Posts tagged “nature

The Edge We’re On

Posted on 22 November 2017

You can tell you’re on the east side of the mountains. It’s drier, more grey-orange, scrubby. The ground smolders around us as we drive up to the trailhead, remnants of the summer’s fires. It’s getting angrier. The earth, I mean. And I understand. The mountains are a great place to highlight precariousness. It’s not just that I nearly froze up walking along in a spot where the trail narrowed and the rocky land to my left slid down, down, down. It’s that even these enormous mountains are fragile, in a way. If you pay attention, you can tell. Mountains are edges: things hold on until they can’t anymore. And then something’s falling. Don’t walk off the path. And I mean because of the vegetation.…

A Trail of Thought

Posted on 10 May 2017

My thoughts go like this. I’m in a national park – a relatively remote one, at that – and one may think it’s untouched and pristine, but no, it’s not. There was a mine in this park. I scramble among the ruins, trying not to touch too much. The desert has worn out the mine by now: it’s just over a hundred years old and it looks the part. And I say desert. This used to be grassland, but ranchers’ cattle gobbled it up. It is still beautiful. So, okay, there was a mine in this not-pristine wilderness but what about before that? Before the treads of cattle and the settlers who brought them, Native Americans were here; you can see old symbols they…

The Gaps Between Us

Posted on 19 April 2015

There are some things, many things, I cannot wrap my mind around. I had found myself in western Uganda. Yes, I hadn’t exactly planned this, but my internship work sent me. The same day I was told it would be good to visit the forestry college in Masindi district, I was on a bus to the region bordering Lake Albert and the DRC. In the dark, I was shown into a room, and left for myself until the morning. What appeared to be a flying worm buzzed near the light and I shivered, trying as hard as possible not to be squeamish but, failing, retreated under the covers beneath the mosquito net. Morning came and I had no water with which to shower. By now,…

A Loud Silence

Posted on 4 March 2015

The earth is bigger than we are. Nature is mightier than we are. When you’re on the ridge with your partner, though, doesn’t your love feel huge? Even though you’re dwarfed by everything around, somehow, your lives together feel more important. They swell. All that is delicate inside shapes us stronger. My chest expanded with my breath and more. The clouds rolled in and over us. The sky was hidden and then shone gold. What can I say? What can I say? Mountains speak louder than words.

Steam Dark, Steam Light, Mushrooms, Night

Posted on 23 February 2015

The air was beginning to shimmer a warm golden grey as we pulled up to the summer home in Hämeenlinna. It sits by a lake, of course. Between the house and the lake are apple trees and a sauna. The light wrapped us, holding on a little longer, and then it departed. By this hour, dinner had been made, and we ate. And then, flashlights in hand, we walked down to the sauna and disrobed.     The changing room exuded the familiar sauna smell of wood, birch, damp. I stacked my clothes in a little pile. The lack of electricity emboldened me somewhat: we were girls and guys together. Despite being no sauna newbie, this was fresh to me. I had been camping…

Solitude, Bookended

Posted on 26 January 2015

I disentangled myself from the small car, swinging my backpack over my shoulders while waving goodbye to the two older Estonian ladies who gave me a ride to the Viru Bog trailhead from the too far away bus stop I landed at when the driver ignored my request for the stop before. The women smiled widely, kindly at me and I grabbed comfort in those smiles—not because I was nervous but because they acknowledged me as a young woman, out on my own, telling me how wonderful it was and to be careful and how to find my way back to Tallinn. They drove away and I plodded onto the path. The weeks behind me stretched out full of people, amazing people, people I…

For Nature’s Furies Are Wonderful, Too

Posted on 30 April 2014

Gusting sand peppering faces; the water an angry brown topped with frenzied white peaks. Golden green rippling stalks of grass, bending, sure, but never fully giving in. Somehow, the tumultuous lake is among the most interesting of all its forms. In the face of this indifferent might, I smile. Nature, be forceful. You deserve to rage, rage, even if those are my feelings about it, not yours.