I recently met a Facebook friend in real life for the first time, and one of the subjects that came up in conversation was our respective blogs. "So you're a trained naturalist?" she asked. I had to confess that I'm actually more of a Googler, and not even a trained one. It took a lot of … Continue reading Gall


Every spring my bird-watching neighbor across the street starts waiting for the rose-breasted grosbeaks to return to her feeders for a day or two during their long, long migration, and every spring they turn up, right on time, to feast on the safflower seeds she puts out especially for them. I keep a safflower feeder up … Continue reading Migrants


Mother's Day is hard. It has been five years since I last spent this day with my own mother and just eleven since my grandmother was here to share it too. After two decades as the junior mother of the clan, I am now the only woman left in this house. I am inexpressibly grateful … Continue reading Grief

Two By Two

In Middle Tennessee we don't have much of a winter, even under perfectly normal circumstances. Rainy gray day follows rainy gray day, punctuated once in a while by the clarity of snow. This winter hardly counted as winter so mild were the days, so rare was the snow. Still, the trees were bare, and the … Continue reading Two By Two


When I was in college, English majors were required to take at least one math class (or approved math substitute) and at least two science classes (for which there were no substitutes at all). Both requirements filled me with dread. In high school, when it was my turn to go to the board, the trigonometry … Continue reading Science

He Is Not Here

Three or four years ago, weeding the garden in early spring, my middle son inadvertently uncovered a cottontail nest tucked beneath the rosemary. The baby rabbits seemed hopelessly vulnerable: thumb-sized creatures, eyes still closed, without a bit of shelter from the cold March rains. And yet their nest under the rosemary plant was a perfectly … Continue reading He Is Not Here


Wild storms came to Middle Tennessee this week, right on schedule for a region on the edge of Tornado Alley. Many branches fell out of our seventy-year-old maple trees, and many others were left dangling, torn but not broken—a scenario that is always a trigger at our house for a conversation that goes like this: … Continue reading Secrets