Earth Journal
1999 in Review

Writers meet nature in this space. Regularly, you read outdoorsman C.D. Dollar's exploits with fishing rod and shot gun. But for balance, his are punctuated with gentler reflections and adventures


January ~ January days are mostly black and white. Except when they're soft and gray from the foggy thaw of a snowfall.

-M.L. Faunce, Jan. 14-20


February ~ Seed I put out early in the morning draws the usual cast of characters, cardinals most colorfully. But this Valentine's Day, an early bird signaled its arrival, if not spring's, by brilliantly boasting its own red breast.

-M.L. Faunce, Feb. 18-24


March ~ Plants in my garden are heeding the call of all this extra daylight. My quince is blooming. Daylilies, in this mild winter, have kept their foliage full and green. Hyacinths are just emerging. But the daffodil is March's surprise.

-M.L. Faunce, March 11-17


April ~ It was the quintessential spring day: Dogwoods bursting, daffodils arching toward the warm, welcoming sun and a near cloudless azure sky opening up to a world of possibilities. It was a day that literally compelled us to go fishing.

-C.D. Dollar, Chesapeake Outdoors, April 15-21


May ~ Evening skies glow as the moon reaches full phase. Warmer days and warmer ground leave no reason to ask why Native Americans called this the planting moon.

This full moon shines not so bright as some because it is at apogee. Whereas the moon's average orbiting distance from earth is 240,000 miles, at apogee - its farthest point from earth - that distance is closer to 275,000 miles.

-J. Alex Knoll, Sky Watch: May 17- June 2


June/July ~ It's hotter than Georgia asphalt out there. Despite recent rains, a drought bad enough to force the National Weather Service to issue a statewide warning has hung over Maryland like a hot towel for the past month. As well as forcing people to make metaphoric comparisons, it has severely depleted oxygen levels in the Bay's tributaries.

-C.D. Dollar, Chesapeake Outdoors, July 1-7


August ~ A handsome bird, the rufous-sided towhee makes its living scratching, with both feet, for insects in the leaf litter. Blackberry thickets make ideal habitat for towhees to feed and seek shelter. Their steady, rhythmic scratching is nearly as reliable an auditory clue to their presence as the birds' distinctive, ringing song.

-Gary Pendleton, In Season, Aug. 5-11


September ~ September was blue. Blue as the birds, blue as the creek that lay beyond, blue as the drift of morning glories that shade the birdbath where the parents came at dusk each day with their trio of freckled fledglings.

-Audrey Y. Scharmen, Dec. 9-15


October ~ A stiff north wind must have kept most of the boats at dock, because we were one of only two fishing the eastern Stone Pile. Blitzing bluefish gorged themselves on anchovies in preparation for their push out of the Chesapeake

-C.D. Dollar, Chesapeake Outdoors, October 21-27


November ~ Even though it is already mid-November, until this morning I had yet to see my first loon of the fall. In years past, these migrants have arrived in Bay waters in late September, with the full force of the migrating population arriving by October.

-C.D. Dollar, Chesapeake Outdoors, November 11-17


December ~ My liturgy of wishes: A cold beer on a hot day, a warm fire on a cold night, hard strikes and tight lines, graceful tolls by beautiful birds to our decoy spread, quiet and remote waters for a tranquil paddle and lots of friends to share the splendor of the greatest natural gift of all: Chesapeake Bay.

-C.D. Dollar's Christmas Wish List: Dec. 15-21

| Issue 52 |

Volume VII Number 52
December 30, 1999 - January 5, 2000
New Bay Times

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