The Sullen Possum, the Damned Bobcat and Yonder Sycamore

Flush with the knowledge of a daylong tree identification class, I was determined to walk out to the White Whale of my micro-forest, a few vertical brushstrokes of light slashing skyward amid the autumn rust that’s encased the rest of the hollow. That tree catches my eye every time I lumber down the driveway during […]

The Strange Lives of Familiar Insects

I’m watching insects through an entirely new lens on this autumn day, bathed in October Light (as John Gardner would have it). Crows raise hell in the trees on the other side of the ridge. Stanton Moore’s tribute to Allen Toussaint rolls out of the cabin in a funky tumble of brass and drums, rattling […]

When trees put on their thinking caps

The more I read about trees, the more convinced I am that they possess a sort of intelligence. In the Paris Review, Cody Delistraty’s article “The Intelligence of Plants” summarizes a lot of the current thinking on how “smart” plants are. It’s interesting and compelling. I just finished listening to the audiobook version of Peter […]

I don’t think my editor will go for that

(A) reporter interviewed me over the phone. “You write so much about Eskimos in this book,” she said. “How come there are so many Eskimos?” I said that the spare arctic landscape suggested the soul’s emptying itself in readiness for the incursions of the divine. There was a pause. At last she said, “I don’t […]