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August 30, 2015 Vol. 8 No. 50
Hi again from the shores of the Salish Sea. Sometimes, in the midst of what seems like an impossibly chaotic week, it helps to take a break and learn from the other creatures around us. I give you, this week, then, the tale of Bertrand Bucktooth, who was not your ordinary mountain beaver.
Bertrand Bucktooth was not your ordinary mountain beaver. First of all, his namesake industriousness was not something he took particularly personally. He preferred, instead, to reflect at some length before initiating anything more provocative than a small yawn.
Second, being just a tad claustrophobic, he was not fond of lodges as a habitat. He incorporated, instead, an old miner’s cabin on Beavers Creek, at the high end of the canyon by the same name.
And finally, while the other beavers lived on a diet of mostly fish and small rodents, Bertrand was inclined toward roots, berries and woodland herbs. He also wrote poetry, but that’s a story for another time.
Well, beavers being the tight community they are, you can imagine how Bertrand’s lifestyle went over. Yuppers. He was thought to be everything from bewildered to a Bolshevik and by the time he reached adulthood, he was pretty much on his own.
At first, Bertrand liked it that way. It was hard to feel like an outsider with no one around to remind him. But as the seasons passed, like autumn leaves in the lowers, he began to miss his own kind, for you see, beavers are no more meant to be hermits than most human beings.
So, his heart grew heavier and his pride leaned out some. Finally, he found he could no longer bear to be alone and started out one winter morning along the banks of gurgling Beaver Creek, down to his former home.
That afternoon, a blizzard struck Beaver Canyon and sheeted everything so thick it sealed the top of the bucktooth lodges, froze the pond to a depth of ten feet out of fifteen, and plugged up the creek at both ends. Betrand’s family and neighbours were trapped with a dwindling supply of air.
Bertrand, who’d found an abandoned wolverine’s den to hole up in for the night, awoke at first light and through the ear-shattering stillness, ‘heard’ the cries of his family and community. Launching himself like a one-person bobsled down the icy, twisting frozen channel Beaver Creek had become, he slid, ricocheted, crashed and careened clear to the bottom, where, of course, he landed in a heap.
It took him a bit, but he finally got the frozen white stuff dusted out of his eyes, and then he surveyed the pond with a seeming lazy gaze. His dark shiny orbs came to rest on a very old evergreen, an ice cloak of its own, already bending over the pond near the lodges.
Gathering himself up behind a slightly provocative yawn, Bertrand slid down the bank, landed in a heap (of course), took a bit getting his webbed and clawed footing, then ambled on across the frozen pond, fell back on his tail a couple of times trying to climb out, then made his way to that big old leaning evergreen and sat down to rest from his travels.
Off and on for most of the rest of the day, that glacial stillness was interrupted by bursts of a bucktooth chainsaw. And the crackling of slivers of ice. There was no rhythm to it. Nothing you could set your watch by. It just kept happening. Sporadically. But consistently. Throughout an endless primordial winter day.
And as the blue chill of night begin creeping into the frozen mountains and all life began to twinkle and fade, that venerable evergreen finally toppled. It shattered the ice in the pond on the first bounce and the noise it made broke the dome of the lodges on the second. On the third, it got the creeks running again.
After they gathered on the far bank, the other beavers went looking for Bertrand and found him snoring softly against the up-mountain side of what remained of that ancient evergreen. That evening, his family joined him, kept him warm and fed him fish and small rodents in his sleep.
The next morning, the sun was shining. And Bertrand Bucktooth wasn’t lonely any more.
Except when he recited poetry which, of course and as you know, is a story for another time, then, eh?
Thanks for the ear, then, gang. Have a good week. And remember this magazine is ~ in large part ~ supported by small contributions from folks like you. To drop a dollar in the sugar can, please go here
FROM YOU GUYS
To PJ in Seattle, Darcia and James in London, Ontario, Canada, and the Ericcson Clan in Minneapolis-St. Paul, thank you for your donations and your support. Rusty
The message in this is something we all need to remember. 6 Strategies to Make Powerful Social Change—Starting With “Stay Woke” Our thanks to Sarah Van Gelder of YES magazine for this one.
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WEATHER AND CLIMATE CHANGE
OUR WINDOW ON EUROPE by Olya Bereza – European Associate Editor
Olya is on holiday in Odessa and will return, fortnightly, next week Rusty.
OUR WINDOW ON THE EAST by Sara Goldstein
Saturday, August 22, 2015
It is the end of my third week here. In just a few days we will be finished with training, and school will begin one week from tomorrow!
I have been placed at Chong Qing Elementary School, a school that has 435 students in grades 1-6. I will be teaching English to students in grades 1-5. I have already met some of the teachers and am so excited!
At least twice a month, I will also facilitate what Fulbright calls “English Camp.” Along with 3 other ETAs, I will lead one-day English workshops for students at different schools all around the county. These are all schools that do not have “foreign teachers,” as we are referred to here, and so they applied to Fulbright to be granted one day of programming led by native English speakers. We will be visiting a wide range of schools, including tiny schools and schools in the mountains. Our group is currently working to develop our curriculum; we will pick one topic and then modify it as necessary for each school visit (depending on students’ age and English-speaking ability).
I have enrolled in a basic Chinese class, which starts on the first day of school! I have also found a language partner whom I met this past week. She is wonderful and her English is fluent, so we plan to exchange Hebrew and Chinese lessons 🙂
For more of this exceptional narrative please go here
This man is incredible. Big Crowds Show Support At Jimmy Carter’s First Bible Lessons Since Cancer Update
I think this is definitely a good idea. Canadian Medical Association Wants Schools To Seek Proof Of Vaccination
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Frankly, good. Maybe the attitude will catch on elsewhere. Europe Reels From More Migrant Deaths on Land and Sea
With all due respect to our southern neighbor, this is not good news. Young Hands in Mexico Feed Growing U.S. Demand for Heroin
OUR WORLD AND BEYOND
Is this not totally cool? Tribe Takes Lead In Saving Reindeer Herd In Rocky Mountains
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HERE ON EARTH
FROM JUST ABOUT ANYWHERE
The Earth Observatory’s mission is to share with the public the images, stories, and discoveries about climate and the environment that emerge from NASA research, including its satellite missions, in-the-field research, and climate models.
THE GREEN AGENDA
HEALTH & LIFESTYLE
We’ve collected what we consider the most wholesome, family-oriented and genuinely humorous comic strips we could find on the Net. They include: Adam@Home, Calvin & Hobbes, Emmylou, For Better or For Worse, Foxtrot Classics, Garfield, Get Fuzzy, and Peanuts. Either click the banner or this link.
THOUGHT OF THE WEEK
Lest we forget
To subscribe and experience Thoughts in their original, please contact Ame at SpringggRain@aol.com
BEST OF THE NET
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A tale of insurrection and war in an America of a dark and distant future
THE BACK COUNTRY GALLERY’S new free monthly nature wallpaper is available here. Lens jockey Steve Perry also has a newsletter offering a great deal of cool stuff for wildlife photographers, amateur and professional, alike.
RUSTY MILLER, WRITER/EDITOR FOR HIRE
Have something you’ve written that needs editing?
How about a resume that needs polishing?
Need some jokes or a speech for a special occasion?
How about a “message” that will bring them to tears or to their feet cheering and contributing?
Are you an international student or professional who wants to improve their written English?
How about an international business which wants to “Americanize” its writing?
What about a special project, like a book, press release, poster or business or product name?
I’ve been in the writing and editing profession for awhile now and there are few creatures made of words, I haven’t captured in print. So if you have something like that and you want it done quickly, simply and reasonably, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
My name’s Rusty Miller. I look forward to hearing from you.
ALL CREATURES, GREAT AND SMALL
Why is this starting to remind me of a certain sci fi movie starring Charlton Heston and Roddy McDowell? Can Apes Really Talk Like Humans? Apparently a gorilla is on the cusp of learning to talk. BBC Earth’s Melissa Hogenboom looks at the evidence
With all due respect to our readers who do, I am sooo glad I do not live where these guys do. Video: ScienceTake | How the Boa Kills — Understanding how a boa constrictor’s grip is deadly
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NORTHSTAR ALL CREATURES LIBRARY
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YOU GUYS THINK WE MAKE THIS STUFF UP
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