Nature Writing

POETRY: Morphometry by Helen Macdonald

June 22, 2018

I have had live crows, hawks, owls, opossums, squirrels, snakes, and lizards so that my room has sometimes reminded me of Noah’s ark; but Noah had a wife in one corner of it, and in this particular our parallel does not altogether tally. (Alexander Wilson) I had an idea of this, is stacked with song & cool blood, bruised with salad herbs & oil Of petrae, callt oil of peter, salts, flats, larks. Wet feathers continue to rise in my breast Whereas your darker plumes operate a weak tacet broken in twain, se muer, to moult & speak for a hope For a moment or two for the pile of the land rocks back in a dubitable movement shiny as a climate sere As desert, it is all flush. Through a miracle of hatred an expansion of range will [...]

NATURE: A Wind-Storm In The Forests by John Muir

June 15, 2018

From The Mountains of California The mountain winds, like the dew and rain, sunshine and snow, are measured and bestowed with love on the forests to develop their strength and beauty. However restricted the scope of other forest influences, that of the winds is universal. The snow bends and trims the upper forests every winter, the lightning strikes a single tree here and there, while avalanches mow down thousands at a swoop as a gardener trims out a bed of flowers. But the winds go to every tree, fingering every leaf and branch and furrowed bole; not one is forgotten; the Mountain Pine towering with outstretched arms on the rugged buttresses of the icy peaks, the lowliest and most retiring tenant of the dells; they seek and find them all, [...]

NATURE: Orion Rises On The Dunes by Henry Beston

June 8, 2018

From The Outermost House So came August to its close, ending its last day with a night so luminous and still that a mood came over me to sleep out on the open beach under the stars.  There are nights in summer when darkness and ebbing tide quiet the universal wind, and this August night was full of that quiet of absence, and the sky was clear.  South of my house, between the bold fan of a dune and the wall of a plateau, a sheltered hollow opens seaward, and to this nook I went, shouldering my blankets sailorwise.  In the star-shine the hollow was darker than the immense and solitary beach, and its floor was still pleasantly warm with the overflow of day. I fell asleep uneasily, and woke again as one wakes out-of-doors.  The vague walls [...]

NATURE: About Trees by J. Sterling Morton

June 1, 2018

From Arbor Day Leaves  A tree is the perfection in strength, beauty, and usefulness of vegetable life.  It stands majestic through the sun and storm of centuries.  Resting in summer beneath its cooling shade, or sheltering besides its massive trunk from the chilling blast of winter, we are prone to forget the little seed whence it came.  Trees are no respecters of persons.  They grow as luxuriantly beside the cabin of the pioneer as against the palace of the millionaire.  Trees are not proud.  What is this tree?  This great trunk, these stalwart limbs, these beautiful branches, these gracefully bending boughs, these gorgeous flowers, this flashing foliage and ripening fruit, purpling in the autumnal haze are only living materials [...]

POETRY: Science by Alison Hawthorne Deming

May 25, 2018

Then it was the future, though what’s arrived isn’t what we had in mind, all chrome and cybernetics, when we set up exhibits in the cafeteria for the judges to review what we’d made of our hypotheses. The class skeptic (he later refused to sign anyone’s yearbook, calling it a sentimental degradation of language) chloroformed mice, weighing the bodies before and after to catch the weight of the soul, wanting to prove the invisible real as a bagful of nails. A girl who knew it all made cookies from euglena, a one-celled compromise between animal and plant, she had cultured in a flask. We’re smart enough, she concluded, to survive our mistakes, showing photos of farmland, poisoned, gouged, eroded. No one believed he really had built [...]