Earlier this month I ventured down to Austin, TX to check out the opening of the group show LIGHT at Wally Workman Gallery. The exhibition will be up through December 23 if you're in the area. Otherwise, you can check out a virtual tour of the show, here.
It turns out that the best feature of our backyard is not the vegetable garden or the array of bird feeders. It is a hole.
A couple of years ago, we removed a dying ash tree from the center of our yard. Its roots must have been rotting away in some places, creating a small sinkhole just big enough to twist your ankle.
Summer before last (or, maybe two years ago) bumblebees nester there, creating endless entertainment watching the bumbling around pollinating our wildflowers and flying in figure-8 patterns in and out of their nest.
After they moved out, moles or voles moved in. Sometimes at night, we hear desperate squeaking noises. Which, up until this morning, I usually assumed that these noises are made in response to the prowlings of our neighborhood cats. Now I'm wondering if these foxes have been coming around more frequently!
Last time we saw them was maybe 7-8 years ago. Sorry, tiny burrowing mammals, but I can't wait to see what other life this hole brings to our yard.
Originally published October 1, 2017
I thought I was so badass yesterday on my hike. The miles were flying by, and I felt like I was keeping a good pace. I'm trying to get in shape for some epic hikes in the Arctic next year. But, clearly, the best things only happen when we're paying attention.
On one of the trails closest to the water, I almost stepped on a baby snapping turtle because I was trying to fly through this walk as quickly as possible. So, of course, I stopped and checked out these new little friends - I saw at least four of them on the grassy path, some still with their egg tooth.
I realized as I watched them climbing over the grass that I so easily have my blinders on to things in the world around me. I stopped and watched them for a while and slowed my pace. The way back seemed almost magical. The setting sun, deer jumping from the path, a band of coyotes yelping. What else do we see when we take the time to look?
Originally published September 15, 2017
I spent a couple of days taking day hikes and exploring the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) along the northern-most part of the Minnesota Arrowhead.
The SHT is nearly 325 miles of footpath along the ridgeline overlooking Lake Superior on Minnesota's North Shore. Modeled after the Appalachian Trail, the SHT initially opened in 1987 with continuous expansion during the 90's and 2000's. And the final section from Jay Cooke State Park to the Minnesota/Wisconsin border was built between 2014-2017. Now, the SHT is continuous from the Minnesota/Wisconsin border to just short of the Canadian border.
What an incredible dream to do the whole thing. I can't wait to come back.
Originally published August 29, 2017
We took an impromptu trip out west through some of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. This trip reminded me that it's good to change your location, your elevation, and your latitude from time to time. Seeing different parts of our land makes me remember that we're really very small, yet we can accomplish so much. We must work together to save this incredible land.
We stayed at a primitive campsite south of Telluride and got to witness a bit of gorgeous alpenglow. This video doesn't do it justice, of course.
Originally published July 30, 2017
I've been studying up in order to catch tonight's sunset. I learned that tonight in Minneapolis, it will set at 8:41pm at 297 degrees Northwest.
I know of this hidden little 'bench' off of the beaten path in one of the parks where I hike frequently. It's actually just a couple of logs put together on the side of a deer trail. But, it sits on a ridge that overlooks the northwest, so I'm going to go sit and watch the sun go down. Sounds relaxing, right?
Post hike: Well, it turns out that this bench will make a great spot to catch a winter sunset, not a sunset in July. It faces too far south and is much more overgrown than it was earlier this spring the last time I visited. So, unfortunately, I missed the best part of tonight's sky. At least I caught a sweet look at the moon, though.
I started a log to record the direction of potential viewing spots so that I'll know what times of the year will be ideal to watch the start or end of the day.
Originally posted July 18, 2017
I painted Silent Search - No. 80 over the course of spring and summer 2017, and this video shows a glimpse into my process creating these gradient paintings.
Originally published July 17, 2017
Bill Nye may be best known for his PBS children's show, Bill Nye the Science Guy, but has also been an incredible champion for science and involving the public in discussions about climate change.
In a recent article, here, he shares his thoughts on multitasking, information overload, and getting things done for real. "...If you want to be an effective agent of change, you also need to filter your sense of urgency." Nye talks about his new book, Everything All At Once, and using relentless curiosity to help solve not only climate change but any of society's future problems.
Read the whole article here. It's worth your time.
And, if you want some fun home science demos, check out his website at www.billnye.com.
Originally published July 15, 2017
I finally put together a tiny video from our self-drive trip through Botswana in 2015 using the footage I took with my iPhone while we were driving. It's not super exciting with wildlife, but it shows how crazy the two-track roads are throughout the country. I totally miss this place!
Originally posted May 29, 2017