I actually did run to Germany, from Luxembourg. That sounds pretty impressive until you learn that Vianden, Luxembourg, is only two miles from the German border. So one foggy morning, I trotted along some cobblestone streets and up a long hill and just like that I crossed over into Germany. The border was marked by a few humble road signs…
And the giantest snails I’ve ever seen!
Ignore my horrifying alien hand.
Which also turn out to be edible snails from the genus, Helix*
*NB: I didn’t eat any on my run.
There have been a number of great poems written about this month.
Little flower, you live in constant danger:
Likely to be crushed under foot or torn by wind,
Sun-scorched or gobbled by a goat.
These October days streaked with regrets and tears
Are like you, brindled flower, as they bloom
And fade, harried by heat as much as by the cold.
Our ship sets out to sea, not with ivory or gold
In the hold, but with fragrant apples for cargo. Just so
My days are not heavy but delicate, fleeting and vain,
Leaving behind the sweet, faint scent of renown
That quickly will vanish like the taste of fruit
Passing from the tongues and hearts of everyone.
– Daniel Mark Epstein
I’ve mentioned the Golden Eagle trail before, but gosh I love it. It has to be one of the prettiest day hikes in PA, and at over nine miles and two major climbs it’s a pretty challenging one too. Feeling the onset of existential dread, I took myself for a rigorous hike in a beautiful place to beat it back for a few days. I went alone, but you can come with me now…
Portrait of a hiker, solo, with a camera on a timer
Perhaps a white hickory tussock moth caterpillar? It’s not on hickory, which is confusing
Look at this giant mushroom! That’s my lens cap in there for scale
Somehow these pictures get all out of order on Flickr…but you get the idea
The forest on fire!
Our little American toady friends
My favourite part of the hike is in this sheltered valley
I sat on a log to get this photo and inadvertently sat on a rotting mushroom, which then left a sticky brown smear all over the seat of my pants. Sigh. Fortunately, I was alone in the middle of nowhere, so I could turn in circles like a dog chasing its tail for a few minutes trying to clean it all off with a leaf.
And so I don’t leave you with that image, here are some panoramic overviews:
From Raven’s Horn
From the first, unnamed overlook
I want this article front and center. A more uplifting view on the anthropocene, and how we are NOT in the middle of the sixth mass extinction (say that five times fast, cause I can’t). We are, however, badly affecting the health of the planet. Definitely read this if you’re going to read just one article (PS I disagree on de extinction but he makes some good points): https://aeon.co/essays/we-are-not-edging-up-to-a-mass-extinction
“Plant blindness” (people think plants aren’t cool, but they’re wrong; now I’m tempted to draw a comic about all the ways botany can save your life): https://news.mongabay.com/2016/09/can-plant-blindness-be-cured/
Shocking the Emerald Ash Borer: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2016/09/basic-instincts-emerald-ash-borer-femme-fatale/
Why are mirror spiders so beautiful!? http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2016/09/mirror-spider/?src=footer
Omg, the beetle foot, the beetle foot! http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2016/10/insect-microscopy-igor-siwanowicz/
Some really cool spider photos: http://sgmacro.blogspot.com/2015/08/faces-20-spider-families-peruvian-amazon.html
And that drew me over to these roly-poly spiders! http://sgmacro.blogspot.com/2015/08/peruvian-amazon-roly-poly-spider-exotic-orb-weavers.html
The potential for computer models to provide evidence for or against hypotheses…philosophy of science! http://www.extinctblog.org/extinct/2016/10/10/of-sea-urchins-and-computer-models