Corvid Redux Week: Flying Forest

This post originally ran in April of 2016. Every dusk, still, the crows fly singly or in groups over my house in Portland, bound west across the Willamette River for their unknown roosting spot. One of these nights I’m going to grab my bike and head after them. Then you’ll probably read about it here. […]

The ritual: When science feels like elegy in advance

Each morning, when the fog was thin enough to see, I went to the cliffs. I’d park the white pickup down a grassy ATV trail. Or off the main dirt road on a pullout. Or in the turnaround at the island’s southwesternmost point, where, when the wind was up at sea, waves coming from the […]

Doom and the dogmometer

One way to understand a really big problem is to break it down into more manageable parts. That’s why scientists use specific, smaller systems to help them grasp the overall health of the planet. The Arctic, for example, is regarded as a bellwether for the catastrophes of climate change that will soon afflict us all, […]

Not all stories are words, not all maps are pictures

You know those sounds that slip across the senses until they settle, in the brain, on an association entirely unrelated to their maker? Those sounds that seem to almost synesthetically transform one thing into another? The way noise can be brilliant, or color evokes flavor, or a smell touches old dreams? An unspectacular-looking, fist-sized bird […]

Motherhood week: The saga of Bubbles LeMone

The night before I wrote this, I couldn’t sleep. There was a halfmoon beaming into my face through the windows, thrown open to diffuse the 90-degree heat that had collected like smoke in the eaves of my bedroom. There was my restlessness from poring through notes for a feature that I was trying and failing […]

Where is here; here is where

Isaiah grins at me across the dining room table and more than 1,000 miles. In my nephew’s small, pale hand is an outsized Crayola marker, to match the pencil in my more gnarled fingers. We both lean over rectangles of paper—his in Colorado, mine in Oregon, now occupying the same virtual space, thanks to a […]

The search for thirsty blue

There’s a particular shade of blue that I’ve tried to replicate with pigment for much of my life. I think it’s blue, anyway. There’s gray in there, too. Indigo. Violet. Black. Flickers of gold. This blue is luminous, despite its darkness. This blue is heavy and satisfying as a thirst, slaked. I can’t point to […]