Nature Writers I Follow #4: Mary Holland of Vermont

Books by Mary Holland:

I marvel at how little I accomplish in my life, relative to the amazing output of others. Nature writer Mary Holland seems to be a whole team of creative and scientific experts, not just one person. Her website, books, articles and professional photographs encompass a seemingly limitless encyclopedic exploration of nature, presented in short, easy-reading, wonderfully illustrated pieces. She creates educational tools for all ages, especially children.  When she’s not doing any of that, she’s spreading knowledge and wisdom in speaking engagements. You can feel her passion for natural history in her work.

(Better disclosure: I benefit nothing but pleasure by promoting the nature writers I follow. I have no investment or business interest except as their customer, I get no freebies or incentives, and I have no family connection with them — that I know of!)

Mary Holland’s qualifications root her as a naturalist with specialization in education, plus leadership in environmental and natural sciences in public and private sector organizations. Did I mention she’s a skilled, accomplished writer and photographer? ==> Please continue reading ==>

The Trouble With Fire

Revised July 3, 2019.

The trouble with fire is that it never stands still long enough to be seen. It’s like water falling, or snowflakes drifting down, or dry leaves blown by a gale.  But the camera loves to make them stand still.

These pictures were extracted from photos of a tiny fire I built at Kieferhaven (here at Balsamea) on November 4, 2018.  It was just a little pile of sticks and scraps of birch bark, something to enjoy for a little while.  That little fire has lasted a long, long while.

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You get 61 trees for life

 

Nalini M. Nadkarni (photo source Univ. of Washington article)


In her 2008 book, Between Earth and Sky; Our Intimate Connections to Trees, Nalini M. Nadkarni wrote on page 43,
 
I calculated that the world supports sixty-one trees for each person on Earth [in 2005]. … When I told my husband […] he reflected for a moment and then voiced wonder that the ratio was so small.  “Each person gets sixty-one trees in a lifetime?  That seems hardly enough to supply just the firewood we’ll use in our woodstove for the next few winter seasons, let alone the lumber that’s in our house and the paper I put through my printer.”  His reflections […] reinforced the sense that I need to think about ways to look after my sixty-one trees, wherever they might be growing in the world.
 
To see how she arrived at 61 trees for each of us, see the two scanned images of her text below.

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Put a Woman in Charge (revised)

WordPress clobbered the previous post when I tried to add this note to the  reblog of Put a Woman in Charge written, illustrated and originally posted by Lisa Brunetti at Zeebra Designs & Destinations~ An Artist’s Eyes Never Rest, online home of an artist, naturalist and writer in Ecuador with a global heart, whose blog I would keep following if I could keep only one, for its beautiful offerings in education (in art and more), entertainment, and inspiration.  I wrote more extensively about Lisa in my May 27, 2017 post Nature Writers I Follow #1:Zeebra.

I should know better than use the reblog button instead of just reporting on the piece myself.  So just go to  Put a Woman in Charge and take the time to read all of it and enjoy the heart and the art of it.

Reflections

Going through some old folders, I found the original set of 2005 Moose Pond Moon photos in a surprise location.  It included a scenery shot that I guess I had written off when the set was put where it belongs under photos/nature/moon.  Turns out it was worth keeping.

[This post has only 706 words, chunks of it in music quotes, and a few minutes for one song performance.]

I don’t think it’s exquisite.  It just has a way of holding my eye that doesn’t make sense.  Maybe there’s something wrong with my eye.

When I remembered the moon in Harry Chapin’s song, Circle, I was glad to have him join the moon song hit parade with this salty-sweet sing-a–long.

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Moonsuch Imagery

I knew someone in the business of making and selling “fine art nature photography.”  I never saw anything fine in this artist’s work, but didn’t have the heart to say so.

I mentioned that I use my computer to “tweak” my amateur nature photos to improve what I get out of the camera.

She said, “That’s cheating.”

When she saw some of my earliest moon pix, admiring them she said, “Boy, I thought I was the photographer here.”

I said, “I cheat.”

It’s not a photograph.  It’s a wordless expression of me in the way I experience a subject, with the help of a camera and a computer.

Somebody tell Ansel Adams he was cheating when he used an orange filter to shoot his classic, Moon and Half Dome …

Ansel Adams, Moon and Half Dome, 1960, Yosemite National Park.

I live in a world of turkeys

This morning while washing hiking water bottles, one of our many wild turkeys enjoyed browsing the abundant wild food near the edge of the yard viewed from my kitchen window.

This is not an unusual sight here.  Common, really.  But not for me, and not for the turkeys, since they never get accustomed to being stalked by me.  I am never common to them.

Turkey photos at Balsamea, June 20, 2018, ~7:30 AM. CLICK ANY PICTURE FOR FULL SCREEN VIEW.

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Nature Writers I Follow #1: Lisa Brunetti, a Multi-Disciplinary Artist in Ecuador

There are times when I enjoy an eye-to-eye inspection of those exotic plants, and by capturing their likeness with pencil or water media, I discover minute details that otherwise might be missed. I always walk away with deeper respect for the plant and its support cast of companions. – Lisa Brunetti, Zeebra Designs & Destinations

She says she does it with graphic media.  Others do it with cameras or words or other forms of contemplation or meditation.  It’s about attention and intention, and it yields a clearer sense, if only a glimpse at a time, of the true nature of things, their union with each other and ours with it all, and with each other.  Lisa Brunetti expresses that sense in “pencil or water” media, and in words, and in photography.

In this series of posts (Nature Writers I Follow), I will salute (and recommend) some of the blogs I follow that inspire, inform or entertain my biophilic sensibility with their nature writing and related art.  Truly, it is not the blogs I follow, but their writers.  I appreciate these people for their awakening and supporting rational regard for humanity’s role in the natural order; i.e., part of it, not separate from it; in it, not above it.

I am amazed at how these obviously busy people I admire make time to write for us, share their art with us, and do it so well, free.  Maybe it’s like the old saying goes: if you want to get something done, ask the busiest person.  My lifestyle is too slow to get much done.

Challenged to choose the order of blogs to present here (who goes first?),  I’m going with reverse alphabetical order.

That puts Zeebra Designs & Destinations at the top of the list, and today’s … um … “victim” of my attention: professional artist, author, naturalist and (in my view) philosopher Lisa Brunetti, resident adoptive sister to the soul of Ecuador.  I’m just one of about 2,400 followers of her blog, no doubt from every curve of the earth (whoever came up with the idea of “corners of the earth?”).

Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919)

This is one of those rare occasions when I just want to share some pictures, and few words.  For a terrific, creatively written account of Haeckel’s roles in history, see: The Heavenly Zoo of Ernst Haeckel, an enjoyable read whether you like Haeckel or not, and a far better piece than I would write.

Below are some marvelous illustrations by the amazing Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919), “German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor and artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms …” (quoted from Wikipedia biography of Haeckel).  If he were here today, he’d be a blogger, too.

I ran into Haeckel during research for my post on British Soldier Lichens (Cladonia cristatella).  He grabbed my attention with this illustration of Cladonia lichens, with an index, that he created at the age of 26 (click to enlarge):

Key to index:
1. Cladonia retipora
2. Cladonia perfoliata
3. Cladonia verticillata
4. Cladonia squamosa
5. Cladonia fimbriata
6. Cladonia cornucopiae
7. Sticta pulmonaria
8. Parmelia stellaris
9. Parmelia olivacea
10.Parmelia caperata
11.Hagenia crinalis

But THAT, as they say, is NOTHING.   Here is just a splash of other Haeckel work and some pictures of him (click to open pictures in carousel mode, then look at the bottom right corner of any picture for the full view link):

If you like that glimpse of reality according to Haeckel, there are hundreds more examples of his magic.

And he’s a handsome fella, too!