Three years ago this past February, I spent three weeks in New Zealand with Daughter #1 and son-in-law #1. At the end of that journey, we visited Christchurch (A), the city near the bottom of the world, and the taking off point for many a visit to the Antarctic (viz. Shackleton, etc).
That the city is named for the Oxford college located across the street from my hubby's, Pembroke College, made it feel a bit like it was related to us (I know, it's a stretch but...).
While there, I spoke to the NZ Knowledge Management Network, thanks to Michael Sampson, the collaboration expert who lives there. After the talk, Michael drove Miranda, Jay, and I to his house outside the city for dinner with the Sampson family, numbering 9 at the time; now there are 11 (including the parents).
So no puzzle whom I thought about when the 7.0 (or 7.1, both reported) earthquake struck yesterday fewer than 20 miles from the city center. Michael's done three posts so far, beginning with one just a few hours after. They're all fine (yay). Here are a few paragraphs:
It's almost 16 hours since the earthquake hit near Christchurch. We had a lot of cleaning up to do - broken glasses, fallen bookcases, bedroom furniture on the ground, a huge mess in the garage, and more. Two garage cupboards collapsed, and so Timothy (8) set to work and put one back together. He worked for at least 2 hours with the drill, and has built it much stronger than it was. There weren't enough screws to finish the second one, but that was started too.
My office computers sustained minor damaged. I haven't been able to turn the iMac on yet, but it almost hit the floor. It was half on my desk, face down, and half off. On the lab desk, the 30" monitor fell off the desk backwards and landed on a pile of books. Again, I haven't been able to test anything yet. My brand new Lenovo W510 got scratched - even before I turned it on.
Maybe everyone is as smitten with where they live as I am...and as surprised as I at the nearby places they've never been.
Case in point yesterday when we altered our walking routine, which often leads to a trek to the woody-leafy conservation areas west of Boston (Concord, Lincoln, Weston, Wayland and the like) and simply went to "The Cove," another of Newton's many delights in the village of Auburndale, just a long walk from our house.
I've been to the Cove many times but my trusty trail guide always can be counted on to have discovered a path I've never seen. Thus, our approach through nearby Waltham past Purgatory Cove. Who knew? Not me. An isolated baylette along the Charles where we spotted a family of swans.
I thought we'd only be able to see them from a distance but, as we sat in silence on the bank, a chipmunk running back and forth in front of us, they came closer.
Still closer until their reflections were as clear as their silhouettes
And then the mother decided to show us her stuff ...and float away
It's just another one of those phone pictures but...how beautiful, really, this remarkable river that runs through nearly two dozen Massachusetts towns before emptying into the Atlantic (bays and such in between). No matter how often I walk this route along the banks in Newton and just brushing Watertown, I'm always thrilled again to live so close to the river.
The Charles River is fed by about 80 brooks and streams and several
major aquifers as it flows snakelike for 80 miles (129 km), starting at
Echo Lake (42°11′35″N71°30′43″W/42.193012°N 71.5119°W/42.193012; -71.5119) in Hopkinton, through 22 cities and towns in eastern Massachusetts before emptying into Boston Harbor.
33 lakes and ponds, and 35 communities are entirely or partially part
of the Charles River watershed. Despite the river's length and
relatively large drainage area (308 square miles; 798 km²), its source
is only 26 miles (42 km) from its mouth, and the river drops only 350
feet (107 m) from source to sea. It is the most densely populated river
basin in New England.
It was spectacularly beautiful in Boston yesterday, the soft fuzz of early spring turned lush by the 90 degree temperatures of the day before. We had a morning meeting near Government Center and a lunch in Park Square, which offered the chance to walk over Beacon Hill and back. I snapped a few shots of our elegant city.
Anywhere near Lander, Wyoming? Lucky you. Neelon Crawford's extraordinary photography is on display at Lander Art Center March 30–May 15, 2009, with the opening reception and talk by the artist on April 3 from 6-8 p.m. I could do a very long bio about Neelon since we went to high school and college together and have maintained a strong friendship. About ten years ago, I went to visit Neelon and his wife, Susan Hill, another college friend, then in Baltimore, where he'd converted a former branch library into his studio and home. I was so inspired by the space that he'd created--with its paintings, films, sketches, monitors, drawing boards, pegboards, tools, and even snake skins waiting for a later project--that I kept a large photo of it over my desk.
Morning Moon, Neelon Crawford, 2007
Among his other expeditions, Neelon has wintered over in Antarctica five times, photographed steam engines in China, Buddhas throughout Asia, and, well, here's the brief bio from his website, Polar Fine Arts, where you can also see some of Ralston Crawford's, (his father--the painter, lithographer, and photographer) work.
Hawker Sea Fury, Neelon Crawford, 1984
Neelon Crawford (b. 1946) has produced a series of diverse bodies of work
since his graduation from the Antioch College art department in 1969. As
a son of Ralston Crawford, Neelon was exposed to the
combination of travel and picture-making from childhood. His work has
taken him to all 7 continents. His large format photography,
photogravure etchings, and oil paintings include portfolios titled:
Icons of Spirit, Vintage Machines, Reconnaissance, Antarctica, Tools of
Vision, and Wyoming. His work has been acquired by major institutions,
corporations, and collectors. In addition, since the death of his father
in 1978, Neelon has been involved with
managing the affairs of the Ralston Crawford Estate. He currently lives
in Wyoming with his wife Susan Hill.
About 25 years ago, Massachusetts launched a project to reclaim the land along the sinewy Charles River that runs from the starting point for the Boston Marathon (Hopkinton) through 58 cities and towns before dropping into Boston Harbor.
Mostly the river is very narrow -- except for where it widens in Cambridge (the spot where the Head of the Charles takes place) and for many years was highly unpleasant to behold in many spots because no one was taking care of it. All that changed in the early '80s and now, thanks to the efforts of the Department of Conservation Resources, it's a gorgeous 20-mile, close-to-the-city promenade of bike trails, paths, footbridges, and walkways. We walk there often - can even walk to it from our house - and yesterday, though the skies were gloomy, we did so again.
Most shots were too dark to post but these two...judge for yourself -- Eastern Massachusetts at the end of October, 2008.
A favorite after-dinner activity during the summer when I was a little girl was getting a jar, poking holes in the lid with one of my father's awls, then running around in the field in back of our house capturing lightning bugs. Writing this, I can clearly see their lights flickering on and off, hearing their soft buzz against the glass, then unscrewing the top and letting them go. Of course we competed for who could catch the most.
When we do see lightning bugs now, we usually remark that we haven't seen many of late. Sad to think their lights might be going out forever.