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Welcome to the Pine River Review. Our sight is dedicated to our little homestead located along the Pine River tucked inside the Chippewa Nature Center's 1400 Acres of wild in Michigan's lower penninsula. We love to share our pictures, video, comment, and our own homespun music. Step inside our world as we celebrate this beautiful nook!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


What's Shakin'...

   Hummingbirds are darting around my backyard like stray electrons and I fell victim to the urge to dust off the 400mm and try for some clicks.
   I had been holding faithfully to the tenants of my own self-imposed bird photography austerity program. My resolve is apparently slipping. Can this hobby become an untenable addiction? I'm here to tell you.
   I knew I was getting into trouble when I could not see a bird without jumping reflexively into action, taking any chance to achieve a picture. It's taken some time but I can now actually take a paddle in my kayak (without the camera) and enjoy scanning the landscape for things other than avian life. And get this, I can even see that "well lit" bird and not lament the fact I don't have a camera in hand. This is progress for me, not being so driven. I can be a simple son of nature again and not a thorn in the side of every bird I get within a hundred feet of.
    Hummingbirds, however, have made me less cautious and I have risked this hard fought, if tenuous "cure," (my new relaxed attitude that is,) and taken up the camera again. It sure felt good, fraught as it is with danger, like a call from an old girlfriend. I should know better than to tug on the devils tail. My best interests lay in a more balanced approached to life, it's easy to get carried away.
    Still, I want to share!   

   I have dusted off another of my old toys, the '76 fireglo Rickenbacker bass guitar that has languished under my bed for to long. Laying down bass lines for a talent group of blues musician here in town is reviving an old passion. My mind has been awash with all things bass; scales, grooves, and electronics. I have been running over old Motown tunes trying to reclaim my funky heritage in the rhythmic rattling of rib cages.
   Shake it up baby!

"You'll never really know your friends from your enemies...until the ice breaks."
                                                                                 Eskimo Proverb

    I saw an article recently reporting a new record ice loss for the Arctic ocean this summer. This years melt has exceeded 2007's record with three weeks to spare. According to satellite images we are losing a mind boggling 29,000 square miles of ice per day!  The polar ice mass and Arctic region in general is acting like a heat sink with median temperatures raising much faster there than the planet at large. Old, stable ice that is formed by years of normally frigid temperatures has thinned to half its historic thickness and is diminishing into slush. 
   For hundreds of years humankind has dreamt of a North-West passage; a quick shipping route from Europe and the North Atlantic to Pacific Ocean markets. For the second time in history, 2007 and this day in 2012 the North-West passage is wide open!
    Oil speculators are jockeying for the rights to newly opened Arctic oil deposits and the potential profits implied from exploiting these vast under-sea reserves. This carbon candy, along with the realisation of a mythical short cut uniting three continents, has corporate planners eagerly preparing to take advantage of a possible complete summer Arctic ice melt in the near future. This should be inconceivable. Climate models put the arrival of an ice-less Arctic summer as soon as five years away and almost certainly within a few decades.
   Think of it, with a ice free polar ocean, no longer would commerce be at the mercy of political unrest along the Suez and Panama canals with the bonus of travel distances being cut for massive ocean going vessels by 40%.
    It would be no small coincidence, a choice irony, if the very corporate and political concerns that stand to profit from such a calamity are the same ones propelling the problem. While we, the "Great Unwashed," ponder the peril, others are busy maximising their financial positions, making friends with the inevitable. That's called hedging your bet.
   One of our Presidential candidates bites his lip in mock despair when referencing the rising tide. I can follow the money trail that leads to those who anticipate this disaster greedily.
    Their message: Global warming? Don't worry people, it's probably nothing...go back to sleep.
    I believe the polar opposite.