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Golda’s Lament. November 19, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death.
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“Herschel, YOU IDIOT!  NOW look what you’ve done!

“I TOLD you not to turn left, but you HAD to turn left, didn’t you?? DIDN’T YOU!!!  Mother always said you were a crappy driver, and now look, LOOK at the mess we’re in! Mother was right, I should never have married you, you’re a CRAPPY DRIVER who will NEVER AMOUNT TO ANYTHING, NEVER!!!

“Now YOU go get us some help, and make it snappy! I’m going to SIT RIGHT HERE UNTIL YOU COME BACK WITH HELP! There are BEARS out there, Herschel! You don’t expect me to go out there with BEARS, do you?? You IDIOT, Herschel!

I have a feeling that Herschel just kept walking…

More views of the Autumobile from a past post, with a possible back-story.

Because enquiring minds abhor a vacuum.

Playing with Elliot in the back woods of upper Monroe.

Where there are bears,  you know.

A Walk In A Welcome Rain. April 23, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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It’s been dry here, bone dry, all of the last two months.  The ground is dust, the river is dry, the green shoots of Spring wilt as they emerge.

It ain’t right, I tell ya.

But last night we had a glorious inch of rain, trailing off to showers and drizzle as today progressed.  And while I’m not usually inclined to take a hike while it’s raining, this time was different, a blessing, and I got an early enough start to catch the last of the showers up on a ridge in Rowe, near the Raycroft Overlook.

I won’t say I packed lightly – camera and tripod, a pack full of lenses, and my rain set-up: a wooden stake tripod, big-ass hammer, two bungee cords and an umbrella.  ‘Cause I’m high-tech, you know.

Anyway, I drove as far out toward the Overlook as my oversized beast would take me without risking disaster, then loaded up and hiked onward to where the ridge narrowed to a rib of forest slicing through the fog and mist hiding the valley far below.

It was as magical as it always is in the mist – the last time I was here in these conditions, a big black bear loped by between me and the misty void, and though my vulnerability in that moment was clear, I wished it would happen again.

But it didn’t, and as I made my way through the hemlock forest I kept my senses open for a reason to set up the camera and umbrella.

I found this, a moss covered log so vibrant it startled me, cloaked in green velvet and sporting some newly emergent Orange jelly fungus (Dacrymyces palmatus ):

This is from Elliot, with about five degrees of tilt (!) and a hand-held three-stop ND graduated filter, which was the primary reason I needed the umbrella.  Little bugger doesn’t take kindly to getting wet.

I took a dozen shots, playing with composition and laying the plane of sharp focus in artsy ways, but none of them were more compelling than this simple early take, so that’s what I’m sharing here.

Dunbar Brook, After The Flood. November 20, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Dunbar Brook comes down from the high country of Monroe, spilling into the Deerfield river.

This past summer season it swallowed all Tropical Storm Irene offered it and transformed into a raging torrent, eating its banks, sucking in miles of forested terrain and clogging the culvert at River Road, then finding a way around, blowing out the road and stranding the little community of Monroe Bridge.

They weren’t entirely cut off, as the road over the hills through Rowe survived, but were nonetheless cut off from the south in an impressive display of the power of Nature Scorned.

I hiked up the Dunbar Brook trail on Saturday, cataloging the devastation in my mind but leaving my camera tucked away.  Innumerable stretches of the river were laced with a thick cloak of fallen trees, the water below barely visible.  Without some fiduciary incentive to removing this mess, I expect it will stay in place until it rots.

And I’m not entirely decrying that outcome; Irene was an Act Of Nature, even if our carbon-spewing civilization contributed to the mix.  It’s just that I’m mourning the transformed visage of a stream which had come to grips with its surroundings, settled down, grew moss in all of it’s damp niches and smoothed the rough edges to produce the landscape I’ve  been rediscovering through my photographic eye these past few years.

I hiked an hour upstream past snags of uprooted trees and unfamiliar gravel bars until I came to a place where some semblance of my old stomping grounds sat knee-deep in the flow of the present, and for old time’s sake, snapped these two photos off.

Dunbar Brook, just about like it used to be:

…but with the addition of a tiny cairn atop the prominent pointed rock in the background.

Hey, Life Sucks, And Then You Die, unless you leave a mark.  So I’m good with that little cairn.

A bit upstream, the flow was a bit less braided, tumbling through a narrow channel to produce this view:

It’s difficult to imagine this little stream doing the damage it wrought downstream, but as we move farther from the norm of the past, we had better get used to it and be prepared to deal with it.

That’s all for now.  Good night, my faithful visitors.


More Of The Fen. July 3, 2009

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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I love this place.

And at the risk of being redundant, I go by here every chance I get, and if the weather permits, I stop and set up shop.

Last weekend I got here mid-morning and was treated to a disparity of light, with the sun’s slanting rays making the sphagnum moss glow against the deep shadows of the surrounding forest:


The northern pitchers were in full flower:

yellow pitcher blossoms

…and their translucent tubes were all but pulsing with back-lit vascularity:

pitcher tubes

These passive insectivores have some stiff competition for the fen’s insect population, including the patient:


…and the quick:


Dozens of these little fellers darted about in precise arcs, lighting only briefly on the curving leaves of water irises, who were in turn a show of their own:


I’ll doubtless be back to see how the scene changes with the seasons.