T.G.I.F.: Like a punch in the gut 


National Geographic curated photos from 91 photographers, 107 stories, and 2,290,225 photographs.  

Poachers killed this black rhinoceros for its horn with high-caliber bullets in South Africa’s Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park. Black rhinos number only about 5,000 today.

Don’t miss the 51 other amazing photos here: 2016 Photos of the Year.

Saturday Morning

rabbit-nest-empty-meuse

When an animal, a rabbit, say, beds down in a protecting fencerow, the weight and warmth of his curled body leaves a mirroring mark upon the ground. The grasses often appear to have been woven into a birdlike nest, and perhaps were indeed caught and pulled around by the delicate claws as he turned in a circle before subsiding into rest. This soft bowl in the grasses, this body-formed evidence of hare, has a name, an obsolete but beautiful word: meuse. (Enticingly close to Muse, daughter of Memory, and source of inspiration.) Each of us leaves evidence on the earth that in various ways bears our form.

Sally Mann, from Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs

 


Notes: Photo: Merry Magpie Farm. Quote: Brainpickings

We interrupt this broadcast for Breaking News from Canada

gray-jay-bird-canada

The Gray Jay? Say What?

After a process lasting nearly two years…Canadian Geographic hopes the government will adopt its recommendation in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017. It says the choice between the country’s 450 species of birds “was made neither lightly nor quickly.”

Part of the controversy is about the selection process — the gray jay came in third in the online poll, behind the common loon and the snowy owl…

But the pick is controversial, prompting headlines such as this one in The Toronto Star: ” ‘The gray what?’ Outcry as gray jay named Canada’s national bird.” Hashtags such as #teamloon are full of outrage and sadness. “Unlike Canada … the gray jay is drab and not terribly photogenic,” wrote the Ottawa Citizen in an unflattering article titled, “7 embarrassing photos that gray jays don’t want you to see.”…

It was a long, heated selection process. Backers for the different birds duked it out in a “battle royal” debate, streamed live, where they mulled questions such as “Is the cry of the loon a hauntingly beautiful lament or the stuff of children’s nightmares?” and “Is the Canada goose a messy, ill-tempered brute or a unifying symbol that is also surprisingly delicious?”…

But Aaron Kylie, an editor for Canadian Geographic said: “We didn’t just follow the popular vote, because also, to be frank, I don’t think that we should decide a national symbol based on a popularity contest,” Kylie told the newspaper. He pointed to what some see as a cautionary tale, from the U.K.: “If we did those kind of things, that’s how you end up with Boaty McBoatface. It’s not really the right way to go about something that’s so serious.”

Read on – Merrit Kennedy, Canada Is Agonizing About Choosing A National Bird:

it kept running back and forth, trembling and chattering

 Alexandra Bochkareva

A summer day — I was twelve or thirteen — at my cousins’ house, in the country. They had a fox, collared and on a chain, in a little yard beside the house. All afternoon all afternoon all afternoon it kept—
_______

Once I saw a fox, in an acre of cranberries, leaping and pouncing, leaping and pouncing, leaping and falling back, its forelegs merrily slapping the air as it tried to tap a yellow butterfly with its thin black forefeet, the butterfly fluttering just out of reach all across the deep green gloss and plush of the sweet-smelling bog.
_______

— it kept running back and forth, trembling and chattering.

~ Mary Oliver, from “Staying Alive” in Upstream: Selected Essays

9alexandrabochkarevafoxredhead


Photos: From Autumn and Winter series by Alexandra Bochkareva (via My Modern Met). The dichotomy between the Mary Oliver excerpt and the photographs is that the fox (Alice) is trained and domesticated. Don’t miss the backstory and additional photos at My Modern Met.

T.G.I.F.: 5:00 PM Bell!

birds-gif-jpg


Notes:

Miracle. All of it.

turtle-nesting

They come, lumbering, from the many ponds. They dare the dangers of path, dogs, the highway, the accumulating heat that their bodies cannot regulate, or the equally stunning, always possible cold. Take one, then. She has reached the edge of the road, now she slogs up the impossible hill. When she slides back she rests for a while, then trundles forward again. Emerging wet from the glittering caves of the pond, she travels in a coat of glass and dust. Where the sand clings thickly the mosquitoes, that hover about her like a gray veil, are frustrated. Not about her eyes, though, for as she blinks the sand falls; so at her tough, old face-skin those winged needles hang until their bodies fill, like tiny vials, with her bright blood. Each of the turtles is a female, and gravid, and is looking for a place to dig her nest. […]

I saw the tracks immediately— they swirled back and forth across the shuffled sand of the path. They seemed the design of indecision, but I am not sure. In three places a little digging had taken place. A false nest? A foot giving a swipe or two of practice motion? A false visual clue for the predator to come? I leashed my two dogs and looked searchingly until I saw her, at one side of the path, motionless and sand-spattered. Already she was in the nest— or, more likely, leaving it. For she will dig through the sand until she all but vanishes— sometimes until there is nothing visible but the top of her head. Then, when the nesting is done, she thrusts the front part of her body upward so that she is positioned almost vertically, like a big pie pan on edge. Beneath her, as she heaves upward, the sand falls into the cavity of the nest, upon the heaped, round eggs. She sees me, and does not move. The eyes, though they throw small light, are deeply alive and watchful. If she had to die in this hour and for this enterprise, she would, without hesitation. She would slide from life into death, still with that pin of light in each uncordial eye, intense and as loyal to the pumping of breath as anything in this world.

~ Mary Oliver, from “Sister Turtle” in Upstream: Selected Essays (2016)

 


Notes:

  • Photo: Brent Fleming, Nesting Sea Turtle
  • Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
  • Related Posts: Miracle. All of it.

I come here for silence


Filmed in the Canadian and Greenlandic High Arctic

Saturday Morning

tree-still

In November,
the trees are standing all sticks and bones.
Without their leaves, how lovely they are,
spreading their arms like dancers.
They know it is time to be still.

– Cynthia Rylant, In November

 


Notes: Photo – Anna Williams. Poem Source: Your Eyes Blaze Out

Sunday Morning

cloud-sea-black-and-white

Form is certainty. All nature knows this, and we have no greater adviser. Clouds have forms, porous and shape-shifting, bumptious, fleecy. They are what clouds need to be, to be clouds. See a flock of them come, on the sled of the wind, all kneeling above the blue sea. And in the blue water, see the dolphin built to leap, the sea mouse skittering; see the ropy kelp with its air-filled bladders tugging it upward; see the albatross floating day after day on its three-jointed wings. Each form sets a tone, enables a destiny, strikes a note in the universe unlike any other.

How can we ever stop looking?

How can we ever turn away?

~ Mary Oliver, from “Staying Alive” in Upstream: Selected Essays (2016)

 


Photo: Stefan Krauss @ Stars Fell on Livaniana (in Crete near village of Livaniana).

 

 

Running. With Beats.

landscape-sunset-sunrise

It’s all incomprehensible, really, including my pitiful attempt to explain it, akin to Brickell’s grasping of a single drop of rain in a thunderstorm.

The tide rushes in under the bridge. The moon, while aging on its 4.5 billionth birthday, remains stout in its efforts and its consistency. It leans in causing the oceans to swell – high tide here, low tide below me on the other side. The other side that is, China. Digging to China with a plastic shovel, scooping wet dirt on a beach in August, so many years ago in youth, yet the cool gritty sand remains on the fingertips.

A brilliant October sunrise. Mechanical in its efficiency, spectacular in its beauty. None exactly the same, this one never to be seen again.

The wind gusts. Leaves scatter from a large red maple, burning, on fire. Seasons pass orderly one after the other, slower than page turns, but they turn, ever so gently one to the next. [Read more…]

%d bloggers like this: