Adventurer and nature enthusiast. Aspiring children's book author, novelist, and poet. Perpetual dreamer. My thoughts and ramblings are lost within the multitudes of notebooks I purchase and I don't have any hesitation in adding one more.
Honeybee Nectar always tasted sweet to me, but now that you are gone let me tell you that my tongue is confused by the bitterness left behind. I can't hold it against you, it is only your nature to sting. Somehow though I was the one who ended up gutted. Evisceration would have felt better. You left behind a stinger in my heart and venom pulsed through my veins. I wasn't allergic to bees until you flew away, and when you did I went full anaphylactic shock. My throat swelled shut and I could not breath, my eyes were swollen and shut and I could not see the light of day.
Indoor Cat? Keep it Indoors!
I am a bonafide cat dad. Now, if you talk to my partner, she would argue that I was not a cat lover until I met the beautiful cat in the photo above. Calliope made me into the person who dresses up his cats in scarves, aprons, and other outfits. Aside from the scarf, you would never have guessed that she was a street cat at one point. Streets cats, otherwise know as barn cats, feral cats, alley cats, and strays, are becoming a huge problem throughout many parts of the world. But this is not always a shared view point by many folks throughout the world. Often when I ask people why they let their cats outside, its met with a volley of responses. Some of my favorites are:
A Weekend Away
We drove up the snowy, winding road towards the cozy A-frame cabin. As the snow crunched underneath our tires, my mind was racing. Who was this person, that out of the blue decided to reconnect with me? That decided I was worth their time after so many years away. The better question was of course, how could I enter this relationship again, knowing how badly I ended up hurting last time I tried to rekindle this relationship. This time will be different, I continued to tell myself. Outside of the car the evergreens were glistening inthe sun. It looked like one of those glittery snowballs, you know the ones. The blue sky above still seemed enormous, towering over the ancient pine forest where our cabin retreat, where we could spend the next 48 hours.
I woke up this morning with the terrified realization that I had left pop cans in the garage. So is the woe of the wintery Minnesotan. For those of you who have lived in warmer climates all your lives, you might not realize this, but when cans freeze in your garage in the winter, they often times will explode, leaving a caffeinated, carbonated mess. My mind then took a sharp left, and started thinking about our loveable friends, trees. Deciduous trees (oaks, maples, things that don't have needles for leaves) all look dead and desolate over the winter, but we know they are simply dormant waiting for spring.
Go nuts grey squirrel!
I remember the first grey squirrel (Latin name, Sciurus carolinesis) I had a long term relationship with. I know what you are thinking, that sounds like a funny thing to say, but it's true! When I was working out of Lebanon Hills Regional Park, there was a resident squirrel. Her name was Foxy, often referred to as Foxy Cleopatra, and we saw her most every day. She had a bright white tip on her tail, lived right outside of our offices in a burr oak tree, and spent her time watching the different activities going by and cacheing acorns for winter. As I started to have this more intimate (if you can call talking to a squirrel and watching her live her life intimate) relationship, I began to notice different thing about her and started to actually dive into the squirrel deep end.
The Masked Naturalist
Hello! During the early days of the pandemic, I had the idea of doing a project called "The Masked Naturalist". For a little background, I have worked as naturalist and environmental educator for the past five years, working primarily in Minnesota, but also spending a lot of time on the West Coast as well as the desert Southwest. I was laid off for the first six months of 2020, which meant a lot of down time, and a lot of time to go out and explore in nature. During this time I had the idea of starting a blog, a website, or something to document cool nature things I have found, noticed, or seen as I have more of an experts eye, spotting things that others may not notice when walking through the woods. I decided this would be a good idea because I often feel like outdoor education and environmental education are sometimes considered a luxury and I think all people have interest in nature, and especially in light of fake news, climate crises world wide, and many of us left wondering what will become of our wild spaces, I would start putting out cool information. I want to do this because I would like to help cultivate peoples love of nature, and to see the extremely cool side of the mundane, the things we take for granted, the things you might walk past and not notice if you were hiking through your neighborhood woods.
What rots a house?
First it starts slow. You might not even notice it at first thought. Vines creeping up start out as decorations. They bring smiles and joy, leaves and fruit. They reach windows, trellises, flower boxes. Starting out as green and full of life they reach the roof before long. Clawing at the attic, where memories and love lives, reminding us of our past and our present. Before long they become hard. Woody. Covered with scars and knotted bark. The leaves die-off slowly and fall, berries sour and fall, landing where no one will see them, sinking slowly into the soft ground.
It sat where it had every morning since it arrived, restlessly in a sunbeam. Longing for the tape to be removed, for its doors to be swung open wide. I sat in an eternal stare down from my chair, refusing its internal desire to be opened. Boxes had always held this power. The anticipation of opening it was more satisfying than what lie within. But this was different. It had arrived in the night with no note. No description. It felt….different.. this box. Like it was screaming to be opened. Yet I could not bring myself to do it. I felt a sense of duty to leave it closed. So I sat. I stared. I waited.
Monday at the Shedd
The fluorescent lights flickered on, alerting me that soon, the guests would be here. This is the life of working in an aquarium. Often times in the early hours of the morning, when there are few others around, I find myself listening for the ancient songs of the ocean. The chittering of dolphins and the low sounds of the seals. The hidden language of these creatures is one I have become innately in tune with in my time at the Shedd Aquarium. Today was no different than any other day, another opportunity to shine, another opportunity to learn, and another opportunity to grow. Layers of fingerprints on the glass made a mockery of the voice on the speaker and signs plastered all around: "Please do not tap on the glass." Reminders that the creatures the guests were here to see were living, breathing, functioning creatures.
dream \ ˈdrēm \
if my dreams were books they would be a series of unfortunate events the bad beginning, like a tortoise being thrown in a pond. that is that much like houses with wide windows, they cant swim. all these thoughts just milling, miserably around my mind like sawdust in a breeze, stuck to every corner causing a feeling quite austere. austere meaning in this case, of course, stern and cold. my dreams could never feel very morally strict, that would defeat the purpose. like an elevator that only goes down, it would be rather ersatz. these dreams are often vile, hostile, and often time carnivorous, devouring what little rest i have before i can wake up and leaving me sliding down the slippery slope of dark thoughts, into a grim grotto of depression, anxiety, seemingly the penultimate place i will find myself before i reach the end.