Back to school season is always a busy time in families, especially in a teacher's family, but these last two weeks have been unusually chaotic. All jumbled up together were writing deadlines, crunch time at work, the family patriarch's birthday, a series of houseguests, a long-distance wedding (for which there were no suitable shoes in … Continue reading Ragged


Out in the pollinator garden, the season of plenty has given way to the season of competition as ruby-throated hummingbirds bulk up for the coming migration, goldfinches stuff themselves with flower seeds against a lean winter, and insects squeeze in one more round of procreation before the daylight shortens and the cold creeps in. All day … Continue reading Territorial


In 1968, two weeks before my seventh birthday, my family left the sandy red dirt of the wiregrass region of Lower Alabama and moved to Birmingham, a roiling city built in the shadow of Red Mountain in the southern Appalachians. That move should have been a culture shock—I was leaving a tiny town untouched by … Continue reading Home