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Showing posts from August, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Dream Tableau

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From Jul 8, 2011 Peering through the window of an antiques shop in Wilmington, North Carolina, I met this little fellow doing all he could do drum up business.  I turned around, then, and my daughter and I were regaled with stories of how offshore wind power would save the free world from strip mining.  I didn't quite buy the biz that windmills would create artificial reefs that would be good for marine life.  Nor did I hear much about the effect these things would have on sea turtles, whose built-in GPS systems are the result of 120 million years of evolution and don't deserve to be the victim of our hubris in the form of electromagnetic fields given off by these pylons.  I think the power outages caused by tornadoes and hurricanes and even earthquakes should remind us we can get along without the stuff and cause us to rethink the justifications we come up with to tear up the natural world to make "the stuff" possible. Wordless Wednesday

Header Challenge: Space Race

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Space Race as a proper noun refers to the competition between the US and the USSR during the Cold War to fly to the moon.  Being first would mean being smarter, stronger, mightier.  Exciting stuff.  And then the world went on. To my way of thinking, space race as a common noun means finding some.  During the summer, the space race at the beach involves getting a decent spot for the blanket before the sand sculptors, hole diggers, and families with their tents/awnings/lawn chairs/bocce sets/fishing poles claim their quarter acre on land and in the water.  (We have to think of those mercenery sharks coming to shore for a free lunch even at the end of a measly hook, and we have to move along....) I think this space race is best won at night, well after folks have packed up their junk and returned to the comfort of their couches and the familiarity of TV.  Then the beach is yours, the sky and the ocean are wide open to your dreams, and the cool sand seems happy to know you.  I took this

Book Review: 'Devil in the White City'

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The Devil in the White City Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson In his notes at the end of his 2004 book Devil in the White City , author Erik Larson says, "The juxtaposition of pride and unfathomed evil struck me as offering powerful insights into the nature of men and their ambitions." This juxtaposition shapes this non-fiction work as Larson tells the story of the World's Columbian Exposition (the Chicago World's Fair of 1893) and the killing spree of H. H. Holmes, a psychopath who used the fair to feed his hunger to kill. The White City is what the poet Carl Sandberg called "the hog butcher of the world," Chicago. Specifically, it is the grounds of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, a wasteland that the Chicago architecht David Burnham and the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead turned into a vision of beautiful urban life. Here was a place (spray-painted white, hence the name) that gave birth to the

Our World Tuesday: Sneads Ferry, North Carolina

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From Jul 7, 2011 The above photo captures what I think is an exquisite example of multi-tasking.  Isn't it about time someone thought of bringing entertainment into the laundromat?  From Jul 14, 2011 Here again, multi-tasking where you need it most--at the water.  Just so long as they don't put the night crawlers in the same cooler as the marinated olives and such! From July 22, 2011 Rounding the corner in this little village and business moves from one form of fishing to another.  We had passed one church's bulletin board that warned, "God lets you get away with it until suddenly...." (Really.  This had my daughter wondering out loud, "Who'd want to go in there?"  No answer came from the person getting away with things in the front seat!)  Then we came across this one, above.  We didn't stick around long enough to put the window down.  Truly, a drive-by. From July 22, 2011 Here's another church that takes a gentler

Good Night, Irene

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From After Hurricane Irene in Woodbury, Connecticut, August 28, 2011 Thanks to everyone who sent messages of concern as we stood in line to take our punishment from Hurricane Irene.  Though Irene claimed one life in Connecticut, her reputation had more of an impact than she did around here.  After lunch, the sun came out, and I went for a walk to see what was going on out there.  Our governor had closed the roads during the storm, and the feeling of being under house arrest (even for my own good) got to be onerous.  So out I went to discover lots of water.  The water that streams from our pond usually supplies the swamp across the road with just enough water to keep the pond lilies happy.  Today, the swamp got a little more than it bargained for. From After Hurricane Irene in Woodbury, Connecticut, August 28, 2011 The roar of water flowing off the hill and into the pond that fed this wild stream had me fascinated.  I stood and watched until the stench of decaying organic

Today's Flowers: Buggin'

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From August 24, 2011 The ubiquitous helianthus was enjoying that weird soft light of a late August morning, when the haze seem to cast its own shadow over everything. This one was breakfast for one little fly. Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Wheat

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From Jul 11, 2011 A crusty loaf just out of the oven, The dawn splits open. From the soft center, the sun rises. One Single Impression

Skywatch Friday: Solitude

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From August 14, 2011 “Solitude is not something you must hope for in the future. Rather, it is a deepening of the present, and unless you look for it in the present you will never find it.” (Thomas Merton) Skywatch Friday

My World Tuesday: The Beat Goes On

Sylvia and I are working together to continue My World Tuesday because so many people from around the world have expressed a desire to continue this worthwhile meme.  In response to some suggestions from a few different corners of the world, we are calling it Our World Tuesday .  We've created a rudimentary Blogger blog and set up an Inlinkz account. We teachers are all about collaboration and group projects, so folks who want to create banners, badges, FB accounts, and guest posts need only let us know.  This is about all of us, after all.  So bring it on. Klaus, thanks for the inspiration.

Wordless Wednesday: Ghosts

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From August 20, 2011 Wordless Wednesday

Header Challenge: Landfill

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From August 21, 2011 Stewart's header challenge of the week is "landfill." Driving through Virginia and Pennsylvania the other day, Adella and I rolled past plenty of landfills parading as gentle, grassy hills abutting the interstates. The scenery was bucolic in every way but aroma. Egads. Some landscapes really do need "Excuse me!" billboards mounted on them. I probably drove my fastest through these grass-strewn garbage dunes. They brought to mind the landfill in New Milford, Connecticut, where I worked as a reporter many years ago. At the time, the landfill seemed to be the highest point in that hilly town. When it was retired, its creators--Waste Management--suggested it would make a lovely golf course with a little grass seed and a few pipes to channel the methane gas. Closer to home--I mean heart--my daughter and I discovered a make-shift landfill alongside a turtle nest on North Topsail Beach. Some local geniuses buried 18 empty beer b

Book Review: 'In the Garden of Beasts'

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In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson Erik Larson's In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin is the story of US Ambassador William Dodd and his family in Berlin during Hitler's rise to power and his rampart militarization and "coordination" of Germany. At the same time Dodd sought to be a beacon of American democracy and reason in Hitler's irrational, paranoid, increasingly brutal Germany, his daughter Martha sought to make a name for herself as a socialite and thinker. The girl got around. Even as she moved through intellectual circles, she found plenty of time to socialize with the head of the Gestapo, Hitler's favorite pianist, a Russian spy, and others. She was as busy as her father was staid. Slow to react to acts of racist brutality or even call them for what they were lest Germany default on its debts to the US. Father and daughter each p

My World: The New Hanover County Arboretum

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From August 18, 2011 From August 18, 2011 From August 18, 2011 From August 18, 2011 From August 18, 2011 With that in mind, here are a few photos from the New Hanover County Arboretum in Wilmington, North Carolina.  Adella and I stopped by there last week to see what was in bloom and how the Japanese garden was coming along.  We managed to take in most of it in our own sweet time before the skies opened up and gave everything a good rinsing off. (The other hosts of My World Tuesday have decided to end the meme because its creator, Klaus Peter, has passed away, and they felt closing the meme was a show of respect for Klaus. Nevertheless, I feel inclined to continue to continue looking for the extraordinary in the world around me and sharing it here.  Klaus was an inspiration, and I don't feel inclined to hide that light under a basket.)

Today's Flowers: Arose

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From August 18, 2011 Here is a rose I came across at the New Hanover County Arboretum in Wilmington, North Carolina, last week with my daughter. One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today . (Dale Carnegie) Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Obsession

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From August 20, 2011 Early on in the season I couldn't walk within a quarter mile Of this pristine priest of the marsh Without his scolding me in a foreign language And flying up and around the osprey nest and the neighbor's house In a great show of saintly indignation. Months later, I come within feet of this character, My worn flip-flops clopping along on the pavement My fingers fumbling with the ringing phone I will not answer.  (Not here. Not now. Not before his holiness.) But it doesn't matter. He doesn't bother about me anymore. I could be any other rock or tree, turtle or deer. I am a part of the landscape now, Not a ripple across the smooth surface of mystery But a part of it. (Topsail Island is my obsession, as any visitor to this blog well knows.  The great white herons there make for a magical sight.  Getting by them without causing a disturbance makes for an incredible challenge.  The other day, my daughter headed out with my DSLR

Skywatch Friday: Yet Another Morning

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From August 13, 2011 Welcome to the world of Yet Another. Stay as long as you want. Klaus, rest in peace. And thank you. Skywatch Friday

Header Challenge: Falling

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This is what the sky looks like when rain is falling in the distance. From August 14, 2011 When the sky looks like this, go inside and wait awhile before heading out unless you want to put yourself and your clothing through the rinse and spin cycles one more time.  From August 14, 2011 And your camera.  My trusty Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS that fits so neatly in my pocket took some lovely shots before Adella and I faced a near drowning on Sunday after supper.  On the race home, Della lost a flip-flop and hop-skipped her way home between lightning bolts.  It was all very dramatic.  Still, we survived, and there's no sense dwelling on the past.  In the photo above, you can see rain on my lens as well as the white rain sheeting in the background. From August 14, 2011 Did I mention my Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS is an awesome little machine?  After I documented our Survival of the Deluge, I wiped it off and put it near a warm light and gave it a day or two and, lo,

Wordless Wednesday: Turtle Tracks

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From August 10, 2011 Here you'll see the tracks of two turtles who left the nest well after their 97 siblings on August 9. God bless them. I hope they have made their way to the sargassum and are enjoying a pleasant journey on the Gulf Stream. Wordless Wednesday

My World Tuesday: The Analysis

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Klaus Peter , who founded My World Tuesday, has passed away.  The meme's home page,  That's My World , is dedicated to Klaus this week. The title on his blog this week is  Thou Shalt Not Pass  which is a beautiful memorial shot to him. Klaus loved the natural world very much and was an exceptional photographer of birds in the wild.  He brought a lot of people together through this meme.  I am grateful to him, and my thoughts are with his family and friends. This ghost crab hole near a turtle nest is an upsetting sight. Still, nature is at work..... From August 13, 2011 Next to this nest that has not hatched is the one that did on Tuesday, August 9, which hatching I had the privelege of witnessing and which hatchlings I had the honor of helping stay on the straight and narrow to the Atlantic. Two days after the hatching came the analysis, when turtle folks dug out the nest two count the shells and unfertilized eggs and look for any potential hatchlings. From Augus

Today's Flowers: Bougainvilla

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From August 8, 2011 These flowers come and go, come and go--and they are gorgeous every step of the way. "Happiness is a continuation of happenings which are not resisted." (Deepak Chopra) Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Silence

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From August 7, 2011 Between the great one And the sun: Silence and surf, silence and sand (Somewhere in my myriad summer albums, I have a photo of a great white heron in flight. But I can't find it. This herring gull was as close as I could come after a long search. He is pretty great in his own opinion, I am sure....) One Single Impression

Skywatch Friday: By Health I Mean the Power....

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From August 8, 2011 By health I mean the power to live a full, adult, living, breathing life in close contact with... the earth and the wonders thereof - the sea - the sun. (Katherine Mansfield) Like this: Skywatch Friday

Header Challenge: Literature

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The header challenge this week is literature, courtesy of Dave.  I think the earliest form of literature would be those drawings on cave walls that described the hunt--which, of course, was a contemplation of man's place in the cosmos and the basic fact that, wherever that is, at the end of the day we need to eat.  Be as sublime as you want; dinner's at 5. I have always loved graffiti--the artist's claiming of public space to express anything at all.  The immediacy, the passion, the haste all speak to the intensity of feeling, the passion for life coursing through the heart of the writer.  I love, too, that the wall is the wall.  Graffiti is for everyone, not the select few. Years ago,  I used to drive around hunting for the stuff and taking pictures and talking to the writers.  Some of them resented me for appropriating their art.  That's funny in itself, because weren't they appropriating someone else's property to make their statement?  I did the same but

Wordless Wednesday: Stature

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From August 3, 2011 Wordless Wednesday

Ninety-seven Sea Turtles Hatch on Topsail Tonight

Tonight the sea turtle nest we have been sitting for the past five days hatched, and 97 little loggerheads dragged themselves—one at a time—into the Atlantic under the light of a strong moon that was in the exact right spot for them. About 60 summer folks lined the sides of the trench leading from the nest to the beach to watch and count. I got to put my hall monitor skills to use, making sure the teenagers had their phones well out of sight and everyone was quiet while making sure the little dudes walked down the hallway and didn’t go AWOL as they left the nest. We nudged any stragglers back on course by pushing the sand a bit and directing a light for them.   Typically, it does not take five days for a nest to hatch once it sinks (meaning the sand around the nest shifts because the little guys are moving around and coming out of their shells under what could be two feet of sand). But this nest functioned at its own pace. The little guys came out one or two at a time as if t

Book Review: 'Cutting for Stone' by Abraham Verghese

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Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese Abraham Verghese's 2009 novel Cutting for Stone is about the effects on destiny of geographic dislocation brought about by political upheavel. That's according to the author himself, so I'm glad there was no test at the end. I would have failed, because I would have said the book is about karma and grace--specifically grace in time and grace as time. Set in post-War Addis Adaba and relating the life story of its narrator, Marion Praise Stone, Cutting for Stone is about a man whose life course is redirected by political upheavels as well as the whims of the people around him whom he loves. Those upheavals and whims eventually work together to cause Marion to flee his homeland and resettle in New York, where he works to become a surgeon in the 1980s. While this dislocation shapes his destiny in profound, beautiful, and painful ways, the whims of the people around him do more to influence the shape of his life. Some respond with

My World Tuesday: Oyster Sills on Jones Island, North Carolina

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From August 2, 2011 Last week I spent a day volunteering with the North Carolina Coastal Federation moving mesh bags of seashells from Jones Island  to its shoreline, creating a sill for oyster larvae to attach themselves to and grow.  The sill is making lots of crabs and fish and other critters happy, too.  The woman to the right of the photo above is Lexia, our cruise director for the day.  We moved all bags here.  (There were 265, but we're not bragging; the Marines were out from Camp LeJeune and moved, oh, 10 times as many in the same amount of time.) Here is Lexia and a colleague from the Coastal Federation stacking the bags, which were three across and four high. Because the tide was way, way in, they had to feel their way along. The Federation is also planting sea grasses around the island to restore habitat and some biodiversity around the place. From August 2, 2011 Nothing went to waste.  The oyster shells (which are very expensive and came from a

Today's Flowers: Glorious Morning

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From August 2, 2011 I came across this beauty at Hammocks Beach State Park   in Swansboro, North Carolina, last Tuesday, where I spent the day working with other volunteers for the North Carolina Coastal Federation to build oyster shell sills along Jones Island.  What a day.  What a park.  This spectacular state park is spotless, inviting, peaceful, gorgeous. Today's Flowers

One Single Impression: Dream

The osprey sings of the hunt To her hungry young And feeds them. The deer breathes lightly On the trumpet lilies beneath the osprey nest And vanishes within. The turtle stretches his neck In the direction of the deer And steps toward the dawn. Great white egrets step and stare Step and feast. The sun rises. Wind and current engulf me, Telling me to go, go, go Deeper. *** “What is life? An illusion, a shadow, a story, And the greatest good is little enough: for all life is a dream, and dreams themselves are only dreams” ( Pedro Calderon de la Barca ) One Single Impression

Secrets and Truths

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From August 1, 2011 Slow motion rocking Secrets open, truth unfolds: Hush, hush, hush, hush, hush

Skywatch Friday: A Quiet Morning Dissolves Into Pure Heat...

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From July 31, 2011 ...and the shrimpers glide out of Snead's Ferry, the turtle patrollers pick up litter and look for signs of turtle activity, the vactioners pour out of their rentals, and the jellyfish languish in the sand, and the gulls laugh, and laugh, and laugh.  Skywatch Friday