A collection of random essays about the often unsung role nature plays in our every day lives.

Posing with my beloved storage basin in Canal Park. Note the ore boats tastefully etched in each of the cement panels up top. When completed, this basin will hold as much as 8 million (I may be off by an order of magnitude, but this is the figure I overheard one of the workers yell out to another passer-by. Suffice it to say the volume is large.) gallons of dilute sewage during overflow events until WLSSD can handle it. Then it will be piped over for treatment before entering our Great Lake. I and I like it. (Photo by Jana Pastika December 2011)

From I&I to Feelin’ Irie in Just Twelve Easy Steps

Ok, maybe there are more than twelve steps, and maybe they are not-so-easy. But the City of Duluth and the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD) promised a “12 year schedule to stop sewage overflows.” That was back in 2004 (I think), so if my math is right we are... Continue reading

Amazing Aurora! In …. Finland

… that is, Finland near Sweden and Norway. Not Finland Minnesota. How do I know? Because I started paying attention. My aunt was visiting a few weekends ago on a mission to see the northern lights. We figured we’d better learn more, so we started checking the forecast (space weather!)... Continue reading

Opulent (non) Ice Lounge in Canal Park

Going through the (Climate) Change

I’ve been having hot flashes. No, not that kind of hot flash. And if it were, I sure wouldn’t be writing about it here. I am talking about something more insidious: a societal hot flash. I try to keep these posts positive. But as a snow lover, I’m not feeling... Continue reading


So, About that Trail

The Superior Hiking Trail Association (SHTA) was really thinking outside nature’s box when they doggedly threaded the trail through Duluth. In doing so, they pieced together existing trails through natural areas where possible, and jiggered a bunch of creative connections to make the whole thing hang together. A friend of... Continue reading

Nature Nearby

People need nature nearby.  I scoffed at my mother once for suggesting this.  We were hiking in a park near her home in Washington, D.C. on a sunny autumn afternoon.  We were not the only ones.  The park swarmed with moms pushing strollers, youngsters on bikes, grandmas in white sneakers.”... Continue reading