Tag Archives: forests

Forests and Bogs: Photos From Estonia

Laurie says:

After I left Iceland, after a few days in Helsinki, I went on to Estonia. It’s one of the Baltic states and has been described as a country of cities in the forest. Over forty six percent of Estonia’s territory is covered by forests. (Unlike Iceland where trees are less then five percent.) It is extremely beautiful in a delicate way

Estonia is a country that has been occupied by others for almost all of its history. (Except for 22 years in the early 20th century.) They have maintained their identify through language (related to Finnish), culture, and song. Their successful rebellion against the Soviets in 1989 was called the Singing Revolution.

I was there visiting my daughter Cid and her partner David. David was a Fulbright Scholar teaching dance and choreography in Viljandi for the spring semester. (Cid’s Fulbright in Estonia was a few years ago.) I was supposed to visit them then, but that volcano erupted in Iceland closing down flights and canceling my trip.

The forests feel like you’re inside a fairy tale or a woodland fantasy novel. The forest floor has scattered mushrooms and berries and I picked some edible early blue berries. The bogs are edged with forests and are flat with delicate vegetation and seemed to me to be lacking in drama until we came upon a stunning series of bog ponds filled with water lilies. I swam in the cold brown peat water among the lilies.

The photos are snapshots of some of the places that I experienced.

The forest was on the edge of a bog.


There is a delicacy to the blog flora that really pleases me.


The bog was reflecting the clouds.

The next Estonia photos will be of the old city in the capital, Tallinn.

Thanksgiving 2009

Laurie and Debbie say:

There’s no doubt that 2009 has been a difficult year, but it still has a lot to celebrate, appreciate, and be thankful for.

Last year, we said “We have a sane man coming in to the American presidency. We have a smart man coming into the American presidency. We have the first African-American to come into the American presidency. (And they’re all the same person!)” And now he’s president, and he’s been president for nine months. There’s an African-American family living in the White House. That’s huge.

The movement that elected Obama hasn’t given up. Progressive groups like Move On!, People for the American Way, and many others are applying real pressure on elected officials, often cleverly. We’re particularly impressed with the Health Care Accountability Pledge, which is collecting promises for money to defeat any Democrat who “keeps health care reform from getting an up or down vote.”

It’s pressure like that that made it possible, even with the insurance companies funding enormous opposition, to get a health care bill passed in the House … and to get cloture on debate on a health care bill (without the nasty anti-abortion provision) in the Senate. Plenty of hurdles left, but we’ve crossed two where they wanted to stop us for good.

Kimberly Clark, world’s largest producer of tissues, has bowed to environmentalists’ pressure and is using sustainable forest management techniques, leading the way for other paper companies to do the same. And on a similar note, Bertin, world’s largest leather manufacturer, is not buying cattle from farms responsible for Amazon deforestation.

The Obama administration is trying at least some Guantanamo prison “detainees” in U.S. civilian courts! After as much as eight years of being confined and tortured without representation or protections, this is a small step in a crucial direction.

After twenty years of a shameful policy preventing people with AIDS from traveling to the United States, the Obama Administration has lifted the ban. Starting very early in 2010, your HIV status will not affect your right to visit the United States. It’s not about time, it’s long past time, but it is happening.

After an extraordinary battery of gender tests, Caster Semenya will be allowed to keep her gold medal and her prize money. We blogged about this story here.

The CIA is not immune any more. A trial in Milan, Italy, resulted in the conviction of 22 alleged CIA officers and agents, an American air force colonel and two Italian agents, who were convicted of kidnapping an Egyptian cleric from a Milan street in 2003.

Speaking of successful political pressure from progressives, Presente led a successful campaign to get racist, virulently anti-immigrant CNN anchor Lou Dobbs off the airwaves and . More than 100,000 people signed the petition, and Dobbs resigned “to take a more activist role” and is now talking about the Senate, and also the Presidency in 2012. Imagine the entertainment value of a Palin/Dobbs (or Dobbs/Palin) ticket!

Have a great holiday! We’ll be back early next week, when we’ll do a crosspost to the fabulous FWD.