The Wisdom of a Summer Afternoon, Redux

During the summer and fall, my husband and I spend most of our evenings sitting on the front porch, drinking a glass of wine and watching the sun move across the sky and below the horizon. The light show unfolds differently each time and cannot be binge-watched or replayed. It can only be fully experienced in […]

Extinction Debt

There’s been a lot of road kill on my drive to work and back in Western Colorado, mostly prairie dogs and rabbits, and young magpies trying to learn how fast they have to fly to get out of the way. I find myself slowing and dodging for the live ones who continue shooting across my […]

Guest Post: Farewell Invertebrates, We Hardly Knew You

The first thing I saw when I walked into the National Zoo’s Invertebrate Exhibit on Saturday was a glass tank filled with corals. And the first thought I had was, oh my god, they’re so beautiful. In the tank, an explosion of star-shaped mouths opened and closed in time to some inaudible rhythm. Nearby a […]

The Secret Lives of Animals

A bear broke into my wife’s old teardrop trailer in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in southern Colorado. It must have been yearling by the bite marks in bean cans, and the smallness of its hips where it busted out the door-window and dragged itself inside. The bear didn’t find much, leaving […]

Guest Post: Death of a Fig Tree: My Climate Change

This winter in Baltimore we suffered. We steeled ourselves against record-breaking cold, and our heating bills were scandalous. There was so much snow that the children got tired of sledding. (It snowed on Tax Day, for Pete’s sake.) Months later, the potholes are punishing, and my fig tree is at death’s door. As far as […]

A stark introduction to geologic time

When I was a kid, my mom would measure time for me in units of Sesame Street. During a road trip when I’d inevitably ask, “Are we there yet?” she might answer, we’ll be there in two Sesame Streets. For a kid, two hours can seem like forever. We imagine the world through the lens of […]

Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods

Allow me to introduce you to the hugag, a moose-like creature native to Minnesota, Wisconsin, and eastern Canada. “Its head and neck are leathery and hairless; its strangely corrugated ears flop downward,” wrote William Cox, the first state forester of Minnesota. “Its four-toed feet, long bushy tail, shaggy coat and general make-up give the beast […]