Nashville’s Mustard

There are swaths of yellow right now in Elmington Park: small yellow blooms massed in the lawn. I hope the city doesn’t mow soon, because the yellow is Nashville mustard—our mustard—and it needs to go to seed and spread. I saw it on the way to Hebrew School, and as soon as I could, I went back and parked the car in the lot, then parked my body flat on the grass.

Continue reading “Nashville’s Mustard”

Cedar Apple

To me, this particular “spring ephemeral” is as welcome as a wildflower. It is a sign of the season: a “cedar apple,” doing its wacky thing in wet spring weather. This one is on our volunteer red-cedar tree in the front yard, and I’ve been waiting for the rusty, dry galls to wake from winter. Continue reading “Cedar Apple”

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”

Field Trip Leavings (Meadow Tree Trail)

honeylocust
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”