35 Comments
Apr 16, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

Oh, bless you, my man... you put into beautiful words the feelings I feel so strongly but haven't the gift of being able to express with our 26-symbol alphabet and spaces. You capture the feelings for me. Thank you many times over!

I recall the first time I was introduced to those tiny red gems, the male flowers of beaked hazelnuts;

I have sought them out every spring since. Now, however, I'm unable to get out and about to find them. YOU have provided. Bless you and thank you.

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You are most welcome, Sarah. I can sense your exuberance in these words. It's wonderful.

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GLAD YOU COULD CONFIRM MY SUSPICIONS- THAT THE LITTLE RED SPRILLS ON THE HAZELNUT BUSHES ARE THE FEMALES. THEY ARE JUST STARTING TO MAKE NUTS AFTER ABOUT 8 YEARS IN THE GROUND.

ALSO OUR ONE WILD DAPHNE IS IN FULL BLOOM, FULL FRAGRANCE. SPRING IS HERE AT LAST!

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Thanks, Kathie! There are cultivated versions of these as well -- I think they're sometimes hybrids of hazelnuts and filberts (which get called "hazelberts," if I'm not mistaken). Spring unbound!

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Apr 16, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

Handsome Odin, what a good boy.

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I love that pup so much!

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I had a similar reaction to the release of notes on Substack. I am glad to hear that you are prioritizing nature and writing.

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I will admit to being torn about Notes. 😬 So I'll be cautious.

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Apr 16, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

Thank you for that, Bryan-- I took a photo a couple weeks ago of a very similar flower of its cousin, a Smooth Alder, and wondered what exactly was going on. (And yeah I find Notes kind of confusing)

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Yes, your alders are done by now. But quite similar, females not as dramatic. I like "flicking" the males and watching the puffs of pollen take to the winds.

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Apr 16, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

“I am my algorithm”. Gorgeous essay Bryan, thank you.

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Thanks so much for reading and writing, Elea!

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Apr 16, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

Hear, hear! Finally spring! Outside! Targeted digital reading only!

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I was actually going to include in that post some of what I do to keep from being online. Maybe I'll save it for another essay. But high on my digital sanity list is to push long reads from the web and from Substack to my Kindle. (Yeah, a Kindle -- I hate that I love it. Of course, I also love my local book store -- Bear Pond Books.)

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"There may be sacred scrolls, but there is nothing sacred about scrolling." So many lines in here I want to copy and keep! You spoke my heart about all of this. I've had a few people now ask my advice about if and how to use Notes, and I have to explain why I don't and can't and why, but also that it has to be an individual choice. Today I went for a long walk in a new place in the woods with some friends, and managed to talk through some things I'm overwhelmed with, and on my way home I sat by a pond and watched kids on the other side running and yelling in excited as they spotted an otter (might have been a muskrat, but it disappeared), and later going through some trees close to my house I almost stepped on the first tiny crocus I've seen yet this spring. MUCH better notes than anything the digital world can provide to me. Others might feel differently. It's good to know ourselves and what our loves are, as well as our capacities.

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Thank you SO much for sharing this on Notes Antonia (and i appreciate the irony!!) - it's just what I needed to read tonight. 🙏🏻

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That's like irony upon irony ... 🤗

Thank you, Satya! I always appreciate your thoughts! 💗

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Well, Nia, you in part inspired that post when you wrote in your chat that Notes "adds to the cognitive noise." I'm trying to tune out so much of that noise as well. Oddly enough, my hearing is fading with age. Yes, I don't hear the songbirds as well. Hearing aids help a lot -- but I do love the quiet when I remove them while on walks. I guess tuning out the digital noise is similar: pull the plug, get outside, walk the commons. And Read On the Commons. :-) Or just watch kids at a pond: joyful noise.

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That is so kind of you, I'm glad! I'm sorry to hear about the hearing, though. That's something I worry about a bit. I wasn't kind to my ears in my younger years, and definitely noticed a difference after working at a small coffee shop that hosted amplified live music at night when I was in college. Hearing aids are not something I'll balk at probably, but it'll be interesting to go back and forth between them and quiet.

Not sure I ever would have noticed the cognitive noise if I didn't spend good chunks of time completely offline. Deleting all social media a few years ago was noticeable, but it's really being away from all of it that made me realize how many demands it places on attention. A lot of static going on there.

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Ack, Bryan, this was such a perfectly timed post for me. I'd just witnessed my first racism in Notes, and am SO aware of the compulsive pull I feel towards buzzy social media. I'm here to WRITE, and to make offerings to others, and you have given me much important food for thought. Thank you so much 🙏🏻 and I look forward to being a subscriber!

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It's so hard, and all we can do is to try to understand our own minds and figure out what works! And to help one another do the same. (Also, I love Bryan's newsletter. I always learn something surprising!)

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By the way, Nia, the phenology there in Montana is probably a week or so behind that of Vermont. So some of the current nature I write about here on Substack will be coming your way! Keep me posted on what you discover!

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I will, uh, make a note of it!

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You've made my day, Satya. Thanks so much. What a gift it is to write, as I'm sure you know. More and more, I'm "going gently" outdoors. Next stop: Going Gently with Satya Robyn. 🙏

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Yes, what a wonderful combo! Thank YOU. Writing does change things.

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A GEM! ANOTHER gem. Thank you. I can still in my mind's eye see the first one I saw—in the snow no less!

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Yay! Snow this year? Some spring! Glad you're part of it!

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Apr 16, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

Hear, hear! Well said, especially "I am my algorithm."

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Means a lot coming from you. Thanks!

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Apr 16, 2023Liked by Bryan Pfeiffer

"The sacred is love and ideas among people, expressed and experienced together, in art and discussion and celebration, in the force of the written word and in the sanctity of nature." 100% yes! Wonderful! Thank you for these words today. And what a beaut of a Vermont spring day! Greeted by a sweet garter snake this evening in my driveway -- my kinda news feed indeed.

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Thanks, Cat! You know you're a naturalist when you're happy to be greeted by a "sweet garter snake." :-)

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Beautifully said, Bryan. Well done. It's such a rich time now (I guess it always is, but particularly now) as the snow and skunk cabbage give way to beaked hazelnut and the vernal pool choruses. This is a good reminder to witness the exuberance of plants even as the wood frogs and peepers pull us out of winter's quietus. As for Notes, I'm also torn. As someone who never bothered with social media - at all - I've been trying to convince myself to attend to a certain amount of it - Mastodon and now Notes - as part of the Substack job. I would really love for this work to be properly paid for. But that kind of engagement doesn't feel particularly real to me, so I'm trying to find a balance that's pragmatic without being a distraction. Good luck to both of us! Perhaps the best advice, though, will come from Odin. He looks like a marvelous companion.

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Hey, anyone who has avoided social media (or largely avoided it) is an inspiration. Congrats! I never did take to Twitter. Tried Mastondon, which, to me, seemed to be more of the same. At least Notes is limited to the place where we read and write and exchange ideas. In that sense, it's got a lot more going for it. The "Home" feed is problematic for me -- I'm staying away from that. But I have indeed been gratified by the response to my first cautious Note -- supportive and measured from respectful people. It's a start. We'll see how it goes. Thanks, Jason! (And, yeah, I love that pup!)

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I'm really bad at wild plant identification, as I tend to go into a different kind of space when I'm in the woods. However, I am going to try to up my game, thanks to you. I appreciate what you are saying about social media. My tendency has been to limit my use of it, and mostly use it professionally. This is a tricky balancing act. I have yet to explore notes, and have not fully subscribed to it, as regards my own blog. You are not alone in this quandary, but perhaps together, we will forge a humane path of connection, and disconnection.

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"connection, and disconnection" -- love it! Classic Vermont Ridgerunner! ❤️

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