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INSIDE: Bertrand Bucktooth: A Beaver’s Tale Of Diversity; World Headlines At A Glance; Good News For Environmentalists On Gregorian New Years Eve; Rusty’s Uncle Seamus; For Your Consideration; Our World, Unabridged; Praise; Censure; Travel; The Green Beat; Health; Community, Home & Lifestyle; Best of the Net; Masha & the Bear; Northstar General Store; All Creatures Great & Small; You Guys Think We Make This Stuff Up; About Us
BERTRAND BUCKTOOTH: A BEAVER’S TALE OF DIVERSITY
By Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller: Editor
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. Bertrand’s family and neighbors 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?
© 2005, Merritt Scott (Rusty) Miller
GOOD NEWS FOR ENVIRONMENTALISTS ON GREGORIAN NEW YEARS EVE
By Olya Bereza, Associate Editor
We are in the middle a Christmas and New Year season that in Ukraine, includes two Christmases (December 25 and January 7) and two New Years (January 1 and January 14). Why? Because we have both the Gregorian calendar of more modern times and our traditional/historical Julian calendar. So, from finishing leftovers from one festive salad to starting to make a new one, yep, it’s a long season.
So, at the start of BOTH New Years, here are some good news headlines for environmentalists:
Remembering my trip to Moldova just about two years ago, it is not the richest country in the world, so their efforts on saving the environment should, even more, be appreciated. If Moldova was able to implement it, I’m sure Ukraine will be able to follow in the near future. While individuals’ efforts are important, when the big moves are introduced at the governmental agency level, obviously it will be much more effective.
Also, it would be good if corporations began reducing the packaging of plastic everywhere. What happened to old good times when there were only drinks in glass bottles and we as kids got our pocket money for putting them to recycling collectors? In those days all the fizzy drinks would be available at cafes only in taps and arriving there in big metal barrels. Now, hundreds of thousands small individual plastic bottles roll out every day.
How can we — as individuals — recycle this oversupply without some systematic decisions being made? We, the ordinary people, are not producing plastic, so really while all these advertisements that now urge us to start recycling are good; the producers of this inappropriate packaging must participate as well.
That is a nice classic song by The Sparks from 1974 covered by Martin Gore
Stay warm, Mishka. And dry. Olya
Northstar columnist and associate editor Olya Bereza was born in the former Soviet Union and now lives in Ukraine. Fluent in Russian, Ukrainian, and English, she is a degreed psychologist with a background in international marketing and personnel management. For comments, please go here.
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION
OUR WORLD, UNABRIDGED
This needs to change. Soon. How America Is Losing Its Innovation Edge
I thought this was pretty cool. The Man Who Built His Own Castle
These could solve a lot. The Rise Of The Urban Cable Car
THE GREEN BEAT
COMMUNITY, FAMILY, HOME AND LIFESTYLE
BEST OF THE NET
DAILY 10 QUESTION TRIVIA QUIZ: This one is from Daily Email Trivia and delivered to me in mine. There is also an opportunity, the site, to take more quizzes on a wide range of subjects and to engage interactively and competitively.
THE NORTHSTAR JOURNAL GENERAL STORE is a page full of links to mostly free stuff and several unique gifts for under $5.00//4.5 EUROS, including Olya’s novel “Rocket Man” and mine, “Wrath of the USS Testament”. The ‘shelves’ also offer films, television episodes, gadgets and apps to make our lives easier and more enjoyable. Now, here’s the really cool part. Load up your cart and instead of getting your plastic out, just drop in the jar on your way out whatever it’s worth to you. You can even try it now and use the back browser to return to the rest of the magazine.
ALL CREATURES, GREAT AND SMALL
As a sailor, a student of marine engineering and design, and a profound lover of these creatures, I know this is true. Quieter Ships Could Help Canada’s Endangered Orcas Recover
We need to understand the relationship between these two much better. Future Of Declining Southern Resident Orcas At Risk Uncovering The Secret Lives Of Salmon
I see a movie in this. The Couple Raising 34 Orphaned Chimpanzees
YOU GUYS THINK WE MAKE THIS STUFF UP
ABOUT US: The Northstar Journal reaches an international readership of strong, intelligent, proactively compassionate people like you, who are out there helping make this a better world. We are proud to serve them as an information resource in that regard. If you would like to help us help them, please go here. No contribution too large or too small. If you would like to sponsor an edition or contribute in some other way, please contact us at email@example.com Thank you and see you next week. RM/OB