David Syring Posts

Frog Songs in the North Woods


 
The frogs have been incredible this spring. Here’s something recorded with three mics (for best listening, try putting on headphones — you will be engulfed in the tri-stereophonic bliss of creatures singing in the woods! Trust me, computer speakers won’t provide the embodied sense of being in the midst of it all!) Minimalist guitars included, but the frogs are worth it!

Smellscape/Hellscape: The Life of the Nose in Urban Close Quarters During a Pandemic

“The concept of smellscapes suggests that, like visual impressions, smells may be spatially ordered or place-related. It is clear, however, that any conceptualization of smellscape must recognize that the perceived smellscape will be non-continuous, fragmentary in space and episodic in time, and limited by the height of our noses from the ground, where smells tend to linger.”
—Douglas Porteous, “Smellscape,”
The Smell Culture Reader, edited by Jim Drobnick

 

My neighbor’s yard is a source of olfactory joy for a short time each summer, and a source of olfactory misery for most of the rest of the year.

In early summer, when lilacs explode in this Lake Superior latitude, for a few weeks the bush just across the property boundary serves as the star of the local smellscape. I sit on the small patio I built and bathe in the glory of the perfumery. Then, all too soon, the flowers give way to small, hard green seeds, and the smell goes where all smells go, into memory.

Fairhaven Farm: Segment 1 of Northern Roots 2: Revitalizing Local Food in the Western Lake Superior Region

Local food is where it’s at! This video profiles Fairhaven Farm, an organic farm featuring an outdoor pizza oven located near Duluth. Information about how to sign up for community-supported agriculture shares is at fairhaven.farm.

A Day in the Temperance River Watershed

The cold weather arriving makes me long for an August day camping and hiking the Superior Hiking Trail. Here’s a video I made this past summer of such a day.

Wild, a spoken-word musical tribute to weasels, inspired by an encounter in Chester Park

A celebration of the weasel family (mustelids) inspired by an encounter I had with a least weasel in the deep woods portions of Chester Park Ravine, which led to a re-reading of Annie Dillard’s essay, “Living Like Weasels.”

“Duluth” is a Small Drill-Hole on Mars?

Over the past few years Duluth has occasionally had colder temps than the temp measured on Mars on the same day. I have gleefully pointed this out to friends in the warm south when it happens.

But, if PDD covered this last year, I missed it — how a small test drill hole on Mars made by the Curiosity Rover get named “Duluth”?

Considering a Crocheted Afghan: What is an Immigrant Life?

My grandmother, an immigrant from Belgium, gave me a thick, crocheted afghan in my senior year of high school. I’m fifty years old now. I still have it. This black, white and gray acrylic afghan—one among hundreds she gifted family members—holds in its hooked stitches the last breaths of the life that she wove into mine. I don’t keep it on my bed today, but my kids will have to figure out what to do with it when I die; I won’t let it go during my lifetime.

Families are big and complex. They can gift us things we don’t understand until many years after they are given. I had the great fortune of living in Omaha, Nebraska, with my grandmother during my junior and senior years. She was in her seventies, alone, and no longer able to drive because of deteriorating vision. I was a grandson who desperately needed refuge from an abusive dad. I’d lived with an aunt and uncle for the second half of my sophomore year. They had already raised three children from another aunt (a story for another time) and had three of their own kids at home. They both worked—he was a cop, she was a secretary. Even then, in the early 1980s these were not high-paying jobs.

A Walk to Lake Superior

Had a Perfect Duluth Day walking down to Lake Superior a few days ago. Here’s a video of the trip … algorithm used for filming and editing explained in the end credits. Love the fall light!

Northern Roots Food Documentary Glimpse

Do you know who grows your food?

Here’s a quick glimpse of the film the UMD Ethnobots (anthropology students in last fall’s Ethnobotany course) will be premiering at the Zinema next Wednesday, at 7 p.m. Thanks to Charlie Parr for the use of his song, “Jubilee.”

PlayList visit from MRC musicians = cool/donate

Hannah and Curren, two musicians who have benefited from the Music Resource Center, were on The PlayList last week — young people doing their thing and being articulate and cool — what more can we ask for?

After you watch them talk about what they do, go here and donate to the Indiegogo campaign to make more of their and other young musicians’ work happen here in Duluth and Superior. The campaign ends in a little over a week — help them now if you can.

Vikings Fumble

Well, I don’t really follow football, and now here’s another reason to despise the world 0f big, corporate sports. Message sent and received–athletics is a place where freedom of speech will kick your football on down the field. Boo team Vikings!

Chris Kluwe’s release by Vikings sends message that gay-marriage talk is not tolerable in NFL

I’ve Missed the Snow This Year

Here’s a photo from last year, and a poem I wrote as I meditated on the picture:

Darin Bergsven featured in Lake Voice

Here’s a nice profile of musician Darin Bergsven. Thanks to the Lake Voice for singing about one of our local unsung culture heroes.

Full disclosure: Darin’s a good friend, and I’m quoted in the article, but that does not detract from his, or the article’s, awesomeness.

Last Day to Vote for a Winner!

Today is the last day to vote for the UMD community orchard in the Edy’s Fruit Bar’s contest described in this post. We are in the top 5 in the nation and on course to win a 50-tree planting paid for by Edy’s. The fruit from these trees will become a community asset and distributed free to appropriate venues. The orchard is part of the UMD Sustainable Agriculture Project, which serves as an education venue and civic resource.

Here’s the link to register and to vote for our project. I’ve been voting all month and haven’t gotten any spam from the company.

How often do you get a chance to vote for a good thing that you know is going to win? Today’s your last chance!

What America Needs: Minneapolis Film Maker at UMD

Tuesday, Feb. 15, 7 p.m.

UMD’s Bohannon Hall 90

Free admission

Minneapolis videographer Mark Wojahn will be presenting his film, What America Needs, and discussing his work following the film.
From the film web-site:

Travelling by train from N.Y.C to L.A, a documentary videographer asks more than 500 people from dozens of different communities:

“What do you think America needs?”

Collectively, their answers relate an unexpected story of hope.

What America Needs invites you to share your thoughts and feelings on our country by participating in our dialogue.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!