Winter in Spring

The photo above was taken at Nauset Beach on Cape Cod on a December afternoon in 2010; the white glaze covering the footprints is ice and snow, and the Atlantic has ice in it—some of the white caps were frozen, and the waves merely swelled them, shifted them. (It was taken with a not-smart cell phone held in chittering fingers, both of which contribute to its blurry artsy-ness, or perhaps just its blurriness.)

Henry Beston wrote perhaps the best physical description of Cape Cod in the opening lines to his classic book “The Outermost House“:
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Exposed: A Favorite Spot

Most of my favorite places on Earth possess the skill to transform anyone with a camera into Ansel Adams or David Hockney. Earth Day is every day through my cell phone lens.

For instance, the photo at the top. Only one or two readers have asked, which means that perhaps many, many readers have been wondering about this in silence. It’s a clamor of silence. (In the world of a co-dependent like me, almost complete silence is the same thing as many specific requests.) The unasked question(s): The photo at the top, where is that? What is it photo of?

Indeed, there is one photo on this web site that is not of me or my duck friend, and it has sat at the top of the front page since The Gad About Town made its debut three years ago. It is at the top. It is the view of the Hudson River looking south from Frederic Edwin Church‘s home studio, Olana, near Hudson, New York. It is a photo taken in 2013.
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My Favorite Cave

The aurochs is an extinct form of cattle that overlapped with humans for tens of thousands of years. It lived in Europe, North Africa, and western Asia; the last one died in 1627. We domesticated it: Our modern-day beef cattle and dairy cows are descended from the aurochs and some of them bear a deep resemblance to the extinct animal. (Picture a bull in a bullfight, but make the animal taller and even more muscular; this would have made a bullfight a bit more even.) The reason for the extinction of the aurochs is the all-too familiar one, and it can be summed up as: Humans have enjoyed beef for a very long time.

Early modern humans, homo sapiens, showed up around 100,000 years ago, and we really started to leave a mark on the landscape around 40,000 years ago. This is deep in our prehistory, and no one knows what our Upper Paleolithic ancestors were thinking. It just appears that thinking is something they were doing.
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