Montreal Nature (formerly Ottawa Nature

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Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

I grew up in Ontario and Nunavut, and went to university in New Brunswick. For two years I lived in Ottawa, on the green belt. While I was there I wrote about nature. Then I moved to Montreal and I wrote nothing for a year. We've got nature here too, so I'm going to write about it.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

On Human Nature

Apparently I live too far from the peace tower to participate in the Christmas bird count (or census or whatever it's called). I really didn't want to participate until I found out I wasn't allowed to. Now I feel kind of cheated. I see all kinds of birds...are my birds not good enough for them? Are these birds somehow substandard birds?


Saturday, December 16, 2006

On the sheer joy of being outside

I've spent these last three weeks working in a warehouse. As such, I haven't seen much in the way of nature. Well, that job ended yesterday, and today I went for a first decent walk in quite some time. I saw deer, of course. These days in Ottawa deer have become part of the scenery rather than anything particularly noteworthy, not unlike grass, the sky and people who think that everbody but them should be doing something to prevent climate change. So, in spite of the fact that I saw many a deer, I won't be devoting much time to them.

I was walking through the woods, when I came to a dip in the trail. It's an area with a few dead trees, and a patch that can either be a lowlying, grassy bit, or a knee deep swamp depending on whether or not you've looked at it the wrong way. in the middle of the trail, there was what, at first glance, very much appeared to be lump of, moreover, with pokey bits. Upon closer inspection, however, it proved to be none other than what I persist in referring to, in my head, as a Porky-pine (I blame Walt Kelly), more correctly called a Porcupine (erithizon dorsatum) . I had heard that there were Porcupines in the woods, but never before had I seen one there. I kept my distance...well, in this case distance means about 2 meters, close enough to make out every quill. Porcupines are pretty inoffensive in general, but I had no particular desire for a shin full of quills, so I opted to not annoy him. he moved rather like a very fat man, and, having notice me, skittered up a nearby tree, making clicking noises as he did so. Porcupines can probably climb quite quickly, but he didn't seem to feel the need to do so, and he was still clicking he way up when I left...the dip having, apparently, been looked at the wrong way, and therefore being completely impassible.

it felt good just to be outdoors for no reason other than feeling like it. it was damp, true, and cold as well, but you feel alive, out of doors