Posted by Ellen

Through the Arashiyama bamboo forest in Sagano, Kyoto. The photo was shot using a drone; at ground level, the scene looks like this.

Posted by Ellen

Quarteri Spagnoli, 1929.

Posted by Ellen

Our friends and neighbors who live in University House Wallingford joined the nationwide anti-gun/anti-Trump protest Saturday, braving the cold and the traffic to make sure their voices were heard.

Most University House residents are in their eighties or nineties. At least one of the protesters is a centenarian. Some of them rarely leave home on foot, wary of the neighborhood's uneven sidewalks. But this was important. 

They held up handmade posters calling for gun control and school safety, taking up positions at a major intersection where Saturday shoppers would have to take notice.

Cars honked in their honor. Pedestrians thanked them. One storekeeper distributed gifts–well, gag gifts, since that was the store's specialty: little plastic fingers they could use for pointing at their signs.

Another neighbor, who'd ventured out to the grocery store for a gallon of milk, bought candy bars for all the protesters.

Time will tell how the politicians will respond. 

Posted by Ellen

By 1957, when this picture was taken, New Orleans was no longer running streetcars out to Desire. If Desire was where you wanted to go, you'd have to take a bus, and that's how things had been for almost a decade.

But in mid-June of 1957, a college student named William D. Volkmer found himself in New Orleans for a brief stopover en route to ROTC summer camp. His goal for the visit: to find a streetcar named Desire:

I approached the operators on their break at the foot of the Canal Ferry loop and asked them if they could roll the destination sign to "Desire" to allow me a photo shoot. The first three or four cars only contained signs for the two remaining streetcar lines, Canal and St. Charles. Then on about the fifth try, bingo. Car 910's signs still had the full complement of abandoned streetcar lines, so the kindly motorman set it for Desire and continued on his rest break until I had completed my photographic endeavor.

Posted by Ellen

The Cornish daffodil fields produce 90 percent of England's commercial daffodil crop. In my neck of the woods, almost 5,000 miles from Cornwall, daffodils are blooming noncommercially even as we speak.

Perhaps in your neighborhood they're already fading, or maybe the new tips of their leaves are still hidden in the snow–no matter; spring is trundling on in these days, and if it's early spring, There Will Be Daffodils.

Posted by Ellen

The two small boats in the foreground of this picture harvest floating trash from the water of the Bosphorus in Istanbul. Local birds seem impressed with the delicacies the boats rake or scoop or claw up out of the shipping lane.

Posted by Ellen

The Kuiseb River flows–when it flows–down from the highlands of eastern Namibia and across the Namib Desert toward the Atlantic Ocean.

South of the river, some of the highest sand dunes on earth are blown ever northward by the prevailing winds, but the sand can't cross the river. North of the river is a vast plain of bare rock, much of it billions of years old, Precambrian, predating the emergence of life.

The river itself, like many desert rivers, is ephemeral, flowing briefly after rains. The rains come–if they come–in January, February, or March. By April, the riverbed is dry. Even so, scrubby vegetation has taken hold along its banks.

Sand from the dunes is literally choking off the river. The river water, which often is not much more than a trickle, has to carry heavy loads of sand from upstream, traveling in a riverbed already piled high with sand blown in during the dry season, on top of sand left behind in previous years by the slow, struggling current.

There is so much sand now in the Kuiseb River that most years the water can no longer reach the sea. Only extreme flooding can push river water all the way to the river's mouth at Walvis Bay on Namibia's Atlantic Coast; the last time this happened was in 1963, though the river came within a few kilometers of the sea in 1997 and might have made it all the way but for a hastily bulldozed artifical sand dune blocking its path to protect the salt works at Walvis Bay.