First Fire

Yesterday I laid our first fire of the season. It’s an event I mark the arrival of winter by. A string of nights with temperatures below freezing brought on the fire-building. I dragged in two split logs from the front porch, and in a few minutes the first cold weather fire was blazing away in our living room. Who doesn’t like an open fire? I know it’s not everyone. A fire is...

Thrill of the Craft

I’d never heard the term “thrillcraft” until I saw it in the title of an e-mail the other morning. It arrived in a posting from an environmental listserve reviewing an anthology of essays by that name expounding upon the dangers to nature of off-road vehicles. By thrillcraft the authors mean snowmobiles, personal watercraft, dune and swamp buggies, 4-wheelers, and dirt bikes,...

Why Write About Nature?

This past weekend I drove to Charlottesville, Virginia to speak at a reading sponsored by the Southern Environmental Law Center, a group responsible for some of the best and most important conservation work being done in the South. I like to think of SELC as the legal voice for Southern land and animals. They had my friend Janisse Ray and me up in celebration of their Philip Reed Award, which we...

Snakes in the Yard

It’s been over a year since I wrote about snakes, but I think it’s time. SNAKES ON A PLANE has brought my reptile friends into the spotlight, and once again they’re getting a bad rap. I have enjoyed encounters with snakes for three decades now and still mark my years by the first snake I see in the spring. The year 2006 it was a Northern Brown Snake out in the yard, a slug,...

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