An ‘On The Origin Of Species’ For Artists

on-the-origin-of-species-charles-darwin-12948185-457-400

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 at The Cabin

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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Craters of the Moon National Monument AiR: Wildflowers and Geological Features

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. This post contains a bunch of pictures I took of the wildflowers and geological features I saw — like lava tubes and cinder gardens — while I was 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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Spring Wildflowers In Boise That Are Blue Or Should Be

The wildflowers here in the foothills outside Boise have been pretty spectacular this spring.

One of my favorite wildflowers — wild flax — has started blooming:

WILD BLUE FLAX IDAHO FRAMED VERS fixed one

Wild flax is amazing because it is blue, and I have a perpetual hard on for all blue flowers, like these alpine forget-me-nots. It is also amazing because it is one of many species first described by Meriwether Lewis on the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

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Passenger Pigeon!

The Cabin Idaho asked me to teach a writing camp for kids this summer in conjunction with The Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey. Yesterday afternoon I and two awesome Cabin staff (Katie & Ashley) met with the education coordinator at the center for a tour and planning session.

I mentioned that I found the book A Feathered River Across The Sky about the extinction of the passenger pigeon deeply moving and was planning a writing activity around passenger pigeons and other extinct bird species.

The education coordinator mentioned that though they deal primarily with birds of prey, they had a passenger pigeon in their specimen collection.

Naturally, I got super excited when he mentioned that we also might be able to swing by the specimen collection to view it.

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Weird Dream: We Biked To The Top Of A Mountain Only To Drown There

I had a weird dream about drowning a while back that has really stuck with me, and I still can’t parse what it means.

At the beginning, there were a thousand bikers going up the sides of the heavily slimed, heavily trafficked streets of Flagstaff Mountain. Cars were moving as if they were in an artery and were all riding up smoothly like blood.

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On the Pleasures of Walking Alone at Night

night walking first and best attempt

The walker always finds solitude, but most especially at night. There is something about walking alone at night. I love it. When you walk at night, you are cocooned in silence. You can be alone, anonymous.

At night, people can’t see you, and you can’t see them. There are no people, and therefore no politeness to people. Politeness is a form of acknowledging you are not alone.

In the dark, we can be easy in ourselves without the expectations of others.You can walk among the houses without walking among them.

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