None can compare

When I see bright, fluorescent pink in the forest, it’s usually leftover trail blaze tape or an empty Energy Gel packet. I was huffing along the trail, trying to finish my eight-plus miles in three and half hours. Looked like I’d make it. I didn’t. Because of the pink. No, it wasn’t FIRE PINK. It was … read more None can compare

Big brown jug

My sisters and I long ago stopped buying each other gifts for birthdays and Christmas. I think we all hate the process of shopping for presents because, when you live far apart, it’s a guessing game with too many wrong answers. There’s one gift that my sisters will accept any time of the year, though. It’s always … read more Big brown jug

The red buckeyes: In the forest

October 20, 2013 I had finally figured out that the red buckeyes would never flourish in our dry, clay patch yard at home. So I carefully dug up the first one and put it into a pot to take to Booger Hollow. Its root had a funny kink, presumably from where I’d broken it as a seedling. I … read more The red buckeyes: In the forest

The patient iris

For all my love of nature, I’m a complete klutz when it comes to growing plants. They used to run away screaming at the very sight of me. The only house plant that survived my brown thumb was an indestructible ficus tree I had for years in Seattle. Flowers? Forget it. One day five years ago, … read more The patient iris

Pandas of the American forest

I just wanted to see one. My emotional state this afternoon needed a strong dose of nature, so I took a hike. And I was thinking about the showy orchid. I’d only seen one before, in all nine of my Appalachian springs. The orchid was an omen I longed for. Just one, to make me happy. I … read more Pandas of the American forest

At the speed of a cranefly

My day was saved by this leaf. Perfect day for a hike: sunshine and near 70 degrees. But I couldn’t bear the thought of hiking. Even after sleeping nearly 12 hours, I got worn out from just heating and eating lunch, taking a shower and distributing leftover cornbread to the birds. No energy left for … read more At the speed of a cranefly