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NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day:

The center of the Lagoon Nebula is a whirlwind of spectacular star formation. Visible near the image center, at least two long funnel-shaped clouds, each roughly half a light-year long, have been formed by extreme stellar winds and intense energetic starlight. A tremendously bright nearby star, Herschel 36, lights the area. Vast walls of dust hide and redden other hot young stars. As energy from these stars pours into the cool dust and gas, large temperature differences in adjoining regions can be created generating shearing winds which may cause the funnels. This picture, spanning about 15 light years, features two colors detected by the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. The Lagoon Nebula, also known as M8, lies about 5000 light years distant toward the constellation of the Archer Sagittarius.

You rise in the morning.
I say, "How are you?"
You say, "I don't know,
What I should do?"
Don the slippers,
Put on a robe,
Go downstairs
To the family room.
Open the garage door
To retrieve the Times.
Sit down on the couch,
Tell me, "I'm cold
And so tired."
Read the paper,
And remark to me,
"Do you know this person?"
I say, "I know who it is,
But don't know him."
That is our morning start,
Almost every day.

Home gardening has taken root and spread across the nation. In a world without theaters, sports events, concerts, and theme parks, tending a garden is the perfect home-based activity for all ages. Whether you’re a furloughed worker, a parent with small children, or a housebound senior, gardening can benefit your body, mind, and soul.

With temperatures getting milder and days getting longer, now is the ideal time to start. And it’s a great way to support local businesses, with garden centers deemed as “essential” by most states. Whether you’re a farmer or a florist at heart, nursery staff are happy to advise what to plant in your local climate and conditions.

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of gardening is getting us outside at a time when we’re all feeling cooped up indoors. Gardening promotes physical health by exposing us to fresh air, sunlight, and a healthy dose of vitamin D. Weeding, digging, and planting burns calories and strengthens the heart; in fact, the CDC says that one hour of gardening can burn 330 calories. The activities of gardening provide a whole-body workout, by using many different muscles and increasing strength, flexibility, and stamina—all without a gym membership.

Case studies show that gardening also improves our mental outlook, by reconnecting us with nature and providing a respite from the challenges of everyday life. The predictable rhythms of gardening can be comforting in uncertain times, and green environments can decrease levels of cortisol, the hormone linked to stress. In turn, gardening activities prompt the release of endorphins, the hormones that help us feel relaxed and content. And inhaling the healthy soil bacteria M. vaccae can increase serotonin, known as the “happiness hormone”—giving a whole new meaning to “a breath of fresh air”!

If that’s not enough to get you digging, consider that gardening rewards us for our efforts, whether it’s the beauty of flowers, the symmetry of a manicured hedge, or the bounty of fresh produce. As the old saying goes, “Gardening is cheaper than therapy—and you get tomatoes.”

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, gardening fosters a sense of faith in the future. Indeed, planting a seed or a sapling is a hopeful thing to do. And what better time for hope?

There is a whirlpool in my head.
Spinning the words out of dread.
Words that tumble and roll.
Words with meaning or nothing at all.
Short words, long words or those that hide
Words of those that still reside
stuck so deep, in my mind.
Good words, for some; for others not.
Words that are fresh. That's all I got.
Trying to write something on demand,
is hard to do. Do you understand?

I awake to the sound of rain
on roof and gutter.
A pleasant sound, bringing peace
to this World of clutter.
In the distance, I hear the roar
of thunder claps.
A rolling sound, moving along;
another, passing Spring storm.
Out of the bed, to the window I go
to watch Natures show.
No bolts of lightning do I see;
just the clouds approaching me.

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day:

It was bright and green and stretched across the sky. This striking aurora display was captured in 2016 just outside of Östersund, Sweden. Six photographic fields were merged to create the featured panorama spanning almost 180 degrees. Particularly striking aspects of this aurora include its sweeping arc-like shape and its stark definition. Lake Storsjön is seen in the foreground, while several familiar constellations and the star Polaris are visible through the aurora, far in the background. Coincidently, the aurora appears to avoid the Moon visible on the lower left. The aurora appeared a day after a large hole opened in the Sun's corona allowing particularly energetic particles to flow out into the Solar System. The green color of the aurora is caused by oxygen atoms recombining with ambient electrons high in the Earth's atmosphere.

Photo by Göran Strand

Leque Island is located between the city of Stanwood and Camano Island, WA. The area is going through a process of restoration. Water from Skagit and Port Susan bays and the Stillaguamish River flowed into Leque Island for the first time in 100 years on Oct. 14, 2019 - opening 250 acres to the tide, young salmon and crab.The natural marsh vegetation will slowly return to tidal marshland as it reseeds with natural vegetation. Learn more about the Restoration Project 


Ugliness has risen, in our life led,
where many citizens are begging for bread,
in this great country of ours, broken now,
as there is no work or how
to survive, in this, our own land,
as the virus killed, one hundred thousand.
Where is the outrage? The question why,
when our elected leader, continues to lie?

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