“At night I’d sing a song about the way life used to be. It would be such a sad song it would make the grownups nod and the children cry. But I’d sing it every night so that no one would ever confuse nostalgia with wanting to return.” – quoted from Stone Butch Blues, written by Leslie Feinberg
I’ve been spending relatively very little time with my camera the past 6 months or so. Once I started working one, then two jobs, my hobby got away from me. Summer was never my passion when it comes to photos, though. Too many bugs and ticks! Fall really just got away from me. It was the busiest autumn I’ve had in a while, and the season flew by. We also moved in October and had a lot of visitors to our new place. Very exciting, wonderful stuff, but now I’m thinking it’s about time I spend some more time reviving my love for photography. I’ve been pining over new cameras, but won’t be able to afford a new DSLR or any lenses anytime soon. I’m trying out a new photo processing software instead as a way to re-ignite some energy into things. Expect some more activity and changes around here coming up.
The photos above were from last Friday morning. We got our first snow of the season and I wandered around the sparkling woods that surround our new home.
it’s september 8th and i haven’t shared any photos from june-august! i guess the time has come to share them all in one. i have failed, once again, at properly documenting my summer. let’s face it, though, i live in the woods and taking my camera outside for photos is downright hazardous without slathering on an obscene amount of bug spray. and i really didn’t want to put on a lot of bug spray this year!! this was also my first summer in 3 years not spending 4-8 weeks in a tent! even though summer in the cabin is still quite rustic (do you pee outside before bed every night? year round? no? i do! it’s crazy), it’s not quite at the same level as camping out in a tent.
my summer was still fairly well documented with my phone, and i upgraded too, so that was enjoyable. anything i took with my dslr pretty much revolved around my various visits to maine. the ocean drew me to it much more than the mountains this year. let’s take a look, shall we?…
^^ these first few were from long island, maine: the most beautiful and majestic white sand beach i’ve ever seen.
^^ i braved the mosquitoes for one quick shot of the summer light near the cabin.
these few are from an evening on my hometown beach in kittery. i got to take some pregnancy shots of my very good friend here. the light was amaaaaaazeballs!
and then i took a crazy quick trip to downeast maine to see my brother’s family.
my two nieces have become professional downeast beach-combers! it was fun watching them explore. what tuff little feet they have already!
the last photos i have to share from the summer are from a short hike in the belknaps in new hampshire. my friend and i explored this place and discovered amazing views and a gazillion wild blueberries! one of new hampshire’s best-kept blueberry secrets, if you ask me!
more posts and photos to come this fall, i hope. thanks for sticking around!
I’m a bit behind. These photos document the second and final part of our May journey to Eastern Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains. So much time has passed. Summer always gets away from me. In the past I’ve spent the summer traveling for conservation work, but this year I’m in one place but working two great jobs and barely find time for any personal internet-ing and computer use. I’ve been to Maine a few times, have gone canoeing when I can, picked blueberries over the weekend, and get to hike around the woods for one of my jobs. It’s been great, but I’d like to keep up on here. Let’s see if this post gets me going again.
So many rhododendrons!
Six of us piled into a Buick for our driving-tour of the Great Smokys. Good people, good woods, hilarious ride.
Oh so many dead hemlocks. Eastern Hemlocks are my favorite tree and it was strange and eye-opening to see the damage the woolly adelgid as done to them in this part of the country.
Self-timer success :)
The trail to the Chimneys. Amaaaaazing rock staircases!
Old friends reunited in the forest.
Beautiful old-growth trees on the Chimneys trail.
I couldn’t resist a hug for one of the thriving hemlock trees along the trail!
Just a few rhododendrons still blooming.
So many lost hemlocks!
At the end of our last day in Tennessee we drove to Elkmont to see the synchronous fireflies. I really don’t know how to describe this experience. It was incredible. It was STUNNING. We sat in the dark in camp chairs on the side of the trail and watched the forest like it was the Omni Theater. The fireflies flash 7-9 times then go dark for a few moments. All together. Sometimes their flashing would wave across the woods from one side of your sight to the other. Other times they would really all flash together. I must see this phenomenon again in my lifetime. The sight of the forest lighting up in unison is something I will never forget.
I loved our trip to Tennessee and I very much hope to return again some day. Our very good friends that we visited are in the beginning stages of starting their own conservation corps in the Great Smoky Mountains. They are called the Smoky Mountain Corps and have big dreams and big hearts for a successful program. Our group of friends are all alums from a residential conservation corps program in the Northeast. I really, really hope the Smoky Mountain Corps comes to life and generates the same friendships, learning experiences, hard work, and great trail-work that we were able to experience. They have a Facebook page, a blog, and a kick-off campaign. Please check them out and if you know of anyone in Eastern TN that can help this program succeed, please be in touch!
life has been busy. time online is limited for me right now. i was originally planning to post my final “part 2″ of our trip to the smokeys over the weekend, but yard sales, date nights, and life in the great outdoors beckoned.
i also happened to read an article out of my parents’ copy of yankee magazine on july 4th and wanted very much to share it here. you see, yesterday, july 6th, was the first anniversary of an astounding tragedy that struck Lac-Mégantic, Québec. i found out when i sat down to peruse Yankee Magazine a few days ago that i had never even heard of this tragedy. it happened so close to New England. and not only did it happen so close to New England, it’s something so appalling and saddening that i’m shocked i managed to not learn of its occurrence ever before. had you heard of this story?
From Yankee Magazine:
“In the early-morning hours of July 6 last year, a train carrying more than 10,000 tons of crude oil derailed and exploded in the small town of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, just across the Maine border. What happened in that moment claimed the lives of 47 people and changed the town forever. The aftershocks continue to be felt everywhere in New England where freight cars rumble past.”
The article, written by Geoffrey Douglas, attempts to capture the heart break of this small town and the astounding impact the crash had on its culture. I heard NPR matter-of-factly refer to the anniversary of the explosion on the news yesterday. The facts are cold and distant. This article thrusts you into the dirty mess of it all and attempts to sit with and digest the reality of the aftermath.
I want you to read it. The whole thing. It’s so important to hear this story and to know that it’s a part of all of our stories. The story of our collective society and culture. That we depend on oil, that we search for more oil domestically, and that our expanding dependence on this oil can and will lead to catastrophes such as this. If you prefer not to flip through the pages of the website, like me, then pick up a copy at the store, or read it as a PDF that I made using Safari and Adobe: LacMéganticTragedy_YankeeMag
(all photos are mine from a few years ago. they don’t have anything to do with Lac-Mégantic, but they are quiet and calm and from a summer I spent on Isle Royale in northern Lake Superior.)
our first full day in tennessee was spent moseying about our friends’ place tucked away right on the edge of great smoky mountains national park. there’s a stream that runs from right out of the mountains and meanders through the property. we enjoyed the warm sun and complete lack of mosquitoes by poking around in the water and seeing what we could find. lo and behold, Darin found an eastern box turtle! i waded over to it and stood very still until he or she ended up floating right by my feet!
later in the day, after a brief and exciting thunderstorm, we took a drive along the nearby foothills parkway and caught a glimpse of the “smoke” from the rain lingering in the valleys.
on our second day, we ventured into the throngs of tourists exploring cades cove and experienced our first “bear jam”! a “bear jam” refers to the traffic jam that ensues on a one-way road in the park when someone has spotted a black bear. soon enough we came upon the scene. a poor little black bear was up in a tree less than 200 feet from the road and tourists were snapping photos much too close. we hoped a park ranger would come by soon and tell folks to move along.
the meadows in the area were very scenic, though, and we enjoyed stopping and exploring the historical features. we even looked for old family names in the graveyards by the churches, but didn’t come across anything familiar. it’s crazy to think that people who lived in this area for so many years either had to leave or stay with restrictions to their way of life once the park was established. in one sense, i appreciate the landscape that exists today – the “wilds” of nature that we are free to explore and savor. i’m also thankful that the park hasn’t erased its human history. however, i feel regretful that many of our national parks pushed people out – whether it be settlers or native americans – and by doing so reinforced the idea that “nature” and “people” aren’t meant to co-exist in a productive way. so much of our thinking about nature has changed since then, but the purpose of the parks, to preserve, remains everlasting. i guess i’m outing myself as a non-preservationist in the environmentalist-spectrum, but it doesn’t stem from a disregard for what the park system created. it simply comes from a disagreement in what’s worth preserving: “unimpaired nature” or a more complex view of “the wild” that also includes productive, sustainable human culture and life.