Unintentional treevotee

I never meant for this to happen. When I moved to the Pacific Northwest from arid Colorado three years ago, I was one of those people who insisted on horizons. The town where I was born is a place where the foothills of the Rockies stand like a cliffy coastline overlooking a dry sea of […]

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 […]

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 […]