Category Archives: Columns

Published pieces I’ve written, primarily in The Recorder, Greenfield, Mass.

Sugarloaf Witch-Tale Origin?

It’s noontime. I’ve walked the dogs, lugged in wood from the woodshed, showered, poured my last cup of coffee, and am reading on a comfortable leather recliner in the sunny south parlor. Retirement’s great. Work no longer looming. The wireless phone rings. Cradled on a small dropleaf table between my chair and its twin, I […]

Sugarloaf Spirits Live

It’s springtime, the season of emergence and regeneration, optimism and growth – a time when airborne euphoria titillates the imagination, unleashes a flow of creative juices. Many have felt it. It’s contagious. Peaks in May. Fades into steamy summer doldrums. And here I sit, rain falling, grass greening through the southern window, enthralled, mind climbing […]

Big John is Gone

When a story stirs your imagination, digs deep into your inner consciousness, you must ride it for all it’s worth. So, here I sit: thinking, probing deep, trying to remember every minute detail. Pedal to the metal, I’m exhuming distant memories that meandered through my neighborhood The impetus was a recent midday phone call. The […]

Intelligence in Nature?

Similar to running around an oval, quarter-mile track, I was back where I started – had returned to the source that introduced me to a new concept challenging Western bedrock beliefs about forest-management … among other things more esoteric. It all started with a trip to my roadside mailbox, from which I pulled the latest […]

Yesteryear Rifle

Discovery. It’s enticing. A mission. A search. A chase. An addictive game. Connecting can be euphoric. Especially when an answer comes out of nowhere. Totally unexpected. Slaps you upside the head like a branch in the woods. Which brings us to a peculiar, 8½-inch, black, pointed, ground-stone object I purchased years ago among a collection […]

Tree Falls, Trail Ends, Moon Glows

Yes, it’s true. Good, bad and indifferent, all things must pass. June 18, around 5:30 p.m., summer solstice approaching under dark, still, foreboding skies. A nasty storm is brewing, approaching from the west. Television alerts are warning of heavy winds, hard rain and even potential tornadoes. Such storms seem to visit this time of year. […]

Swimming Rooster, Running Fish

Can roosters swim? Well, my brother-in-law would have answered that question with a firm no had he not witnessed it with his own eyes. Let me set the scene at his secluded, landed, Montville, Maine, gentleman’s farm that’s chronicled in his recent book, “Retiring To, Not From,” which, in its third printing, has kept him […]

Blacksnakes Revisted

My discussion of local snakes few people encounter in their travels stirred up a firestorm of informative comments from fellow travelers. Hey, why not? Many folks, me included, are squeamish about snakes, especially big, colorful ones. Come to think of it, I myself have known ophidiophobes who went into crying, screeching hysterics at the very […]

Sights, Sounds And Scary Serpents

The question came from an intermediary — his son, my colleague — doubling back to my desk on his way out the door from work this week. “Hey, by the way, my dad wants to know if you’ve seen that big buck lately,” he queried. “Yes. Three or so weeks ago, coming home on a […]

Survival Games

Noontime Tuesday. Getting hot. Deep, pale-blue, hazy sky behind sparse cumulus clouds floating soft, high and wispy over the western upland horizon. I park next to the greenhouse, walk to the back of the truck, drop the tailgate to free the eager dogs, Chubby and Lily, the latter’s tail anxiously thumping her porta-kennel’s east wall. […]