Redux: I Did It Dad! I LOVE This!

This post first ran on February 9, 2015, but the message is as relevant as ever. I’d been pondering the consequences of modern self-chronicling when Facebook sent me its rendering of my life in 2014. If Facebook’s Year End Review is any indication, my life boils down to this: adorable dogs, skiing, trail running and mountain […]

Like You’re Not Even There

  Last Sunday I saw a mountain lion, a full body profile, spotted from a dirt road. Healthy size and age, tail like a rope. By the time we backed up the truck, it was gone, disappeared into a brambly ponderosa forest. I don’t know why, to find tracks, or a scent, I jumped out […]

A Plant’s Nightmare

There is a semi-annual ceremony in the Vance house. At some point – perhaps after a sudden trip to the nursery or an impulse stop at a roadside garden – I bring in a bunch of new plants to the house. Then I remove the carcasses of the ones who have not survived the twisted […]

Make Like A Tree and Get Outta Here

A small raptor alighted for a few minutes yesterday on the top of a tree in my yard. The bird perched up in the crown, on branches that have been bare for a few weeks. The tree is a pin oak, whose health was questionable when we moved to this house in the spring, yet […]

Redux: A Wolf Dies

Recently, a bounty was announced for the poacher of wolf designated as OR-33 that was shot in Klamath County, Oregon. Rob Klavins, a staffer at the non-profit Oregon Wild, wrote a eulogy for the animal, in which he lamented that “[O]f all the wolves I’ve been privileged to have some deeper understanding of, not a single […]

Children Like Sand

Sand blowing and grains hurdling over each other, landing and knocking the next, is called saltation. This is how dunes move, not sheering chaos, but each grain effecting the other, billiard balls knocking each other down the line. Kids found that if they stood on a dune crest, there was so much saltation, sand blowing […]

Hike your pants

A couple of weeks ago, I set out through sun-shot low clouds to the North Cascades with my friends Devon and Kate. My truck is a 1998 with an exhaust leak under the cab, so we may or may not have been a little stoned on fumes when we piled out into the overflowing parking […]

I, Also

  The other day I was at a natural history museum sitting with a paleontologist, a dear friend of many years. We were talking about the situation between women and men. I had recently written about her research on dire wolves. We’d gone back and forth on the page, her asking me to take out […]