If Werner Herzog‘s rhythmic phrasing and distinctive lilt aren’t enough to get you to see this movie, than maybe the story is: it’s a sparse portrait of three men — though mainly of Gennady Soloviev, who wins my heart — making a life for themselves and their families in the Siberian Taiga. A large portion of the year is spent completely alone (except for the company of their dogs) in the wilderness, maintaining their huts and trapping sable. The movie was marshaled out of Dmitry Vasyukov’s four hour documentary originally made for Russian television. In a reversal for Herzog, the main characters are self-possessed, and at one with nature, instead of being on the edge of insanity and at war with the elements. Whatever you may feel about the killing of animals (note, there is no gore depicted), I cannot recommend this film enough. It is a mesmerizing snapshot of a people who are largely self-reliant and almost completely off the grid. Pay especially close attention to the woodworking!
Oh, and if you are looking for a related “truth is stranger than fiction” read, go here.
A few sample pages from the interiors of those wonderful German Field Guides. I had no idea that “Eagle Owl” in German is “Uhu.” How very onomatopoeic of them.
Charming German field guides found in a box tucked away in the eaves of my mother’s house. Published around 1934. My personal favorite is the one on gemstones and minerals. Next post will show what’s inside.
I don’t want to be one of those people who talks incessantly about the good old days of NYC: before Giuliani cleaned up 42nd Street, when the definition of “hipster” made reference to the jazz era, and you probably took your passport on a visit to Brooklyn. Just in case. BUT, I was going through my photos the other day and came across these two portraits of Pablo the Rooster. He lived on the Lower East Side close to Canal Street. He had free reign of the alley that ran between two buildings. I know, from a reliable source (and to my great relief!), that he wasn’t part of a Cockfighting ring. Better yet, he had plenty of hen friends who shared his 100 square feet of pavement. They even had a nice little grassy spot where, on any given day, they could be found digging for bugs. So, while I know there are lots of good things to be said for urban development, and I certainly wouldn’t want to be woken up every morning by his crazy loud crowing, I still miss the good old days when you could be walking along in Manhattan and come across a rooster just running free on Ludlow Street.
Years ago, 1997 to be precise, my husband and I rented a tiny cottage for 2 weeks in Canada, on Campobello Island. The island is best known for playing host to the Roosevelts. Specifically Franklin and Eleanor. On the eastern shore of the island, there is a picturesque little beach called Herring Cove. It was here that, in 1921, after swimming in the icy sea, FDR was (erroneously) thought to have contracted the polio virus. Cold water and presidents aside, what Herring Cove should really be known for, is its rocks. The fine specimens pictured above were all collected at the beach. Something about the tides and the geographic location of the inlet tumbles the rocks to a softness that seems nearly impossible.
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