~beartime story~

June 29th, 2017


“You got yourself a big ol’ bear down by your mailbox,” says the Internet repair guy. He has a funny smile on his face I can’t read. “Biiig one, tearing it up down there.”
“A bear is tearing up my mailbox?”
“Well, not now,” he says, shrugging. “Fur’s all over that utility pole. Claw marks like this.” He swipes widely at the air in front of my face.

Then he swipes through his phone to show me photographs he’s made of the damage: deep grooves and tufts of brown kinky fur, lighter than you’d expect. He’s swiftly scoots past a grinning selfie he’s taken at the scene of the crime.

“See, the transformers kinda vibrate and hum–sometimes if it’s quiet enough you can hear ’em–and the bears think there’s a hive up there. They want that honey!”


Yesterday we had our first bear sighting. A mama chased a baby across the road and up a pine tree, right in front of our car. Then she peeked around to spy on us. They were smaller than California bears I’ve seen, and totally enchanting. Most auspicious! I’d said to Alfonso. Now I’m not so sure.

The tech peers through windows that circle the room. “Mind me asking why you rent this and not that other one?” He’s referring to the empty house across the way. “Don’t get me wrong, just that one has that nice porch, and it’s just right there,” he gestures to where our car is parked directly beside the vacant kitchen. “Here you got a long walk with your groceries!”

There are a couple yards of mild incline between our car and front door. I consider mentioning that in either house, twice a month we’ll travel fifty miles round trip just to get those groceries, so what’s a few more steps? At least when we hunt for dinner, we get more than a mouth full of bait-and-switch phone pole.


But the thought’s interrupted by a vaguely recollected video of bruins blissfully rubbing against trees to Jungle Boogie, especially off-putting paired with footage shot in a forrest. The narrator, a Brit I generally adore, refers to the bears as pole dancers. Probably I should ask this technician to turn my Internet back off. Grin and bear it!

“You don’t think they’re marking territory, or maybe back-scratching?” He nods, not really conceding my point of view, then rolls his eyes, waving the other screen in his hand. “They gave me this new equipment, so I guess I’m using it! Says here your neighbors had an outage June 16th too, signal came back around 2pm just like yours did.”

“Maybe it was bears,” I suggest, and watch his truck back down the long drive.


I wait until he’s long gone to investigate the pole. It’s mauled in a clearly bear-ish manner, with teeth marks even, starting about seven feet high right down to two feet from the ground.

A quick search using my now solid Internet shows males are prone during mating season (May-June), but black bears of both genders do it. They will use trees but preferring utility poles, and leave their winter fur to be bleached by summer sun.

~happy returns~

June 23rd, 2017


There was a rumbly grey sunrise, festive snacks, gardening, a run in thick humidity, many phone calls, an afternoon walk to greet deer and gather wildflowers, pizza, rioja, tiramisu, rain, new moon, fireflies.



~blaschka invertebrates~

June 21st, 2017

P1770335 (1) copy

Made in Dresden by father and son between 1863 and 1880, and sold globally via mail order, these sea critters were initially made from the Blaschka’s own illustrations (and later, from life). These particular specimen are at Harvard, and inspired the institution to commission their collection of glass flowers.


P1770374 copy



P1770396 copy



~boneyards of boston~

June 20th, 2017


Stones from the numerous cemeteries of Boston and Cambridge.
Panorama below is of North End’s Copp’s Hill. Click to expand image.







~frickin’ flâneurin’~

June 19th, 2017


Found along a two-day, tweleve-mile walking tour of Boston and Cambridge.







~happy returns of the day~

June 17th, 2017


Vintage car window decal score from Woodstock flea.
Sometimes it still feels like image above, but sometimes it’s just like below.


~stone free library~

June 16th, 2017



~subterranean river~

June 10th, 2017

(Click to expand image)

Ashokan Reservoir, first stop of the The Catskill Aqueduct, built 1917-1924 and supplying 40% of NYC’s water. Whole towns were drowned in its construction (read about that here), and temporary towns were made to house those who built it. Some of the bluestone pulled from the quarry of this reservoir was used in the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. From the 1909 press release in Harper’s:

Subterranean river! The mere name has always held a mysterious and romantic fascination. A reversed subterranean river is what the Board of Water Supply is creating. Instead of beginning with tiny streams in dark fissures of the rock or some surface rivulets which sink out of sight, this river will start at its large end from the Ashokan reservoir, an extensive artificial lake, and flow for scores of miles without change of volume, coming to the light only in the beautiful Kensico Lake and Hill View reservoir’s huge bowl, whence it will ramify through the hundreds of miles of tunnels and pipes beneath the city streets, issuing finally through faucets and hydrants in thousands of jets to serve those who have bidden it flow thus in constraint. 


June 10th, 2017


Saturday spent exploring the new landscape, Binolux in hand, seeking what we might find, such as this abandoned estate. A quick internet search brought up nada, except that Estelina (French, Portuguese) means of the stars. Meanwhile, Binolux means style.




~plastic squirrel~

June 9th, 2017




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