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The Trees Might Save Us Yet
The New York Times, 23 July 2019

My whole family was watching the HBO series “Chernobyl” when a big sugar maple tree in our front yard split in half, falling a few feet short of the corner of the house. We didn’t hear the actual crash, perhaps because the storm that took out the tree was already so loud, perhaps because the dramatized cataclysm on the television in our family room was louder still, or at least more absorbing. (more….)

Writing Through Extreme Grief Helped Me Become Myself Again
The Literary Hub, 19 July 2019

The cover of my first book, Late Migrations, features a leaf-filled silhouette of a little girl’s face. My face. The original silhouette was made by an Alabama street artist in 1970. I was eight years old, and already I knew I wanted to be a writer. A nature writer. In an apparently preternatural understanding of the economy of nature writing, I also planned to be a large-animal veterinarian; I would deliver calves by day and write books by night. (more….)

The Flower That Came Back From the Dead
The New York Times, 24 June 2019

Certain old-fashioned words from fairy tales and storybooks still cling to me from childhood. MoorValeBogGlade. For a child, such words conjure magical places — untouched, holy lands where fairies might live and animals might speak in ways I understand. Not long after I moved to Tennessee, I heard the term “limestone cedar glade” for the first time and immediately thought again of magic. (more….)

I Turned My Back for a Second, Half a Second, and He Was Grown
The New York Times, 10 June 2019

Driving due south in spring is like speeding up time. My mother, who grew up on a peanut farm in Lower Alabama, believed that the growing season expands northward at the rate of a hundred miles per week. I thought about her theory as I was driving south last month, watching the new-green leaves near home fast forward into a denser, darker verdure. I had set off from Nashville in springtime, but when I arrived at my sister’s house near Birmingham, it was already full summer. (more….)