Cherry Blossoms, Close By

Here in Washington, D.C., we love our cherry trees. The cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin, near the Jefferson Memorial, get all the attention. And they deserve it–they’re lovely. This year, peak bloom was an elusive creature. February was so unseasonably warm that the Park Service predicted peak bloom would come March 14 or 15, one of […]

Creating With Nature: Ice Ornaments

If it is still freezing hard during the night where you live, you can try this easy and fun art project. Find some paper plates, cups, tupperware containers, anything with an interesting shape that you can get ice out of in one piece pretty easily. I like the paper plates because you can kind of […]

Wind, the uninvited houseguest

Perhaps 500 yards from my door—up an icy, winding driveway, a short way down a gravel road, beyond barbed wire fences and snow-skirffed pastures and the wind-twisted trunks of piñon and juniper trees—is a barn that shelters two sailboats in the middle of the Colorado desert. I first spotted them on a walk and stopped […]

Same River Twice

Since last week, we’ve been watching the weather forecast with something that’s almost joy, but won’t quite let itself be. Often, the weekly report has a beaded string of sunshines, with different ways to describe them. Abundant sunshine. Plenty of sun. Hot. Sometimes, there are clouds. But even when the slot machine lineup of my weather […]

Helen and I Smack Down Unhappiness

Oh my but it was hot.  The sun stayed out, the humidity kept climbing, the air was flat-white and dense, walking through it took more effort than it was worth.  The temperature was in the upper 90’s, heat index in the upper 110’s, and they stayed that way for days.  A cardinal sat in the […]

Dr. Frankenstein’s Climate

Between two and three o’clock in the morning on June 16, 1816, during a restless night in a villa on Lake Geneva, eighteen-year-old Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin had a waking dream. As the moon shone through the shutters of her room, she remembered, “I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had […]

Sensory Underload

Three years ago on about this day in early June I was stuck in a whiteout. Camped in an icebound mountain range in south-central Alaska, my buddies and I found ourselves pinned down for two days in near-zero visibility on an icefield. A heavy, snow-laden sky had come down and smothered us. As mountaineers say, it […]