We can almost see it from here

The evening news this week has treated us to newly recorded images of many objects which, at the time the they were sent to earth, may no longer have existed. In the time taken for light to travel from the as yet unknown end of the universe, stars previously unknown have birthed and died.

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Mountaintops and beaches

It has been noted by people who calculate such things that if the 4.5 billion years this planet has been a-making were converted to a 24-hour clock, we humans have been here less than five minutes. Sixty-six million years ago, give or take a few months, what must have looked to the universe to be a small pebble hurtled through the blackness we humans would eventually call “space” and crashed into a larger rock circling what humans eventually would call The Sun.

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Wilderness is for wandering

Several years ago, when I was still a daily news reporter, I covered an event in which three busloads of youngsters from inner-city Philadelphia arrived to visit a potato chip factory. It was the first time most of them had been out of the city.

“We saw cows!” several of them reported excitedly.

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Diversity is the celebration

I often wonder what is going on behind the eyes of critters I observe as I wander the creeks and forests within range of my home. I went wading in a local stream this week and found a whole feast of mud puppies – it would have been a feast had I brought along a net – and an assortment of bugs and fish of multiple species.

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Reaching for the hem of Heaven

I love watching the stars, like LED Christmas lights pinned to a blanket stretched like a child’s bedroom tent over my head. They all seem to be the same distance from where I lay, just out of reach of my fingers, though in my mind I know the distances from me to them varies.

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85k acres of live shows

Imagine a movie in which you could walk around among the characters and activities. You can reach out and touch them, talk with them, and see them interact with each other.

Wandering in the forest is like that, where you’re an actor in a perpetually changing story, where trees are the stars of the show, providing the environment for the panoply of other characters.

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Call for reusable cups

The pandemic has been a boon to plastics makers. Nowhere is that more obvious than in hospitals. It seems nearly everything in the hospital is plastic, single-use.

They once provided a cup of ice and a pitcher for the patient to have a steady supply of water. Since the pandemic set in, water refills come each in a new cup, which goes, when emptied, in the landfill.

Another plastic peskiness comes with take-out food. I have to remember to tell the person handing my dinner that I am eating at home and have no need for another set of plastic knives and forks.

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The secret to seeing

I always have preferred to aimlessly wander, even on seemingly well-defined pathways, with little or no clear destination in mind. My Partner-in-Travel says I’m always looking everywhere except where I’m going. She exaggerates, but not by much.

I look also where I’m going. There is so much going on out there, and I don’t want to miss any of it, and it’s not really difficult to look in multiple places at one time.

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Solar for clean air, local food

A few years ago, a nearby township turned down a proposed zoning ordinance. Opponents declared a god-given right to do as they wished with their land – until a neighbor opened an entertainment venue in which young, mostly unclad, women danced and served customers. Suddenly, zoning was a divine protection.

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Snowthrower chronicles

A couple of us were sitting around swapping tales of winter and keeping our coffee from getting cold. We all had seen snowy mornings, though not lately.

Our first snowfall of the year had left about an inch on the ground. The resident Keeper of Order In the Home gave her permission to not even shovel.

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See the trees

Reading a book this week about Mother trees, I felt a need to find a picture of the author. I do that a lot. It is part of my relationship with the storyteller.

Sometimes I dig a little deeper into her background. Mostly I learn of her life from the story she tells, but my mind always wants to see her face.

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The magic of television

Super Bowl Sunday is less than two weeks away. I’m looking forward to the annual get-together in front of the electronic moving-picture machine, all in bright sounds and colors, instant replays and live explanations from the refs.

It was not always thus.

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Happy 2022 to our fellow space travelers

In the past three years, maybe four, I haven’t burned a tank of snowthrower gas. One of those years I never even took the thing out.

“You should feel lucky then, haha,” my nephew wrote in a chat.

Nope. He is young enough to think clearing snow is a chore. I used to love clearing our driveway late at night, just me and the machine’s headlight and a stream of snow.

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Michaux rec site to be “improved”

For the past two years, the Watershed Alliance of Adams County, together with the county Conservation District, has arranged and participated in planting thousands of trees – trees to trap stormwater runoff (or at least slow it down), to provide shade to keep our streams cool enough for fish and other critters to live, filter dust from the air and trap and store carbon within their skeletons.

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Dinner and a show

The sky was black, as though a blanket hung over the window, through which random specks of light shone like fairies posed onstage with flashlights before the notes of the opening accompaniment. It was the first night in a while that wasn’t roofed in with thick clouds.

Three huge spotlights marked a triangle against the otherwise black surface.

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Giving thanks

As I write this, I am dreaming of turkey and preparing to enjoy sleeping off visions of Thanksgivings Past flowing through my gobbler-doped cranium.

In my youth, Mom would have spent the week baking. The knotty-pine walls of the dining room echoing timed-released aromas of turkey and pies and fresh bread.

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