Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Any guesses?

Several weeks back I took myself on a fine little nature walk at a park very near an interstate highway (that's one clue). 








There were big-leaf maple trees.
















With honkin' big leaves.


But this photo has the real clue:


Yup, oak leaves. It's estimated that the oak savanna habitat that once covered 500,000 acres in the Willamette Valley of Oregon has been reduced to about 1% of its original range. But there are several pockets where you can see this habitat preserved. Any local folks have guesses as to which one I was at? Here's your last hint, and it's a big one, if you've visited the same place:


Any guesses???



Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday's Nature Quote

[T]he greatest beauty is organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the divine beauty of the universe. Love that, and not man apart from that....


~Robinson Jeffers
Photo from www.earthball.com 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Weekend Haiku & Limericks

It's been a quiet week here in the blogosphere. So for this weekend, let's say the haiku/limerick challenge is: Thanksgiving or something from Monday's nature quote. Feel free to mine the comments, too.

Post your haiku or limericks in the comments, below. Remember the pattern of a haiku is:

First, 5 syllables,
the second line has seven.
And 5 at the end.

A limerick is a wee bit more complicated. Here's one description.

Next week, more subject challenges--this week, it's a free-for-all!

Post your haiku or limerick in the comments, below.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Monday's Nature Quote

When a volcano erupts, the press refers to it as a "natural" disaster. Like all events of nature that harm human beings, however, it is a human disaster, there being neither hazard nor disaster without the presence of human beings.


--Janet M. Cullen Tanaka
Mount St Helens by Gord McKenna

Friday, November 18, 2011

Weekend Haiku & Limericks

Your challenge: write a haiku featuring one of the subjects discussed here in the past seven days: truffula trees, books, books books, or something from Monday's nature quote. Feel free to mine the comments, too.

Post your haiku or limericks in the comments, below. Remember the pattern of a haiku is:

First, 5 syllables,
the second line has seven.
And 5 at the end.


A limerick is a wee bit more complicated. Here's one description.


Kindly post your haiku or limerick in the comments, below.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Resistance is futile

The siren call is strong--how do you resist?


You don't.


You stop in and spend a pleasant stretch of time pulling intriguing books off the shelves, reading a few pages of one, being ensnared by the title of another.


I managed to escape with only four books this time; two I'd heard of, and two I hadn't. 


How about you--what are you reading these days?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday's Nature Quote

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into the trees. The winds will blow their freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
--John Muir


Mount Hood photo by margolove

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Truffula tree







Every day on my way to and from work, I walk by this truffula tree.














Here's hoping nobody decides they 
need a thneed. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Weekend Haiku & Limericks

Your challenge: write a haiku featuring one of the subjects discussed here in the past seven days: degrees of darkness, commuter dogs, or something from Monday's nature quote. Feel free to mine the comments, too (which is where Roxie's degrees of darkness comes in).

Post your haiku or limericks in the comments, below. Remember the pattern of a haiku is:

First, 5 syllables,
the second line has seven.
And 5 at the end.
A limerick is a wee bit more complicated. Here's one description.

Post your haiku or limerick in the comments, below.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Commuter dogs

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, feral dogs began to figure out how to ride the subway. There was now food to be had in Moscow, so they learned how to negotiate the morning trains to ride from the suburbs to downtown--and back again in the evening.


Once downtown, they have at least two methods for scoring food: the cute ones approached folks with food and begged, sometimes by laying their heads on a sitting person's knee and giving 'em the ol' big eyes. The thing is, according to Dr Andrei Poiarkov, of the Moscow Ecology and Evolution Institute, the dogs also figured out who was likely to be an easy touch. "Dogs are surprisingly good psychologists," he says in The Sun.


The second method the dogs use is a scare tactic that Dr. Poiarkov calls "going on a shawarma hunt." Again, the dogs size up their victims, this time choosing those most likely to startle. When one of these people procures their shawarma from a streetside vendor, the dog comes up from behind and suddenly barks. If all goes according to plan, the meat kabob drops to the ground, and the dog nabs it.


The commuter dogs also use traffic signs to cross the roads safely--relying on the electronic figures of a walking person to know when to step off the curb.


After a day of making a living, the dogs board the subway for the return trip, judging when to get off by the length of time or perhaps the conductor's call at each station. The dogs sometimes fall asleep, though, and get off at the wrong stop. (Sound familiar?)
Somebody wake me when we get to Люблинско-Дмитровская.
 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Monday's Nature Quote

To go in the dark with a light is to know the light. To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight, and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings, and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.
--Wendell Berry, "To Know the Dark"

Friday, November 4, 2011

Weekend Haiku & Limericks

Your challenge: write a haiku featuring one of the subjects discussed here in the past seven days: rain, mosses/lichens, Alzheimer's, or something from Monday's nature quote. Feel free to mine the comments, too.

Post your haiku or limericks in the comments, below. Remember the pattern of a haiku is:

First, 5 syllables,
the second line has seven.
And 5 at the end.

A limerick is a wee bit more complicated. Here's one description.

Post your haiku or limerick in the comments, below.

Haikus away!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Human Nature: My Dad

There were two times when I was a kid that I remember watching my dad disappear and being afraid that he wouldn’t be able to find his way back.
The first time I was very young, sitting on a dock, and the ball my sister and I had been playing with floated off beyond the horizon. My dad set off swimming to bring it back. It seemed too far for someone to be able to swim, and still return--but he did, pushing the ball ahead of him through the water.
The second time I was perhaps 11 or 12. Our car had just had some repair work done--faulty repair work, as it turned out, because it caught fire in our garage. The fire department would arrive and put it out, but before they did, as black smoke billowed out into the driveway, my sister and I cried for our dog, who was trapped inside. My dad dove into the smoke, and I was afraid that we’d asked for too much--that we would lose my father in addition to the dog--but out they both came, coughing and safe. 
Now these many decades later, my dad is in a care facility for people with Alzheimer's. The cruelty of this disease, of course, is that it takes away your loved ones, even as they physically remain with you. The last time I visited my dad, he fell asleep (as he often does during our visits) and after a while his hand rose up shakily, as if he were reaching for something in his dream. I grasped his hand, which woke him, and I said, “It looked like you were reaching for something. What were you trying to get ahold of?” And he looked at me and said, “Your hand.”  
And there he is, my dad, somehow swimming against the current, impossibly stepping out of the smoke--he comes back to us once again.




(Want to read more of these stories? Click on the "Search this Blog" box to the right and enter the words Human Nature.)