In Mist

John Keats called autumn the season of “mists and mellow fruitfulness,” but there is nothing mild about this particular mist. It came in the night on a cold wind that rattled the windows, and it lingered after the cold rains moved out this morning. It seems to mean that we will have no autumn at … Continue reading In Mist

In Darkness

Early autumn is the heyday of the orb-weaver spiders. A spider's egg sac bursts open in spring, and the infinitesimal hatchlings spend all summer growing and hiding from predators. By fall, they are large enough to emerge from their secret places and spin their marvelous webs. Every night the female makes an intricate trap for … Continue reading In Darkness


The rains we’ve been waiting for, yearning for, have finally arrived in our part of Tennessee, and the sugar-maple leaves are falling now in great clots. Rain is falling and leaves are falling and my youngest son, like his brothers, has received his Selective Service card in the mail, and today I have returned to … Continue reading Nevermore


All summer long the chipmunks dart in and out of the crawlspace through little tunnels they’ve dug under the foundation on every side of my house. Open either door, and a chipmunk will flee, disappearing into a potted plant, up a tree trunk, under the front stoop where they have fashioned their bunkers. Solitary creatures … Continue reading Bunker

Acorn Season

We always know it’s acorn season even as the acorns cling stubbornly to the white oak growing just outside the bedroom window. They’re still green, but the squirrels are done with waiting. At dawn they sit in the branches of the magnificent oak and pluck acorns, taking a single bite before flinging the rejects to … Continue reading Acorn Season