After years of writing technical publications on wildlife research, I am delighted to have the opportunity to let my literary side flourish. Here are my recent essays.


Footsteps of Fiftymile

Fiftymile Creek_LakePowell

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?” 


Do You Know Where You’re Going?


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

Published in Belle Ombre, September 2019

Do You Know Where You’re Going?

“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.” 


The Tree and I


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.”


Falling into Life


Photo credit: Skydive Arizona

My adult daughter’s struggle with gastroparesis, a stomach-paralyzing illness, and her decision to conquer it through skydiving. Written jointly by myself and my daughter, Laurel Hargis, the essay presents our perspectives as mother and daughter about her condition. 5,000 words. Unpublished.

“I’m beset with the frustrating knowledge that I don’t know how to help her. I love her, and I want to care for her as I did when she and her sister were young, by nurturing her with healthy food. Back then, I was the mom in the neighborhood who prepared every meal with fresh, raw ingredients. We never left the house without a contingency of carrots, celery, and cherry tomatoes.  That approach isn’t working anymore. I can’t fix my daughter’s problem with healthy meals. All I can do is sit by her side and watch her suffer. I feel like a one-trick pony.”