New nature columns in Belt Magazine

Over the past two months I’ve written a regular nature column for Belt Magazine, featuring David Wilson on illustration. Here are the links:

Clarity and abundance in the creeks of Lake County

Belt Magazine - Creek

My sons are moved to ecstasy by the presence of wild animals in native landscapes. Without those animals, this woodland and stream bottom would seem slack, uninhabited. This abundance and diversity of animal life, a living cloud of wild creatures, surrounds us always, even in our homes and cities. But here in the creek, our shared existence is much more apparent.

Equating animals with happiness has been hardwired into our psyche. Cohabitating a world with an abundance and diversity of animals has always been a part of basic human experience. In fact, equating animals with happiness has been hardwired into our psyche. Look at children’s cartoons and toys, made up almost entirely of anthropomorphic representations of animals, telling kids that they’re not alone in this world.

Welcome to the warbler capital of the world

Belt Magazine - Warbler

Very few of us have an opportunity—given the demands of work, families and our iPhone overlords—to experience Nature’s extravagance. To purposefully press our faces to wild creatures’ living flesh. Though I’ve lived most of my life just a short drive from the “warbler capital of the world,” I had never seen one.

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Blog: Ohio Outdoors and Wildlife

So, it’s been 15 months since I left OR, and while I’m still contributing to the OR Fly Fishing Blog, and tried to launch a Great Lakes version, I’ve been missing the basic premise of a blog — which is essentially a daily conversation and record of observations. So, with David helping out, we launched one for its own sake, rather than for commercial or some other purpose. So, here’s a new place to collect and archive our Ohio outdoor experiences and photos. Hope you like it.

Ohio Outdoors and Wildlife.

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Some CVNP photos

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Chippewa Creek

Stunning clarity

Fall leaves in water

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New paintings…

After a long hiatus due to a move and other insanity, I’ve dropped a couple new paintings. Acrylic and coffee grounds on boards, featuring two native Ohio fish. Redhorse sucker and the paddlefish. Hope you like’em.

Redhorse painting

Paddlefish Painting

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CVNP, Jaite 7am

It’s a jungle – the humidity is visible. I stop at a bend in the river, brown and swollen with all the summer rain. The Cuyahoga has jumped its banks a few times this summer now, the ground is saturated. Akron flooded July 10th and after a week of sweltering sun and humidity, the cool down brought more rain and the Cuyahoga ran over the streets. On the far bank, a heron grunts.

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The river pushes back and forth against a log jam, a backeddy formed up around a flooded willow tree, water three feet up its trunk. Huge sycamores and walnut trees loom. Parasitic grape vines strangle the smaller understory trees. Some trees aren’t holding up to the wet ground, I notice a couple Northern Catalpa’s knocked over, big root wads standing up in the dirt. Non-native from the Mississippi Valley. Every sycamore seems to have dumped its bark. As I ride under the I-271 Bridge, I spotted my first green heron of the year as well as a duck I couldn’t identify. Amazing to find that kind of species diversity under eight lanes of highway connecting Akron to Cleveland.

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Middle Bass Island fishing trip

Back to Middle Bass!

The bite is off

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Eye of a predator

Lake Erie clouds

SHEEP!

Sheephead eye

Sheephead

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Ol' Moon Eyes

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Night heron

Middle Bass Island

Egret

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At the ferry

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CVNP Swamp

White water lilies bloom, small pads that lay flat. The blooms close up at night. Purple and white clovers, crown vetch, fleabane and daisies all blooming. Garlic mustard sprouting up, a nasty invasive. In the swamp, we watch a redwing blackbird attack a blue heron. Duckweed taking over pond areas. Corn stands knee high.

The next day, after the Derecho blew through, the damselflies and dragonflies were everywhere. Ebony Jewelwinged Damselfly. Orange Bluet. Dot-tailed whiteface dragonfly. Snakes out basking.

Damselfly

Garlic mustard

Yellow water lily

Water lily

Orange Bluet

CVNP Swamp

Great blue heron

Buttonbush

Water snakes

duckweed

Cottonwood

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