Witt’s End

It's Not About Stories People Tell, It's About …

I do a fair amount of astro photography as an amateur astronomer and former professional photographer. Last evening, while setting up my telescope and equipment, I glanced up at the slice of a moon and saw the International Space Station coming my way. Immediately, I realized the path of ISS would pass close to the moon (separated by thousands of miles, of course). I grabbed my camera, which was sitting on a nearby table and started shooting. I had no idea what the camera was set for since Susan and I had been out the previous day making pictures of birds. I could tell from the sound of the slow shutter that I was going to get some blurred images. When I looked at the image of the moon and the ISS I was pleasantly surprised to see that, while a bit blurry, the shaky camera unintentionally produced an image that looks a lot like the ISS. I’ve consciously tried to photograph ISS over the years and never had success. This grab-shot mistake is as good as it gets, sometimes.

The new novel has landed! Or, dropped as the current phrase would have it. Here’s the link that will take you directly to the book store at BookBaby.com, my publisher. https://store.bookbaby.com/book/all-maps-are-fiction. Currently, the book (paperback or eBook) is only available in their store because of production requirements and restrictions. It will be available at Amazon and most bookstores, worldwide, after the first of the new year. Enjoy the read, write a review, or drop me a line.

Good news is on the way. Book number three is currently at the publisher getting all polished and squeaky clean. Its title is, All Maps Are Fiction, and we’re hoping it will be on the shelf within three weeks. Stay tuned.

I’m not sure which cliche to use; I’ve been so busy I don’t have time to do anything (sorry, Yogi), or, Report of my death is greatly exaggerated–Mark Twain. In either case, I’ve been away from the blog-o-sphere for too long and plan to remedy that. I find it hard to believe that it’s been more than a year since I’ve posted anything. I’ve had many conversations with the voices in my head, which I thought ended on the page. Not so, I guess.

Let’s think of this as spring training–although, as a Cleveland-area guy, I promise not to talk about sports. Birding and fishing remain my passions, and you can add astronomy to that mix. Here are a couple of trailers (When did trailers, a word that connotes something at the end, replace the word preview, a word that connotes something to come?) to whet your appetite.

Susan and I will be heading to Alaska for a few weeks at the end of May (Can’t miss spring migration here!) in hopes of seeing birds such as the Bristle-thighed Curlew (Eskimo Curlew is only a dream bird) and the Bluethroat. Stay tuned. Last summer I went to MARS, Maine Astronomy Retreat and Symposia, (summer camp for adults hooked on stars) and will be going back this August. Here’s an image I made, with the help of Babak Tafreshi, a photographer for National Geographic magazine, at the camp.

Okay, I know we’re a few days from the start of Winter, not Spring, however, last night we were at a going-away party for a friend and I thought of blog I wrote a dozen years ago in which she was the protagonist. We joked about the event and when I read it this morning I realized how memories can change the reality of things. Sort of that alternate truth stuff we get out of the nation’s capital these days.

9 April 2006

Mysteries of Spring

Susan and I went for an early spring bird walk with our favorite naturalist, Wendy, to our favorite spot in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. We call the spot Warbler Ridge. Don’t look at the map, you’ll not find the name. We gave it that designation years ago after a great day of birding there.

The real benefit of birding with a naturalist, as opposed to an ornithologist, is that she makes you look at things other than the birds—the ground for instance.

This spot is a bit off the trail and I suppose, if everyone strayed from the straight and narrow path, the place would begin to look like downtown Cleveland. However, we try to walk gentle on the land.

While watching where to put my feet and looking for wildflowers, I was stunned to see the corner of a $20 bill peeking out of the grass! On closer inspection we realized the bill was part of a field mouse’s nest. I gently removed the $20. One small nibble in the corner—not even as much deterioration as inflation—was the only damage.

How did a $20 bill get out here? We looked around for more. Nope, just the one and no sign of the mouse, either.

Who says birding doesn’t pay?