Vesper Walk

There’s just enough snow on the ground for it to tip over the brim of my hiking boots. As we walk single-file through the clumps of fir and pine, the swish-squeak of polyestered thighs masquerades as birdsong, much to the frustration of my companions. Every so often our leader stops. His ears, red in the…

Anatomy of a Fall

0° I park the car and trade my shoes for roller skates. It’s the after-work hour and the gym rats are streaming toward the building. I go the other direction, find the sidewalk leading down into a mobile home park. As my speed increases exponentially, my body defaults to ski mode: toes turning toward each…

Elk River, Oregon © Tuula Rebhahn

River Time

The film was gorgeous but Tim’s short presentation afterward was electrifying, careening through fifty years of conservation history as his beautiful photographs flashed across the projector screen. As I watched, I couldn’t help but wonder where river awareness has been my entire life.

In Praise of the Unmanicured Lawn

There’s a fat bumblebee swerving between the buttercups in the shaggy patch of grass below my porch. She delicately mounts a yellow petal and investigates its inner regions, then sails to the next, a shaggy head of white clover. I know I should mow the lawn. The dandelions are reaching their long necks up to…

Why I Love the Freeway

“Line up all the cars,” my nephew instructs, as only a four-year-old can. I dutifully place each metallic replica on the colorful plastic racetrack, bumpers touching. Spencer separates them each by a millimeter. 

“Good,” he says, sitting back on his haunches. He loves cars, and he loves things to be ordered. My brother walks by, eating pasta. 

“Too many cars on the road,” he observes. “How are they going to get anywhere?” We ignore him. The track is a loop, anyway. The cars are on it, and they’re exactly where they’re supposed to be. 

Plastic Woes and Bag Lady Foes

1) During the 2011 International Coastal Cleanup, volunteers collected 120,450 pounds of plastic bags off of beaches in the United States. 

I just need some lentils. Well, and also some oats. I peer around the slow-moving bodies, hopeful for a stack of paper bags tucked between the rice and granola bins. A skinny kid in an apron is checking the steel jugs of vinegar, oil and syrup.

Pictures of Rocks and Sand

Geomorphology (from Ancient Greek: geo, “earth”; morphe, “form”; and logos, “study”): The study of the origin and evolution of Earth’s landscapes.
Geomorphophilia: The feeling of being in love with the way the landscape changes.

I walk cautiously down the narrow forest trail, avoiding little orange-bellied salamanders. (Are they star-gazers slow to seek their daytime hideouts, or just pine-needle loving amphibians out for a morning stroll?) I don’t stop to wonder…