Posted by: greentangle | March 10, 2018

Shiny Saturday

It was so bright out that I couldn’t see what was showing up in the viewfinder. I just pointed the camera in the general direction of a shot I liked and clicked. Got a bunch of slanted horizons.


Posted by: greentangle | March 1, 2018

In Like a Lake

Posted by: greentangle | February 18, 2018

Lakeviews (and an Eagle and a Quote)

I went for a walk just as the snow began this morning, and spotted this eagle.

Decided to take some zoom photos from a distance before getting closer. Good decision because this was the last one I got before flight.

“For long moments, I lived in a fantasy that no other person existed, that the lone human soul in all the world stood on that ridge, mesmerized by the bewildering wildness of everything surrounding him. As I stood there with those feelings, a vague unease settled in, one that would come and go throughout my time in Greenland. That feeling was not a sadness per se; rather, it was a quiet longing for things humanity has no words for, but with which wilderness settings overflow. There was a sense of missed opportunities, of an inability to connect with something profound, as though what I was immersed in shimmered incomprehensibly at the edge of sight.”–William Glassley, A Wilder Time


Posted by: greentangle | January 11, 2018

Winter’s Watch

I want to share this lovely film I found today. Even more than the film, I like the subject’s life. From her bio statement:

The solitude and beauty of the nine deserted islands is especially appealing to me, with its rocky, windswept, often harsh environment where nature and its forces dominate. There, the rule that man is only as significant as any other living inhabitant is more apparent. I am drawn to places that speak of this. They are getting increasingly hard to find in this crowded, hectic, modern “safe” environment in which most of us live.

Check out her photography at



Posted by: greentangle | January 7, 2018

Why I Love Libraries

First, a Yellowstone aside. I saw an ad last week which momentarily made me fantasize about working in Yellowstone again. Not for either of the large companies I worked for, but in a small building in the center of the park renting bear spray. I thought it would be fun to be there talking about bears all day instead of credit cards and hotel rooms as I did in the past, but it isn’t an option for a non-driver. Meanwhile, my former roommate who has worked there the past eight years, loves the place at least as much as I did, and is one of the nicest people I’ve met, had such a miserable experience with the company last year that he hasn’t applied to return. It’s a shame the way the company treats its employees.

I always have a list of upcoming books on hold at the library but I don’t think the list has ever gotten this long.

I just finished Bliss(ters): How I Walked from Mexico to Canada One Summer by Gail Francis. This hiker from northern Wisconsin leans socialist, needs solitude, has a sense of humor, and wrote a much more enjoyable book after hiking the entire trail unlike that more famous woman who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail.

I’m 3/4 through Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. This reporting of how the government pushed Indians to Oklahoma where they got rich from oil and therefore were killed is a quick read with lots of photos, but I don’t understand why it has become so popular and highly praised.

I’ve barely started Twilight of American Sanity: A Psychiatrist Analyzes the Age of Trump by Allen Frances which was started before the election and focuses more on the country’s values and delusions than on Trump himself who the dedication refers to as a blowhard (and a Mencken epigraph mentions a downright moron in the White House thanks to the plain folks of the land).

I also have Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, the first book of a young adult sci-fi trilogy about our near-future ecologically destroyed country.

There’s a long list of books I’m on the hold list for.

Robicheaux by James Lee Burke is the 21st in the series featuring the title character which I’ve been reading from its beginning in the late 80s. The series was originally set in New Orleans, which is what caused me to start reading, and then moved to more rural Louisiana. At this point the plots are often repetitive and irrelevant as this most literary of mystery series focuses on the character’s morality, alcoholism, and sense of loss, and the country’s racism and decay.

Additional novels include The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce, a highly praised tale of music and love, Heart Spring Mountain by Robin MacArthur, whose book of short stories I read earlier, drew my attention with its Vermont setting and interesting women, Lullaby Road by James Anderson continues the story of a truck driver in rural Utah, Green Sun by Kent Anderson features a Viet vet turned cop in 1983 Oakland, and The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson is the final collection of stories from a praised author I’ve never read.

Visionary Women: How Rachel Carson, Jane Jacobs, Jane Goodall, and Alice Waters Have Changed Our World by Andrea Barnet needs no further explanation; nor does Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell by David Yaffe. Silence: In the Age of Noise comes from Norwegian Erling Kagge who spent fifty days on a solo hike across Antarctica. I may not actually read Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff since I don’t need insiders to confirm my opinion but I was the 9th person to put a hold on it when it hit the news; at this writing, there are 41 people in line. I think Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics by Lawrence O’Donnell will be more interesting and one of many books about the fiftieth anniversary of another tumultuous year.

The list of ecological books includes The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan, The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World by Jeff Goodell, Megafire: The Race to Extinguish a Deadly Epidemic of Flame by Michael Kodas, Sustaining Lake Superior: An Extraordinary Lake in a Changing World by Nancy Langston, and Himalaya Bound by Michael Benanav.

Back to fantasy fiction for Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance by Ruth Emmie Lang, and La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust I) by Philip Pullman, first of a trilogy set in the world of his famous previous His Dark Materials trilogy.

There are some books I’m going to have to get through interlibrary loan: Bosstown by Adam Abramowitz is a novel featuring a Boston bike messenger, and The Living Forest: A Visual Journey into the Heart of the Woods is a coffee table book by Llewellyn and Maloof. A couple more music biographies: Lightfoot by Nicholas Jennings (I’m surprised our library didn’t order this one given our proximity to Canada and that shipwreck and that he’s played here many times) and Soul Survivor: A Biography of Al Green by Jimmy McDonough—whenever I play Green’s music, I wind up playing it repeatedly for days.

There are another dozen which I’m not sure yet if the library is ordering. Highlights are The Promise and the Dream by David Margolick about RFK and MLK, This Radical Land: A Natural History of American Dissent by Daegan Miller which sounds like it could be one of my favorites on this list, and Hippie Food: How Back-to-the-Landers, Longhairs, and Revolutionaries Changed the Way We Eat by Jonathan Kauffman.

Not to mention the library’s cds and dvds; I recently watched Westworld which was very good, and the latest season of Game of Thrones (2019 is a long time away, but these books will help me get there).

Posted by: greentangle | January 1, 2018

A Man’s Best Friends

This afternoon, the temperature rose above zero for the first time in three days. There was an even longer stretch over Christmas but I missed all but the last few hours of that one. On a snowy night in the middle of December I took a bus to Marquette where I stayed for a couple lovely weeks, traveling back on a below zero night, fortified by blueberry and cranberry walnut scones. Happily the buses made it through both nights.

Good human and canine company and good food kept my mind off blood clots for the first extended period in months. We started with a meal at our favorite Thai restaurant and tried to end the same way but it was closed on the day after Christmas. In between, my human friend who loves cooking did a lot of it, including two delicious big feasts. One for the solstice which included homemade mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, Brussels sprouts, orange cranberry relish, and Waldorf salad along with store-bought Gardein stuffed turk’y.

And a Middle Eastern one which had a falafel mix from the store to go with everything else homemade–hummus, tabouli, tzatziki sauce, and even the pitas. I lost track of how many hours she put into this one.

I finally made it to the Louisiana restaurant in town, which had great service and decent food but was no New Orleans. The gumbo had more heat than subtle flavor, and I preferred the shrimp creole Mary Gauthier used to cook at Dixie Kitchen in Boston before she became a songwriter.

We made a trip to a nearby town to stock up on vegan pasties, watched a lot of Netflix and also made a very rare trip to a theater to see Three Billboards, which was very good.

The dog leaps like a puppy every time he hears the word ride, and one we took him on was for a snowy Lakeshore romp where the damage from a storm was obvious.

My walking partner enjoyed the stuffed animal I brought along, and I think we got some interspecies communications going. After I jokingly complained about always having to follow him into deep snow with his doggie bags, the next three times were all in driveways or on sidewalks. We shared a wonderfully peaceful Christmas Eve late afternoon walk through the silent neighborhood with large snowflakes falling–I felt like Jimmy Stewart making it back to Bedford Falls. And then on my last night there, he spent the night on my bed for the first time of my visit as if he were saying goodbye.

None of us really wanted me to leave yet but I’ve got at least another year of work ahead of me, so its back to the grind if that’s what a couple part time jobs and four hour days can be called. I’ll look forward to seeing my Yooper friends again.

Posted by: greentangle | November 26, 2017

Nostalgia and Connections

Post-clots, admitting mortality, not expecting to do any more cross-country trips, I’ve been feeling nostalgic for New England lately.

It started with creating a folder of New England nature websites of the many places and events which had been important to me: Walden Pond and the trails of Concord and Lincoln, Arnold Arboretum, Mass Audubon’s Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, New England Aquarium’s whale watches and the Boston Harbor Islands, Halibut Point State Park and Dogtown, Cape Cod and Woods Hole where I once imagined becoming an oceanographer.

I also looked at the websites of clubs and theaters I frequented, and all the adult education centers (Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, and Harvard Extension) where I took classes. There is a good education program here for seniors where I hope to spend a lot of time after I start collecting Social Security in a year or so and can work less.

I got excited recently about the chance to relive some aspects of a whale watch when there was a plan to stream one live but it was canceled due to ocean conditions. A recent snowy owl sighting here reminded me of the one I photographed while I was taking a pre-terrorism tour of the Boston airport grounds.

The library here gets Yankee magazine which I grew up reading, and I’ve been looking through past issues and found articles about Christmas in Boston, oceanside walks (and the Atlantic sinking of El Faro which for me made a connection with shipping here and the recent anniversary of the Edmund Fitzgerald sinking on Superior), and Brattleboro and Portland which I visited often. Long ago, I submitted a story to Yankee—it was about a hitchhiker and lost love and Kent State, and I have no idea why I thought they’d be interested in it.

I’ve looked up a few people I knew in Massachusetts, trading emails or finding Facebook pages. Between library books, I’m rereading Sierra Club Naturalist’s Guide to Southern New England, and remembering the Boston bookstore where I bought that entire series. A recent episode of Marc Maron’s WTF podcast included stories of Boston neighborhoods told with a Boston accent. And I still follow a couple Boston sports teams as the Red Sox try to find a big bat for next year and the Celtics get off to a great start despite one of their stars breaking his leg in the first game. Spare me news of the pro-Trump Patriots though. I’m even considering subscribing to the online Boston Globe (well, for the $4 first month only).

All my nostalgia and memories aren’t a thousand miles away though. It was pleasant in the mid-40s this afternoon with no ice on the sidewalks yet, so I strolled around the neighborhood and enjoyed the views of the Lake and thought of all the walking I’ve done in this town since first moving here in 2001. And in a couple weeks I’ll be making a trip over to Marquette where memories go back even further.

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