Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Spirit Song of A Michigan Ghost Forest
|All photos by Jonathan Schechter at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore|
Walk silently through the haunting landscape of the ghost forest of Sleeping Bear Point Trail and
wind spirits whisper to you and chatter among the skeletons of long dead cedars.
If you do not hear them you are not listening.
I am sure the Anishinaabek knew the song in their day on Sleeping Bear.
The ghost forest is stark evidence of shifting sand dunes and endless winds that writes new pages
daily in the story of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, an ever changing masterpiece
created by the last glacial retreat and now protected by our National Park Service.
Sand and wind in concert is powerful.
Although each grain of sand is just the tiniest of specks, in 1931 the U.S. Coast Guard buildings
now in the town of Glen Haven had to be moved from Sleeping Bear Point before the
migrating dunes buried them.
The story of sand dunes and ghost forests is without end, but to feel the earth moving forces of
ice, wind and water that sing nature's song you must walk the sands.
And I will walk there again in a land that is full of mystery and wonder, and home to
black bears, bobcats and perhaps a few cougars.
NOTE: Final photo by Shaina O'Dwyer, Environmental Management System Management Representive of
the Grand Traverse Resort And Spa.
During this most recent exploration of Sleeping Bear I was a particapant in an environmental writers ecology
tour sponsored by the Grand Traverse Resort And Spa www.grandtraverseresort.com with assistance and logistical
support from the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Traverse City www.visittraversecity.com and the staff of the
National Park Service at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore www.nps.gov/slbe.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Spirit of the Crow -- and a wary buck.
|crow photo by my friend Ulanawa Foote |
photo reprinted with permission from : http://turtlesaw.blogspot.com/
(NOTE: Turtle Saw is a spirtually uplifting nature blog with incredible photography)
There is a quickening in the land. Seasons are changing.
Gentle rains of black walnuts signal summer is waning.
So does the endless night song of crickets.
As days shorten hummingbirds at the feeder accelerate their activity.
But pehaps no creature senses this quickening more, and shares the news more loudly than the crow.
He sees all. He knows all. And he forgets little.
And sometimes he screams his secrets, building a reputation as a noisy spirit of the woods and fields.
But somtimes he is silent.
And he just watches.
Look into his eyes and you see wisdom.
Crow calls when the owl flies home to the pines.
Crows call when the neighbor's cat stalks birds.
Crow calls when the coyote crosses the road.
Crow calls when the tractor coughs to life.
Crow watches me walk my meadow; but this ka ka ka - if it happens at all - is not an alarm.
It is less shrill. He knows my ways and my passings.
His tail feathers and head bob with his song.
I like to think it is a greeting for me. Only crow knows.
I always "ka ka ka" my hello back as I enter his haunts.
If I lived in the city my neighbors would think me a bit strange. (They might be right.)
But for reasons I do not know when the buck of late summer walks through the tall grass meadow,
crow watches and says nothing of buck's stealthy passing.
Crows silence speaks loudly to the buck.
And buck understands.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Puffballs! Cast iron frying pan sizzles with fungi feast.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Fruits of my trespass: My confession.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore: Most Beautiful Place in America!
|all photos by Jonathan Schechter|
Early this morning (August 17, 2011) ABC News announced Michigan's Sleeping Bear Dunes
National Lakeshore (www.nps.gov/slbe ) as "The Most Beautiful Place in America"!
Congratulations to our National Park Service for their fine managment of this beautful resource
and a special thanks to the Sleeping Bear Dunes Visitor Bureau ( www.sleepingbeardunes.com ) for their endless promotion and support of our great NW shore on Lake Michigan.
But most of my thanks are for the glaciers, powerful winds, ice and raw power of nature
that created this incredible landscape of rugged beauty, streams, meadows, forests and wildlife
habitat, and for the people who love the land and all her inhabitants.
Sleeping Bear Dunes is a four-season wonderland and now her secret is out.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
A gray treefrog, a wren box and a world of mosquitoes!
HIGHWAY PATROL : Keen eyes from the sky
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Perseid Meteors streaking to Earth! WARNING: You may get mooned.
photo from NASA/SCIENCE
THE FACTS, WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM NASA:
The Perseid meteor shower is caused by debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle. When Mother Earth zips through the debris field, specks of that comet slam into our atmosphere and are consumed in flashes of light. Some are brilliant, others are faint lines of light. They are all called Perseids because they fly out of the constellation Perseus. Your little one calls them shooting stars. Me too.
"The meteor shower is already underway. According to the International Meteor Organization, worldwide observers now are counting more than a dozen Perseids per hour with more to come on August 12-13 when Earth passes near the heart of the debris stream." NASA SCIENCE
Swift-Tuttle's debris zone is so vast our planet spends weeks travelling inside the debris zone . Go outside at this very moment if it is night - no matter what moment it is within a week of August 13 - and you might see a Perseid. More likely than not--you won't. You will just feed hungry mosquitoes.
Here's Why: The peak of this year’s Perseids is August 12-13, but you being 'mooned' by a heavenly body - our moon- is much more likely than seeing stars streaking. Our full moon will outshine all but the brightest players of this year's shooting star display. But do not give up too soon. You may get lucky and spot a brighter fireball or two despite moon shine. And since the Perseids can be seen in small numbers for several weeks on either side of the peak night, you might try to view a few when the Moon isn’t quite so full a few days after the peak period.
My Tips: Lunar glare wipes out a good meteor shower so if I was you - and I am not - I would head for the darker countryside tonight in hopes of seeing meteors streak into our atmosphere before they are drowned in moon glare. I'm lucky. No street lights in my neck of the woods. (Meteors are almost impossible to see near city lights. ) If you do not see any during moon glow in the middle of the night, get back outside just before dawn rise when the moon is sleepy and wea andsettle in a lawn chair with coffee and bug spray. You may see a few! But I'll be happy with my night meander regardless, and celebrate the whinny of screech owls from my pines, the hum of zillions of crickets and perhaps the trill of a treefrog, the deep song of a bullfrog or sharp yip of a coyote -- and of course the full moon exposure on a sultry summer night--------.
There is no bad night in the world of nature!
And there is a bonus:
"Before dawn is also the time of the International Space Sation flyby. All week long and into the weekend, the International Space Station will be making a series of early-morning passes over the United States. The massive spacecraft glides silently among the stars, shining so brightly that moonlight and even city lights have little affect on its visibility. You simply cannot miss it if you know when to look. Check NASA's ISS Tracker for local flyby times." NASA@SCIENCE
If I had planned ahead I would be at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore sitting on a sand dune on the shore of Lake Michigan, one of the best places in Michigan to enjoy the streaking in the sky or the glow of being mooned, or just celebrating the wonders of nature and Mother Earth.
Note to self: Mark my calander for Perseid 2012.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Full moon of July 2011 from the dunes
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Ulanawa Foote: Introducing a SE Michigan nature photographer, magic maker!
|All photos by Ulanawa Foote |
(used with permission)
Ulanawa Foote is gentle-hearted. She is a soft-spoken proud Native American woman with an incredible ability to capture wonders of nature and share those wonders through her camera's lens
and thoughtful writings. Her peaceful passion for silence, tiny creatures, running water, fields of
flowers, mountains and infants; as well as the colors, shapes, shadows and sounds of our Mother Earth
come alive on her Turtle Saw blog.
Her macro lens artistry coupled with late night rainy walks and pre-dawn
treks in fields and woods and roadsides create magic and art.
She can transform a simple grass spider huddled in a raindrop sparkling web into an image as powerful and captivating as a grizzly bear with gaping jaws.
Ulanawa has the art of capturing simple beauty.
Even a raindrop on a broken leaf is art and has as story to tell.
She tells the stories well.
I have never met Ulanawa.
But one day, several months ago, while browsing a Huron-Clinton Metropark link in the odd,
often convoluted and superficial world of Facebook I noticed some of her
postings artfully blended with words.
They were full of life.
The made me smile.
It did not take long to realize that unlike many photographers with the ability to capture
great images, she has developed a gift of adding spirtuality and sensitivity to the camera image
and blend them with prose while retaining the simplicity of nature's way.
She and I began to share E-notes and postings and thoughts on the ways of nature and man and
the fine art of hiking in woods with worn boots and torn sneakers.
It is with great pride that I use my Earth's Almanac blog to share a few images captured by
Ulanawa and to introduce her beautiful and inspiring Turtle Saw blog:
(You will discover her wonderful insight, love of turtles and the musky scent of our Earth)
Almost all images she shares on Turtle Saw are captured in or near Lake Erie
Metropark in SE lower Michigan
Ulanawa's captivating words of beauty and joy and sadness and tears take us beyond her images
of nature-----they help us all find our way home.
Note: In the Tsalagi (Cherokee) language Ulanawa means soft-shelled turtle.
Friday, August 5, 2011