watercolor by Mason Ellsworth

Twelve years ago, not long after our move to West Virginia, Kathy and I spent a special evening hanging with our new friends, Brian and Sylvia Ellsworth. That night we met their teenaged son, Mason, an angelic, baby-faced, happy-go-lucky musician who politely schooled us rock-and-roll dinosaurs on the current music scene, and led songs around the campfire after dinner. Two days later, Mason suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident.

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It’s been a few weeks now since our weary COVID gaze was momentarily enlivened by the sighting of a cat. For two days in mid-June we tuned in as a wild mountain lion walked the streets of San Francisco. We followed him by way of citizen smartphones and security cameras, popping up in the city…

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screech owl perched on nest cavity

There’s a predator lurking, just around the corner of the house. The cardinal bird says so, his excited chipping as clear a warning as a finger tapping on my shoulder. Toward all the fussing I follow, tiptoeing barefoot through the grass. And there, just a few feet away from the sentinel cardinal, is the subject…

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