I am a native in this world And think in it as a native thinks

Friday, May 31, 2024

Beach views

Old Woman Bay

This pretty bay has a long sandy beach, with lots of driftwood and interesting rocks (though not, alas, agates, at least not that we saw.)

It's named for a rock formation on the cliffs that allegedly looks like an old woman's face.

Thursday, May 30, 2024


That brown Kaministiquia River water and the white foam make a nice abstract.

Bend in the river


Above and below the falls

The Kaministiquia River empties into Lake Superior below the falls. The brown color in the water is the tannins from leaves, needles, and branches from the trees.

The first of many

Kakabeka Falls is the second-highest waterfall in Ontario.

Southern Ontario along the north shore of the lake is sparsely populated; the small towns are infrequent and separated by miles of forest. There are many parks and beaches, but the contrast with the south shore in Michigan, full of hotels and restaurants and summer houses, is striking. I didn't miss the crowds, but some dining options that weren't fast food would have been nice. (We stopped at one motel to get coffee where the front desk was a combination KFC-Pizza Hut-Robin's Donuts.)

But the scenery was spectacular.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Lake Superior

This was by far the most dramatic view from the road trip.

We started in Minneapolis, drove north to Ontario, followed the north shore of Lake Superior to Sault Ste. Marie, then circled back through Michigan and Wisconsin to Minneapolis.

This is Miner's Castle, at Pictured Rocks National Seashore in Michigan. They say the cliffs that give the park its name are best seen from a boat, and if I ever go back I'd like to see them.

Cats in Jordan

And one final cat. This kitten was one of a pair running around the empty restaurant at the hotel in Aqaba.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Random things I saw in Aqaba

I thought I published this before I left for Minnesota, but didn't. Oops.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Some things really are worth doing twice

I posted almost exactly the same picture the first time I went to Petra. But it's worth seeing again.

I may post a few more Petra pictures at some point, if I find something I missed seven years ago. But for now, this is it.

The Obelisk Tomb

This actually a funereal duplex. The Obelisk Tomb is the structure on top, with the four obelisks probably representing four of the family members buried there. The lower structure, the Bab as-Siq Triclinium, was built at the same time (mid-first century AD), and was used for ritual banquets honoring the dead.

Cave tombs

Around the Djinn Blocks

You can see some of the caves and cave tombs behind the Djinn Blocks.

The Djinn Blocks

There are three of these enormous stone blocks on the road to the Siq; there are a total of 25 in Petra. They may have been meant to be tombs that were for some reason never completed, or the shape may be a reference to Dushara, the god of the Nabataeans, who was often portrayed as a block of stone.

In Arab folklore, a Djinn (the origin of our word genie) is a spirit, often malevolent, that can inhabit objects or people. The Bedouins believed that djinn lived in these stones.

Bab as-Siq

The Bab as-Siq is the road from the Petra Visitor Centre to the Siq entrance. It's maybe half a mile, but the first time I went to Petra, I rode a horse and couldn't take pictures. I thought I'd be able to take a better look on the way out, but I ended up leaving by the back entrance and didn't go through the Siq.

This time I walked, and though I was with a group and couldn't linger as much as I would have liked, it is very much worth exploring and I'm glad I finally got a chance.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Sunday bird blogging

It's sadly blurry, but this white wagtail I saw in Aqaba was not only a first for me, but also provides a handy segue into the last pictures of my Christmas trip, from Jordan.

Turkish delights

One more picture from the day at Ephesus—I took this picture at a souvenir shop I passed on the way back to the ship in Kuşadasi. I wasn't tempted to buy anything; I'm trying to have less junk in my life. But I do love all that color and pattern.

Saturday, May 18, 2024


The two large statues of Artemis in the museum were by far the most interesting exhibits. The Temple of Artemis that was one of the Seven Wonders of the World had been recognizably Greek, at least according to the models in the museum; this goddess most definitely was not. Instead of the virgin huntress with the short tunic and a quiver and bow, the Ephesian Artemis looked almost Egyptian.

This statue is from the first century AD, and those odd egg-like protuberances on her chest probably represent the amber beads that decorated earlier statues and not, as I first assumed, a couple dozen extra breasts.

I think that's a fitting end to Ephesus: something strange and completely unexpected.

I had at least heard of these two

These statues in the museum are of Augustus and Livia. Many of the statues in the museum looked like something out of a bad dream; that neck on Livia is a particularly good—or maybe I mean particularly bad—example. She reminds me of the Tenniel Alice in Wonderland after eating the cake that made her grow.


I do know that's Nike on the left; unlike most of those immortalized in stone at Ephesus, I had at least heard of her.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Temple of the Sebastoi

I do remember this one.

Sebastoi was the Greek rendering of the Roman Augustus, so this temple honored the emperors. It was built in the first century AD for the Emperor Domition, but after his assassination in 96 AD, the Senate ordered his memory erased. His name was removed from inscriptions, his coins were melted, and the temple in Ephesus was renamed to honor emperors in general rather than Domition in particular.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Arches and columns

I very quickly lost track of what all these structures were. There were so, so many: streets and temples and mosaics, and columns and arches that no longer had much context.

Back to Ephesus

Classes are finished now and it would be ideal if I could finish writing about my last journey before heading off for my next one (a short road trip along Lake Superior over the Memorial Day weekend, so imminent.)

This is the main agora in the city, or actually a small section of what is an enormous open space. You can see a side view of the library in the background.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Urban poetry

Last semester one of my students wrote a lovely essay that I submitted to the Literacy Review, a journal of writing by students in adult literacy programs in New York, published by NYU. And it was accepted!

The launch party was last week, with readings from many of the authors. I took this picture with my phone from the party: a view of the arch in Washington Square Park, looking up the length of Fifth Avenue beyond.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Astronomy Tuesday

The star at the heart of the Dragon's Egg nebula is unusually hot and massive so the ultraviolet radiation it gives off heats up the cloud of gases surrounding it.

Image Credit and Copyright: Rowan Prangley

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Meanwhile, back in Manhattan

I had a professional development workshop downtown on Friday. Afterwards, I walked past the Criminal Court building on Centre Street.

It was oddly quiet, considering all the attention that has been focused on the courtroom there during the past few weeks. The sidewalks on both sides of the street are barricaded off, and there were at least a dozen huge news vans parked one street over, but otherwise it felt like a normal Friday afternoon in Lower Manhattan: workers hurrying back from lunch, tourists blocking the sidewalks while they consulted their phones, cars and buses and taxis clogging the streets.

Apart from this one news team preparing to report, the only people who seemed to be paying attention were the three protestors in MAGA hats in the park across the street from the courthouse entrance. One of them was ranting something about Ronald Reagan and the Taliban and the other two were keeping a wary distance. Very low energy!

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Guard dogs

I had previously posted some pictures of cats among the ruins, and it's only fair to point out that the site was also protected by these fierce guard dogs.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

The theatre

An arena any popular musical act would be proud to sell out, with seats for 25,000 people.

It's located on Harbor Street, which as its name indicates, once led to the port. Centuries of deforestation and soil erosion have led to a buildup of sediment, and the actual coast is now a couple of miles from the city.

Comfort station

Some of the toilets in the public baths. In cold weather, the wealthier patrons would sometimes send servants to sit on the stone seats for a while to warm them up before exposing their own backsides to the chilly marble.

We were told that men would often stay here and chat with each other after concluding their business, which just made me pity anyone who got stuck sitting next to St. Paul.

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