The snow squall turns the daylight into dusk as our car follows the winding road out of town. Oblivious to the weather, it rolls along as intent as we are. Like a horse, it seems to know its way to the Amish woodshop where we are headed and, when we arrive, it seems as happy as we are. I really don’t know how many times we have driven out here. But if I count the years and multiply them by the weeks, I might come up with an approximate figure.

I think the snow on the ground is lovely this time a year. I will most likely feel differently by say, February. But since the winter season is just gearing up and the holidays are coming, I’m in a celebratory mood.

We have visited Chicago during many holiday seasons to take in everything seasonal, including a play. A favorite is "A Christmas Carol," and we’ve seen this classic at several venues. We always stay on North Michigan Avenue so we can easily wander the beautifully decorated avenue to admire window displays and the décor at Water Tower Square.

Have you heard the name John Allen Chau yet? He was a young 26-year-old American missionary who took an unusual interest in a non-domesticated tribe of people known as the Sentinelese. They live on a remote island in India’s Andaman and Nicobar island chain. Chau was told about two fisherman who were strangled by the Sentinelese back in 2006. It is well understood that these tribesman are not friendly to strangers. Chau knew the dangers, even avoided getting romantically involved with anyone, knowing his attempts with these people were likely to be dangerous. But Chau is said to have had a “radical call” to find “unreached groups.” He had planned to live among them for years and learn their language.

LOUISVILLE — With the 2016 presidential election came a noticeable uptick in political awareness throughout the American population. The time since has been a tumultuous period marked by strife, tense partisanship and scandals by the week. The incident that has caused one of the greatest frenzies in this hectic atmosphere, however, didn’t take place in the White House or on Capitol Hill, but on a football field.

It’s early morning and extra quiet. I don my usual winter gear: a warm jacket, gloves, my black knit hat and my heavier winter boots. Stella, the dog, is eager to go on her morning walk. The outside door creaks slightly as I open it and we enter a winter wonderland. The snow is falling in thick flakes, covering everything. I look up into it and see a gentle, never-ending swirl of white. Snow clusters on my shoulders and on Stella’s back, and everywhere I look, it coats every detail with a soft, fluffy blanket of white.

Because of the infrequency in time and location of total solar eclipses, scientists historically have had difficulty studying broad, controlled data collections on eclipse-related animal behavior. But with the advent of smartphone technology, researchers are looping in citizen scientists to help record the effects of solar eclipses. 

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