Monthly Archives: November 2015

Ultra Violet

In my woods one of the first wildflowers is the violet, often blooming in late winter. They are gone from my forest for this year, but their distant cousins are thriving in my garden. They are one of the most popular plants for fall gardens, with their cheery flowers and amazing hardiness. When it gets […]



Social Media

What seems many lifetimes ago I studied primates. I was fascinated by their societies, caring for each other in ways I saw reflected in my own family and friends. Since I started posting to Instagram this spring, suddenly I became part of an unimaginably large social group. I have been both amused and amazed seeing […]

First Frost

Every season has a moment that defines its beginning. The change may not happen all at once, fall and winter colliding and wrestling back and forth. But if you look closely, there is an instant when the balance tips, and one turns to the other. The moment arrived this morning. I awoke to frost on […]




The iris is the national flower of France, with a history stretching back over a thousand years. In the Middle Ages it was tied to French kings, and stylized into the fleur-de-lis.The name comes from the many colors of the flowers, for the ancient Greek goddess Iris. Her flowing dress was a rainbow she used […]

Cricket Chorus

I have always loved the insect chorus, a lullaby through an open window. Just as the sounds themselves fade as the year cools, each cricket voice slows. In 1897 the scientist Dolbear wrote an article called The Cricket As a Thermometer, setting out a complex formula where T is temperature, N is the number of […]



Sunset Glow

My aunt was a nature photographer, and one of her cardinal rules was always shoot with the sun at your back. For photos she took of some of her wilder subjects- like me- this resulted in many squinting portraits as I struggled to smile with the sun burning its way into my eyes. For many […]

Etched Branches

Nearly halfway through November, it is a strange time of year here. Most traces of autumn have faded, but winter has not yet arrived. Last night it dipped into the mid thirties, flirting with frost. So I spend spare time enjoying the final vestiges of the season, each day seeing more sky through the skeletons […]



November Sky

In much of the U.S., sunsets become more dramatic in autumn and winter. In the summer there is less air circulation so dust and pollution remain in the atmosphere. These large particles tend to reduce the amount of color getting through, so though there can be dramatic summer sunsets, they are less common and generally […]

Cryogenic Frog

Wood frogs provide one of the first sounds of the year, calling from vernal pools even in late winter with a chorus that sounds like tiny ducks. They move from ponds into the woods during summer and autumn, finally sheltering under fallen leaves for winter. When the temperature falls below freezing, their breathing and heartbeat […]



Holding On

Nearly a month ago I posted a photo of beech leaves in my yard, still green as other leaves began to turn. In that month I have traveled quite a bit and seen many autumns. There was a whisper of fall in Georgia. An explosion of brilliant colors in New York’s Hudson Valley. I followed […]