The snail’s got it made—for shelter, at least. The house he’s born with, soft as a baby’s skull, grows as he does, and stays in step. Hard to lug around, for sure, if you only have one slimy, prehensile foot at your disposal, but worth doing: take one step backwards from any point on earth, and home sweet home, you’re safe in bed. Dorothy needed ruby slippers and three clicks of her heels to do that.read more
"Field Notes from the Woods"
This Old Farmer’s Almanac blog series, written by Henry Walters, shares observations and ruminations on plants, wildlife, weather, and other facets of nature.
Henry Walters is a naturalist, a teacher, and a falconer. He lives and writes in a cabin in southern New Hampshire on a 1,700-acre tract of conservation land, of which he acts as steward. His poems, essays, and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in a number of print publications, including The Old Farmer's Almanac. As a seasonal naturalist for the New Hampshire Audubon during the fall hawk migration, his writing appears on the blog (www.hawkcount.org) for Pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory.
September 4, 2014
When a Country Mouse heads to the city to visit family, he tries to act metropolitan. He obeys traffic laws, avoids staring open-mouthed at tall buildings, and refrains from gathering his salad greens out of the sidewalk cracks. And yet he can’t help searching out reminders of home. Where’s Nature to be found in all this concrete?read more
July 23, 2014
May 8, 2014
Every year, the wood frog comes back from the dead. Not in the sense that it appears again after a long absence. In the most literal one: an inanimate, mostly frozen object, which has ceased to function, is suddenly resuscitated into being.read more
February 14, 2014
The natural world doesn’t grab headlines too often. It’s just not suited to the 24-hour news cycle. Hard to imagine the paperboy shouting, “Extra! Extra! Photosynthesis continues! Plankton swallowed alive in Pacific! Birds glad to have wings, study shows! Read all about it!” Then again, it’s getting hard to imagine kids selling papers, period.read more
January 20, 2014
December 9, 2013
October 21, 2013
What’s brown and brown and brown all over? What skulks like a cat, camouflages like a chameleon, thrives in all climates, all weathers, and is mostly overlooked? What’s our best metaphor for insignificance?read more
October 8, 2013
September 29, 2013
June 20, 2013
Skunks are handsome, skunks have style—the nobility of that roly-poly, ambling gait! Long live the skunk. But in all the woods, the thing to envy is not, surely, this particular skunk kit, half carried, half dragged down these train tracks, the nape of his neck fast in his mother’s not terribly careful jaws.read more
May 10, 2013
April 4, 2013
March 9, 2013
Daffodils cut in Ireland are blooming in the supermarket, aisle five, and now, from many a vase on many a windowsill, they look out into an unfamiliar country—midwinter, seemingly without a crack. What would these daffodils say, could they speak?read more