Sunday, September 28, 2014

Pictures of the Moment - Grand Afternoon at Grand Marais

State Highway 61 winding north-east from Duluth, Minnesota towards Grand Portage and Thunder Bay (Ontario) is a classic drive along the shoreline of the greatest of lakes, as long as you're not in a hurry. It would be the perfect place to start, and end, the 1400 mile circle drive around the lake. And Grand Marais is the perfect place to stop on Highway 61 and enjoy a late afternoon, wood-fired pizza and custard from Sydney's, after a day enjoying autumn's fiery colors and crisp, blue skies on the north shore of Lake Superior.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pictures of the Moment - Lucky Bay Beach

Lucky Bay in Cape Le Grand National Park,  50 kilometers drive east of Esperance in Western Australia, has the reputation as Australia's whitest beach, which seems somehow discriminatory of a natural landmark. There's also a periodic contest with other color-intolerant beaches. I see no benefit of a white beach over a black beach The main trade-off is exchanging burned soles of feet for burned eyeballs. You can build up a tolerance for burning feet.

Even kangaroos come to Lucky Bay for relaxation, and they're the only ones without sunglasses--them and my youngest, who is naturally feral. This 'roo came for a sip of the salty water and to chew on the remains of a cuttlefish (probably for the mineral content). The local kangaroo colony is a regular site at the beach.

A small western grey kangaroo takes a snack.

Another eater of sand.

Lucky Bay Beach, Cape Le Grand National Park, Western Australia.

December, 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Wonder in Everything I See

We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders. 

- G.K. Chesterton

The new-looking 737 has unfamiliar markings. I shuffle from the terminal along a loose string of still-sleepy miners boarding a sunrise crew charter to Wabush, Labrador serviced by Air Inuit. That itself is novel, and I wonder how many frequent fliers have even heard of this airline that has linked Nunavik communities since 1978. But the lines of our gleaming transport are familiar enough, the fortnightly process is clearly routine for the other passengers, and my mind comes back to personal travel rituals. Crosswords always help the air time pass by. Settling into my self-assigned aisle seat, I immediately search the pocket in front of me for the ubiquitous in-flight magazine. In my hands is volume 1, number 1 of Inuit.

Something new deserves a look, and as I read I barely notice our smooth liftoff from Pierre Elliott Trudeau International airport in Montréal. Despite a lot of white space, the crisply-designed magazine is a worthy first effort, focusing on Nunavik cultural heritage and reflecting obvious pride in the Inuit-owned and managed Air Inuit. I'm struck most by feature stories prominently written in symbolic Inuktitut characters and accompanied by French and English translations. It's a reminder that some parts of Canada have more than the two standard official languages. But more than that I'm intrigued by the aesthetic geometry of the printed Inuktitut language.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Picture of the Moment - Americana in Ashland

The only thing missing is an old-fashioned gas pump out front...

A little bit of scavengings is junk; a lot is art. Boudreau's Antiques and Collectibles shop has the distinctly American old-junk-all-over façade that somehow works. Boudreau's shop is just east of Ashland, Wisconsin on U.S. Highway 2, just within the Bad River Indian Reservation.