bumblebee in foxglove

Autonomy

I blame Lewis Thomas for my fixation on autonomy. In his essay by that name he talked about happily giving control of his liver, heart, and the rest of his insides to his body. It does a much better job of regulating these functions that he would, he reasoned, though conceding, “it might be something of a temptation to take…

dodder

Getting Muddy

Getting muddy. I recommend it, once in a while. Saturday’s outing started out as serious business. We stood just a stone’s throw from the Huntingdon Valley fault line, an ancient break in the underlying rock that stretches through Montgomery and Bucks Counties, and crosses the Delaware River somewhere around Trenton. Seven near strangers had gathered in a lot near busy…

Grace in Death 2

Taking the Measure of Love

Love. It defines us. Sometimes it wrecks us. More has been written about love than about any other aspect of our human nature. And yet, we have no solid knowledge about its mechanisms. We come upon it, often, by chance. Is love enough, we wonder? Does the comfort and joy outweigh the risk? Once we find it, we recognize it.…

DSCF2899

The Horizontals of Winter

Spruces frosted, roofs white, the horizontals stage themselves as they never can in spring and summer. Striated banks that rise from the river exhibit the perspective forced upon them by the ages, layer upon layer of sediment lifted and thrust into position by the churnings of the earth. Gentle angles of leafless trees hold the pure white snow, their crooked…

marbling

Rocks Have Attitude

They tilt, in one direction or another. On College Hill in Easton, they dip to the southeast. This is one clue to decoding the riddle of the land we occupy for the tiny speck of time that is the present. We are within the puzzle, and typically we walk around oblivious of the signs of the millions of life forms…

moluccella morning sun

The Moluccella Mystery

Bells of Ireland are not from Ireland, but from Turkey or Syria. Some say they were named for the exotic Maluku Islands, home of mega-bats like flying foxes, and nocturnal marsupials like cuscuses and sugar gliders. Easily grown and self-seeding, the green bells might drift into the category of weeds, except for one thing: in my garden at least, they…

jewelweed flower

Jewelweed

I call it a placeholder. I shouldn’t but I do. This is meant to be a complimentary designation of jewelweed, which is actually more jewel than weed. Impatiens capensis is the real name of this native annual that springs from the moist earth when the soil gets sufficiently warm, and takes its sweet time manufacturing seeds. It likes it wet.…