A world of small things
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A world of small things

expanse of rockglacial and basic delicate berriesand hued bloomsgrasses – blue, fescue, and cotton. . . holes in ice(lost at sea)tiny hopes of oneringed by rime   quick time   breath shortbut darker holesin purest whitenow covered creep closer and feed the futureof nanuq generationsstill tiny, womb-boundwaiting to becomesomething greatin a world of small things. Written while…

Dishabille
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Dishabille

Autumn is one of my favourite seasons (the others are winter, spring and summer). In autumn one can harvest potatoes, carrots, late cabbages, painted corn, hemp, beets, winter squash and more. Summer is a fading memory for me. And autumn has its times of glory, to be sure: when the aspen leaves resemble gold coins….

A rare bird, a new word and why I quit my ‘life-list’
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A rare bird, a new word and why I quit my ‘life-list’

Not being from the UK, I wasn’t exactly sure what a “twitch” was, when I came across it in the following caption recently: “The Long-toed Stint generated one of the biggest twitches seen in Britain in years.” The photo was on a Bird News website, part of a post about a rare bird sighting in…

The doctor who invented hand-washing
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The doctor who invented hand-washing

Monday morning and there’s another sad story: a person who vocally opposed vaccinations for COVID-19 has died from the disease. Before dying, the patient tells loved ones, “Get vaccinated.” I doubt that these stories do much to change the minds of people who are firmly against COVID vaccinations. What does bother me, however, is the…

Simple folk

Simple folk

If there’s a list of birds I hate, the house sparrow must be near the top. It’s a bird of farms, McDonald’s (house sparrows love spilled French fries), and city parks. House sparrow plumage is made up of browns and black. No skylark, it chirps monotonously rather than sings. It expels tree swallows and bluebirds…

Drab beauty
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Drab beauty

If you have never lived with bluebirds, you don’t know what you’re missing. Bluebird restoration projects – mostly involving the creation of nesting boxes – are very popular, and for good reason. The bluebird – eastern, western and mountain species – are the hobbits of the songbird nation. When my father “got” a pair of…

Don’t go it alone

Don’t go it alone

In a famous movie called Shenandoah (1965), Jimmy Stewart’s character says grace before he and his family partake of a table heaped with food produced on their farm. Lord, we cleared this land;We plowed it, sowed it and harvested it.We cooked the harvest.It wouldn’t be here – we wouldn’t be eating it – if we…

Psalm 139 Revisited
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Psalm 139 Revisited

Search me not, for dust is what you’ll find.Divinely-made, but dust remains, from whatAn image once contained in flesh and blood. Search me some, for likeness fair – a faceTo nameless fear – still stays inside.A place to hide abides within, amid The Me, the small-fall character once full,Rife with life and love and piety.So…

‘Efficient’ Eden?
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‘Efficient’ Eden?

It’s tempting to follow the utilitarian ideal – “designed to be useful or practical rather than attractive” – when thinking about the population of this world. We need, say some, to use every square inch of space to feed a rapidly increasing population. Combine this concern with mechanization and extensive agriculture, and all sorts of…

Edenic landscapes II
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Edenic landscapes II

Many of us have been influenced by classical ideals when it comes to our ideas about landscapes and gardens. This can be shown in two ways. First, through ideas about reason, order, and even God. For people as far back as at least the 5th century B.C.E. – Plato’s time, roughly – the mind was…