Sidewalk Nature: Mistletoe


Sidewalk nature: mistletoe at my feet.

This was a first. And given the season, I thought maybe the mistletoe had fallen out of someone’s Christmas decor. But after I’d tripped over it, I looked up, waaaay up, and saw a much bigger clump high in an elm, spotlit by late afternoon sun.  Continue reading “Sidewalk Nature: Mistletoe”


Sidewalk Nature (vacant lot)

Our dog walk took us to the vacant lot again. Every visit rewards us with new things to notice. Today the new things were new seeds (a sudden green ash windfall) and new graffiti:


Continue reading “Sidewalk Nature (vacant lot)”

Nature All Around Us, even in the loo

Never Home Alone, even in the bathtub

Nature IS all around us, even while reading a book called “Nature All Around Us.”

This little terrestrial isopod was found stranded in our bath today. At first I thought it was the usual woodlouse or pillbug, but look at those angled antennae and that spiky, forked “tail!!” Continue reading “Nature All Around Us, even in the loo”

Winter Solstice flowers


Folks get sad with the short days and cold weather, so I need to advertise what might be a brief antidote.
In the grass.
In late December.
Henbit’s tiny purple trumpets, chickweed’s white stars, and ivy-leaf speedwell’s bright blue eyes are all twinkling from the grass right now in Nashville. Continue reading “Winter Solstice flowers”

Winter Solstice

Winter solstice came and went, and this time I marked it with fire, and even better, with the publication of last year’s winter solstice story. I am grateful to Chapter 16 for including it in December’s essay lineup.

Winter Solstice image Brichetto

Chapter 16 is a branch of Humanities Tennessee, and it acts as our “virtual Tennessee Center for the Book.” And lucky for me, they also publish original essays from time to time.

Winter Solstice is a short, contemplative piece, with lots of American Robins, sugar maple leaves, and of course, hackberries . . . Continue reading “Winter Solstice”

Sidewalk signs


Of all the sidewalks in all the towns in all the world, this label dropped onto mine.

I looked down on my dawn walk a block from the Interstate, and saw this plant label: a nursery tag for my favorite native grass, Little Bluestem.

Right now, whole meadows of Little Bluestem are waving in Middle Tennessee cedar glades: thigh-high seas of wintery coppers and golds.
Can’t help interpreting this morning’s label as a sign to go see some today.


#SchizachyriumScoparium #grassland #nativeplants #alltheginjoints

The only white tree blooming now

The Hopper 

I am happy to be included in The Hopper! My essay is called “What White Tree is Blooming Now,” so I wanted a pic of the #litmag next to . . . a white tree blooming now. But in September, there just aren’t many white trees around. However, like most Southern cities, Nashville does have a shit-ton of crepe myrtles. And even though crepe myrtles are classed as shrubs, they can soar to over 30 feet. And as nearly every suburban block proves, these plants bloom month after month after month, taking us from summer to fall.  Continue reading “The only white tree blooming now”

Sidewalk Nature: milkweed vine

milkweed vine

On the Secret Path today:

When a climbing vine casts its tip out and out but finds nothing to grab, it will curve round and grab itself.

That’s what’s happened here. You can see the loop at the bottom of the photo, and how it continues as a younger, greener “switchback” still counter-clockwising up its earlier self.
The vine’s goal is to aim for sunlight by the most expedient means, which in this case is its own body. Continue reading “Sidewalk Nature: milkweed vine”