Category Archives: Columns

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

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. […]

Validating Viper

Coincidence? No, not a chance. More likely some sort of coded message. One I may never comprehend. Yet I will hold out hope that I may have time to scale such a pinnacle of understanding before I pass on to the spirit land. Time’ll tell. Honestly, truth be told, I had anticipated sitting here today […]

Searching For ‘Indian Al’

Honestly, I do not recall how I met “Indian Al” Niemiec, but, my oh my, did we have a blast fishing for American shad along the eastern bank of the Holyoke-tailrace, a channel feeding anadromous fish to the Barrett Fish Lift and over the dam. We probably made acquaintance at streamside on a day when […]

Blooming Trees, Running Fish, Climate Fools

The Japanese maples have burst into their spring crimson splendor, complemented by nearby cherry trees blooming pink to add their colorful tint to my home’s frontage for the arrival of in-laws Judy from Guatemala, Buzz from Maine and Jan from Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. In between the red and pink is yellow forsythia and the soon-to-be […]

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