Author Archives: David George Haskell

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

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A few bright spots in the dark woods

The many greedy layers of the forest canopy in Shakerag Hollow gobble the light. It is darker at ground level now than it is in mid-winter. Most understory plants are in hunker-down-and-sip mode. One or two species, though, know that … Continue reading

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New England clam preparation, gull style

Drifts of smashed clam shells lie on the exposed rocks at the high tide mark. These are the leavings of aerial bombardment by herring gulls. As the tide recedes, mud flats are revealed and, buried in the gray ooze, quahog clams. … Continue reading

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End Times and the interrogative mood.

My phone tells me: Questions ensue: In what way could this be OK? Can we imagine ways in which this might not be OK? Does the use of “Unfortunately” and OK in the same statement evince an emotionally mature mélange of acceptance and willingness … Continue reading

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Grassland birds

In a hay meadow near Brunswick, Maine: Bobolink, taking a break from his jumbled singing flights over the field. Savannah sparrow, keeping an eye on neighboring males. According to the North American Breeding Bird Survey, neither species has been faring well. The … Continue reading

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Fiddlehead gastronomy

You know you’ve arrived in Maine when the supermarket has a fern fiddlehead special in the produce section: And Portland restaurants find ways of preparing the ferny curls with chard and dressing: And, a few weeks later, when the wild ferns … Continue reading

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Lesson from Carthage: How to catch an octopus, defeat an empire

Almost all that remains of the ancient city of Carthage is a small harbor on the peninsula outside Tunis. The Romans leveled and burned the rest of the city at the end of the Third Punic War. Many more recent cities have since … Continue reading

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Birding at the Bardo

Some of the world’s best preserved Roman mosaics are housed at the Bardo Museum in Tunis, Tunisia, and the Archaeological Museum in El Jem, just a little south of Tunis. They date from the time of the “Roman African Province,” 146 BCE–435 … Continue reading

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Sebkhet Halk el Menjel

Underfoot: the crunch of thousands of shells. On the nose: a tang of salty algae. In the eyes: dust thrown here from the Tunisian deserts and over-plowed olive plantations to the south. The lake was a surprise, a silver sheet … Continue reading

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Nature writing cult…

“They are haunted by visions. They are visited by strange dreams. They are – like Muhammad on Jabal al-Nour and George Fox on Pendle Hill – vouchsafed revelations in high places. They are the nature writers, and they bring us … Continue reading

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