Author Archives: David George Haskell


At the confluence of six rivers and a long tidal inlet: 9000 acres of part-salted water and mud known as the Merrymeeting Bay. Forty percent of Maine’s freshwater flows to the Gulf of Maine through this inland delta. The Gulf’s waters … Continue reading

Posted in Travels, Water | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Reminder of what flies over unseen on autumn nights

A sora, dead on the road outside the post office in Sewanee, Tennessee. These are wetland birds of the north. A dry road gutter in a town built in the southern forested uplands is a far cry from the sora’s … Continue reading

Posted in Archosaurs | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Art installation and allegory: Grimes Ave, Ocean Point.

Imagine that you own a large house overlooking one of Maine’s most scenic shorelines. You might ask yourself: How can I best honor and enjoy the privilege of owning property adjacent to this grand meeting of ocean and land? The obvious answer: Artillery. … Continue reading

Posted in Travels | 10 Comments

Scaly quiz

This is a: a) Baby pangolin b) Squirrel-chewed balsam fir cone c) Section of fish skin with placoid scales d) Bud of a cycad plant, a reminder of the Mesozoic e) Other Hint: Photo taken (1) in Maine where autumn is … Continue reading

Posted in Travels | 9 Comments

Mastery through simplicity: Tide pool springtails, Anurida maritima

As if the tide pool surface was ice, hundreds of small gray animals skate and jiggle over the salt water. Not a single one of the animals is wet. None sink. In gusty wind their swarms blow back and forth within the confines of the … Continue reading

Posted in Archosaurs | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Ocean teenagers leaving their shed clothes everywhere

Small horseshoe crab shells have started littering the wrack line in Middle Bay, Maine. Every high tide brings more, sometimes half a dozen shells for every meter or so of wrack. These are not dead crabs (the May full moon mating frenzy left … Continue reading

Posted in Travels | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Great new book: “I Contain Multitudes” by Ed Yong

News flash: A fabulous new book about microbial life (which, it turns out, is all life) hit the shelves yesterday. Ed Yong is an outstanding writer whose elegant, witty prose describes a revolution in biology. Our new understanding of microbes upends much of what we … Continue reading

Posted in Literature | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Living flypaper

On the edge of a mountain bog in Maine, a thumbnail-sized plant grows amid the mosses: This is sundew, Drosera, a carnivorous plant, ready to ambush. Darwin devoted twelve chapters of his 1875 book, Insectivorous Plants, to the anatomy, behavior, and … Continue reading

Posted in Plants | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Cold, cold bathing (duckling style)

The Labrador Current carries water from northern Greenland down the Canadian coast, then swirls its iciness into the Gulf of Maine. On the Maine shore, waiting for the splash, are common eider ducklings: Before: During: After: …whee that was fun, … Continue reading

Posted in Archosaurs | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Now we see through a glass, (darkly, nope…) Tiffany, Chihuly

At the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, light streams through vitrified pigmented sand: From Louis Comfort Tiffany, Parakeets and Gold Fish Bowl, a piece made in about 1893. Tiffany’s use of glass to evoke the birds’ colorful and varied head patterns is … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments