Gratuitous Nature

The whole valley of Turtle Creek – my polluted little brook – is manifestly greener than it was a hundred years ago, a time when much of the surrounding hillsides would have been strip mines or tailing piles and the trees would have been almost all cut for firewood or simply to clear pasture land to feed cows and horses.

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Risking it All

In my 2016 book, The Dying Fish, I tried, in Chapter 28, to capture an idea I felt was important as I went on with my long walk and talk on nature and attempted in this chapter to merge those ideas with some much more human concepts. The excerpt below pertains to risk and I […]

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Diagnostics

At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be infinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. H.D. Thoreau “Walden” Andrew and I started by taking the windshield wipers off then removed nuts and bolts […]

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It’s Still Worth Saving

“Now I ask you: what can be expected of man as a being endowed with such strange qualities? Shower him with all earthly blessings, drown him in happiness completely, over his head, so that only bubbles pop up on the surface of happiness, as on water; give him such economic satisfaction that he no longer […]

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The Element of Surprise

It was good to be out today but I felt I was wasting my time. Alright, this wasn’t really true – I was exploring a new place and getting fresh air and exercise which is never really a waste of time. But I was in search of a special mushroom and it now seemed I’d […]

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Where the Wild Things Are

I need miles today to start my week right and I head for one of Pittsburgh’s major parks to find them. Mine is one of two cars in the gravel lot I choose despite the fact that this is a weekend morning and there’s no shortage of athletes in the vicinity. Covid fears reign in […]

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Parable

Life was good in Woods Dale. Springs fed the forested Appalachian valley, emanating from limestone aquifers that lay just a meter or two below the ample duff. Rain visited frequently as well, leaving sodden wood and leaves in its wake, drops falling with metronomic precision from living leaf tips to last year’s withering leaf blanket. […]

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The Good News

The news told me that this was the end of the world as we know it. But when I went outside, I noticed the sparrows gathering twigs for this spring’s nests. I noticed the skunk cabbage and ramps unfurling a rich green in the floodplain and reaching for the clear sky. I saw the squirrels […]

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