Hackberry Jam

Our dog loves hackberry trees. If there is a hackberry seedling within range of her face, she finds it. Under the neighbor’s boxwood, up the U-channel of the stop sign, poking from a storm drain, or wherever. She plucks the leaves with her teeth. She will chew as many as her leash lets her have time for. The seedling may be flanked by baby elm or privet or althea or bush honeysuckle of a similar size, but she only goes for hackberry leaves. Continue reading “Hackberry Jam”

Frostflowers

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frostflower ribbon

Native flowers are blooming right now in Nashville—at least, until the sun hits them: frostflowers. Frostflowers happen when air temperature drops below freezing and warmer groundwater rises to extrude itself through the convenient conduit of a real flower stem, especially if that stem is a white crownbeard (Verbesina virginica). The water freezes on contact with air, and fresh waves push older crystals forward and out. Crownbeard’s winged structure aids the process. Other species can produce frostflowers, but white crownbeard is such a common enabler that the plant’s most common common name is frostweed. Continue reading “Frostflowers”

Field Trip Leavings (Meadow Tree Trail)

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Honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)

Field Trip Leavings is a short essay I wrote after an autumn ramble through the Meadow Tree Trail at Warner Park Nature Center. I’m delighted to report it has been published in The Fourth River“a journal of nature and place-based writing published by Chatham University’s MFA in Creative Writing Programs.” Continue reading “Field Trip Leavings (Meadow Tree Trail)”

Sidewalk Nature: Ginkgo Fruit

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ginkgo

Fall is here, and stuff is falling. Look down. Although this site is called Look Around, sometimes and to some people, to look around is too tall an order. So look down. It’s easier. Down is just past the margins of our smartphones. And down is the quickest place to see signs of the seasons.

Welcome to Sidewalk Nature. Today’s nature is ginkgo “fruit.”* Continue reading “Sidewalk Nature: Ginkgo Fruit”

Snowberry Clearwing Caterpillar

Snowberry Clearwing. Sounds like a unicorn name, doesn’t it?  But it’s a type of sphinx moth—Hemaris diffinis—and before it becomes a moth, it’s a caterpillar. The caterpillar even has a single “horn,” though fake (to scare predators) and on the rear (to confuse predators). Continue reading “Snowberry Clearwing Caterpillar”