Glimmer of the Week: Born to Help?

Some biologists think humans might be hard wired to help others. They’re taking some of their cues from babies. I love this. Researchers have found that one-year-olds will point to an object that an adult pretends to have misplaced. At eighteen months, toddlers will assist a person they don’t know by opening a door or […]

Great Gift Book

When my book group picked Half the Sky, I thought it would be a depressing read. Wrong. Half the Sky is an unsentimental eye-opener about the oppression of women and girls, and it’s so inspiring that it moved us to take action. We realized that doing something small together could make a real difference in […]

Maine’s Songbird Superhighway

The morning air smells of balsam and wet duff as Adrienne Leppold sets out on a narrow trail to check the mist nets she set up before dawn to capture birds in a patch of forest in Orono. A great-crested flycatcher cries “wheep, WHEEP,” one of a dozen or so species calling and singing in […]

While You Were In  

While you were in, a hermit thrush called. There’s no telling whether or when he’ll call again, fluting his song into the forest, where it will linger less than an instant. A doe stopped by while you were in, entertaining a parade of anxious thoughts. She decapitated your favorite phlox, the ones with the snowy […]

A Walk on the Wild Side

The moose peeks out between tall white pines, her dark brown hide blending with the bark. She swivels her ears and ambles toward us. My heart speeds up as she draws closer. She pokes her massive head through the door of the feeding station, where Steve Oliveri awaits with one of her favorite treats: sweet […]

Critter of the Month: December

  Whoosh! A clump of feathers shot out of the predawn blue the other morning and landed on a birdfeeder ten feet from the kitchen window. I nearly dropped my coffee cup. The bird stared right at me with dark eyes in a pale face that was both familiar and alien. A barred owl. She […]

One Lovely Thing

I’ve been feeling the darkness and the depth of winter this week. Lots of sadness in the air. I’ve been trying to push this aside as I plow through a deadline, but then I decided to take a little break… I opened the back door to smell the air and was stunned to feel the […]

Scrounging for Spring 

It happens every March. Family and friends from Parts South call to rave about their daffodils and tulips while we’re in the middle of a snowstorm. My neighbor Bill, however, puts things in perspective. “Anyone can love a tulip,” he scoffs. “But it takes a real connoisseur to appreciate three months of pussy willows.” March […]