Sunday, May 31, 2020

Western Native

We have just bought a house in Colorado and, after spending two months in virtual quarantine in Virginia, I have been able to travel to this new house and begin to settle in. Part of my settling in process has involved exploring my new neighborhood, and one of my new-favorite places is nearby Sand Creek.

This neighborhood used to be Stapleton Airport and you can still see evidence of it. Blocks of broken concrete and asphalt, strange pieces of metal, even the old control tower, which is still here. Sand Creek ran along the edge of the airport and it is one of those things that remains relatively unchanged. And along its banks, the native plant and animal life is thriving.

I've taken my camera along on my morning walks and challenged myself to name what I see. It's a personal test to see how much I remember of a childhood in a place very much like this--a semi-arid region of the mountain west. Here are some of my photos...

First up: prickly pear cactus and sagebrush!

Next: Foxtail grass and Cottonwood Tree

Lupine and blooming Milkweed

Morning Glories and Poppy

Thistle bloom and Sunflower

And, finally, some critters...who don't really require any captions!

I have lots more photos, but no matter how many I take, they don't totally capture the place--the sharp scent of the willows near the water, the rustle of the wind in the tree branches, a constant gurgle from the creek as the water tumbles over stones, and the bird song. So many birds: redwing blackbirds, meadowlark, and killdeer in the long grass and, on the water, ducks and a pair of egrets.

And, finally, a parting shot...will post more later!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

Third year in a row these beauties have come back. First year they've all gone blood red.

For more of my photos, see Flickr.
For more Wordless Wednesday, see the main site.

Thursday, April 23, 2020


Who are you? Are you, like me, a parent, someone's child, a grandparent? Are you, like me, a writer, or a scientist? Or are you something else entirely?

Do you identify yourself through your relationships or by what you do?

It is popular in some circles to denigrate what we do. People say, "I'm a human being, not a human doing," but honestly, all of us are doers.

In many ways, what we do, especially with our hands, makes us human. Those two opposable thumbs we developed along the evolutionary chain changed everything for our species. We became able to manipulate tools and make things in a way no other animal can do.

And as I thought about this more, I realized that one of my dearest-held identities is as what people younger than me have called "a maker."

I've always been a maker, but we didn't call it that when I was growing up. I'm not sure we called it anything, since it wasn't an identity anyone owned up to. But, to be honest, making things is what gives me the greatest pleasure. If I can hold the finished product in my hand, or at least touch it if it's too big to hold, I feel like I've done what I'm supposed to be doing.

So, what do I make? Well, books, for one thing. And facemasks, lately. And bread! Here is a series of photos showing my latest adventure: creating a sourdough starter from my existing kefir starter. The kefir has yeast in it, so I figured I could culture it up and add some flour (following a recipe, of course) and get bread. And it worked!

So, who are you? Are you a maker, too?

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

View from my kitchen window* - the azaleas know nothing about a pandemic and just keep on blooming.

For more of my photos, see Flickr.
For more Wordless Wednesday, see the main site.

*Trying to start posting on my blog again. Have been away for TOO long!