Dawn or Dusk

Sometimes it’s hard to tell which it is, dawn or dusk. Getting brighter for a sunny day, or darker for a long night? How to tell the difference? Obviously, it all depends on the direction you’re facing. In this case, I was facing east. It was a dawn that was coming up all soft pinks…

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It’s A Hot One

The little digital thermometer on my window here in south-eastern France read 50.1°C (122.2°F) yesterday. Today it’s even higher. Not that the outside air is really that hot. It’s just the sun heating the glass of the window to that searing temperature. Until I get around to moving the thermometer to a location that offers…

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Summer Field Moment

I was out running yesterday and there was a cushion of sound, a papery hum, that accompanied me for a long stretch. At first I thought it was the standard ambient noise of my run: a bit of mountain wind, shards of birdsong, maybe an underlying rush of water from the creek in the middle…

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All Abuzz

A friend challenged me to take nature photos for a week, and it resulted in several very nice shots of our garden, if I do say so myself. But one of the most enjoyable aspects of the exercise took place when I went to take pictures of the two lavender bushes in front of our…

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Running Evensong

The bad news today was that I spent most of it trying – with the assistance of an electrician and a building contractor – to figure out why the electricity in our house kept going off for no apparent reason. One of those unnerving household events that I’d almost rather attribute to a poltergeist than…

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Sly Fog And Moon

The Lake Geneva basin is known for its foggy autumns, when weeks can pass beneath a layer of thick brume with little sunshine. And when it breaks, it does so with suddenness. It simply parts like a fragile veil and you realize the sun has been blazing away up there all along. Our little corner…

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Hoarfrost Quietude

Throughout winter, our little village can often be found directly on the fog line of the milky blanket that covers the Geneva basin for weeks at a time. We are just high enough in altitude (490 m/1600 ft) to catch a glimpse of blue above, not quiet high enough to see out over the fog itself.…

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Inadvertent Sabotage

Not long ago, a news story went around the world about a weasel that shut down CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, forcing the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to go offline for a few days. As it turns out, it was actually a beech marten (Martes foina), a cousin of the weasel. The animal…

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Pleasant Perspectives (Mostly)

I picked my first garden bouquet for the office vase. It’s the only flower vase in the house due to a flower-unfriendly feline, although at this point she’s getting too old to get at the highest shelves, so maybe we can allow a few more vases this year. Forget-me-nots and rosemary in bloom, two of…

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Soft Palette Distraction

I was hustling to get a run in before nightfall – my usual loop has a couple of kilometers that are uneven farm track, stony and rutted, perfect for the occasional sprained ankle due to inattentiveness. So I run, eyes on the rutted road just a few strides ahead, avoiding the rocks and grooves misplaced…

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