Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland: The Shetland islands, no ponies, but we did see a goat. He was raising money to buy an infrared camera to be used by the Lerwick Lifeboat Society, the local search and rescue. We met him in a shop that sells hand crafted soap made from goats’ milk packed in little Shetland wool pouches. Since we arrived on a Sunday, one … Continue reading Shetland, No Ponies
We are onboard and underway, on our cruise to Iceland and Greenland. But we weren’t sure that this would happen. I had complications from surgery the week before we left for Amsterdam and I didn’t get clearance from the docs until Friday afternoon. We flew to Amsterdam on Sunday. While waiting I could not bring myself to do things that I normally do in preparation. … Continue reading Rising to Sea Level, the North Sea Canal.
Here are the promised pics from Amsterdam’s Canals on an absolutely beautiful day taken from the hop on/hop off cruise. Continue reading Amsterdam Canals
Our Cruise to Iceland and Greenland leaves from Amsterdam. Given the vagaries of Alaska weather and our desire to avoid jet lag on the cruise we arrived in Amsterdam with four nights and three days to acclimatize. Amsterdam is a good city to do that because we already know it well, we can relax and not feel compelled to see everything. We can visit … Continue reading Amsterdam Thoughts
Our summer is full of the joy of music festivals, the Sitka Summer Music Festival, the Winnipeg Folk Festival, and the Uncommon Music Festival, Sitka’s newest. The Uncommon festival features music that is not usually heard but should be. This year we had music ranging from early composers like Orlande de Lassus, through Amy Beach, to 21st century Fairbanks composer John Luther Adams. There was … Continue reading When Lost in the Forrest, and other Uncommon Gems.
Monday was a nice nice for a cruise as a weather front moved in. We went out with the Sitka Conservation Society for their salmon cruise. We went to Redoubt Falls to watch the salmon jump the falls into the lake and took a ranger on board for a lecture but the salmon were the least of our joys. We saw sea stars, which last … Continue reading Monday Evening Cruise
The Winnipeg Folk Festival is an annual compass point for our family, an annual highlight. This year was the 44th festival. We’ve been to 38. We go to connect with friends and introduce our grandkids to the joys of a multicultural festival, just as we did with our own kids. We also go to discover new acts, and sometimes get a nostalgic kick. There’s the … Continue reading A Joyful Noise in Winnipeg
Fifty years ago we weren’t sure. The Wild and Scenic Rivers act was before Congress and if it passed the St. Criox, the boundary river between Minnesota and Wisconsin, was to be one of the first 8 rivers included in the system. Landowners along the river would have restrictions on what they could build, especially if that building could be seen from the river. The … Continue reading Wild and Scenic, 50 years on.
Bases loaded, one out, a long shot to center right, fielded on one bounce. One run Sioux Falls Canary scores but with a great throw to third the St. Paul Saints turn a double play, third to second, inning over. Jake turns to me and says “THIS is why we’re American… baseball.” We are in the new 7,200 seat CHS stadium in Lower Town, downtown, … Continue reading “THIS is why we’re American… baseball.”
Two hundred and forty one years ago a resolution written by Thomas Jefferson and moved by John Adams passed the Continental Congress. It read, in part: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these … Continue reading After 241 Years…. Jefferson Still Lives!
The Sitka Summer Musical Festival ends today with a fundraising brunch. I will not be there because I will be on an airplane traveling to Minnesota and grand kids. Together Brian, Liz, Liam, Fiona, Suzi and I will go to the Winnipeg Folk Festival. These two festivals, back to back, reflect different music traditions. But they have a lot in common. They give us comfort … Continue reading A Beautiful Memory. Sitka Summer Music Festival 2017
It was like stepping off the boat into a salad. That’s what it was like at Point Brown when Allen Marine dropped a group from the Sitka Conservation Society on the east side of Kruzof Island. Sunday morning saw the lowest tide of the year, minus 3.21 feet. Around the time of summer solstice the Earth is closest to the Sun. When the new moon … Continue reading Stepping into a Salad, Low tide at Point Brown.
Sitka has no highway connection anywhere. We have a 14 mile road system on an island the size of Delaware. We are not on the inside passage so a lot of ferries do not stop. When a ferry does stop it is 9 hours to Juneau or Petersburg. We are remote. Friends often ask “When are you coming back to civilization,” even other Alaskans living … Continue reading A Day in June, Sitka, Alaska
Friday night SAFV (Sitkans Against Family Violence) held a fundraiser dinner cruise aboard one of Allen Marine’s (Alaska Dream Cruises) pocket cruise ships, Chichagof Dream. I had wanted to get aboard for some time to see how they refitted her. They did a nice job. One of the highlights is the Himalayan Salt Room, kind of like a sauna, lined with salt that’s therapy for … Continue reading Chichagof Dream
The May pole dance is not what you may think of when you hear the term “pole dance.” The May Pole is a tradition from Europe. It is part of community rejoicing at the return of spring. Some people think that its origins are pagan reverence for sacred trees. In Slovakia, where Suzi and I lived for more than two years, May poles had a … Continue reading (May) Pole Dancing
This is Beltane, Celtic May Day. In 2002 we were in London walking down Great Russell Street and we ran across the “Beltane Bash” held in conjunction with the “Pagan Pride March.” This is from a family letter written in May 2002. Wherever we travel we find things that interest us. Saturday we walked into the fifth annual Pagan Pride Parade. The parade was to … Continue reading Beltane Bash (Happy May Day!)
Donald Trump has been president for 100 days. Around the country people are marching for “Climate, Jobs and Justice.” James Poulson from the Sentinel said this was part of the President’s “Make America Fit Again” campaign. About 100 Sitkans marched from the Crescent Harbor shelter, around the Russian Church and back down Lincoln Street to the Episcopal See House. Motorists, not expecting a parade, drove … Continue reading Make America Fit Again!
Eternal Father strong to save, who’s hand has bound the restless wave. Who bids the mighty ocean deep, its own appointed limits keep. Oh hear us when we cry to thee, for those in peril on the sea. The blessing of the fleet is one of those annual Sitka events that marks the passing of a year and re-binds me to my community. I’m not … Continue reading Blessing of the Fleet, 2017
This is the second tranche of Earth Day, 2017 pics. The event is sponsored by the Sitka Conservation Society and the Sitka Sound Science Center. To look at the first tranche and read my commentary, please click here. Continue reading Earth Day, 2017, in Support of Science and Critters.
April 22 is Earth Day. In Sitka we celebrated early with our 16th annual parade of species sponsored by the Sitka Sound Science Center and the Sitka Conservation Society. I really love this event. People dress up as their favorite species, plant, animal or mythical (in the case of mermaids, this is a seafaring community after all.) Each species is invited to talk about itself, … Continue reading Earth Day 2017
We were “stuck” in Seattle and were going to make the best of it. The planes were full in Southeast Alaska, at least full enough so that the two of us could not get on the same flight, something about a folk festival in Juneau and lobbyists going to the capital to fight over a smaller and smaller slice of the pie. Since planes to … Continue reading Victoria, BC
I was born in a magnificent Art Deco hospital in Jersey City, the Margaret Hague Maternity (named after Boss Frank, “I am the law,” Hague’s mother) Hospital. It was part of the Jersey City Medical Center. The Art Deco medical center provided virtually free health care for all Jersey City residents. Now it’s a condo called “The Beacon” and is not available to virtually all … Continue reading Art Deco Hospital
I often wonder if people in the Southern Hemisphere view Easter differently than we north of the line. Easter is so tied into rebirth, renewal and resurrection. It comes naturally in the springtime. If the days were getting shorter, leaves falling and flowers wilting I am not sure how I would view Easter, perhaps as the promise of resurrection at some time in the future. … Continue reading Resurrection in the Food Web
One of my favorite walks in Sitka is through Sitka National Historical Park, we call it “Totem Park.” I have been friends with many of the poles in the park since my first walk through in 1973. In the 44 years since then I have made the acquaintance of several new poles, carved for different occasions, commemorating the Park Service, or the Battle of Sitka. … Continue reading Victoria’s Totem Poles