An ‘On The Origin Of Species’ For Artists

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I was in music class once and started crying. I was in a music class in college and the professor played this aria called “Casta Diva” from Bellini’s Norma sung by Maria Callas.

We were studying it in class, and when she played the recording for the first time, it was so beautiful that I started to tear up; I started crying. I was having a moment and looked down at my desk so people would not see.

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Boise Earth Day Poetry Reading (Photos)

I got to curate and be part of an amazing poetry reading this past Saturday: an Earth Day 2018 poetry reading at The Cabin.

It featured nine local poets (Catherine Kyle, Rachel Murphy, Amanda Rich, Hannah Rodabaugh, Ruth Salter, Daphne Stanford, Elena Tomorowitz, and Tessy Ward) and Rena Ashton (educational director of Zoo Boise). They read poetry and essays about nature and conservation.

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AiR Residency / Wildflowers and Geological Features of Craters of the Moon National Monument

Recently, I got to spend two weeks at Craters of the Moon National Monument as part of the National Park Service’s Artist in Residence (AiR) program. It was freakishly cold for a couple days, and I was under the weather for a couple of days too, but I ended up writing many poems–and revising many others.

This post contains a bunch of pictures I took of the wildlife and geological features I saw — like lava tubes and cinder gardens — while I was exploring and writing about the park.

p windswept vessicles

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Why I Will Always Love Pests & You Should Too

There is a part of me that will always love pests like pigeons or houseflies or starlings. It’s the part of me that thinks the maligned often have their own value, their own stories to tell when we get to know them.

After all, I once was that person in school. I was teased, as so many kids were teased, as being without value to my peers.

So when I see a maligned animal species that people have assigned as being without value to them (often through very little thought or speculation), I see myself in it.

Besides, there is something respectable, even heroic, in the scrappy survivor.

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Well, It’s Wildfire & Forest Fire Season Again In The West

I love the arid, mountain landscapes of the west. I love the native wildflower and animal species that live in mountain ecosystems. I love the aridity of the desert. I love its total lack of humidity and 100+ degree heat.

But with the aridity of the western landscape comes fire season with its forest fires and wildfires.

Last summer there were forest fires burning in Idaho and two adjoining states at around the same time. The smoke from all of them was blowing down into Boise. For weeks, the city was ensconced in a hazy layer of burning, lung-clogging smoke.

This is normal.

It’s like that in every state in the west.

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