My lack of recent posting was due to an extended trip to Santa Rosa, California I just returned from. Normally when I’m about to leave on a birding trip and am not going to have internet access I’ll try to post several blog entries that will appear on upcoming dates while I’m gone. I didn’t feel that would be necessary this trip, however, because Mary has a high-speed Internet connection and I thought I would have lots of time to post entries.

I knew she had been having problems with her provider, but we completely lost the connection over the long weekend, making it impossible to post an entry from her house. It turned out squirrels had been chewing on the lines making the connection unstable. Strangely, exactly the same thing happened to our service in Tacoma a couple of years ago. I wonder how common the problem is?

Actually, though, I found the intermittent dropping of the connection more frustrating than simply not having it available at all. It seemed like every time I was about to post a blog entry the connection would cut out. Under such conditions, I found it difficult to get motivated enough to spend the time writing copy or even cropping pictures.

Not only was I unable to post entries, I was unable to read several of the ebooks books I had taken with me. I was surprised to discover that much of the commentary in my iPad book on Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience required an Internet connection because they were served from YouTube. The same was true of a biology textbook I’m reading.

I have long been aware of how much time I spend on computers but much less aware how much of that time is spent connected to the internet. Looking back at my journal, which automatically tracks my time online, it turns out that most of my time spent on the computer lately is connected to the internet. The internet has become so woven into my daily life that it’s nearly impossible to live “normally” without it. Not sure I like that, but life certainly seems less pleasant without it.

Anyway, I should return to my normal schedule of posting four or five times a week once I’ve caught up here,. I’ll start with pictures from the trip and then attempt to make some comments on Joyce’s The Dubliners, which I finished while cut off from the internet, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and Ulysses.



I’m about to head out on a 3-5 camping trip and decided that since many of those days will be spent carrying a pack uphill that I would leave all my computer equipment at home since I didn’t want to leave a Mac Book Air and other computer equipment at the trailhead. I know from experience that too often it isn’t safe.

It’s bad enough having your car broken into without losing expensive equipment that the insurance company won’t cover without an extended policy. Normally when I go birding I keep reasonably close to my car and don’t worry too much about it being broken into, but that would defeat the purpose of this particular trip.

Besides, after ten+ years of blogging and constant time on the internet I want to see what it feels like to simply shut it all down for three to four days. I suspect it might be harder to quit than smoking, but I think I need to find out.

I’ve Fallen Behind And …

I can’t get caught up. I used to consider In A Dark Time my personal journal and took pride in keeping my reader informed of my daily activities. I would comment on a poem on the day I had read it and post pictures the day I had taken them. Often times I would comment on a current article in a magazine and offer a direct link. Occasionally, I would comment on another blogger’s entry the same day he/she had made that entry.

For better or worse, that’s no longer true. I simply can’t keep up the pace I set earlier. Most of the time now, my pictures appear here 3 to 7 days after I’ve taken them. When I discuss a snowstorm, it’s probably one that has long since disappeared.

I don’t really know when I originally fell behind but I do know some of the reasons why it happened. First, after reading some reports on the Internet, I decided it might not be the wisest thing to tell people when I was out of town, particularly since I’ve never tried to maintain any kind of anonymity. Loren Webster is really my name; I really do live in Tacoma; I really do all those things I tell you about. My phone number and address are readily available to anyone who wants to find it.

Recently I’ve taken longer birding trips and though I take my laptop with me on those trips it’s often inconvenient to edit and post photos and copy when I’d rather be out birding. In addition, those trips often produce more shots than I’m willing to put on one post. In fact, a whole day of shooting may provide 4 to 5 days of pictures.

Although poetry remains my first love, lately I seem to have focused more on novels and nonfiction works. While I was relatively easy to pick out a poem I particularly liked or one that seemed particularly significant and comment on it while reading the work, it’s much harder to discern significant ideas and comment on them while reading a longer book. Consequently, I often don’t start commenting on a book until a week or so after I finished reading it.

Strangely enough, even though I think I’ve improved as a photographer, it takes longer for me to decide which photos to use and how much work I wanted to do to refine them. I look back at some of the early photos I posted and know that I would simply erase them today. Better camera equipment and new insights make it harder to decide which photographs to use. Occasionally, the artist in me wants to transform snapshots into photographs that will grab the reader’s attention.

Blogging for ten years makes it harder to get enthused about posting every day — that, and a natural tendency to procrastinate.

Writer’s Block

Perhaps you’ve noticed in the last few months that this blog has tended to become a “photo blog.” That is partly due to the fact that it’s been summer-like here in the Pacific Northwest and after 30 years of teaching I consider summer time “vacation time.” I did so much reading and writing during the school year that I needed time away from them in order recharge my batteries.

In addition, we’ve had so many rainy dark years recently in the Pacific Northwest that I’ve begun to see every sunny day as an opportunity to get out, walk and take pictures. With a forecast for above normal rainfall this winter I’m even more apt to see the world that way this year.

Like many people I have also been preoccupied with political matters, but I’ve tried to avoid expressing that anger here in my blog. Instead, I’ve exchanged news stories and comments through Google documents with a retired fellow teacher trying to figure out exactly how I feel and what, if anything, can be done about our present situation. I’ve also shared news stories with friends on Facebook.

However, I have to admit that I’m also suffering from “writers block.” I’ve actually read and taken notes on two long works recently but still haven’t managed to write up my reactions to them.

I was quite moved by Conrad’s Lord Jim when I read it last spring, and the work is heavily notated. I think Conrad’s theme is a vital one, but I haven’t been able to decide whether I agree or disagree with much of what he says in the novel. Winter is nearly upon us, and I’m hoping that I’ll soon be able to sit down and focus long enough to come to terms with my thoughts on the novel.

Unfortunately, I don’t have nearly as good of an excuse for not writing up my reactions to Lynda Lynn Haupt’s Crow Planet: Essential Wisdom From The Urban Wilderness even though I have taken an intimidating number of notes from the book.

I’m not at all confused about how I feel about this book. I love it. It might even be the book I’ve tried to write through all the photographs I’ve taken the last five years. I think most, if not all, of my regular readers would like this book, even birders who seldom read books. I’m absolutely not going to write another thing for this blog until I finish my write-up on the book.

Meanwhile, it’s nearly sunny outside and Belfair and Nisqually seem to be calling me.