Author. Artist. Conservationist. I like writing about animals, ocean life & more. Liz & Toby Adventures, Book 1: My Dog Sees Ghosts. http://www.dakotaduncan.com

What Size is Your World and Does It Change?

Image for post
Image for post

Have you ever noticed how your world constantly changes in size? Last Friday my wife was playing a modified chase game in the house with our dog, Kola. It’s not an especially vigorous game, so when she cried out in pain and hit the floor, I thought she’d just stepped on something, like a Lego piece.

After a short time of just trying to breathe, she told me she heard something in her ankle pop. We thought for sure she’d torn, or otherwise injured, her Achilles tendon. …


Internal Thoughts vs. External Actions

Image for post
Image for post

Today I’ve been thinking about the differences between what people are thinking internally and what the external experience is for others. This path of thought started when I read an “empty nester” mom’s social media post about her adult children not coming to visit for Christmas.

She said that her kids claimed when they were teenagers she always smothered them with her questions and interest in their lives and they couldn’t stand to be around her anymore. She felt like she was showing an interest in them and expressing her love. They experienced it as smothering interrogation.

I suspect the…


Battling Resistance vs Being on A Wrong Path

Image for post
Image for post

Have you ever found yourself pushing and pushing on a door trying to make it open only to finally notice a large sign that says, “Pull”? I’ve been wondering lately how to avoid pushing.

The tricky part for me is recognizing when pushing is appropriate and when there is an easier way. In life, signs aren’t always printed in your native language in letters ten inches high. Sometimes a task that feels difficult seems like a challenge.

Challenges can be fun and exciting, so I proceed as if it is a puzzle to be solved. I skip what appears to…


A Personal Account Of Taking One Small Step Forward

Image for post
Image for post

I love the idea of decluttering and getting rid of unwanted/unneeded items. No, that’s not right. I love the idea of living in a decluttered, calming environment but the reality of doing the work to get there tends to prevent me from moving forward. This is my account of finally dealing with just one box.

This past summer my 15-year-old daughter and I did a pretty decent job of cleaning the garage. We took everything out to the driveway, swept, and tossed obvious garbage, like ripped boxes whose contents needed a new home.

We tossed a dresser full of mouse-contaminated…


2020 Could Have Been Easier If I’d Done This

Image for post
Image for post

Like many people, 2020 really threw me off my game. During the first part of the year and the early lockdown months, I was super productive. I made plans, I followed through, and I tried a new business model that required I learn new skills. I thrived!

Then, something happened. It wasn’t any one thing, but several things whose cumulative effect was to rid me of my drive. COVID, the horrible divisiveness in our country that our “president” seemed determined to make worse, George Floyd, the protests, the violence, concerns about the economy, the fact that my son’s high school…


Is the Trend a Solution or A Symptom?

Image for post
Image for post

What is it about tiny houses that is so intriguing? It’s not just a matter of cost or practicality. If that were the case, there would be reality shows about choosing apartments or economy cars. No, something speaks to us about the idea of going tiny.

We don’t own a tiny house, but I often get caught up in binge watching Tiny House Nation and this weekend discovered Tiny House Hunting. This Sunday, my wife also got sucked into the idea, if not the show itself. …


Expand your knowledge during Manatee Awareness Month

Image for post
Image for post

Did you know that November is Manatee Awareness Month? I didn’t either until an email from Ocean Conservancy brightened my day with an adorable gif of two manatees hanging out together. Given their threatened status and the need for boaters to be more watchful of them to reduce the high number of deaths caused by boat strikes, I can see the need for more awareness. Is a whole month dedicated to manatees warranted? After learning more about these slow-moving, gentle giants, I’d say it is. Find out if you agree.

Basic Facts about Manatees:

  • They are marine mammals ranging from 8–13 feet long and…


What We Can Learn From Creatures Without a Brain

Image for post
Image for post

Jellyfish are cool. They just are. With their strange blob-like bodies, far-reaching tentacles, and varying colors, what’s not to love? My fascination with these odd creatures started when I was young. I used to catch small, clear jellyfish with my hands, inspect them, and then put them back in the water. My dad said not to touch ones that had red on them because they could be poisonous.

Fair enough. There’s one life lesson — beware of red jellyfish. I have since learned this is called “aposematism,” — the use of conspicuous markings or bright colors by an animal to…


Feeling overwhelmed and stuck? You are not alone.

Image for post
Image for post

It’s hard to be a thinking, feeling person these days. COVID has turned our lives upside down and left our ability to make social, travel, recreational, and career plans in a state of limbo. The insanity of the political leadership in the United States is frightening not only to Americans but also to our Canadian neighbors, and people all around the world.

This week, election week here in the US, has been an emotional roller coaster. It’s been a ride with ups and downs that appears is about to return us to the loading zone safely but it didn’t have…


What Lessons Linger In the Smells from Childhood?

Image for post
Image for post

You know how particular smells take you back in time? Maybe the savory aroma of cooking onions and sage reminds you of Thanksgiving or the unmistakable sweet scent of a bag of marshmallows brings back memories of sitting around a campfire. For me, one of my strongest olfactory memories is a combination of salty sea air and creosote which immediately takes me back to my childhood boating vacations in Washington’s San Juan Islands and British Columbia’s Gulf Islands.

My best friend and I would spend hours walking along the docks, checking out boats, capturing the shrimp that hung out on…

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store