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"Science says the first word on everything, and the last word on nothing" - Victor Hugo

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It Was So Hot

This post originally appeared in September of 2020. It was so hot today that when I stepped from shade into sun I melted Birds came and drank me and butterflies and wasps licked the deltas of my once-wrists and they flew me...

A Neighborhood Beaver Pond, Gone Too Dam Soon

Two weeks ago, wandering my central Colorado town, I stumbled upon a beaver dam. This was both typical — I’ve spent much of the last eight years finding and loitering near beaver ponds — and surprising, insofar as the dam was tucked into a little suburban stream in a little suburban neighborhood, one of those generic out-of-the-box developments that...

The Scientist in the Garden

This post first appeared in 2012, when I was full of enthusiasm for seed catalogs and tomatoes. Now, my tomatoes are full of enthusiasm, too. A volunteer that sprung up in a planter with succulents in it has now been growing strong since last year, bursting with tomatoes even through the winter. What kind is it? No idea. Maybe I should call it “Happy.”...

Make Me Like a Tree, and Leave Me

These days I find it hard not to ponder the end of things…the pandemic (if ever!), menopause (I’ve heard 10 years of hot flashes?!), life. I wrote this about the third one a little ways back and I haven’t changed my mind. — When I die, I want to be gently curled into the fetal position and put into one of those biodegradable pods from...

The Fog and the Flock

The fog is thick and so you hope the auklets will come early. They do, a few minutes before sunset: ten, maybe twenty of them, although it is hard to tell since they are for the time being far enough away to be little more than dots. They circle over the waves in a tight group, not daring to stray too far from one another as they follow some vague clockwise...

Summer Feet

My summer feet are hoping to be on vacation right now, but they’re worried about wildfires. This post first ran in August 2019. At the beginning of summer, my feet often feel tender. There is a particular stretch of asphalt between the university parking lot and the beach that is especially pitted, and the sharp dark bits of broken ground make...

The Rites of Summer

This first ran June 25, 2010.  It’s from our beloved founder, Heather Pringle.  She’s an archeology writer, meaning she has to follow archeologists wherever they go.  This time, they went to the Arizona desert.  I can picture them asking, “where’s the writer? did she faint again?” Sit in air-conditioning and comfort yourself in not being Heather...

Live, Laugh, Shun

If you grew up in the U.S. South or Midwest, there’s a good chance you are familiar with the “live laugh love” home decor aesthetic. For the uninitiated, it’s hard to describe, as it takes many forms, but, like US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart once defined obscenity: you know it when you see it. It’s farmhouse-chic, all reclaimed wood and burlap,...

Free AI Lesson Plans

I’ve been playing around with the AI text-to-visual generator Midjourney, whose iterations on human words make the user feel they are working alongside a true collaborator. The results are impossible to direct but full of ideas that are a few associative leaps away from the prompts I give it. There’s no other way for me to think about it except that...

Summer Bliss

My sister and me, on our very own path. Yesterday I went down to the river with my sister – the only rational activity in this godawful heat wave – and we waded in up to our waists, squinting into the late afternoon sun. We swam until our blood cooled, then perched on a rock midstream, watching the green water spiral away in eddies and...

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