Autumn and its Tiny Animal Delights

“There is a season, turn, turn, turn,” the Byrds sang in 1965, quoting loosely from Ecclesiastes, “and a time for every purpose, unto heaven.” Every year about this time I’m reminded of the appropriateness of this old Bible verse turned folk-rock poetic insight into the turning year as the first day of fall rolls around. Natural cycles (“turn, turn,...

Doggie Dove Bars

Our dog Toby has been eating cicadas the last few weeks. I limit him to three a day, though if I let him run free and wild amid the arboreal buffet I think he’d top that in a few seconds. You’ve all heard the cicadas. It’s our signature summer sound in the South. If you have hardwood trees you can hear them rasping in waves. It’s a sharp, rolling, rusty sound. The woods...

Whose Planet is it Anyway?

It’s easy to draw negative conclusions about yellowjackets. They seem to us humans to always be in bad moods and so they are hard to love. They have little charisma. Though yellowjackets make good football mascots, they would not be on anyone’s short list for the next pilot cuddly creature show on “Animal Planet.” Yellowjackets seem ill-tempered and scary. We associate...

Big Nature on the Little Screen

For the last two weeks at our house we’ve been watching the Discovery Channel’s powerful and mesmerizing eleven episode series “Planet Earth,” or as Betsy calls it, the “Somebody’s Mama Steals Somebody Else’s Babies so Her Babies Can Eat” series. Betsy isn’t far from wrong. The series is focused on the planet’s vast and complex food...

The Dying of the Bees

This week I started to teach the last novel of the semester, Sue Monk Kidd’s THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES.  This is the story of a young motherless girl who lives on a South Carolina peach farm and throughout the story, bees are a significant symbol, first of the young hero’s fears and fantasies, and then later for the health of her community and the hope for her own future. I’ve...

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