“We scouts raised enough money to stay on Grand Mesa for two weeks. The Mesa is the highest flat-topped mountain in the world. It’s beautiful country; forests of blue spruce, ponderosa pine, and aspen with flowery meadows in between. The flat top collects rainfall in three hundred sixty lakes and a zillion marshes. Those wet-lands make for a whole lot of hungry mosquitoes, but we scouts were tough. After two weeks of eating the fish that ate the mosquitoes that feasted on us, we were all blood brothers, and there was no mystery left in the circle of life.” Thought […]
My revered ancestor, Aud the Deep-Minded, had nothing on the five-year-old girl who attended my Viking presentation at the Penrose Community Library. Freya’s parents had their hands full keeping their busy one inbounds through 40 minutes of adult-level Viking history, but when I asked for questions, Freya popped up with one of the best questions I’ve ever gotten from an audience. “Why aren’t they scary anymore?” Whoa! All that fidgeting, didn’t keep her from listening…and thinking. Fortunately, I knew the answer: Vikings took the Atlantic by storm because they had better ships and weapons. When they invaded other countries, took slaves, formed alliances, and fraternized, others picked […]
Baltimore’s 65 acre Green Mount Cemetery seemed perfect for my morning constitutional, but the inscriptions so hobbled my pace, I could hardly claim any physical exercise. Every tombstone offered a glimpse of a story that left me wondering over the rest.
Johns Hopkins loved his cousin, but couldn’t marry her because they were Quakers. Instead they married no one and joined in a lifetime platonic partnership. With no heirs, the successful J. Hopkins designated his entire fortune to found Johns Hopkins University and Hospital. Every year the University sends a celebratory contingent to Hopkins’ grave at Green Mount Cemetery to honor his memory. So while a different Green Mount memorial promises eternal life through the memories of loved ones, Hopkins had better success by leaving no one.
In the fifties, Crater Lake was overrun with bears. My parents watched a man taking a picture, go rigid when he realized that a bear was using him as a leaning post. A less friendly looking bear tempted Mom to try for a bear-on-the-attack photo. She popped out of the car and waited for the bear to rear up and threaten her. When it did, she lost her nerve and sprinted around the car. She kept trying, and she might have pulled it off if a cranky ranger hadn’t got involved. In the sixties, tattoos weren’t for “nice” people. […]
I spent much of last year begging people to listen to programs I’d slaved over for months. I got a few takers here and there. Then I got my foot in the door with half a dozen libraries and the Colorado Springs Senior Center, and life is good! This year I let their schedulers know I’m rolling out my Whales presentation, and I’ve got five speaking date just like that. I’ve always appreciated libraries—Steve says I’ve never seen a library tax I didn’t like—but now I am profoundly grateful to libraries, not only for speaking ops but for so many of […]
Can you give me a clue to step two? Jump? Head between knees? Fire!?
Snorkeling the Under the Sea exhibit at the Denver Aquarium would have been more exciting if I hadn’t watched it on every round I’ve made as a volunteer guide. Still my view from the top revealed a number of things I’ve never have seen from the walkway. An interesting fish approached and took a big interest in my gloved fingers. I knew that no snorkelers have ever been nibbled in Under the Sea, but thanks to that visit, I also knew that the dive safety team’s decision to glove against fish nibbles was an excellent call. Active moray eels are easy to spot near exhibit windows, but in the quiet recesses they drape themselves in crevasses and over a […]
It was the most pampered snorkeling trip I’ve ever experienced. Kim got me rigged up in top of the line gear, including a wetsuit that floats, then had me sit with my feet in the water while she slipped on my flippers! No waddling across the beach like a duck in clown shoes, no getting queasy in the waves, no fear of, drowning, drifting out to sea, animal attacks or boat strikes. No worries period. Any time I lifted my head, Kim was there with a float to steady me, answer questions, adjust my gear. Much as I love the ocean, […]
Dry-landers take heart. If you’re yearning to snorkel with sea creatures a thousand plus miles from the nearest seashore, Landry’s Denver aquarium will have you swimming with more sting rays, eels, fish, and skates than sea snorkelers can hope to glimpse. You may even spot some mermaids. Too calm for you? In another exhibit, you can scuba dive with the largest sharks in Colorado either as a guest or volunteer. It’s a great way for divers to keep in practice when a trips to the coast are such a strain. After a year of driving to Denver to work as a guide, I can attest that Landry’s is a breathtaking place to […]