One of the many wonderful
things about living where I live is I am not required to travel far from my
home to see wonderful stuff. Like on the recent afternoon when I went driving with
a fellow photographer along a nearby road and found four Red-tail hawks in the space of about a half mile.
Readers of J.R.R. Tolkein are familiar with Ents, those
long-talking, slow-walking ancient creatures of Middle Earth. They are among
the few beings to have survived to the current age. It seems they eventually took
root, owing to their extreme slowness, and became what we know as trees, those
flexible, sometimes giant, beings that wave in the wind.
Getting old is like keeping an antique car running. It’s a
constant effort to replace worn parts, some of which are no longer available,
and tinker with the parts you can’t replace, and put up with the creaking and
inflexibility of the parts you can’t reach. Someone told me this week ankles
are now included in the list of parts that can be replaced. I don’t need one,
but its nice to know, along with shock absorbers (knees) and oil pumps
(hearts), we now can buy new u-joints (ankles).
A few decades ago, when I was in the U.S. Navy, I was a crewmember in a P-3 Orion patrol plane. One of my jobs, it turned out, was to talk with Santa via radio. Let me explain.
With the Trump administration bailing on environmental efforts and proceeding with as much haste as possible to dismantle regulations put in place by “the previous administration,” states and industry are having to pick up the load. And they’re doing it, in the same way that Elon Musk is taking over NASA’s space exploration role. Electric cars, reusable rockets and taxpaying jobs may do more about climate change than any amount of political rhetoric.
Country music performer Garth Brooks filled Notre Dame
stadium in October. The show was carried on CBS Sunday night. It ran until 10
Sunday night at 10 is the usual time for “Madame Secretary.”
For the non-political TV watchers, Téa Leoni portrays the Secretary of State in
a show based on political news, mostly world wide, that occupy presidential
My column writing career officially began in 1974, on Adak Island, in the middle of the Aleutian Chain about four hours from Anchorage in a fairly fast turboprop aircraft.
I wrote about mostly outdoorsy issues and about wandering around the tundra in the company of a Bald Eagle named J Edgar, who in turn got his name from one of my favorite Mason Williams ballads. J Edgar and I lived in a hollow log on the back side of the island, which was a puzzlement to many readers because there were no trees large enough to be hollow to be found on the island.
We went away to visit relatives we had not seen in too long, leaving behind trees in the beginning stages of fall color change, and returned to find our trees – well, most of them – naked.
I’ve visited Florida several times, even lived in the northeastern part of the state about five years in my 20s – but the want-to has been my closest approach to the Everglades. In my younger years, I must admit seeing it as just another tourist attraction, a huge swamp, home for some birds, and maybe a few alligators.
A recent airboat ride in the Everglades showed me it’s way more than a tourist attraction.
This is a huge country, a point eloquently made on a recent drive to Florida.
Unfortunately, using GPS is a little like walking through a wood at night with a pen light. You can see what is under your feet, but beyond that – zip.
Give us a disaster and we’re there with help. Name it Harvey or Sandy or Marie and we break out the chainsaws to clean the fallen forests from our neighbors’ roofs. The call goes out to replenish the Red Cross and we hit our phones to text $5 or $10 to aid people we have never met.
Old folks vote, generally, to protect rights they think will be lost if they do not vote to protect them. They may be correct.
Young folks – generally – do not show up at the ballot booth because they seem to think they have little to lose. Or have little power in the decision making.
Coming up on a year ago, I visited an eye doctor. I was constantly crying. My eyes would not stop with the waterworks.
He told me the problem was I was not making tears, which was irritating my eyes, which was making them water like Marsh Creek after that rain we had at the end of July. He prescribed eye drops that would make me make tears so my eyes wouldn’t be irritated so they would not, well, make tears.
When I was about to retire from the Navy and move back to where I was raised, folks often would ask why I would want to move to the north woods.
“There’s nothing there,” they almost uniformly pronounced.
Well, not quite but, relatively, close.
Outside my window, the sky is falling. That’s what we say when the clouds, over-encumbered by wind, temperature and moisture, fall to the ground in large torrents of, usually, vertical rivers.
Meanwhile, flocks of eiders bounce in the waves, drifting upwind and down, occasionally diving, presumably for snacks, much as I dive for a box of Triscuits or a handful of grapes. We’re not so much different, the ducks and me.
“Some people try to turn back their odometers. Not me. I want people to know why I look this way. I’ve traveled a long way, and some of the roads weren’t paved.” Will Rogers said that, and I agree. I have invested a considerable portion of my travels searching out unpaved roads. Or at least roads less traveled.
What is it with the female of our species that, when she is overcome with a special kind of ambition that can only be satisfied by cleaning up piles of “stuff” collected by her mate.
It happened a week or so ago with my spouse. She suddenly decided the garage needed reorganizing. Translation: Seek out piles of stuff of questionable future need. Either it goes to my heirs, the recycling center, or placed on one of those flea-market apps that might get other collectors to pay money for my junk.
While too many of us are focused on the latest Trumpian tweets, there is at least one Election Day contest worthy of note right here at home. There are several of them, actually, but our gubernatorial contest is a good example of the choices we face as we move toward handing the Commonwealth to our grandkids.
More than 30 years ago, a college professor told his class pavement was partially – and considerably – responsible for warming the planet. Every time two-lane country roads are widened to federal specifications – from two barely 8-foot travel lanes bracketed by gravel berms to 12-foot travel lanes and 8-foot breakdown lanes – the local temperature increased by a few degrees. And with every new shopping center, with accompanying blacktopped parking lot, the local temperature jumps some more.
For years, the largest seed company in the world also, in many quarters, has been the most hated. No, I’m not talking about Burpee, which is pretty big, and not at all related to the company that is the subject of this week’s ruminations.