I saw two redheads in Cambridge Woods this morning. While I was visiting with one, the other ran past me down the trail. I’ll catch you next time, Ethan. It made me sad to see the lovers defaced, but I hope they find peace and success in their endeavors in the new year.

I heard there were foxes along the lakefront…

About five years ago I would see this one fox in the mornings, running in the street around Oklahoma between Delaware and Superior. One day I found it dead, hit by a car. More recently I’ve seen one on the South Shore bike path by the water intake station. A descendant, perhaps? Sometimes I see one by the North ramp from Lincoln Memorial Drive onto the Hoan Bridge.

I’ve seen coyotes all over the city. I heard once about a Native American tradition that says you will find your power animal by seeing it three times on the same path. After seeing the same coyote on the Cambridge Woods bike trail on two consecutive days, I went out the next day in hopes of being chosen by this magnificent specimen. All I saw were bunnies. Lesson learned.

Maybe one day I’ll see a bear, or a cougar!



Peace in 2014…
My great-grandfather was born in the late 1800’s, and toward the end of his life lived at the top of the high rise building by Howell and Lincoln when it was reserved for the elderly. The story goes that when he was young he learned to draw a dove from a circus hand. The image is now part of our family archives.


The Milwaukee River was my first wilderness.

I grew up playing in the woods down by the river, all up and down between Riverside and Estabrook Parks. I remember the rope swing at the Bonzai tree, long before they cut off the branch that held it. Lots of (stolen) bikes got destroyed going over that drop. Back then skating and BMX were just getting started, kids like Amedeo G. were heroes, and there was a cool scene at Funland (now Harry’s).

When we moved to Bay View I had to give up being able to walk from my back yard into the Cambridge Woods, but I always go back to visit and to pull garlic mustard. This morning when I went out I could hear that screech owl that’s always around, down by Hubbard Park. I also ran into a small band of spooky forest people.



Humboldt Park is full of magic…

I heard that gnomes, elves, and fairies could be found in the park and that some of them have taken up residence in the trees, so I went to see for myself. I wandered aimlessly at first, but a chorus of crickets chiding my wood-headedness told me where to find the lair of the Blue Fairy. I found her just before the dawn, while Orion could still be seen cartwheeling across the Southeastern sky. I chose his brightest star, and being careful not to say its name (beetlejuice, beetlejuice, beetle…) I did as she bade me, and made a wish.


Beach art…

Looking for something to do besides making sand castles at Kohlher-Andre SP beach, I used a magnet to collect “black sand,” or magnetite, and used the sand to fill a stencil. I’ll have to work more with this new medium. I also like to make dry gardens from whatever I can find. This one I made in Florida…love that white sand.


Wherever there is a rock there is a garden.

In the dry gardens of Zen temples the monks rake wave patterns around rocks not only to represent this pattern as found in nature, but also as a meditation on how a clear mind is perturbed by ripples of thought.

When I was a kid my dad would take my brothers and me down to the lake and we’d jump around the rocks. If we found a good piece of driftwood he’d throw it way out into the water, and we’d try to hit it with rocks. We would spend hours doing that.

Writing about death, the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh explains that we are like waves in water; we rise and fall, now here now there, but continue our journey in an endless cycle as part of a much larger whole. Our manifestation may be impermanent, but our existence is eternal.

My dad passed away not long ago. He remains a patterning force in my mind, and I can see him when I look without trying.

Some must carry wakefulness through the sleep of others.

The quote is from the novel Remembering, by Wendell Berry. Click the photo to visit the page on Google Books.

It also calls upon a poem by Rumi:

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep. You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep. People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch. The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.


Got up super early and headed for the little rock that was too wet to paint yesterday. I didn’t get the full detail on the first frog because the paint dripped a bit, so on the second one I took the concrete chunk over to a park bench to lay it flat and to let it dry more between colors. If you know the area by the lake, look around the various stairways. The utility-stripe flowers worked really well. The dragonfly is for a friend.