Aaaaannnddd, That’s a Wrap (almost)

“I know for me, whenever I needed a distraction from the news, working on our Soothing Nature videos has been a wonderful way to decompress. If you’re in a particularly wintery mood, check out one of my favorite Soothing Nature moments and spend an hour in snowy Yellowstone.” Karen Ho Social Media Specialist for NATURE

I had to laugh when I read this in my email this morning, an email from PBS. During one of the more fraught moments of this year I sought “soothing” by watching nature films. Seriously, all I got in terms of “soothing” from that was the understanding that we’re just participating in one of those nature dramas. After watching a mother moose abandon her calf in a swollen stream, watching one older sibling bird offer up his younger brother to the hungry eagle, and the mating ritual of about a hundred gaudy male birds dancing and singing “Let’s get it on,” to the gray female, blasé and assured in her understated elegance, no. Anyone who’s “soothed” by nature videos doesn’t get it.

The email is accompanied by photos of wolves killing buffalo followed by a headline, “Cold Warriors: Wolves and Buffalo — Discover how wolves and buffalo live together in what seems like a forgotten corner of the world.” The implication? Depends how you read it. It could be that the interdependence of prey and predator keeps both animal (groups, not individuals) alive or it could be deep irony.

Yesterday I got an extraordinary book, Gates of the Arctic National Park: Twelve Years of Wilderness Exploration by Joe Wilkins. It’s a “coffee table” book in format but not in content, though it is full of incredible photographs. The writing is beautiful and, in the midst of one lovely, descriptive sentence after another came this gem, “Mud is very informative.” I love tracks and reading the stories left in the night, and, that simple clause, dropped in the middle of some very elegant description revealed the man.

On this New Years Eve, when I think back on 2020, I’m surprised that I’m not fixated on the virus and the politics and attenuating bullshit. I just see what I did (paintings), what made summer not-so-bad-at-all (Scarlet Emperor Beans and friends) and how I dealt with the demands of, yeah, nature. I learned yesterday that I’m likely to get a vaccination in spring — which is what I always expected from the beginning of the pandemic — and, meanwhile, it is this beautiful cold season where there is always the hope of snow. I’d like more than hope, but hope’s not so bad. In a week or so I will get the first shipment of books to evaluate for the writing contest for which I am a judge. I’m busy restocking my Etsy store in anticipation of spring. I deeply appreciate this “neighborhood” which has been a big part of these several months not being lonely and RDP for helping me wake up with a purpose on the days that didn’t start so well, a purpose beyond the dishes waiting in the sink. So, hoping for better things for all of us in 2021, I wish you all a…

Happy New Year!

Lamont and Dude on New Years Morning

“The beach is a mess.”

“Yeah, it always is after New Years Eve.”

“I just don’t get it. How can people get so excited about this arbitrary celestial demarcation? I’ve been through the end of a lot of these so-called Decembers. It’s pretty much just more of the same the next day.”

“Lamont, I wonder if you’re ever going to understand humans are just…”

“In love with their little rituals? Let me tell you, those little rituals have caused more human deaths than scurvy.”


“First thing that came to mind. Of course, the Druids had it going on, I’ll give them that. Those rituals were full of fire and blood and mystery. And, of course, I was the center of all of it.”

“Ah, now the real reason. You could be the center of it now if you had a party on New Years Eve.”

“What? A lot of booze, scantily dressed women on the verge of scurvy, moldy hors d’oeuvres and bad music? Been there, done that.”

“Well, you know the thing is we’ve pretty much been every where and done everything.”

“EveryWHEN. That’s where we’ve been.”

“Remember that time you were holding those three champagne glasses between your fingers, and you fell down the steps?”

“Yeah, that was amazing. Ripped my jeans, broke none of the glasses.”

“That’s coordination, Lamont, and a clear illustration of your values at the time.”

“Surprising is what that was.”

“When was that?”

“The human iteration before this one, I think. In any case, we were young. You were a girl.”

“So were you.”

“True. What were we doing?”

“I dunno. Does anyone know what they’re doing in their 20s?”

“I would think we would.”

“I don’t remember remembering as much in that iteration as in this one.”

“Kind of a blessing, isn’t it, not remembering all that?”

“Maybe but you wouldn’t be on TV all the time if you didn’t remember all that, and I wouldn’t be nearly as convincing in the Smilodon suit.”

“I wonder what’s next?”

“I dunno. Who cares? Let’s clean up the beach then catch some waves.”

“I’ll get a coffee can for the broken glass.”

“Good idea. It seems that whatever the year, you always have to watch for glass on the beach.”


Lamont and Dude are characters I came up with a few years ago. They have the uncanny ability to remember many of their past incarnations which gives them an unusual perspective on life, the universe and everything.