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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….)

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….)

The Eagles of Reelfoot Lake
The New York Times, 28 February 2019

In the far northwest corner of Tennessee, just this side of the Mississippi River, lies a landscape like no other. Reelfoot Lake is less a lake than a system of bayous, creeks and swampland connected by areas of shallow open water. It was created in the winter of 1811-1812 when a series of powerful earthquakes and aftershocks caused 15,000 acres of cypress forest to sink. The waters of the Mississippi River rushed into the depression. (more….)

The Call of the American Lotus
The New York Times, 9 July 2018

From the middle of its namesake delta, the city of Mobile, Ala., looks like a mythical place: shiny skyscrapers framed by cattails and marsh grass, a city that reaches into a sky so vast it holds all the weather there is — bright sun and cottony clouds and pregnant thunderheads and torrential rain — and all at one time. From the middle of that magnificent delta, Mobile could be Atlantis rising from the sea or the Emerald City of Oz. (more….)

The Spider in My Life
The New York Times, 23 July 2018

A small gray spider has pitched an elaborate camp at my work space in the family room. She is not an orb-weaver like E.B. White’s famous Charlotte. This spider’s web is a multilayered hammock-like construction strung between the leaves of the orchid I got for Mother’s Day and anchored by silken strands to the window frame in back and to an African violet and a desk lamp on either side. (more….)