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Notepad

A Snail’s Tale

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Earlier this week I visited Pelham Bay in the Bronx. On the low tide-strewn beach I gathered several empty snail shells — Neverita duplicata, also known as the shark-eye or Atlantic moon snail — only to learn yesterday, while arranging them in a terrarium, that one was still very much inhabited.

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Barrow’s Goldeneyes

Common on the West coast but rare in the East, there are just 250 Barrow’s goldeneyes in Maine. They spend their winters here, feeding in open waters near the coast, and summer in Arctic breeding grounds. Continue reading

Bumblebees in Autumn

Early in autumn and late in the afternoon, when grasses and flowers gone to seed glow under a strong low sun, bumblebees gather on goldenrods and aster. Continue reading

The Value of Dystopia

Image by Jonny Hughes/Flickr

In response to Michael Solana’s “Stop Writing Dystopian Sci-Fi—It’s Making Us All Fear Technology,” which had inspired “We Need Dystopias Now More Than Ever.”

Solana’s essential message is, “Technology is our salvation, so why do those pesky Luddites keep trying to challenge progress and scare us?” Science fiction, like life, has always contained both utopian and dystopian themes, optimism and pessimism. If dystopias are suddenly overrepresented — which I think is untrue — it’s probably worth asking why they’re so popular, and maybe even trying to learn from them.

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Gathering Material

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I keep meaning to finish something new. Soon.

Image: Muskrat gathering grasses. To eat? Line her burrow? Make something special?

Dead Horse Bay Poem

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By the sea I found
An old glass bottle.
On its mouth the wind
Whistled an old, old song.

A Bed-Stuy Wilderness

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Recently I read of a neighborhood group who dedicated themselves to restoring their local outdoor space, a stretch of weedy canal-side land kept blissfully free from further development by pollution. They were, explained the article, making ecological improvements. Before-and-after photographs showed volunteers tromping on tall grasses and plants, and later tending to a few Home Depot-style outdoor shrubs planted in a barren bank of mulch. Continue reading

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Pileated Woodpecker, Snow