Spinning Trees

As autumn returns, I am excited to see fall cascading down from the mountaintops to the valleys. Cool nights bring color to the peaks, a month or more before reaching my home below. Though lacking the saturation of northeast forests, the greater tree diversity gives a nuanced and rich tapestry of colors. As if on […]



Perpetual Flowers

  A few days ago I visited the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. Water lily flowers are near their peak of delicate blooms, but the leaves are turning yellow and purple, mirroring the start of fall colors dotting trees surrounding the pond. Water lilies are thriving in the heat of this summer, and I imagine they […]

Searching for Salamanders

Friends of Roan Mountain is a local organization focused on raising awareness of the mountain, organizing four rallies a year. This past weekend was the fall naturalists’ rally, and over a dozen of us went on a salamander hike. We explored a forest that had a small stream running through it, along with adjacent dry […]



Smoky Mountains

This picture looks like a mountain on fire, but actually it is just a dramatic sunrise in the Smokies. The natural smoke is fog from plants exhaling, the breath of the forest. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is visited more than any other park in America, and I feel fortunate to live nearby, enjoying its […]

National Dog Day

I have always loved dogs, but my parents had convinced themselves they were not dog people so it took years of begging before I finally got one. My first dog was the only puppy I have owned, a charming sheltie who lived to almost 20. She totally converted my dad, who grew to love her […]



Solar Eclipse

The news has been shouting all about the solar eclipse for weeks. I’ve been looking forward to it for months, eager to see the unusual optical show. Where I live in Tennessee the eclipse was at 97%, allowing a good view of the sun coming and going. When it first began there were quite a […]

Diminutive drama

It is the height of summer here, and my yard is like a miniature safari jungle. My houseplants are outside until the first frost and window boxes on my porch are filled with flowers, attracting an endless flutter and buzz of visiting pollinators. When I explore with a macro lens, easily overlooked denizens of my […]



I Love Splashy

This is a koi living in the Italian garden pools of the Biltmore Estate, still filtered with the technology originally developed for them in 1895. The koi have been there a long time, and at least one is around 50 years old. I posted this photo to show the elegant grace of these beautiful fish, […]

Mountain magic

Mountains create their own weather. I have seen this on many mountains around the world over the years, but never so dramatically as on a recent evening exploring Roan Mountain, a series of peaks stretching between North Carolina and Tennessee. When I arrived a recent storm was clearing, a rainbow stretching between several mountains near […]



Unbearably Cute

Many years ago in graduate school I got a grant to study golden monkeys in China, rare primates living in the same area as the iconic pandas. I chose instead to accept a Fulbright for research on West African monkeys, and never got to China. But I really love pandas, and on a recent trip […]