Essays

Flourish

After years of writing technical publications on wildlife research, I am delighted to finally have time and space to nurture the literary side of me. Here are my recent essays.

A Death Well-Lived

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After death, many trees enter into a new life of community service by providing nesting and roosting sites for birds and even bats. I peer inside bird nest boxes with my granddaughter to imagine what transpires inside of a dead tree. With her help, I discover that I, too, have many snag-like qualities.

Published in Flyway Journal of Writing and Environment in the Fall/Winter 2020 issue.

“I glance up at the small slit between the trunk and bark of the old snag and struggle to comprehend how three hundred bats could possibly fit in such a space. I feel I’ve witnessed a trick of some sort, like an endless stream of handkerchiefs pulled from a hat by a clever magician.”

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Footsteps of Fiftymile

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While paddling a canoe in a remote side branch of Lake Powell, the unexpected splash of footsteps reminds me that the water below me was once a creek. Whose footsteps now haunt these waters?

Published in Newfound for the spring 2020 issue on “Virtual Realities.”

“Our senses were as sharply-honed as the edges of the cliffs that squeezed us on either side. The splashing was distinctly human in its regularity and gait, but eerily non-human in its speed and agility. Who could possibly wade at a pace faster than our canoe could glide?” 

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Do You Know Where You’re Going?

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My adventurous mother and our contrasting views of life and death.

Published in Belle Ombre, September 2019

“The days of spiritual sparring with my mother were over. Faith had granted her a vaulting pole to leap over the hurdle of death into the afterlife, and I would not wrest that from her. As much as she loved the beauty of the Earth, she envisioned Heaven as even more glorious.” 

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The Tree and I

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The power of the Brazil nut tree to influence human behavior, especially my own.

Published in Hawk and Handsaw, Journal of Creative Sustainability, Spring 2019

“After this revelation, the Brazil nut tree grew even more lofty in my eyes. As humans, we have managed to tame, subdue, modify, and force into slavery nearly every plant and animal that feeds us. Yet here before me was a tree that could not be tamed and a spirit that could not be broken.”

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Falling into Life

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Photo credit: Skydive Arizona

My adult daughter’s struggle with gastroparesis—a stomach-paralyzing illness—and how that life-altering condition led her into a career of skydiving. 4,000 words. Unpublished.

“Suddenly, she plunges straight down, heading for ground at a frightening speed. I see arms and legs now, and I gasp, not knowing whether her fall is planned or not. I want to look away, while at the same time, my eyes are glued to my plummeting daughter.”

 

 

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