September 20, 2005

Arrowheads...who would have guessed?

What do rural tweakers ("speed freaks," to an earlier generation) do with their time? Hunt arrowheads, at least in Arkansas.

Via Coyote at the Dog Show, the "mild-mannered archaeologist."

September 18, 2005

Rags over the River

The Poet contacted me a while back, asking me to take The VIsiting Poet flyfishing. All right, I said, and let's ask Recent Graduate as well. Eventually, the Senior was asked to come along too, and the five of us spent Saturday on the Arkansas River.

September and October are the payoff for spring blizzards and summer heat. This day, the temperatures were warm, the rabbitbrush (chamisa) was in golden bloom, and the first leaves were turning golden on the willows too.

The water was low and clear, and the trout were spooky, but we all caught some. And we tested various rhymes for "Orvis," since Visiting Poet has done some product testing for that firm.

Part of the river where we fished is in the crosshairs of High Art. Christo and Jeanne-Claude want to hang fabric across it, a project known locally as "Rags over the River." How wonderful. I find myself agreeing with the Denver Post headline, "Locals say river is art in itself," placed on Rick Tosche's Sunday column (link may expire).

With any luck, however, we can drag this thing out until Christo dies.

September 13, 2005

On the Mushroom Trail

A recreational mushroom hunter blunders into an encounter with the real pros in this report.

“We haven’t actually learned how to work,” protests 14-year-old David. “We’ve just learned how to play and make money at the same time!” “And they learn a little about contributing to a household, which is something that no kids get anymore,” adds his dad.

“Dad, you might want to keep an eye out while you’re talkin’,” interrupts nine-year-old Stacy. “You walked right past a whole bunch, so I had to pick ‘em!”

September 11, 2005

Animism, Disney, and Morels

It started when someone passed on a quote from an article in the August 2005 issue of Vanity Fair about Disneyland:

I thought about everything it was and it wasn't, the cornucopia of image, illusion, and icon, and realized, very much to my delight, that Disney is a freaking pagan cult, that this goody-two-shoes American institution is promoting a primitive, animist religion dedicated to investing everything with life, to animating everything from teacups to trees, from carpets to houses, from ducks to mice, with the pulse of human aspiration.

Graham Harvey, author of the newly published Animism: Respecting the Living World, commented,

Interesting that 'animism' is still defined as the projection of life onto inanimate objects. Wikipedia's animism article and the discussion pages also evidence the same debate--well, it does now that I've added some stuff about the 'new animism'.

I also thought of what Colorado writer David Petersen said in On the Wild Edge: In Search of a Natural Life, published recently by Henry Holt:

These days, our annual morel quest has matured to the level of ceremony, complete as all hunting is for me, with rituals and taboos. This confession provides, I must hope, a passable transition into a brief explication of my own personal spirituality, which I call neo-animism . . . .In sum, here's how it seems to me: if you depend on wild nature for your physical and mental well-being (as we all do, whether we know it or not); if you desire a sustainable, workable, and healthy human society and crave a sense of belonging, spiritual permanence, and personal worth; and if you agree with Aldo Leopold that the collective human destiny is tied inextricably to the fate of the natural world, then you naturally become a homespun animist. (pp. 122-4).

And speaking of morels, here is a new book available on hunting them.

September 08, 2005

What's that Bug?

Got a digital photograph of an insect or spider that you cannot identify? Send it to this site--but check their photo archives first.

And if you have time, browse the worst bug stories.

What about the dogs (cats, hamsters, etc.)?

I cannot agree with uber-blogger Glenn Reynolds who said , " I think you should leave the dogs behind" when evacuating New Orleans (or elsewhere, I presume).

I have a contract with my dogs: You be good dogs, and I will see to your needs, take care of your injuries, and try to guarantee you a good death as well. There is a contract with the cat too, although some provisions are different.

Starving on a rooftop is hardly a good death, for one thing. I can see why some people would rather stay on than leave without their four-legged family members.

But dogs and other animals were left behind, and some people are trying to rescue them, although that effort does not receive the coverage of the people rescue. The Bark's blog has collected a list of Web links to organizations helping out, like the Louisiana SPCA.

September 05, 2005

The Literary High Plains

Setting out for eastern Nebraska, Boulder blogger Richard Martin mentally organizes a literary tour of the High Plains.

I’ll be heading out east from Denver on I-80 tomorrow, going to a family wedding in Omaha, making the same eight-hour drive I’ve been doing all my life between the city where I grew up and eastern Nebraska, where my extended family lives. I’ve never found the prairie and cornfield-lined stretches of I-80 to be boring, as a lot of people seem to—instead I see the landscape as the perfect canvas for day dreaming, and, if I’m not driving the car, a great opportunity to read. The New York Times Book Review recently constructed a Literary Map of Manhattan, plotting places in the city where fictional characters lived. I don’t see why we can’t do the same with the West—sure, our map will be a bit more sparsely populated, but that just gives the characters more room to loom larger-than-life.

September 04, 2005

Disco, disco toad

Hawaiian cane toads are not a problem here, but they are one in northern Australia, as I learned from the hilarious but sobering documentary Cane Toads. Now researchers discover that they can indeed be trapped--with disco lights.

September 01, 2005

Hello From Marc Boone

I'm a CSU-Pueblo student in Chas. Clifton's NatureWriting class and I'm trying out this software for the first time. I'll be posting more as time goes by, so make sure a watch out for my blogs and you can get out of the way( make sure you miss them. )Who would want to read my blogs anyway? Poor Chas. has no choice, but to read them.



Welcome, New Nature-Bloggers

A new group of bloggers is joining this blog: seven members of my fall-semester nature-writing class: Sara Kelly, Rhonda Turner, Valerie Gerlock, Terry MacArthur, Lindsay Goodman, Judith Martin, K. Chris Root, and Marc Boone.

August 31, 2005

No, Blame Bush for Katrina

A political scion shows his lack of historical knowledge. Perhaps he could blame the flood of 1978 on Jimmy Carter. Speaking of which, this is prophetic:

The average New Orleanian housewife, as Bunny once noted, has an internist's working knowledge of every possible disease that can be caught in these parts. The man who holds the attention of the barroom is the guy who can top everyone else's hard luck stories. The Great Flood of May 3, 1978 was the most exciting of recent times, at least until another Hurricane comes. Even Carnival is talked of by the Yat in the most matter-of-fact ways, only the abominations of tradition being noteworthy.

A few years ago, the "lost city of New Orleans" was being compared to Atlantis.

UPDATE: For news junkies, try the Times-Picayune's breaking news blog.

Blame the French for Katrina

A writer for the Los Angeles Times works the blame-the-French angle into coverage of Hurricane Katrina. (Registration required.)

In 1718, French colonist Jean Baptiste LeMoyne de Bienville ignored his engineers' warnings about the hazards of flooding and mapped a settlement in a pinch of swampland between the mouth of the Mississippi River, the Gulf of Mexico, and a massive lake to the north [Lake Pontchartrain].

On the other hand, reading some of the comments to hurricane stories on the BBC's web site, I learned that Katrina apparently is punishing the United States for not spending more on foreign aid.

Ok, so Bienville picked a risky site. Who in 1718 would have guessed that more and more levees would have been built all up and down the Mississippi River and around New Orleans to regulate the water that used to spill into swamps and wetlands and to protect a growing industrial city? I wonder if anyone will have the political guts to say, "Let's rethink the whole plan before we rebuild."

August 30, 2005

Whack 'em and stack 'em

The Idaho Statesman reviews a Ted Nugent concert. (Via The Stain).

• The celebration of violence was disturbing. The quintessential bloodthirsty redneck, Nugent cherishes hunting and preached "the beauty of the sacred gut pile." Dandy. But when he gleefully touted the 60-year anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and "the Japs," adding that America will "melt" anyone who threatens this country? Gosh, terrific concert vibe there, Ted..

In some quarters, Ted Nugent is considered a spokesman for ethical hunting. But he has a literary style of his own:

He names a wild boar after Janet Reno ("the only thing missing was the purple dress and he-man haircut"), and describes the same boar as emitting a "Courtney Love-like squeal," while the remaining boars mill around like "a throng of stoned, lost Grateful Dead fans."

The God and Nature Blame Game

Terry Mattingly of GetReligion [as in, "the press just does not get religion"] summarizes coverage of religious responses to Hurricane Katrina. God hates New Orleans? God spared New Orleans? God hates Biloxi? Whose God is punishing America for whose sins?

August 28, 2005

"Uninhabitable for weeks"

The Mason Gulch Fire was bad enough here, but Brendan Loy is right, this National Weather Service announcement about Hurricane Katrina is truly apocalyptic.

UPDATE: Don't bother with the Weather Service link, as the information there has changed as time passed. Suffice it to say that the original warning included everything except an angel with a flaming sword.