Category Archives: Essay


Some Phases of Annie Dillard’s “Total Eclipse”

My reading of Dillard’s classic essay, published by Essay Daily on August 19, 2017, just in time for the Great American Eclipse. (The featured photo is my view of totality in Idaho.) 1. To preface: I am not a trained physicist or astronomer. I am an […]

Into the Falls

From the “Underworlds” issue of Territory (Summer 2017), a new literary project about maps and other curious objects. I find myself loitering on the Main Street Bridge in downtown Pawtucket, Rhode Island, looking over the rail into the braided, writhing falls which continue to roar though tempered […]

Pouring on salt

The Afterlife

From Kenyon Review, July/August 2016. A salmon’s second journey begins with its “collection.” At the Cole M. Rivers Hatchery north of Medford, Oregon, the crowder is drawn through the holding pond once a week, May through August, pushing the fish toward the rear, toward the […]

Panther and Cubs by Edward Kemeys

Still Hunt

From the Spring 2016 issue of The Georgia Review. Excerpt plus link below. The American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art has an airy, skylit atrium, the recently remodeled Engelhard Sculpture Court, a place overflowing with marble and curious marvels. In one corner, the Vanderbilts’ […]



From Passages North Issue 37, Spring 2016. Excerpt below. Lift this cup and drink the scent of apricot and mud. Of wet California winters in the rambling woodlands: red-berried toyon and blue hound’s tongue, madrone and bay laurel, oak and poison oak. Cut through, the flesh […]

Lascaux Cave

Why Write About Animals

A post from Essay Daily, October 29, 2015. I pose the question, taking my cue and much else from John Berger’s seminal, mildly elliptical essay “Why Look at Animals?” As it happens, much of my writing thus far in life has been about fauna, and […]

L Anna

Discovering Anna

From The Southern Review 51.1, Winter 2015. Listed as a notable essay in The Best American Essays 2016 and The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2016. Excerpt below. As a child, I set out in search of hummingbirds. Probably this wasn’t ordinary for a boy, and I […]


The Book of Agate

From Ninth Letter 11.2, Fall/Winter 2014-2015. Winner of the 2014 Ninth Letter Award in Creative Nonfiction and the 2015 John Burroughs Nature Essay Award. Excerpt below.   Here, on my desk, lies a handful of beach agates, catching the winter light. They are charms I’ve […]

From The Harvard Review

Slow Flame

From The Harvard Review Online, April 2014. Listed as a notable essay in The Best American Essays 2015 and The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2015. Once, in Northern California, she and I were walking through a redwood park with old growth trees, when […]

From The Missouri Review

The Edge Effect

Surfing with Peregrine Falcons in La Jolla. From The Missouri Review 36.4, Winter 2013. Listed as a notable essay in The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2014. Photo album below. In early June, I found myself trailing Will Sooter to his office. Past the University […]

By Clinton & Charles Robertson, via Wikimedia Commons


From CutBank 79, Fall 2013. A companion to an earlier eel essay published in Ecotone.

Courtesy Flickr user, marya (emdot)

A Guide to Coyote Management

From River Teeth 11.2, Spring 2010. Nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Excerpt below. Coyote can be detrimental to any number of natural resources, including livestock, watermelons, pets, and the economy. He is known to tiptoe about places he shouldn’t, like airport runways and Wal-Mart parking […]