Sidewalk Nature: Trout Lily

I specialize in sidewalk nature—because it’s the nature most of us have—so woodland spring ephemerals do not usually qualify. But this trout lily does. It was blooming next to the road, one short leap over the drainage gully.
And not just one trout lily, but a whole school of them, dappled and nodding alongside a steep stream that empties into a parking lot.
Continue reading “Sidewalk Nature: Trout Lily”

Warner Wildflowers, mid-March part 2

A short walk on the Mossy Ridge at Warner Park is good medicine.

I never say Nature is for Healing, because “Nature” is not here to make people feel better. “Nature” has every right to exist for its own mysterious, necessary, world-turning processes.

BUT, I do say that paying attention to the natural world can mitigate some humans ills, and one of them is anxiety. Continue reading “Warner Wildflowers, mid-March part 2”

City of [Sandhill] Cranes

wheeling out above the neighbor’s elm . . . 

I walked out into the usual construction noise, but threading through Next Door’s pneumatic nailers and skilsaws came a new sound: softer, sorta familiar, and somehow very, very important. A rolling, repetitive, ratcheting trill . . . a cross between a toad and a fanbelt? Continue reading “City of [Sandhill] Cranes”

DIY Invasive Plant Decor


Last week, my family hosted a simcha—a festive life-cycle event—and fed 160 well-wishers inside a Social Hall not known for its beauty.

“You’ll need something on the tables,” warned a friend the week before.
“Where are the centerpieces?” asked the man who arranged the tables. Continue reading “DIY Invasive Plant Decor”

Native Puzzler

I saw the puzzle at a used book sale. My kids are old, I am old, I don’t work at a school anymore, but I really, really wanted that preschool puzzle.

First, I showed it to my Middle Schooler. “Please tell me not to buy this gorgeous puzzle from 1975.” 

“Put it back,” he said, putting it back.

Then, I texted a photo to my friend Taunia, and added the same (disingenuous) demand: “Please tell me not to buy this gorgeous puzzle from 1975.”

And Taunia answered, “How could you NOT!?” Continue reading “Native Puzzler”

Sidewalk Nature: Bottlebrush Buckeye

buckeye capsule
Bottlebrush buckeye capsule

“Bottlebrush buckeye!” I yelled on the sidewalk, but not super loud, so I wouldn’t embarrass the middle-schooler with me. 

“Hmm,” said the middle-schooler. “I thought it was a ball in a sack.”

We were both right. All buckeye seeds hang in a ball in a sack.  Continue reading “Sidewalk Nature: Bottlebrush Buckeye”