Posts tagged "nature"
Steering into Winter

Steering into Winter

The last day of the year is barren. Trees long stripped, branches stark against the grey sky. The New England forest reveals the cages of its body, limbs tangling together, weighed down by ice and debris. From a distance the forest looks like a hundred men stooped from age and the harshness of living through...
The Wordless Woods

The Wordless Woods

Foraging along the woods’ edge, the doe looks up from the hydrangea she is nibbling and twitches an ear—a salute, I think, stopping the car, though it isn’t a salute. She may be afraid for herself and the fawn with its muzzle in the mast, but shows no fear standing serene at the border of...

How to Untangle Environmental Stories: Five Contradictory Lessons

When we talk about environmental writing, one irony has always fascinated and sometimes frustrated me. Alongside chronicling the wonders of the non-human world, we’re writing about people trying to fulfill very basic needs—food, air, water, clothing, shelter—in sustainable ways, but doing so leads us into a dense tangle of politics, race, gender, and class. Too...
Two Septembers

Two Septembers

1. Blink We forgot to drop off the gas bill until 4 am, but that was just an excuse. Really, we drove out because we wanted to be in the storm. The usual thunderstorm things happened: rain blowing in on us, which was a refreshment at first, then a call to close the car windows;...
What I Do on My Terrace Is None of Your Business

What I Do on My Terrace Is None of Your Business

The woman in the apartment on my left has her head drooped low and an arm weighed down by a yellow watering can spouting all over the clay pots that line the metal bars of her terrace.  If she had fuchsia pink hair, she would look exactly like the hibiscus flowers she’s been growing in...
If You Find a Mouse on a Glue Trap

If You Find a Mouse on a Glue Trap

If you find a mouse on a glue trap, he’ll eyeball you with one black shiny eye while breathing in and out faster than you have ever seen anything breathe. You will panic, though you know the mouse is panicking harder. When your husband points out that the mouse is not alone in the furnace...
A Murder of Crows

A Murder of Crows

Once upon a time in a summer camp as far north and left as you might go from here, there was not just one crow, but many. There always had been crows in that place. There was also a hired groundskeeper who watched after the summer camp cabins, repaired sheds and steps, cleared trails in...

A Review of Will Dowd’s Areas of Fog

Here in New England, we had four nor’easters in March: Riley, Quinn, Skylar, and most recently Toby. My friend’s business trip to Boston coincided with Quinn. While I’d classify her as a   conscientious, cautious, and well-planned traveler, she decided this time not to pack snow boots. They didn’t match her outfits. They were too big...
Survival

Survival

Imperceptibly, the white pine has grown so tall no one can see what’s happening up there. Dirt has mounded at its base, the underside asserting itself: a bulge of the invisible. You can see the tree from far down the lake. It was planted ninety years ago by my father and his brother. They put...
Consciousness

Consciousness

Quick as a cut, darkness came to the afternoon, to the nursery where I sat cross-legged on the floor, a white raft of a blanket under us. My newborn sucked her fingers while clumped in the crooks of my arms. We both squinted toward the window, trying to make sense of it all: the sudden...
The End of a Story

The End of a Story

Lately, there has been a barred owl in the park across the street. Walking the dog after work, we noticed him on the ground. When he saw the dog, he spread his wings, mottled brown and white, and swooped up into a tree. He perched himself on a branch, looking down at us as we...

A Review of Barbara Hurd’s Listening to the Savage: River Notes and Half-Heard Melodies

About half-way through Barbara Hurd’s latest essay collection, Listening to the Savage: River Notes and Half-Heard Melodies, I find myself splayed across a granite boulder in the middle of the small river that runs through my backyard in rural Vermont. Obviously, I am listening for crayfish. An avid river watcher, I confess that until reading...
Timberline

Timberline

Here on the edge of timberline, boulders brace the sky. The slope slips ridge by ridge, rippling toward foothills far below. Forests flock the dark, layered and deepening into the thick of it, fringed with light. We are all emigrants in this wilderness that is not, settled centuries ago as migrations followed straights north and...
Bear Fragments

Bear Fragments

1.  In the High Sierra, her first time sleeping in a tent, my friend Pilar from Barcelona is terrified. She is afraid of bears. She wipes toothpaste from the corners of her mouth, tucks her hair into the hood of her sleeping bag, and cinches it against cool alpine air. She stares at the nylon...

A Review of Patrice Vecchione’s Step into Nature: Nurturing Imagination and Spirit in Everyday Life

Patrice Vecchione has experience prompting writers, whether university students, community members, or elementary school students. Over the years, though, she has noticed a shifting relationship among them to the imagination. Individuals who used to respond to going outside to look at the clouds with descriptions of “elephants parading, a dragon biting its own tail, a...
A Brief Atmospheric Future

A Brief Atmospheric Future

If we’re to believe the neuroscientist Professor Marcus Pembrey, from University College London, who concluded that “Behaviour can be affected by events in previous generations which have been passed on through a form of genetic memory…phobias, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders… [even] sensitivity to [a] cherry blossom scent…” then the pigeon knows of its ancestors’...
Necrologies: Mothers & Fathers

Necrologies: Mothers & Fathers

BROWN RAT We only lived in the little house for three years. I still slept in a crib and watched Sesame Street while my mother did calisthenics. I do not remember eating or sleeping there. I don’t remember what the yard looked like. I do not remember my father’s shape as he moved through the...
A Brief History of Water

A Brief History of Water

Last Sunday a displaced water snake interrupted our nightly walk. My beloved and I watched it roil under the street light, metallic in its shimmers. Overhead, a companionable moon, which can move seven-tenths of the earth’s surface without lifting a finger. Also overhead but not so far away, the firmament, which possesses a simple job...