Sunday, August 30, 2015
Saturday, August 29, 2015
This is the first of several upcoming blogs about my recent trip to "Greenland'.
I am 'Going to Greenland'. It is an idea I have had since childhood. Greenland is a land of ice and snow and mystery - my own Shangri La. Although I have been on multiple canoe expeditions to the Canadian Arctic, I know of no one personally who has gone to Greenland. It is one of those places of dreams but not in the sense of really going there. But the occasion arose and I am going to Greenland.
To get there I have signed on with my friend Dan West and his travel group: Linblad Expeditions - National Geographic with all of its photojournalistic and eco-friendly trappings. Seldom have I taken the opportunity to expend my resources on myself. Interesting. To get to Greenland I fly to Minneapolis, go through an impenetrable maze to get from Concourse 1 to Concource 2 (6 escalators, a train ride, and two elevators) to arrive at IcelandAir for the trip Reykjavik, Iceland where I will meet up Dan and board our ship, the National Geographic Explorer.
In the waiting room I observe my fellow passengers: there are many youngsters in the late teens to early twenties age group. There are few passengers near my age. There is one coal black lady in her forties. I notice myself noticing her as 'other'. We finally board and I am pleased to hear that the plane trip will only be 5 and 1/2 hours. To my surprise I get to sit by the black lady. I notice I am not enthusiastic. She is quite nicely dressed but reticent to talk. With a lilting Jamaican accent she does tell me she is going to Ireland. And silence intervenes. We each sink into our own quietness. After some time the plane begins to shake - I mean really shake - like it is going to fall apart. The stranger next to me starts to shake visibly. She turns to me and asks,"Will you hold my hand?" I say, "Sure," and she grabs my hand with an iron grip. Her palm is sweating and she squeezes my hand in a death grip. She calms down noticeably. We do not talk. When the shaking stops we shyly let go of each others hands. We still don't talk. The shaking of the plane starts again and I reach over and take her hand in mine. She is slightly more at ease but still squeezes my hand to numbness. We are less like 'other' to each other in our mutual concern for the situation. We are closer. The silence between us remains.
At the the end of the plane ride we rise and mutually acknowledge each other and wish each other 'bon voyage'. I don't know if she was going to her personal "Greenland" but I do know that she has enriched my journey. We have had a memorable close encounter. Heidegger often describes our encounters with the 'other that is other'. Our touching and mutual support have transformed our relationship. We are closer as we part and this has occurred without verbal interaction. Somehow this was done in the experience of "knowing" at the level of our humanity.
Friday, August 28, 2015
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Walking around a lake on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park we found a nice row of Rose Crown (Queens Crown)
which was edging the lake. I was transported back to age 14 when I was lying in some deep grass by a stream near Sky Pond above The Loch where there was a small meadow filled with Rose Crown.
Whoa - what I meant was how many folks does it take to change a light bulb on a pole. Part of the fun of being retired is that I get to see new things. In 39 years I have never seen the circle bulb changed. I thought it was the good fairy or some kind of miracle forever bulb. No, it was one man in a truck who changed the bulb in about ten minutes.
We are home from Colorado, a truly magical place. What we noticed on coming home was how lush the area was. Everything is green and growing which is not at all usual for August. The other surprise has been the nightly chorus of cicadas - it has been the full orchestra and truly remarkable. This was quite a change from the silence of Estes Park after dark. Two unique experiences.
Saturday, August 22, 2015
Friday, August 21, 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Monday, August 17, 2015
Sunday, August 16, 2015
> Outside our cabin in Estes Park there is a
> large amount of yarrow. Common
> yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is in the
> aster family and has many names: gordaldo,
> nosebleed plant, old man's pepper, devil's
> nettle, sanguinary, milfoil, soldeir's woundwort,
> and thousand leaf.
A friend has pointed out that the "delphinium" is really monks head (aconitum). Also known as wolfsbane it has been recently used in the Harry Potter series as a potion that allow maintenance of rationality after someone has been transformed into a wolf.
Saturday, August 15, 2015
Monday, August 3, 2015
Since I have been in the north the flowers have continued to bloom in my gardens with some rain and a lot of heat.
These are new blooms on a gladiolus plant with many more to come.
The naked lady surprise lilies (Lycoris squamigera) have begun to bloom.
This is a bloom on an ironweed (Vernonia altissima) plant.
Blazing Star (Liatris) has multiplied in the wildflower garden.
Since I have more than 600 images including many flowers from the north they will have to come out
very slowly as we are headed for Colorado tomorrow.