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 […]

Where the wild things are

We’re settling in to Innisfree, which means we’re also meeting our neighbors. Sydney is getting particularly up close and personal since the back porch he inhabits feels like its more part of the forest than the house. On Thursday morning, Sydney and I watched as doe walked cautiously past the porch. Syd was nervous but […]

Do not go gentle into that good night …

I’ve watched the entire Deadwood series at least 5 times. I’ve also rewatched John from Cincinnati multiple times. And I’m still astounded by David Milch’s writing. Who else could put a chunk of dialogue like this in a character’s mouth:  “I may have fucked up my life flatter ’n hammered shit, but I stand here […]

Settling in

After a week at Innisfree, we’re starting to feel at home. Sydney and Sunny are settling into their routines. Sydney even managed to draw first blood on the cabin, feasting briefly on the cedar baseboard behind his cage. So I’ll spend this weekend crafting an Anti-Sydney Device to place behind his cage. Come to think […]

Seeing the forest — and the trees

One the cusp of buying a cabin with 16 acres of forest, I started obsessing about trees. The book Seeing Trees: Discover the Extraordinary Secrets of Everyday Trees has been aiding and abetting my new fixation. One of the recommendations author Nancy Ross Hugo makes in Seeing Trees is to name specific trees and watch […]