My submission for a local photography competition – River Guardians Photo Competition. Wish me luck!

The competition and more entries here.

Lapland – in summation – is an amazing place. Auroras, sled dogs, ice hotels, and more snow and ice than I have ever seen at once. But there’s always time for a bit more. On my return to Kiruna Airport I took a mini-bus tour in search of moose. You would think that an animal that looked something like a cow crossed with a donkey would be hard to find. But not in Lapland. Five minutes out of town, there they were.

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Sometimes, kids like to bash on pianos.  Pianos, like pots, provide simple mechanisms to create noise.  Can we presume that these children have not received any such training on the art of playing the pots and are merely bashing at it in a free-form expression of art that transcends these pictures of cows that you see here?

Cow next to a fenceCow stands in paddock with windmills in the background

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A rustling in the darkness.  Sam was half way between the inner and outer worlds.  A fumbling.  Was he asleep, or was he awake?

Suddenly, he was awake.  Where was he?  A box.  No, a cage.  A prison.  He dragged his head from this way to that, searching for an answer.  Around his walled apartment, a black cloak.  As he stared into it’s inky blackness, it flicked up and fluttered from time to time.  Occasionally, he saw glimpses of people in suits, but little else.

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June 23, 2010

Fluff builds up around a tree in Beatrix Park, AmsterdamA strange phenomenon has presented itself to me in Beatrix Park over these last few weeks.  At first, it looks like snow, but as you peer closer, it seems to be some kind of dandruffy material that has been released by the trees.  So much of it is released, in fact, that you can see it flying through the air, blocks and blocks away.

Of course, those friends of mine that take issue with highly pollinated and generally polluted air have taken great at its invasive tactics.  I, on the other hand, think its kinda interesting.

What is it though?

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Clouds over Amsterdamse Bos, Amsterdam, HollandSam’s tiny brain was exploding out of its tiny cranium.

“Kater! Kater!” screamed his brothers and sisters.  Who would have thought that Cygnets could experience such a thing.  Sam tried to drink lots of water, which was easy, because he was floating on the stuff.  It seemed to help some, but not quite enough.  His head was pounding and for some reason his beak hurt, which was something that Sam did not relish.  Beak injuries were nasty business in the avian world.

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“Awww yeah!” said Sam, jumping out of his watery bed.  “I’ll have a wicked sick pond party and comp everyone some sweet as worms.”  Sam wondered if sourcing some bacon for his fellow pond peeps would score him some nice karma points.  He rallied his duckling army.

Swan Ducklings in Beatrix Park, Amsterdam“Boys, girls, tonight we party,” he said.

“Why?” said his brother Peter.

“Because dude, that’s what people, uh, swans do!  All we do is fish around, looking for worms, eating a bit of grass, getting some handouts.  Mate, we are BUMS!  We need to do something!”

“Like what?” said his sister Rie. Read the rest of this entry »

The next morning, Alignment of Swans and Cygnets in Beatrix Park, AmsterdamSam considered his options.  There were few…. Read the rest of this entry »

Weeks passed.  Sam began to grow accustomed to his new routine.  Sleep.  Forage for food.  Try to learn Dutch.  And so on.  One day, however, was different.  As Sam was busy collecting bits of day old bread from a dude in the park, the dude began to speak.  He was talking to himself mostly, but occasionally directed parts of the conversation to Sam, but not in any really meaningful way. Read the rest of this entry »

How long had it been?  Days?  Weeks?  Sam could no longer remember.  But he thought that he had worked out the story thus far.  One moment, he was a a 24 year old Australian male in the prime of his life.  The next, a furball floating in filth, eating handouts from the local old guy and an occasional group of kids.

Sam sniffed at a piece of grass.  Or was it pecked? He wasn’t sure of anything anymore, what senses he had.  He just knew that he was hungry and the kids that usually showed up in the park wouldn’t be around for days.  Probably a weekend thing.  They had the best stuff; at least it was something he could eat.  Something human.  His “mother” had offered him a grisly worm at some point, which he had initially rejected, but after getting told off (his mother sure could hiss) he had a nibble.  If he closed his eyes, it was almost as if it was an oyster.  Which he would have enjoyed, if he’d ever enjoyed oysters.  Now, only if he could find some bacon… Read the rest of this entry »