Five for Friday: Baobabs and Other Trees

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1. Let’s start with other trees. The baobabs are what got me thinking of big trees, so here’s what is labeled as the world’s largest spruce tree, near Kalaloch Lodge in Olympic National Park. This isn’t my favorite park, but the trees were impressive. It’s somewhat humbling to think of this tree having been standing here so many years. It has seen more than any of us ever will.

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2. Not to the baobabs, yet. Staying on point with the idea of trees witnessing more than humans, here’s a coffee table book you may enjoy. I have a habit of buying books like these because they look so interesting, which they are, but they are also a bit unwieldy. Still, weighing heft against content, Wise Trees measures up.

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Five for Friday: National Trails Day and More

Black Hills Regional Park, May 2018
Kayaks on the water at Black Hills Regional Park in May

1. I’d like to start by posting a note of gratitude for the many easily accessible parks in Maryland. While parts of the state are most certainly being overdeveloped, there is still, for now anyway, an abundance of public land for enjoyment of the outdoors.

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Reading List: Before They’re Gone

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The splendor of the glaciers. The melting of the glaciers. Breathtaking views of wildlife. Diminishing numbers of wildlife. This is the back-and-forth journey readers take through Michael Lanza’s 2012 book, Before They’re Gone: A Family’s Year-Long Quest to Explore America’s Most Endangered National Parks.

Lanza, an outdoors writer and photographer, takes his family on a series of adventures through 10 national parks: Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Glacier Bay, Mount Rainier, Olympic, Glacier, Rocky Mountain, Joshua Tree, Yellowstone, and the Everglades. He weaves together tales of his children’s antics and interests on the trails with research about the effects of climate change at each park they visit.

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A Birthday Post / Poem about a Whale Ear Bone

Not my birthday…

But a very Happy Birthday to my favorite person to go walking with!

From Mt. Diablo in California... the hike that got me hooked on hiking thanks to Chris!
From Mt. Diablo in California… the hike that got me hooked on hiking thanks to this guy!

It’s also been four years since the day we decided to take a lifelong walk together… Happy Anniversary!

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And a poem:

Philip’s Birthday

I gave,
to a friend that I care for deeply,
something that I loved.
It was only a small

extremely shapely bone
that came from the ear
of a whale.
It hurt a little

to give it away.
The next morning
I went out, as usual,
at sunrise,

and there, in the harbor,
was a swan.
I don’t know
what he or she was doing there,

but the beauty of it
was gift.
Do you see what I mean?
You give, and you are given.

– Mary Oliver

Walk Like a Camel

IMG_9248People walk for a variety of reasons, although in general, probably not as often as they should. There’s the walking that has to be done, the type we take for granted and hardly even notice. There’s walking for exercise or leisure – think of a good long hike that really gets the blood pumping, or a stroll on the beach whose intended effect is the opposite.

In his essay “Walking,” Thoreau describes what he calls the “art” of walking:

“I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who understood the art of Walking, that is, of talking walks,–who had a genius, so to speak, for sauntering, which word is beautifully derived ‘from idle people who roved the country, in the Middle Ages, and asked charity, under pretense of going a la Sainte Terre,’ to the Holy Land, till the children exclaimed, ‘There goes a Sainte-Terrer,’ a Saunterer, a Holy-Lander.

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