Several of us old guys meet for breakfast one morning each week. The past year, of course, we have been doing it by computer, but still meeting. Then one week I announced I would miss breakfast for a meeting of the Watershed Alliance of Adams County.
Continue reading Hugging water
“Trees are ents who moved too slowly and have taken root,” Treebeard explained in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkein. Treebeard was an ent and being long-lived, had much to say.
Research published in recent years appears to indicate that while ents may be fictional, trees do have feelings and do communicate among themselves, usually along pathways made possible by a multitude of fungi growing at the feet, er, roots of those slow-growing, long-living organisms that clean our air, filter our water and provide the raw materials that form our wooden caves.
Continue reading Walt was (almost) correct
I saw a Black and White Warbler in the tree outside my window. My first ever. A tiny thing, about the size of a goldfinch, but all longitudinal patterns of black and white stripes.
What I am pretty certain was a Rose-breasted Grosbeak lit momentarily within sight, then departed before I could take the camera in hand.
Continue reading Waddya mean, “Water shortage”
The verdict in the George Floyd murder trial was a little hard to hear. Floyd is still dead, and former Officer Derek Chauvin’s family has lost its father and husband.
At almost the same time the verdict in the George Floyd murder trial was being announced, a 15-year-old girl was shot by police in Toledo, Ohio. In the weeks leading to the verdict declaring Officer Chauvin guilty of murder, a young man was killed by an officer who claims to have mistakenly drawn her pistol when she intended using her Taser. And a 13-year-old boy, his empty hands in the air, was killed by an officer who made the “split-second decision.
Continue reading On the wall
We human mammals love water. We spend nine months in a balloon full of the stuff, presumedly plotting our escape, then spend much of our air-breathing lives trying to at least live next to it.
Those of us fortunate enough to gain housing close to a stream, lake or ocean often post signs around it announcing our success to neighbors who must settle for looking out their front windows at our back doors.
Continue reading Thoughts on unfreezing
First impressions often are as much reflections of our own perspective as of the person we are evaluating.
After 20 years in the Navy, I matriculated into the University of Maine at Farmington, where I learned stuff and met a nice young woman who lived on a dairy farm with a husband heavy into Holstein husbandry, three daughters of which one actually enjoyed working in the barn, and a son who, after making sure Mommy was watching, reveled in walking atop tall picket fences, figuratively and literally.
Continue reading A matter of perspective
Rain beats against my bedroom walls like bacon sizzling on a stove for breakfast I am too comfortable to climb out of bed to prepare or even eat once I had.
It seems only a week ago the crocuses popped out of the mulch and leftover snow to welcome spring and the Persian New Year.
Continue reading ‘Tis the (vernal) season
Nine state legislatures are considering bills to make plastics manufacturers responsible for their products end-of-life.
Pennsylvania is not one of them. It should be.
The concept is not a new one. Battery makers must process their products when they no longer start our cars. We buy new tires for our chariot and pay to have the dealer dispose of them.
Continue reading Make plastics-makers responsible for their product
I read someplace that we humans do not actually invent or discover anything. Everything there is to be known, the thesis claims, is stored in our genetic code, waiting or us to stumble upon it.
One of my favorite books – a sextet, of which I actually read only three and a little bit – was the “Clan of the Cave Bear” series by Jean Auel. Officially called the “Earth’s Children” series, it was a strong tale that started with Ayla, a five-year-old Cro-Magnon girl, being orphaned in an earthquake, and subsequently taken in by a Neanderthal clan.
Continue reading Take a trip and never leave the farm
More than a decade into the boondoggle that has been the natural gas boom in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, residents of the 22 counties that have produced 90 percent of the treasure obtained from fracking Marcellus Shale find themselves with a paltry share of the proceeds bad water, overburdened roads, and carved-up state forests.
Continue reading Promises and other tall tales
Bluebirds, starlings and sparrows line up atop the fence outside my window, anxiously jockeying to see who will take over the fixer-upper mounted atop the fence post at the far end. The starling tries to bully his way to head of the line, but will lose the contest, because he’s too big to get through the hole, but he’s sure making life miserable for the others.
Continue reading Avian invasion
Funny how we remember some things and not others, especially parts of the same story. Like my first deer hunt. Dad and Mom hunted every year on Roy Stewart’s orchards, but that was adult sport; kids not invited.
Then one day Mom handed me her rifle and a bullet and sent me forth.
Continue reading No strangers
There is nothing good about all the people who have died from the virus, many of them unnecessarily. And I do not know which is worse: discovering how long is takes to spool up vaccine production and delivery, or discovering we’d been lied to about how long it takes to spool up vaccine production and delivery.
Continue reading Just say “No, thanks”
Sugaring-off when I was a kid was a sure sign of summer’s on the way. Nights below freezing and days in the low to mid 40s made the sap run in the sugar maple trees. In those days, we donned snowshoes and hiked from tree to tree, boring a half-inch hole in each trunk, hammering in the spile, then hanging a collection bucket from an attached hook.
Continue reading Set it down, would ya, Jim
Some people claim the stock market is an indicator of the health of our economy. In truth, as indicated by the newsworthy reactions of the Big Investors to being outfoxed last week by what they call “Dumb Money,” it is a way for (mostly already) wealthy folks to shuffle money around giving the appearance of making more of it.
Continue reading Trading water
My grandfather taught me the rudiments of electricity when I was about 13 or so. Grandpa had retired from the Massachusetts Transit Authority, where he had been responsible for keeping the electricity running to the streetcars. (In New Orleans and many movies, they are known as trolley cars.)
Continue reading Road Ends Ahead
We stood and talked for a bit one afternoon, me standing next to her sitting on her lawnmower, chatting about the old farmhouse and the adjacent hayfield and railroad tracks. The land had been in her family several generations.
Continue reading Squandering our kids’ inheritance
My best friend gave me an insulated vest for the days when I venture out into the winter air. Out my back window, most of the trees have taken the opposite approach, having shed their raiment and shut down their blood supplies to protect against the frigid winds of winter.
Continue reading Getting warm(er)
I lost yesterday to the eye doctor, who put stuff in my eyes and it turns out the older I get, the more and longer lasting are the effects of things that didn’t bother me in a previous age.
When I should have been writing this column, I found my eyes – which previously had quickly recovered – did not work. For many hours longer than my memory claims has normally been the case, my eyes refused to focus. There are few conditions more sleep-inducing than eyes which transmit light in patterns the brain proves incapable of organizing.
And then came the assault on the symbol of our government.
Continue reading Have we become too old?
Sometimes you just have to do a thing, even when you know there’s a risk, Sometimes you get away with it. Like the time a young friend – let’s call him Joe – went walking on water …
Continue reading Thin ice and dry clothes