There’s Shrinkage

I love it when research into other animals is totally applicable to humans. A recent report on the common shrew (Sorex araneus), by Max Planck Institute researcher Javier Lazaro et al., reveals that the animal’s head shrinks drastically in winter. That includes its brain mass. Running this discovery up the food chain, I think I […]

Crackle, Hiss, Pop

March showed up last week, on little cat feet rather than lion paws. A gentle snow jacketed the crocuses before watering their roots. The least patient daffodils opened, heads dipped against any last-ditch icy gusts. Spring’s legs are wobbly, but she’ll find her stride soon enough. Still, at my little cabin in the Virginia woods, […]

Cold Hands, Warm Space Heater

On my way to the dry cleaners, I passed a gaggle of highschoolers on their way home from class. The high was 16 degrees yesterday, and the wind made it feel like single digits. But most of these students were dressed for a crisp fall day. One kid, some Justin Bieberesque boy on a bike, […]

Winter Blooms

Winter is settling in: the air is nippy, branches are bare, and wearing open-toed shoes is now out of the question. During a recent visit to a horticulture centre, though, I was impressed to see that many flowers in their gardens still bloomed. Cheery red blossoms, gold-centered asters, and frilly magenta petals popped against a bleak backdrop […]