Stargazing is a hobby that comes with a bit of a learning curve. It requires real intellectual engagement, specialized (and expensive) equipment, and a lot of free time when the sky is dark. So its understandable that only the truly dedicated might get into it in a meaningful way.
Or...is it? Because looking at the stars at night is one of the cheapest, oldest, and most egalitarian hobbies that's out there. Because the sky belongs to everyone, and people have been marveling at it for a very long time.
Some three years ago, an Australian man named John Plant started filming his hobby of spending time in nature and learning to subsist without any tools. He posted his videos on Youtube as a kind of documentation of his progress and they served as a venue for a kind of education, though only in the most minimalist sense. Taken without context, its a strange, new genre of media that has found an audience––something pretty standard for the internet. (There are now countless channels on the internet where people have ripped off Plant's original premise.)
The internet didn't intentionally invent the idea of tickling your brain by seeing things get perfectly peeled, scooped, pulled or stripped. Yet, there are whole Youtube channels dedicated to things that fit perfectly, people breaking the pristine surface of a jar of peanut butter, people peeling the thin plastic sheet that covers most electronics. Comments on these videos are part of a shared sense of deep satisfaction, and you can find some of the most mutually joyful, least acrimonious interactions on the internet among people who are just eveling in that feeling of deep gratification.
So, in the
Spending some time outside is a big deal. Disconnecting from everyday life is what allows you to return to it focused, refreshed, and ready for new challenges. While a weekend in the wilderness might leave you feeling physically exhausted (and hopefully leave you a bit dirty, too), it's guaranteed to positively impact your mental clarity and up your level of good feelings in the weeks that follow.
Sure, you can head into the woods with some sneakers and your book bag from high school. If that's what it takes to get you out, we're all for it. However, when you decide to upgrade the experience a bit, there are a few things you should be sure to bring with you. Quality gear is comfortable, more durable, and supportive on rough terrain. So go ahead and grab a few pieces at a time to make all you future adventures more enjoyable ones.
Last night, my wife poked me in the ribs, and showed me this image. "Guess what that is," she said.
"Oil paint mixed with water?" I guessed.
"No...those are clouds hovering over Jupiter."
Last summer, in the midst of the August showers, a neighboring building lost a beautiful maple tree in a major thunderstorm. It was quickly disassembled by the electric company, presumably so it wouldn't fall onto the power lines. And there it sat. For weeks.
Then, a month or so later, I heard a loud grind out of my open windows (horray for open window weather!), and spied a big truck with a wood chipper in their yard.
"Surely," I thought, "they're just gonna grind up the small stuff and use the trunk for something." But, they just kept throwing in big, beautiful chunks of pure hardwood, turning it into mulch. I immediately rushed out and asked if I could have what hadn't been chopped.
The guy was very hesitant (apparently no one had ever proposed such a crazy thing), but allowed me to escape with an armful straight limbs and branches (sadly, no trunk segments) as long as I promised not to tell anyone. So, don't repeat that.
My branches have been seasoning and drying all fall and winter, and are now ready to be turned into all kinds of fun "bring the outdoors in" projects. First up, these playful tree branch magnets which cost a mere $1.00 and some glue to make, and can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes.
This August 11th and 12th will be the peak of what is traditionally the biggest meteor shower of the year known as the Perseids, but this year it'll be the meteor event of the decade. Every year the Perseids features about 100 meteors per hour, but this week there should be double that due to the unique positioning of Earth's orbit this year...
Mankind has had a long, tempestuous history with frontiers. We crave to encounter them, to push them, to exploit them. They often kill us, and yet we mourn them when they disappear. If you find yourself lamenting the death of the frontier, don't lose heart -- keep a candle burning! Not only is there the entire universe, but here on Earth there are still quite a few wildernesses through which humanity has barely traipsed.
You know those videos that show some young dude dressed in leather boots and a crew neck sweater, walking into his shop or studio, blowing off the sawdust or unrolling a side of leather, arranging his tools and assessing his materials, all with some slow churning music and a shallow depth of focus?
This is definitely one of those videos.
This simple twig pencil project is a great way to add a little rustic, outdoor charm to your office or workspace. Or, it could make a great spring project to do with kids, and a smart way to reuse all the fallen branches and tree limbs that come along with these April showers.
Nettles grow just about anywhere that's left alone long enough, which is why it's great to learn about their multiple uses. This photographic tutorial from Nature's Secret Larder shows you how to easily weave tight cords in the wild for things like twine and fishing wire.
Each Wednesday, I post some of my favorite can't-miss links, images, and otherwise mindblowing goodies from across the web.
A group of adventurers gathered for the annual International Highline Meeting, a collection of 18 slacklines hung up to 330 feet in the air in the Italian Dolomite mountains.
Surf photographer Clark Little didn't start out as a photographer. Instead, he was an avid surfer of the culture. He wanted some unique images to put up in his own house as display art.
So, he began to look at waves as an enthusiast, not as a sports photographer, and you'll notice something unique about his images: no surfers.
This 360 degree panorama of the night sky wasn't shot by a satellite or a high-powered telescope. It was (simply?) stitched together from 37,000 images by amateur photographer, Nick Risinger.