A host of potato
Christie McVie of Fleetwood Mac died last week at the age of 79. Of songwriting, she said, “I wasn’t very good. In fact, I was quite paranoid about it. Then I joined Fleetwood Mac and Mick encouraged me to keep trying. I wrote all the time during that time and my pop developed into more of a blues style. It was Mick who told me to persevere and eventually I wrote a few good songs.”
In October, the Bering Sea snow crab fishing season was cancelled after an estimated 11 billion snow crabs disappeared, a nearly unfathomable number. But they didn’t just disappear. What was the real story? Climate change? Over fishing? “[L]ike all good mysteries, the story goes even deeper. It begins with a diver and a camera.”
In what might be a small miscategorization, BBC Earth’s “Big Cats” series examined the hunting habits of the world’s deadliest cat
Technically, axolotls don’t bark. They can’t vocalize at all — they don’t have vocal chords. However, they do gulp and release air, which produces sharp, abrupt sounds. Does the method of producing a sound change the sound made? Depending on definitions, axolotls might bark.
I’ve been in Maine for a little over three months, and I only recently heard about a “beloved Maine treat” called a needham. I saw one wrapped in a store yesterday and flipped it over to read the ingredients — I was not expecting to find potato. “Maine’s potato candy” is potato and coconut covered in chocolate, and it became common in the late 19th century. (I have not tried it yet. Stay tuned.)
Before arriving in Maine, I spent three months in Québec. I didn’t find any potato candy there, but I did hear some good swears. Owing to Québec’s very religious history, their most profane swears use religious terminology like “chalice,” “tabernacle,” and “host.” No, really.
This week, I read Rachel Carson’s essay The Sense of Wonder. Carson considers her visits with her grand-nephew and explores why instilling a sense of wonder about nature in children is more important than drilling plant facts or bird names. The essay is gorgeously full of nature descriptions and reflections on the meaning of nature in her life. I particularly loved this scene where she reflects on a night spent looking at the stars, maybe with Dorothy Freeman:
It was a clear night without a moon. With a friend, I went out on a flat headland that is almost a tiny island, being all but surrounded by the waters of the bay. There the horizons are remote and distant rims on the edge of space. We lay and looked up at the sky and the millions of stars that blazed in darkness. The night was so still that we could hear the buoy on the ledges out beyond the mouth of the bay. Once or twice a word spoken by someone on the far shore was carried across on the clear air. A few lights burned in cottages. Otherwise there was no reminder of other human life; my companion and I were alone with the stars. I have never seen them more beautiful: the misty river of the Milky Way flowing across the sky, the patterns of the constellations standing out bright and clear, a blazing planet low on the horizon.
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