Friday, February 17, 2017

The Economic Power of Outdoor Recreation

It’s an unfortunate truth that outdoor recreation is a widely undervalued part of our economy. It is an industry worth 21.6 billion dollars in Washington alone, yet it is so often given only a grudging back seat in the estimation of politicians. Parks go unfunded, extractive industries are allowed to dominate vast swaths of public land, and in general we give little thought to an economic force as significant as the aerospace or tech industries. Think what could be accomplished if public lands and recreation were given the consideration that they deserve.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Into the crystal world

When snow falls, hoar frost grows, and icicles flow from the rafters we see the glittering beauty of it all, but that's only the surface. Look closer, closer than the naked eye can see, and you will find a world of crystals stretching off into eternity. 

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The assault on public lands has begun - we must fight back!

Our public lands now face the greatest threat to their very existence since the founding of their various designations and the agencies created to oversee them. They are often and aptly termed “America’s Best Idea”, but unfortunately even our sacred wild places are not off limits to those who have been consumed by greed and who now squat in our nation's capitol. House Bill 621 would sell off 3.3 million acres of public land that its instigator, Jason Chaffetz of Utah claims  “serve no purpose for taxpayers”. This is a blatant lie - all public land has enormous value to taxpayers! Even if it goes entirely unused by anyone it has immense value to taxpayers in that it supports ecosystems that benefit us indirectly. The real reason they want to sell our land is so that their buddies in extractive industries can profit from it. Fortunately, this bill  was dropped on Wednesday, but there is other devious legislation waiting in the wings.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Under the Ice

Only a few feet deep and a couple yards wide, this pond is normally not much to look at, but when the cold weather crystallizes its frog haunted depths it takes on the characteristics of a frozen alien landscape. It is mesmerizing to stare through layers of ice and try to decipher what strange formations lie beneath. Flying saucers, UFO's and amorphous tentacle monsters lurk within the gloom. Diamonds float in a sea of glass. Gaze into my crystal pond!

Friday, January 27, 2017

A timely message from OK GO

“There’s some bad people on the rise” - that’s the chorus line of Morrissey's song “Interesting Drug” - an appropriate sentiment for the current condition of the human race. This was not lost on the band OK GO when their music video cover of the tune was uploaded to Youtube just days before the inauguration of the illegitimate dictator of the United States.

“They’re saving their own skin by ruining people's lives” - the song continues, practically a textbook description of kleptocracy. Trump, the GOP, and Russia’s corrupt politicians all have come to power with the express purpose of exploiting their positions for personal gain. That gain is had at the considerable detriment to the people they supposedly represent.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Frozen Landscapes

It’s rare for the lowlands of Southwest Washington to see more than a few days in a row with snow on the ground - let alone the better part of a month! It hasn’t been much, but since 2017 rolled around the weather has been as cold and snowy as any I can remember! Dealing with freezing water pipes, hauling water from the house for thirsty animals, and other cold weather chores may have made things more difficult, but it’s been worth it to finally experience a real winter in these parts! With the sound of rain on my window, washing the snow away, I find myself sifting through the eleven hundred photos I captured of these snowy conditions! This will be the first in a four part series of photo galleries. Enjoy!

Part 1: Frozen Landscapes

Winter without snow is a bland affair - gray trees, grey sky, grey grass. Maybe an appealing setting for a gloomy music video, but not an inspirational scene for much else. Add a few flakes of snow and the monotony ends. Even the ugliest scenery is made pleasing to the eye when covered with a powdery blanket of frozen water. The terminally drab architecture, the redneck car graveyards, butchered commercial forests - all these detriments to the aesthetics of Western Washington are put temporarily out of sight. A few flurries of snow transform a boring landscaping into a winter wonderland.