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Louise Young's Blog

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A writer friend of mine is also quite serious and earnest about her photography.  I've never been particularly impressed by any of the images she's produced but she works hard at her art, so when her first gallery show debuted this past weekend, I made time to attend the opening reception.  A nice...
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Western tanagers nested this summer in one of the big Douglas fir trees in front of our cabin.  Tanagers are a tropical clan -- Robert Ridgely's Birds of Panama lists over 35 species in country smaller than the state of Pennsylvania -- known for their brilliant and often lurid coloration.  Among...
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Years later, facing a mid-afternoon geometry of Dakota highways, I remember my father telling us about how he would sit on the deck of his ship and turn sharks inside-out.  My younger sister and I on his lap -- one perched on each thigh -- vied for the privilege of blowing out the match that he'd...
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I threaded my way toward the crest of the knoll through a dog hair of scrawny aspens.  From the top I looked out over an open grove of paper birch, ghostly in the late afternoon drizzle.  Among the white trunks I saw something tan: two ears alert and poised above a frozen face.  It might have been...
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Right after dusk, the pair of loons on our lake began wailing and caterwauling: not the mellow, slightly melancholy "coul-ee" song that we're used to hearing at night but an agitated, hiccuppy cry that seemed to grow more intense as it continued.  The ruckus must have gone on for more...
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underbelly of a painted turtle
Water drips from the bill of  my WOJB cap, runs in rivulets down the front of my soft shell jacket, funnels onto my clammy nylon pants to eventually soak into the leather of my swamper boots.  If I'd planned to be out longer, I would have dressed differently, more securely, but I know that in an...
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Distracted by some half-heard sound, I glance up from my paper and out toward the lake.  My off-hand gaze is snared by a big-tooth aspen sapling, head-high and leafless, that shivers in the mid afternoon breeze.  Sunlight glints obliquely from a couple of the bare branches.  I blink my eyes, focus...
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tracks in the sand
The imprints are defined and deeply incised in the wet sand of Atherton Road.  The left paw leads, with the right following a hand's spread behind.  The tracks are undoubtedly canine.  Both show elongated heel strikes indicating a skidding stop, and on the right track loose sand has mounded ahead...
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By the time I leave the house, the moon has already disappeared behind the rim of our hollow, but by climbing a ridge I'm able to coax him back and out of hiding.  I'm not ready for day yet: I feel the need to surround myself with what little remains of the night.  The moon's still-glowing face is...
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Ever since he vanished into a tangle of russian olive and multiflora rose, the injured fox that I saw two weeks ago in the new moon dawn has haunted me.  It's not often that one encounters a wild animal with such an obvious injury: the fox's tail was either missing or so badly maimed that it hung...
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Yesterday, a thousand wood frog eggs split open and spat squirming black tadpoles into the water puddled in the deeply rutted tire tracks on the old logging road.  The egg masses had been laid almost a month ago during the first flush of spring, while snow still festered in the thick shade under...
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A biting cold shivers the morning air, but this reminder of winter doesn't intimidated the birds.  The new arrivals -- hermit thrushes, field sparrows, red-eyed vireos, and brown thrashers -- raise their voices to complement the pre-dawn upwelling of whistles from chickadees, trills from juncos,...
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After eleven years and thousands of miles, my faithful and athletic dog, Otter, has been forced by arthritis into semi-retirement.  Running is now totally forbidden, and her walks have been shortened and rerouted to avoid strain on her fragile back legs.  Every once in a while, though, I am able to...
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As the twelfth inch of snow mounds into inch number thirteen, I hustle through the kitchen on my way to the laundry room. En route, I throw a passing glance out the narrow window with a view past the carport and the bird feeder to the woods that slope down toward the creek.  The aspect outside the...
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Sendero Las Brujas -- the Witches' Trail -- climbs steeply through coffee fincas and sugar cane plantations toward the Continental Divide at Alto de Piedra.  When it reaches the forest where veils of clouds swirl, alternately concealing and revealing the swelling curves of the entangling earth, the...
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