Sidewalk Nature: Maple Flower Flurries

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male flowers of the sugar maple

Maple flower flurries.

No sitting on the porch with a teacup today: falling flowers flit past the brim despite my hand as cover.

This is one of those milestones of spring easily missed, especially if you don’t happen to live or walk or park under a Sugar Maple.
I love this moment. It helps make up for the maple flowers leaving, and the maple leaves coming.
If I pay attention to all the steps—from bud to budburst to flower to leaf to fruit—spring feels slower, more manageable, less panicked. Continue reading “Sidewalk Nature: Maple Flower Flurries”

Sidewalk Nature: Hackberry logs

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curb alert

Someone chainsawed a hackberry limb into fireplace lengths and left them at the curb. I watched these logs for a week. Every time I walked past, the stained heartwood at the cut ends looked like something different: a maple leaf, a cranesbill leaf, the foot of a gull, a Rorschach test. They reminded me of polymer clay, when you wrap noodles of color inside a contrast color, and then slice. Or like cloissonné. Or like pinwheel cookie dough. Continue reading “Sidewalk Nature: Hackberry logs”

Nature All Around Us, even in the loo

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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

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henbit

Folks get sad with the short days and cold weather, so I need to advertise what might be a brief antidote.
Flowers.
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”