Everyday Stories

We had a couple of very cold days, and it seems now to have bounced back to seasonal temperatures. I don’t think I was quite ready for real winter, so I’m feeling a bit of relief. I am, however, ready to hibernate. What I like best about winter is that quiet time to sift through everything from the past year. What was it all about? I’m sort of a slow creature, and it takes me a while to figure things out. Life is intricate and strange, don’t you agree? What’s it all about, Alfie? It’s like your very own story.

Winter walks offer a lot of time to sift and reminisce. They are also filled with their own subtle stories. Yesterday, I was walking to a favorite pond and there was a blaring white spot on the far shore. Squinting, because I have horrible eyesight, I realized it was a bucket. People like to fish here. I had to scramble over a narrow little cliffside catwalk to get to this spot, and I can understand why someone would take the time to sit out here and fish. It was a perfect little outcropping with a view of the whole pond. Sadly, they left a bucket and a few stamped out cigarette butts. I picked up the butts and the bucket and carried them out. What was their story?

As I walked back, I noted that the moss is still very green, and I found this patch that was like a big green cat curled up on a rock. I thought that might make a nice story, a mossy cat that lives in the forest. Then I passed by this huge hemlock covered with lichens and moss. It had the most perfect doorway, hollowed out inside, with a nice neat dirt floor and what looked like a tunnel going into the ground. It was even lined with stones as if it were a pathway for a house, and suddenly, I could see the mossy cat sweeping the stones in anticipation for guests to arrive. “Welcome to my story,” said the cat.



I just finished reading The Klamath Knot by David Rains Wallace. I hadn’t heard of Wallace until I chanced upon this article he wrote long ago. Though it isn’t a huge book, it still took me a while to get through, and I am still chewing on its themes of evolution and natural science in the wild landscape of the Klamath Mountains. I want to go back and read the last chapter. It’s still sort of reverberating! What are your favorite nature writing books? Any recommendations?




  1. I had a magical walk next to a brook yesterday, lots of green moss and beautiful lichens about. Braiding Sweetgrass, of course. Also Robert MacFarlane – his new one, Underland, is marvelous.

    1. Oh, thanks for this Laura! I have heard of Braiding Sweetgrass but never read it–I’ll put it on my list.

      I enjoyed Underland, but it also took me a while to read. I had to take a break at one point because some of the underground travels were actually hard for me to handle! Love his writing.

  2. Aldo Leopold’s Sand County Almanac and Edward Abby’s Desert Solitaire are my 2 nature bibles.
    Wallace Stegner too.

    1. I’ll keep you posted on the adventures of Mossy Cat. In the meantime, Sand County Almanac is totally on my list. I will add Stegner and Abbey, too. So much to read!!

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