Life, Death, And All The Trimmings

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When a curled, dried leaf hits the street, it doesn’t stay. Wind scrapes it to the wall of a gutter where it gets matted by rain runoff. It’s not going anywhere, but it’s not alone. All its partners on the tree above are shed, too, then raked up together and stuffed into black plastic bags. The time spend sewn to a tree where the stem meets the branch is a flash compared to the harvested, dark state. Separation is always painful.

The first time I heard the theory plants feel pain, I was a child. It was a ludicrous, laughable idea…read more

The Gossamer Castaway

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One morning, while it was dark and too early to rouse the family with lights, I tiptoed down the stairs thinking only of coffee. When I reached the bottom, my face felt a tickle. I reached to investigate and my arm felt a tickle. Overnight, a spider built a web in a disastrous location for all of us. Everywhere my arms batted, I felt web and with each sensation my shudder grew. The hapless spider caught a flailing, giant, leaping human. I shook my hair and danced around imagining it was riding me like a wee cowgirl.

Like asters and mums and pumpkin spice-everything, I’ve long associated spider invasions with impending autumn. I’ve wondered if science backs up my amateurish observations collected over the years. Beginning every late August, our front porch is inundated with creepies. Webs spring up overnight. Their builders lurk in corners monitoring the situation with eight eyes, each. Nothing gets past them, except us… read more

The Woman Squatting in the Sky

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The zookeeper was holding a young alligator like a football. She had his tense body tucked under her arm and held his head in her palm. Her other hand rested on his back. He was perfectly still when she began to share alligator facts with a small crowd that gathered around to learn. She related basic alligator facts, like where they live, their size, what they like to eat. Then, she shared a bit about their skin. Not only is it thick and an excellent defense against predators, alligator coloring provides additional protection.

She asked kids what an alligator might look like from the air. It is darker and mottled, like the top of murky water glinting in the sun or leafy swampy woods. He would be very difficult to see from a bird of prey’s point of view. Likewise, a predator low in the water would look up to a pale underbelly and find it indiscernible against the light of the sky. From the top and from the bottom, an alligator is a master of disguise. But what about when meeting one head on? That’s why it has a strong whipping tail and rows of razor sharp teeth set in a spring-like jaw. The zookeeper concluded her talk and put the alligator back into a long dark green Coleman cooler, creating a perfect scenario where through a series of mishaps, the cooler gets switched with someone’s picnic… read more