Photos of the Week – January 8, 2021

Wow, what a week. This was not how I was hoping to start 2021. On Monday, I somehow managed to jam a wood splinter up underneath the edge of my left pinkie fingernail. It didn’t go in where you’d expect – through the tip of the finger – but rather on the outer edge of the nail, lodging itself between the nail, the skin beneath it, and the skin to the side of it. I pulled the wood out, and I think I got it all, but I’m not sure.

Clearly, this was a traumatic experience, and certainly not something that fits with the positive energy being generated around the beginning of a new year. I had a lot of plans for this week – including project ideas I’d come up with over the holidays but didn’t dive too deeply into (because it was the holidays and I was trying to take a break). This was supposed to be a week of fun productivity as I started fleshing out those ideas.

Instead, I was distracted all week by pain and negativity. Putting a band-aid on the finger didn’t help cushion the finger at all, and it’s amazing how often that little finger bumps into something during everyday activities. I had to remember to keep the finger up and out of the way during even mundane activities like washing my hair. Typing was difficult because I either had to slow down and avoid using that finger or try to remember to rotate my hand slightly when typing the letter ‘a’ so as (ow!) not to hit the painful (ow) part (ow) of the finger on the keyboard.

Anyway, it was just a disaster of a week. The finger is starting to feel a little better, but I can tell it’s going to hurt for a while – the aftereffects of this kind of event tend to linger, don’t they?

I hope your week was better than mine.

Anyway, here are a bunch of completely random nature photos that brought me a little peace in the face of this week’s ordeal. Healing will come. It might take a while, but I’m optimistic.

Autumn leaves in a stream at the Niobrara Valley Preserve. 2018.
Sunset and fourpoint evening primrose. Niobrara Valley Preserve. 2018.
Cattail seeds on ice. 2018.
Rock formations at Scotts Bluff National Monument. 2019.
Stiff sunflower with interesting red highlights. 2019.
Winter bison at the Niobrara Valley Preserve. 2019.
Leopard frog on ice. Who knows why. 2019.
Prairie violets. 2019.
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About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners – both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.

20 thoughts on “Photos of the Week – January 8, 2021

  1. Get better, Chris. Sorry to hear you have an owwie. The photos are a peaceful place. I always feel that Zi have visited Nebraska. We can all wait if you can’t type.

  2. I’m so excited that he is the Plenary speaker for the KNRC this year!!!

    On Fri, Jan 8, 2021 at 7:37 AM The Prairie Ecologist wrote:

    > Chris Helzer posted: ” Wow, what a week. This was not how I was hoping to > start 2021. On Monday, I somehow managed to jam a wood splinter up > underneath the edge of my left pinkie fingernail. It didn’t go in where > you’d expect – through the tip of the finger – but rather on ” >

  3. In a stretch on an old wooden floor, no mat, many years ago, I drove a 1.5″ x .5″ wedge between my big toe and the nail. Blinded with pain. The needle at the ER never looked so good. Can attest to the effectiveness of this as a torture method. It will heal, but you will never forget this.

  4. Thanks everyone. To be completely transparent – I’m fine. I really did get a splinter in my finger, and it does hurt, but it’s not debilitating. Mainly, I was trying to be clever/funny about referring obliquely to the events at the Capitol and all the other mess around that… Anyway. Sometimes I’m funny. Sometimes I’m not.

    • No one is saying it. However, I think the Vice President knows. What happened at the capital was an attempted abduction or assassination of our Vice President. The rest was merely done by fools who were a distraction from the true purpose of the attack. I think as people look at the timing of the events the target of the attackers will become more apparent.

  5. Can you give me an idea in what kind of places and situations you find Prairie Violets?
    Do they grow in tall grass areas mixed in among Big Blue and Indian Grass?
    I am constantly trying to increase the diversity of my small Prairie plots.
    I have planted some in the fall and am hoping they live long and prosper.

    Along those lines do you know of any books or sources that detail out more info on Prairie Plants?
    I can find lots of very general info like wet, mesic, sun or part shade but little on whether they prefer north or south facing, how long they will live and whether they grow in association with certain other plants.

  6. Well it worked bc I was thinking how exactly the events at the Capitol were like a splinter under the nail! So much for 2021 being better. We can only hope after this beginning.

  7. don’t know if you trust a retired family doctor. The foreign body must be removed. Otherwise maybe hot soak 1-2 minutes by the clock 3-4 times a day would speed up healing and discourage infection in a closed space. don’t burn yourself, and I’m guessing your tetanus immunization is up to date. Elevation with hand on opposite shoulder can reduce pain and speed up healing. As for duration, Maybe 80-90% of healing in first 2 weeks, with 6 weeks close to final.
    don’t hesitate to have a licensed doctor examine you for best outcome.
    Your photos and descriptions and thoughts are most encouraging to us who receive your blog.

  8. I very sincerely hope your finger is healing already. And that the country is already starting to heal. I look forward every week to the beauty your posts bring to my rather plain life in urban north Texas.

  9. splinters are so annoyingly painful! I feel your pain. These images are incredible. I love the leaves in the stream and the cattail seeds on ice. Just beautiful. Take care of that pinkie!

  10. This has to be the most creative approach to the week’s events that I’ve come across. Midway through I was thinking, “This seems a perfect analogy to…” and by the time I finished, I thought, “Well done.” Beyond that, the photos are marvelous. My favorites are the abstraction of the autumn leaves in the stream, and that pair of seed-skaters on the ice.


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