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If a tree falls in the woods …

There’s a red alder growing at the top of this hill. This one is alone. I’ve passed stands of them on the way up. A few stands have 50 or more growing together. Slender, clumped together in thickets, their smooth, gray-and-white mottled trunks stretch up into the canopy. Most of them are no bigger around than a person’s arm. They are young. Over the coming years, their numbers will be whittled down. The competition for sunlight, nutrients and space, will leave only a few where these many once stood. Anything that reaches 65-95 feet tall, will need a little elbow room. Someone has carved initials into this lone alder, a…

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The sentry

Clad in red armor, a lone sentry guards his tiny realm. The dragonfly’s kingdom is one most would be hard-pressed to notice. A dwindling pool of water in the middle of a patch of mud. But, he is devoted. Perched on the limb of a fallen snag he watches. Every few moments, he his called out to intercept a challenger, before darting back to his post. He is undaunted by these interlopers, or the barrage of other species of pestering flies. They too have moved into this flat of exposed ground. Red dragonfly on branch It is the first true day of summer, and while recent rains have slaked some…

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Good intentions

I should forewarn you, I’m not a professional photographer. Discounting basic school courses, I don’t have training in a field of science. I’m just an observer, a notetaker, so to speak. So, anything you take from this blog should be informative, but certainly not considered authoritative. The intention for this blog, in its better days, is to serve as a modern nature journal, a record of my wanderings. I admit, I have not been very adventuresome in my wanderings. This is a bustling area. Most of the areas I visit are well-used. Outdoor recreation is a prime selling point for Portland. There are nearly a few hundred parks within Portland’s…

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Roses are red … sometimes

It’s barely 9 o’clock in the morning, and already more than 60 degrees. A thin layer of soil has risen from the parched fields and tinted the pale blue sky a desperate brown. Trapped between the Oregon Coast Range and the Cascades, the Willamette Valley acts like a little oven.┬áIt’s going to be a hot day, no breeze. Good for the area’s agriculture, but not good for being outdoors. It isn’t just the sky. There’s still a week and a half to go until the first day of summer, and things are starting to look bleak. The grasses, waist high, or higher, are starting to dry out. The leaves on…

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A natural test

“Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. … For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, … living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings, they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.” ~ Henry Beston, “A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape…

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