The Nature of Technology

Before I began teaching my annual nature writing class online in Chatham’s low-residency MFA program, I taught on-campus incarnations of the same course. One of the course requirements, then and now, was that students keep a nature journal, which has a long tradition in the nature writing genre. Students are asked to choose a single … Continue reading

A Return, Very Grudgingly

I’ve been missing for a long while, but not entirely of my own too-busy doing. Sometime between my last post here in July and this past December when I logged in again to post in preparation for the new semester’s nature writing grad students, the Blogger automated software mistakenly detected this innocuous nature blog as … Continue reading

A Battle Over Wild Things

A few weeks ago, after our conversation, Next Door Neighbor B. took it upon herself to ask the landscapers to remove – physically and with the help of what I assume are noxious chemicals – the chocolate vine that climbed our trellis and balcony out back. I guess she got it into her head that … Continue reading

Gratefully, Is What Is Best

We arrived home last night, just at dusk, tired, emotional, anxious after a journey that took hours longer than it should have – the usual snaking snarl of D.C. Beltway traffic – stopped at a light along Tyler Avenue, when J. noticed a firefly land on the windshield. We’ve been eagerly anticipating their seasonal arrival, … Continue reading

Deep, Strange-Scented Shade of the Great Dark

I was outside just now, giving the last of the breadloaf to the birds (oh, who do I kid? to the squirrels, really), when my next-door neighbor B. approached me to give me a most-serious warning: she’d seen “several” snakes in her yard and she wanted us to know to look out for them. Upon … Continue reading

In Which Patience is Rewarded

Perhaps it is our higher elevation. Perhaps it is just that they were languidly enjoying the warmer climates and didn’t want to leave. Perhaps the journey just took longer than usual. But although they were a full month behind others in the area, this afternoon I looked out at the feeder I’ve been diligently refilling … Continue reading

A Return, Long Anticipated

Earlier, standing in the kitchen looking at the birds outside on the feeders, I got to wondering where our ruby-throated hummingbirds might be, right now. Tomorrow is the equinox, after all. Then I remembered that there are much-more-obsessive-than-I people out there who are tracking their migration. And I checked the map and discovered that some … Continue reading

Unwelcome Guests

I was sitting at the kitchen table early yesterday morning working on a frustrating essay revision for an upcoming publication (though, perhaps not – if these revisions are not *accepted,* I’m pulling the piece) when I heard The Sound. Unmistakable. Too familiar. The clicking, whirring sound of a recently awakened, stupidly flying, crashing-into-everything stinkbug. It’s … Continue reading

Local Culture

Preschooler: Mommy, why do we all have to turn to bones someday?Me: Well, because nothing on the planet lives forever and ever.Preschooler: Except plastic. I’ve been too busy this semester to post about the recent controversy over what to do about Radford’s vulture populations, but it’s clear that the mitigation plan imposed a few months … Continue reading

On the Nature of Blog Writing. And Me.

Je n’ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n’ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte. I have made this letter longer than usual because I lack the time to make it shorter. —Blaise Pascal I have spent the summer and fall guiltily pretending to ignore the dozen or so started, but … Continue reading