet,  then,  is tricky.     Labor-intensive;  short-lived.    Appealing not to our (natural) health but to our sensations only.

But then I said I wouldn’t get philosophical.

bar simple green dividerA beignet lover in New Orleans:

Cooper and Kathy

The French missionaries came to Hiawatha’s people from Canada.   The French Canadian people were forced out of their homes by the English Protestants and fled to New  Orleans.  The French cuisine there gave birth to Cajun and Creole food.    Now,  Cajun and Creole food has returned to the Far Far North.

I wonder if Cooper can take that all in!

Fun facts.     Not a  philosophical lesson.

Just eat!

 

 

GITCHE MANITO SPEAKS TO US

July 18, 2016

In the spirit of the inspiring speeches that give us purpose in this current presidential election season,  I understand better the words of Gitche Manito –  who of course is our Great Spirit,  Creator of All Peoples,  the God who revealed Himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob . . .   and only many centuries later, to the Native Americans who were looking for the Black Robes of  their legends.

The words of Gitche Manito,  to Hiawatha,  and to us, at our sunrise or at our sunset, for we all live together on one small island world:

3 sea gull island 400

From our Creator, Bountiful and Good,    “. . .with Voice majestic as the sound of far-off waters falling into deep abysses. . .

O My children!  My poor children!
Listen to the words of wisdom
Listen to the words of warning
From the lips of the Great Spirit
From the Master of Life, who made you!

I have given you lands to hunt in,
I have given you streams to fish in,
I have given you bear and bison,
I have given you roe and reindeer,
I have given you brant and beaver,
Filled the marshes full of wild-fowl
Filled the river s full of fishes;

Such bountiful,  loving care from the One  True God!

My camera caught great beauty  in the skies of Hiawatha’s land,   but within those pink clouds was lightning!   Lightning flashes,  forks of lightning!   I wouldn’t want to be directly under their wrath.

Cloud broad view

 

The Great Father above continues:

Why then are you not contented?
Why then will you hunt each other?

I am weary of your quarrels
Weary of your wars and bloodshed,
Weary of your prayers for vengeance,
Of your wranglings and dissensions.

Cloud Pinker

 

All your strength is in your union;
All your danger is in discord.
Therefore be at peace henceforward,
And as brothers live together.

Live at Peace,  contented where you are:

Cloud Duck Enjoy

 

I will send a Prophet to you,
A Deliverer of the Nations
Who shall guide you and shall teach you.
Who shall toil and suffer with you.

Gitche Manito speaks to His children.  He spoke to Abraham,  to Isaac, to Jacob,  to Elijah, whose life, along with John the Baptist’s prepared the way for this Great Prophet,  and at last,  the Woman was created, prepared to be the Mother of the Prophet, reflecting the light of her Son’s glory as the moon reflects its sun’s light:

Cloud Pink Moon Alone

 

If you listen to his counsels,
You will multiply and prosper;
If His warnings pass unheeded,
You will fade away and perish.

If . . .

If . . .

That means it’s up to us.

Tomorrow I walk the surprisingly pleasant forests that Hiawatha walked.  They still exist.    Hiawatha’s society still exists, with all its complexities and problems.   Hiawatha’s  Great Father Above still exists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIVING IN “ANGRY BIRDS”

June 15, 2016

Robin angry birds

I like playing the game.  No big deal,  but it’s a fun way to pass some time – if you’ve got some time you want to have passed away from you.

But it’s NOT fun living inside an Angry Birds screen.     The birds around here are crazy –  and think they own the place, it would seem.

Two evenings ago, I decided to take my evening reading out to the deck and enjoy a cool summer evening overlooking my backyard pond, as the low sun shone on it.

SAMSUNG

I opened the door and walked out — to a flurry of heavy wings and angry quacks.   I had disturbed the ducks who were also enjoying the evening along the banks of the pond.  They were not happy with me.

I’ve already given up my front porch this summer – to Mother Robin.

Robin angry bird

Last year it was Mother Cardinal,  this year it’s a robin who packed my porch light tight full with stuff.     It’s a  G R E A T  disturbance whenever I walk out the front door.  I do feel a bit guilty.    I’ve been pregnant.   I know what it’s like to  be disturbed once you’ve found a comfortable seat to relax in.

robin angry watching

Mother flies off in a “huff”  or what sounds like a bird huff, and sits on the grass nearby,  “barking”  at me in robin-speak.  It could be kind of cute, but the longer I stay outside  (like planting flowers, doing a little weeding. . . )  the more it gets annoying.

Which is, I suppose, her intention.

I leave.   She goes back to my porch light.

It’s always been like this –  Birds First.        I remember one time I went out on my back deck to just . . .  well, to actually pray for a brief moment out there.  My eyes were closed, when suddenly I felt a Presence – at my cheekbone.    And I heard an intermittent, loud buzzing.   When I slowly opened my eyes,  I saw a blurring motion right at the tip of my nose.  It was a curious hummingbird, looking for a landing, I think.  Or maybe I had just had some orange juice.

But too close for comfort!     My nose is close to my eyeballs!   I wrote about it in a post called Fawn Fun, here….

Back door.  Front door.  It’s enough to make one stay indoors for the Duration.

And to make one remember from whom the birds descended:

bird dino

.

 

 

“ALL’S RIGHT WITH THE WORLD” – HUH?

June 1, 2016

(some backyard philosophy today,  from ducks to caesars.)

I wrote in the last post about an amazing new fact I learned recently:  that a bumble bee’s mouth is filled with little hairs!   Yuck.    But they serve as receptors for important little electrical signals put out by … flower petals!

Honestly!    All of  creation fits together in the most remarkable ways, one part made for the other.    Creation  works:

DUCKS to crop

It’s spring, and the ducks have returned to my backyard pond.   When they are resting like this they signal peace.  Peace in my backyard.   Peace.    Sometimes I’m consciously grateful for the time to watch them for a while.    They are there because “All’s right with the world,”  however temporarily for them.

Another sign of nature working well:

Bird closeup

Well, it works well for her, at least.   She’s made her nest – and laid her eggs now –  in the porch light just outside my front door.   That means, once again, that I can’t use my front door for a while;  and it means I have to duct-tape over the light switch or else the light bulb turned on  will set fire to the nest (as it almost did last year).

But for her – and we’re beginning to think this is Mama Robin – she has found a peaceful place to make a home and nurture her chicks.      “All’s right with (her) world.”

We can multiply this millions of times in the natural world.

However, when it comes to humans, who are part of the natural world,  well, we sometimes get in  the way of our own well-being.    Observe this excerpt from a famous poem . . .

The year’s at the spring,
And day’s at the morn;
Morning’s at seven;
The hill-side’s dew-pearled;
The lark’s on the wing;
The snail’s on the thorn;
God’s in his Heaven –
All’s right with the world!

( by Robert Browning.)*   It’s a portion of a poem that presents the terrible life a young girl who has been oppressed and ground down by her society.    Society  (politics and culture and social conventions)  had gotten so far from the natural order of Creation that a young girl is cruelly victimized unto death.    That society was in the midst of its collapse.

collapsing building

Yet  look at the context in which this societal collapse took place!

“The year’s at the Spring” – as usual –  “the day’s at the morn” –  as expected –    “the lark’s on the wing” – as normal  –  All of nature works, just as the Creator  created it.     And what does Nature care of the risings and fallings of societies and civilizations — which have learned to ignore natural, commonsense ways of Truth and Reality? 

We build ourselves up:

collapsing cards cr

Oh, yeah –  you just know what’s going to happen next!     One unstable house of cards;  one push;  one gust of wind;   one accident;  one deliberate undermining of the foundational layer.

Poof!    The house of cards that man has built lies in a heap – to be discovered, perhaps,  by archeologists thousands of years in the future.

There are certain truths about who and what Man is that cannot be contradicted for very long.    Natural laws  determine human growth beginning from a few cells to mature old age;  one of two sexes;  fresh and clean air, water, and food for optimum health;  and certain ways to associate with each other, summarized efficiently in the Ten Commandments, for instance.

Here is one Truth about Man:     “. . .  man was formed for society . .  .”  a partial quote ** from Sir William Blackstone, who wrote his famous volumes of commentary on the Law, as England knew it in the 18th century.

Man was formed for society. . . .     As such,  it is of utmost importance that  Man in his society   reflects the reality of Man in Natural Truth.     It’s common sense.   But if our society, or our culture,  departs from Natural Law,   then it begins to erode and to corrupt.

“All’s right with the world . . . “       Evidence seems to be that all is NOT right with our society.    Our foundations have been corrupted.  Our foundational layer has been undermined.   Poof!

But when I write about this in the weeks to come,   I’m writing within the context of  the existence of Natural Law at work in the Natural World.   That Natural Law applies not only to Ducks and Robins   (!)   but also surely to us human beings.

The  R word is very much on my mind these days,  but I don’t know if it should be  Recovery,  Restoration,  or Rebuilding.

This man had an idea:

augustus

Augustus Caesar  sought to restore the Roman Republic to its higher moral foundations.  He succeeded, somewhat,  and built the Roman Empire, which lasted a few centuries more;  not because its succeeding leaders were good and moral men,  but because the momentum of a restored higher  moral foundation made a few more centuries possible.

Good laws.   Good men.   Good moral foundation.

augustus senate

The new society worked —   “All was well” with society, as in the natural world.

For a while, at least.     

But it can be done.

_________________________________________________

 

. * Pippa’s Passing    (Well-educated children used to have this portion of the poem memorized,  but I fear that they were not taught the irony it presents.   Modern society continued to collapse.)

. **  “But man was formed for society; and as is demonstrated by writers on the subject, is neither capable of living alone, nor indeed has the courage to  do it.”   (speaking, of course, of normal, healthy individuals)

LOOKING SCARY REALITY IN THE FACE!

May 31, 2016

Boooo!!

Bee Face

Welcome to Reality.  A real creature in the real world!    Actually, it’s  a common   little created being — but thank goodness we don’t see him face on,  every day!

Ready for the name of this creature?

bee me cartoon

That’s a cartoon.   The first picture is a photo of a bumble bee’s mouth,  head on.

An associated summary of the scientific research tells us that all those little hairs around the bumble bee’s mouth pick up electrical signals from a flower.   The flower was made so that it gives out electrical signals!     And the bee is created so that it can pick up those electrical signals!   The bee recognizes what the signals are telling him,  and he attaches himself to the beckoning signal!

Bee Flower

There he is.   He’s doing it!   A bee can get quite territorial about which of the flowers in your flower garden he wants.   If you’re another bee,  you’ll just have to . . .   follow the electronic signals of another flower.

Scientists wondered for years just what makes a specific, actual bee go to a specific, actual flower.

I never have.     I’ve never wondered.    I’ve just made friends (I hope)  with the big bumble bee that rumbles near my front door – looking for the right flower, I guess.   Sometimes he hovers in front of my face until I back away a little bit.

I’ve  never questioned just how they decide which is the right flower to buzz into.  but it did make me think:

 smelling  Everything that is created works together with everything else.  All creation has a defined role to play,  based upon its created qualities.  On a biological basis,  I’m told that my nose has little receptors for a certain molecule to lock into which starts a cascade of electro-chemical events working up my olfactory nerve,  into my brain,  where another series of events interpret that molecule for me as a certain “smell”!!

Even me, as a whole,   my “qualities”  and characteristics and inclinations and likes and dislikes were created along with me to be a part of me yo interface with the real world, so that as I make my decisions to  fulfill my own  life  I will best reflect back the glory and power of my own Creator.

So, just like the bee,  although we don’t know all the secrets of creation yet,   what we’re finding is always astonishing us  — how well everything was made to  work together,  right down to minute little electronic signals picked up by heretofore unknown receptors on a bee’s tiny hairs!

Yes,   looking right down into a bee’s mouth can be startling!    Reality can be “scary.”        And for some,  Reality points right to the irrefutable existence of our Creator —   and that is a reality that makes us scary small in this universe.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

bar blue fancy line

If you have a thoughtful moment,  here is the way someone far smarter than I am stated this same idea:

The story is told of the late Samuel Stehman Haldeman, the distinguished naturalist of the University of Pennsylvania and the founder of the Natural Academy of Sciences, that when asked by his friends what brought him to the threshold of the Church,  he would reply:  “Bugs!”

Then with good nature he answered their astonishment  by explaining that even the smallest insect that was contained in his cabinets possessed the organism necessary for its proper activities.  Head and members he always found working together as one body.

His science thus led him to expect that if a church – as the embodiment of religion – were really part of a divine plan and so had its place within the world, that church would  be equipped by the  Creator with the organization and means of action proper to it, as carefully, at least, as is the beetle he has studied.

What his hypothesis demanded,  Profesor Haldeman had  found realized in Catholic Christianity.

 

(A little note from me –  Professor Haldeman refers to   the Church itself and its place in this world, not to its individual members who may disregard that organization, and who contradict in their lives and words the teachings of that Church.   Criticize them,  judge them, if you will;    but not the organic, ordained organization of the Church to achieve its specific purpose for us.)

The author who quoted this story:   Charles Alfred Martin,  a young man who has been educated for  far longer and more intensely than most of us have been.

Author Charles Martin

 

bar blue fancy line

 

 

INCIDENTAL BEAUTY

May 26, 2016

A little break from my rants against barbarism.

I’ve written about this before.  Twice a year I go into the little village where I live and pay my insurance.   I could set the payments up to be paid automatically through the Internet.   I could go back to the traditional way and write a check and mail the payment in.

But there is something about maintaining a face to face relationship with your insurance agent who knows you by name, and asks about my latest travels and is interested in my grandson!     A personal touch.     I know lots about her now too.

Well,  and it’s an opportunity to  take some good advice:  “Take time to smell the roses .”   Or the purple flowers, in this case:

Falls walkway 378

Behind the row of little small-town businesses,  there is a back-alley type of parking lot.  On the other side of that parking lot is this walkway.  I noticed the lovely purple flowers and it made me think.

I knew this beautiful little river was there.

Falls to crop 400

I actually pulled out of my parking place,   then changed my mind,  pulled into another parking place, shut off the motor, and got out of the car.     It doesn’t matter if I’d be a few minutes late for . . .   whatever.

The Spring air smelled wonderful, all  perfumey with flowers and tree blossoms.  A slight breeze rustled through the leaves and  the tall grasses.    It felt gentle out there.   And it was beautiful with a natural, pure sort of beauty.

Falls lovely left 378

The little river has a series of rapids, all quite photogenic.

Worth the drive into town  and worth the time it takes to stop and breathe in some incidental beauty.

There is a book called “The Evidential Power of Beauty.”     I’m not a brute beast looking at this scene with indifference.    I am human being,   fully aware that this beauty is evidence of the Source of all beauty, and I’ve been created to recognize it.

Deo gratias.

 

 

LESSONS IN SMALL WONDERS

May 10, 2016

(continuing adventures in Indiana)

Wonder is the happy astonishment at what comes before you, either an occurrence, a sight,  a word.
It is happy because it increases  intellectual pleasure of a new insight  and at the same time it’s  delightful to the senses.
It is an astonishment because it came to you through no effort of your own.   It’s a bit humbling.      It came from some place higher,  a Higher Power, a Higher Force, a Higher Person, and it was gifted to you because Goodness and Good Pleasures draw you to Him.
    Therefore, wonderment is an act of Love from your God to attract you to Him – and as such,  a created being responds with humility, awe, love, and gratitude.
I’m writing about “Small”  Wonders,  because Our Lord God said:  Unless you become as a little child,  you won’t see . . .  (see the Kingdom of Heaven,  now and forever.)    You must have in you a childlike openness to Wonder.
Wonderment is available to all ages, races, material circumstances, conditions,  and geographical locations!     All you have to be is a created human being.

Ch Museum outdside

Four-Storied Children’s Museum

I could tell you about all  our adventures at the Terre Haute, Indiana,  Children’s Museum,  but you, like me,  have probably seen children’s museums:    “been there, done that.”     I went because Cooper, my grandson,  wanted to go  (and so did his Daddy, actually).    I confess  I was prepared to be  slightly bored.

But I have some photos –   and after pondering them in The Spruce Tunnel for a while,  they became  lessons to myself.

SAMSUNG

There were stars to learn about, of course.  The picture on the back wall of the display is easily recognizable as Ursa Major – you can see it every clear night – and only in the Northern Hemisphere!      But the bigger white dots are a representation of the stars as they actually exist in space, relative to each other.

So – from another perspective,  say if our space ship were coming in from a different angle,  it wouldn’t be a big bear (or a Big Dipper)  at all!

Nor would it have entered our minds to even think about grouping these stars together to make a picture of a familiar (earthly) object.

The Ancients knew,  the Greeks scientists knew,  the  Church philosophers knew,  they all knew that Mankind is only a small speck within a vast cosmos.   And they wondered at it!   Humans have dignity and infinite value only because God made us and cares for us.  And that’s a wonder too.

As a corollary:     It is another kind of wonder that Modern Man thinks he is the sum and summit of knowledge and importance;  and so much so that his reasoning must be separated from Faith and his attempts at science must be separated from the vast scientific learning of the Church.  

Ch Museum weather report
The museum had a Weather Station –  fun for me and Cooper,  except I love thunder and he doesn’t.     There was a television “studio” there where you could sit behind the desk and be televised as you give the weather report.

I refused.   I realized how “shy”  I still am.   Cooper refused.   He’s shy too.    What a happy little astonishment  to realize how alike we are — and how our traits and characteristics are passed down into our grandchildren — and how MUCH we love them for it, for being familiar to us.

Did you know that when God looks down on this planet,  He looks for and recognizes those humans who are like Him, and who are becoming more and more like Him?    He is Holy and Good, and only those who are like Him can survive  (can exist)  in Heaven where He is.

SAMSUNG

Cooper and I share a fascination with music too;  or maybe it’s more a sensitivity to sounds.  Like his Mommy too.

They say the universe vibrates with energy and sounds.   The Music of the Spheres, the Ancient Greeks used to call it.   Everything reverberates with energy, within and without, making beautiful sounds which we can only hear a small range of.  Harmonious vibrations because they all have one Source.

If you’re “small”   —

SAMSUNG

—  you can put yourself into a giant soap bubble and wonder how it happens.   Fun for little ones.   But interesting for “big ones”  when you think about all the forces that hold things together:  surface tension of the soap bubble;   gravity;   strong and weak atomic forces;  gluons;    . . .   and the ongoing will of God to keep it all together – for now.

I don’t.   We don’t.  No one knows how to “keep it all together.”   I live!   But I am not the One keeping my self alive!   Astonishing!

Okay.  Fewer words.

SAMSUNG

Little boys love big . . .   things.  Vehicles and such.    Machines.

SAMSUNG

If your heart stays  “small”  you need to try things out.  Get involved.     I had a turn in some of the farm machinery.  I sat in a huge … farm thing, and through the window was a display set up so you could see what a farmer would see if he were out working in that machine.

It was fun.    I was astonished at how much work there is to bringing our food to us.   The whole process of tiny little seeds growing into tall plants –  parts of which we can eat!   And we must eat food from plants!  

I’m reminded too about how much space it takes to grow our food —  and I remember observing how very much “space”  our country has.    It is astonishingly EMPTY of people and towns and cities!

It is we who turn our backs on all this wonderful open space and choose to live in costly, crowded city situations.   There is so much space available for us, but we think we don’t want it.       A small two-acre plot with a nice house costs a half or a third or even a quarter of a dwelling place in our cities!     Astonishing what is available for us – if we avail ourselves of it!

I’m going to eliminate, oh, about twenty other photos and get to this fun adventure in the museum.

SAMSUNG

Little Blur

See that little blur?

SAMSUNG

Big Blur

How about the big blur!

The blurs were Cooper and Daddy, and it’s called Run With An Animal.   And see if you can run faster than that animal!!!

SAMSUNG

That’s the Display Screen.   You touch the planet earth . . .

SAMSUNG

. . . .then you choose a continent.  Then you choose your animal.

The animal (and you) begin to run when you press a button — and the squares on the floor light up as the animal is “running.”

SAMSUNG

There he goes!   He’s beating that one!    I think Cooper got smart and picked a turtle that time,  but I can assure you,  he and his Daddy could not beat most of the animals they picked.

Animals  are astonishingly – fast!

Animal life is not like our life.   There really is a “jungle out there”!!

Here is my standard advice to all my classes:   Go to the public library  (or buy books if you have to) — and see all the picture books,  the photographic books,  the science books about . . .   pick a topic:  Animals of the World.    All the Birds of the World.  All the Flowers of the World.    Alpine Flowers.   Desert Flowers.   Flowers Mankind Never Sees.   Ocean Life.  Microscopic life.    Stars.  Mountains.   Rivers and Seas.   Forests.  

Then don’t let anyone disturb you.   Be a child, with that book.    Be amazed.   Be astonished.   Be very, very small.   Be humble . . .  and grateful that you got a glimpse of this vast Creation!

I don’t think I want to stop.      So  I think I’ll go and grab a book now.

SOME FUN FOR LENT

March 16, 2016

God is so much bigger than Man that although we can know Him,  He still remains a glorious Mystery.

banner for Himself  10

It’s still Lent,  10 more days to go;   soon it will be time to reprise those last days of Our Savior, during what we call Holy Week, and we’ll tackle a serious Mystery.

But meanwhile,  God is a Mystery, true;  and so are we – a mystery to ourselves;  and so is this interesting planet that is our home.    We know a lot about our planet;  but it still gives us surprises.   Let’s have some fun:

SAMSUNG

A hole.   Appeared suddenly.   A reindeer herder noticed that up ahead, one of his reindeer seemed to be struggling,  like falling.   When he hurried up to see what was the matter,  he found that the reindeer had nearly slipped into this hole and was struggling to pull himself out!

This is land that the reindeer herder knew well.   That hole wasn’t there when he had passed this way several days before.   Some people in the vicinity have seen flashes of light from time to time,  but they are unanimous in saying there is never any sound.  No noise.

Since then, other holes have popped up, many miles away from each other, but still in the same Russian peninsula;  Yamal.

SAMSUNG

 

They were ten to seventy meters across;  some were very deep,  some were not too deep.

A different angle.    Notice the  “little”  men standing at the rim:

SAMSUNG

Scientists have taken many tests and measurements.    Here are some descending into a hole:

SAMSUNG

This one wasn’t too deep:

SAMSUNG

Not too deep,   so it presented more of a mystery.     Although some of the holes were beginning to fill up with water, which suggested it was a geological phenomenon related to sinkholes or sudden blasts of methane mixed with salt water at the level of the water table,  some were bone dry.

As  you can see,  some holes have hard floors, no water coming in,  and very oddly,  the bottom is extremely flat.   Flat is not something that you could have if there were an explosion of some kind.

This is more like a giant “plug” of soil was taken out of the earth.   But some “plugs” of removed earth do not have round circumferences.

SAMSUNG

Well,  kind of round.  Maybe that’s a snow drift hanging over the edge.

But  —

SAMSUNG

—   this has definitely square edges.

Now, apparently we should believe that these are random methane explosions, methane mixed with salt water, as I said above.   They repeat it over and over in the narrations, even though it doesn’t quite fit the description of the holes, and even though there are no known   (not yet discovered) methane deposits right there, and even though the nearest natural gas fields are many kilometers away,  sometimes hundreds and hundreds of kilometers away – so just . . .  not in the vicinity.

And they don’t look like explosions.    There are no burn marks around the edges and no residue of burnt material.   The edges show that some soil has spilled out, but not blown out or exploded out.    And where is the rest of the material that used to be in the hole?

They’re not sinkholes.    The geology in the area  is wrong for sinkholes, and sinkholes just don’t look like these do – and they have rough, jagged sometimes water-filled bottoms.

I have no answers.    I think it’s fun.     I think it’s still a mystery.

Look it up:  Yamal; holes; Russia. . .   (whatever).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FLEETING WINTER BEAUTY

February 25, 2016

 (Just a little photo journal  . . .)

I’ve had one long 32-hour distraction!

SAMSUNG

It started yesterday with the beginning of our little snowstorm.   Looked up about noon, over my computer keyboard, out the window — and that was the end of all my work.  Can’t concentrate when there’s so much going on outside!

It seems all day long I just went from window to window as though I had never seen a snowstorm before.  The snow and the wind made such beautiful scenes and patterns –

SAMSUNG

The pond was no longer good for ice skating and hockey,  but all day there was a swirl of changing patterns.  I don’t know what the aquamarine color was,  but it was a nice touch.  No.    No blue sky to reflect into the ice.

SAMSUNG

The little weed tree at the edge of the pond was getting coated with thick, heavy, sticky snow.   Rather artistic for a “weed.”.

I checked the azaleas just outside the bay window:

SAMSUNG

Well, they kind of looked the same as the little weed tree at the edge of the pond.

I went to the front of the house:

SAMSUNG

I have a Snowball Bush!       Bloomin’ snowballs.

The snow came all day,  sometimes heavy, sometimes light.  I thought in order to keep up with it,  I’d have to shovel the driveway two or three times while it’s falling, or else I’d never be able to move it all at once.  It was wet and heavy!

Of course, this heavy, wet, sticky snow is good for rolling and packing so now I have —

SAMSUNG

—  a Snow Bear!

Okay, you can hardly see a white Snow Bear in a snowstorm,  but I had to alternate snow shoveling with . . . some fun.   Came in soaking wet,  just like when I was a little girl.

Today brought pretty much an end to the snowfall,  but we still  had wind,  shadows, patterns, and interesting things.   First I wanted to see how much snow this area got.

SAMSUNG

Mid-morning light shows 9 1/2 inches on the ruler.

Everything was covered with snow or painted with snow.

SAMSUNG

I think the neighbors across the street won’t mind if I show you their landscaping shrubs:

SAMSUNG

Well, as seen through snow falling.

Then I turned to my backyard pond.   It didn’t look the same today!

SAMSUNG

Same aquamarine color but darker in a different lighting –  and what are those circles!

SAMSUNG

As I kept going back to check on the snow patterns in the pond,  the sun came out —

SAMSUNG

So now we have patterns of gray shadows crossing the giant “lily pads.”

The sun added a whole new range of things to look at.    The temperature dropped,  the snow got lighter and dryer,  and as the wind swirled the snow into the air from off the rooftops and trees,  the sunlight lit up each of the tiny frozen particles, and it seemed like the air was filled with a million glittering little diamonds.

I’m not sure even the finest painter could capture the beauty of a bright sunlit snow scene, after a snowstorm,  with the wind still blowing.

You would have to start with paper that is light gray and blue, and then use brushes dipped in all shades of white, and maybe a little silver.

SAMSUNG

The scene is no longer fuzzy and dark and subdued,  but bright and full of contrasts.  And if you were an artist,  you’d have to remember to save the brightest white for the forest floor where the sun shines down full onto it.

We’ll lose all this in a few days.   We’re going to have a warming trend.  40 degrees and more.   Not good.   These photos will be my only memory.   Fleeting beauty!

banner for Himself.jpg 27

Kind of a nice bright interlude in the middle of Lent!

 

 

 

 

PUSH BACK MY PUSH BACK

April 19, 2015

Just a little “push back” from me to my post yesterday.     I love science.  Meteorology.   Astronomy.    And the Creator of it all.    So that would be “the heavens,  the high heavens,  and Highest Heaven,”  if you’re into  a graphical schema, or the geography of it all.

So I want to balance the “unspeakable”   (literally) in the last post,   with the “normal.”

SAMSUNG

Normal clouds.   Normal  puffball patterns.

Half the sky was decorated with these little puffballs.     Quite interesting.

At the edges were these common wind-driven stripes:

SAMSUNGAlso interesting.

I love saving pictures of clouds.    Might be genetic!     I have a cousin who also loves clouds.   I think we both have folders on our computers labeled  “Clouds.”

I attribute my interest to the mesmerizing effect of Koyaanisqatsi;  but that was a long time ago when such visual special effects were new and “Western Guilt”  was still a new and imposing concept.

So we have plenty of interesting beauty in the natural world to impress us;

That’s what most of the clouds are:  interesting and harmless.

MAPLE SYRUP TIME!

March 21, 2015

(Post 2 of 3 for my new Reader who likes the “Food Part.”)

Come with me to a Maple Syrup Festival today!!     This will be a photographic tour,  so not too many words from me.

From the Website of  our local nature center:

SAMSUNG The trail map:

SAMSUNGI didn’t think I would need this map.   It had too many miles on it!!      But the parking lots were full to overflowing, and I found a place to park very far away from the syrup festival.

I walked through many parking lots but didn’t mind very much.   Good exercise,  good weather,  and interesting things to look at:

SAMSUNGThis looks like fun for some other day.

Walking on and on and on,  I finally came to a Do Not Enter road:

SAMSUNGSo of course I headed that way.

At last I saw a tent –  seemed like a good sign.

SAMSUNGIt turned out to be a place to eat —  What else?

SAMSUNGAnd what  do you eat at a  Maple Syrup Festival?     Flap jacks, sausage, and maple syrup.

Outdoor dining:

SAMSUNGOutdoor dining in winter jackets.   This is the Far  North, after all.    It smelled good, but I didn’t come to eat,  so I went on in search of those who were making the syrup.

SAMSUNGThe pathways through the woods were rather nice,   nice and long,  so you had to keep looking for the little yellow signs near the ground.

Ever watch that television series called “Grimm”  ?

SAMSUNGNever mind.

It wasn’t really that scary.    . . . In the daylight.

SAMSUNGThat red “house” up ahead was the educational headquarters for maple syrup making.     Earnest volunteers presented good information.

SAMSUNGWe were given the opportunity to try our hand at drilling tap holes.

Which is why there were many trees like this:

SAMSUNGYou make a hole (somehow)  and then choose a tap:

SAMSUNG

Here’s a cross section of what happens when you insert a tap into a tree trunk:

SAMSUNGThose dark gray rectangles are the taps.  How do you know how many taps to use on a tree?

SAMSUNGThere are measurements and formulas based on those measurements…   Unfortunately, the young volunteer was not very good at math.    He was college-aged, I’d guess,  but he couldn’t explain to someone what  diameter or  radius meant, but he offered to the person that orange tape measure.  That’s okay.  He did clarify for me that the taps break into the phloem, which results in the “leakage” of the sap into the tap and out into the attached bucket.

SAMSUNGThese buckets are covered so no one has to stay there for a few days shooing away the bugs and flies.

SAMSUNGBuckets on many of the trees.

And here’s what you do with all the sap that you’ve collected:

SAMSUNGIf you don’t have fancy equipment or a big enough kitchen,  you boil the sap over a wood fire.

SAMSUNGOr you can use a modern “evaporator.”   Either way there is the wonderful smell of wood smoke and maple syrup in the air.

Although,  we were told,  one can tap into other kinds of trees,  even walnut,  the maples have the most sugar in their sap.   So here’s a good look at a maple stand in case you’d like to recognize when you’re in one:

SAMSUNG(I’m told it’s easier to recognize when the leaves are out!)

So – let’s eat!

SAMSUNG(Or let’s buy!)

Lots of maple products for sale.    Candy, syrup,  maple butter,  and even maple granulated sugar – with recipes for its use.

This table had maple syrup root beer:

SAMSUNGSomehow I came out with two bags full of maple stuff.      (This comes only once a year, right?)

Then it was time to find my way back to the car.

SAMSUNG

It really was a lovely walk.

SAMSUNG

It would have been so easy to have stayed home,  but it was very worthwhile to go to the Festival.

Sometimes I like the way our tax dollars are spent.

(Next time I’ll tell you why we have to work so hard to get our maple syrup from the trees.)