Discover the Best Books

Love to wander the aisles of bookstores? Want to follow your curiosity and meet amazing books? You are in the right place.  Above is the official intro to a noble new effort to bring readers and good books together, called Shepherd. I was honored to contribute my take on the The Best Books on Nature…

Read More

Farewell to Merlin

merlin in flight

FEBRUARY 5, 2022: Our merlin is back. She’s been appearing every so often for a couple months now, her muscular, falcon physique silhouetted dark against the blue skies. Over the last five winters she’s marked the seasons, here by late autumn from somewhere in the Canadian latitudes, gone by the early months of spring. It’s…

Read More

The Lonely Bull

Cape buffalo

  THE CAPE BUFFALO is a wild bovine who lives upon the savannas and woodlands of east Africa. It’s a massive beast up to five and a half feet at the shoulder, with bulls weighing upwards of a ton. The oldest of these bulls wear the biggest horns, like Viking helmets, lending a warrior mien…

Read More

Fly Wars

head of deer fly

IT’S GOTTEN TO BE that season here again in southwest Florida, that maddening season of the flies. These are the close, heavy days of August when the biting bugs are out in force and hungry for blood. These are the humbling, soul-testing days when the tolerable annoyance ramps to the relentless assault that will slap…

Read More

Gotcha Day, Every Day

Towpath on gotcha day

  JUNE 15, 2021. Nine years ago today I came upon a wounded puppy standing in the middle of the trail. He was a doe-eyed, bull-headed creature who reeked of rotting flesh as I lifted him to my chest. (We would later learn that he’d most likely been doused with acid.) The veterinarians who examined…

Read More

And Still the Song Dog Sings

coyote howling

  IT IS GOOD to hear the coyotes singing again. For a few weeks last month we were awakened now and then to their yips and wails coming from someplace across the canal where they’d been prepping for this season’s litter of pups. We hadn’t expected to hear from them this year because of the…

Read More

Mountain Lions Can Rebuild Nation

mountain lion caught on trail camera

AS WE SIFT THROUGH THE RUBBLE of a four-year blitzkrieg on the country’s air, water, wildlife and climate, we’re heartened to see the Biden administration articulating bold ideas about repairing the wreckage. Most impressive is his commitment to protecting 30 percent of the Earth’s landscape in nature reserves by the year 2030. In this spirit…

Read More

My Octopus Teacher

Craig Foster swimming with and the octopus

  AGES AGO, I visited the invertebrate house of the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. to meet Hercules. Hercules was the zoo’s resident giant octopus, whose first impression I would later record as “a fleshy confusion of serpentine limbs and baggy head, a tentacled wreckage with a disturbingly human eye peeking out from within.” There…

Read More

Ode to a Dead Rat

dead rat illustration

  THERE’S A RAT lying dead beneath the back porch. He announces himself as I’m sitting on the steps taking a moment of sun with a cup of tea, when that morbid little waft of him sours the ambience. And there he lies, down by my feet in the dark beneath the stairs, stretched out…

Read More

The Family on the Curb

homeless man and his dog

  A FEW DAYS AGO I was driving along a frontage road near a busy intersection, when I passed a woman and her dog sitting on the curb. The woman was holding a cardboard sign, hand-scrawled with the message that’s become all too common around town these days: “Please help.” I took a u-turn and…

Read More