She flies from plant to plant, placing her tiny eggs carefully, each one of them alone on the underside of a milkweed. Within a few days, a head is visible as a black speck within the egg. The nearly microscopic mandibles begin to munch their way out-the only meal that isn’t milkweed for their entire caterpillar existence.
For the next two weeks, the caterpillar eats and grows, eats and grows. Each time it becomes too big for its skin it molts and each of these segments of caterpillar growth is known by the magical name of instar. Instar; in-star; in…
“Even a wounded world is feeding us. Even a wounded world holds us, giving us moments of wonder and joy. I choose joy over despair. Not because I have my head in the sand, but because joy is what the earth gives me daily and I must return the gift.” (1)
Robin Wall Kimmerer
Shortly after the fall equinox, on the last day of September, I took myself for a walk in the woods — a two-mile loop around a small lake named “Heart” that I return to regularly and have grown to love. I meandered along the trail, taking…
“To dream of the universe is to know that we are small and brief as insects, born in a flash of rain and gone a moment later. We are delicate and our world is fragile.”
In June of 2019, I went with my family to New York City. (Remember when we could travel to other cities and visit museums?) While there, I spent a couple of hours in the American Museum of Natural History and found myself lingering in the Hall of Biodiversity which presents the abundance of life on earth and the factors that threaten it. …
When You Cannot See the Horizon
1. Wake up in full darkness. Do not turn on a light, let your eyes adjust, and trust. Pull on woolly socks and a warm sweatshirt for the predawn chill. A blanket might be a nice addition.
2. Make your coffee in the dark. You know the way and it is worth it. You will be glad of the warmth of the mug held in your hands, or pressed gently against your cheek and forehead, and the roasty fragrance as you awaken.
3. Go out to the porch and sit in your chair with…
A poetic portrait of my city
Green is rising up
wherever you rest your eyes.
Maple saplings wave
from yawning windows,
the shattered glass now long buried,
sparkling hints in the dirt,
on the dark, cracked pavement.
A poem for Thelma, 1933–2013*
A visitor, found in the sun
early on the morning
after the day you would have turned 82
— a Polyphemus moth,
gently resting torn wings
on the front lawn.
Its wings were burnished tan,
each soft quadrant held a bright porthole,
darkly bounded by graded colors
like a western horizon,
well after sunset, over great waters.
Four small windows
of fine transparent membrane
revealed dewy grass
in four unique perspectives,
all the lit greens
and varied geometry.
The night before,
your son and I had gone
to hear a talk offered
by a very real…
A true story
The title of this story is a little misleading, but it is literally true. This is a real story. There is a cemetery called, “Mouth” in the woods behind my friend’s house near the coast of Lake Michigan.
The Mouth Cemetery is a very old graveyard in terms of Michigan colonizer history. The oldest marked grave is dated 1851, but evidence has been found of several much older, unmarked graves. It is likely that the location had been used for a very long time to bury the dead, before white settlers established a shipping port and town.
In my spot on this round earth, our sun, poised to head south, balanced its illusory stillness at 11:32 pm, in darkness, amidst powerful storms, which had gathered all evening, unleashed their fury at nearly that moment of stasis.
Storms coalesced, raged, spent their wrath. We cranked the windows closed, rocked through the shortest night with several thundered awakenings: short night, short sleeps.
Early morning, cusp of dawn, tired but grateful for wakefulness at that very moment when rain quieted and stopped for birdsong crescendo outside my study window: melodies rich, dynamic, sweeter than usual, a few jubilant solo voices…
A poem of opening to love
I shroud in thick wool,
even as I yearn
to be shorn
when love encircles,
brightens the attenuated places,
a translucence, and I am touched
born out again . . .
a gradual unfurling
from woolly sheath,
and shame’s heavy robe,
slowly falls away, dispelled,
as I am seen, found.
You don’t leave,
though I muffle,
curl in cloudy wrappings,
I fear I am left;
and there you are, warm,
and a brightness,
deep within, rises
to meet a shining world.
Many of us fear abandonment…
So good to be known and so good to forget.
Alive, into a moonless night we ran, into the woods, into the darkness. Full of light emanating from our half naked bodies as we sloughed off layers, abandoned civilization for something more fragrant and real in the night. That dark earth under our feet on the path, pressing itself, cool on the tough skin of our soles. We sang and pledged our hearts to life. Believed we were love. We danced on moss and declared ourselves to joy.
I rose from my desk at the sound of your voice calling…