Friday, May 04, 2018

Moose's Teeth and Denali Patterns

I read in my cloud  spotter's guide yesterday that Alfred Stieglitz was the first professional photographer to take pictures of clouds, not just as part of a landscape, but as abstract art.  I guess that encouraged me to follow my druthers as we drove through the park today.  Today's clouds, for the most part, were one mass of grayish haze that the sun tried to burn through now and then, but that also included intermittent rain and snow.   This first one is the mountain above Savage River.

Another snowy landscape.

Snow/Ice on the side of the road.

More formations in ice and snow and dirt as the plowed snow on the side of the road melts and sublimates.

Rocks below the ripples of Sanctuary River from the bridge.

OK, time to get more representational.

A view from the road.

Another view from the road, in an area that had less snow cover.

A magpie flies across Sanctuary River.  At this point a car stopped and a woman asked if anything was moving.  I said, "Just a magpie and the water."  She said, "I love the magpies."  I said, "I see them at home everyday so they aren't that special."  She said she was from North Carolina so she never sees them."  "You're right," I said.  "They are really beautiful birds."  And they are with their striking black and white patterns and their dark colors that turn green and blue in the right light.

But here are much better magpie pics from  my front steps and here in my back yard.  The magpie made it across the river.  A number of years ago my daughter and I watched, at this same spot, a mother moose with a very young calf cross the river.  But the calf couldn't make it up the snow bank on the other side.  The mom tried to push it up, but after a while it got tired and the current carried if off down the river.  It was real life nature.  The mom climbed the bank and wandered off.  No one to to comfort her and I know she had to have feelings about this.  But someone down the river was in for a tasty treat.  The natural world is harsh, which  is why civilization, in its best meaning, is important and worth striving to keep alive and improving.

And while I was hoping to see some caribou today, again we only saw moose, which we can see in our on front yard.   But again, they are still magnificent and fascinating to watch.  Here's last year's calf (I think).

And her mom.  I've labeled this picture "Moose's Teeth" which has a little more meaning for Anchorage visitors.  Moose's Tooth is the most popular place for pizza and beer in Anchorage and also the name of a  peak in the Alaska Range.  She was with the calf eating on the side of the road just a mile or two from the visitor's center.  The elevation is lower here and there isn't as much snow and the vegetation is a little closer to greening.


  1. As always, great photo's. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Days later, I'm still pondering your telling of one moose calf's helpless death as condition for the necessity of civilisation. It's a powerful metaphor and a great teaching moment, Steve.

  3. Thanks, Jacob, glad it made sense. Everything is connected - the more pieces of the puzzle you know and better you know them, the easier it is to where new ones fit.

  4. And Ziba too. Thanks for being so supportive. Jacob, I'd also mention Michael Sidney Welch's blog post on A Serious Life - linked on the right which (I think) argues that civilization runs against the natural flow and entropy of nature. I saw that after I posted this.


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