May 21, 2019

My favorite part about hiking? The plants! I love to identify wild plants, trees, wildflowers, and berries. Many of them I learned in a restoration ecology course I took as part of my Environmental Studies degree, but many I learned on my own, simply by looking in plant books and memorizing their names. Knowing the plants has really helped me create a sense of place; a sense of belonging to the land; a sense of connection. Ore...

December 14, 2018

Low sunlight paints the sallow earth. The trees and bushes scrape, bare, against the wind. Before winter solstice pulls the sun back to us, we are stuck in the unraveling. Long nights. Rain against moss. Cloud-muffled starlight. 

Here in Oregon, winter is green, brown, and gray. That makes it fun to seek out the brightest colors on the darkest of days. Here are some pops of red that I look for in Oregon's fields and forests:


August 29, 2018

Most wild plants taste bitter compared to their cultivated counterparts. That's because domesticated plants have been bred to taste sweeter and, well, better, than their predecessors. But sweeter foods come at a cost -- bitter, wild plants tend to have more nutrients than domesticated foods. 

But that doesn't mean you can't have it all! There are some delicious and nutritious wild plants out there, and the absolute best is wood...

June 9, 2018

Summer is almost here! We're only two weeks away from the solstice, and, here in Oregon, the days are growing steadily longer, warmer, and drier. But summer isn't all about the sun. At night, the birds sing past dusk, welcoming the summer stars. Bootes, and Lyra, and Aquila--all the iconic constellations rise high in the sky earlier each night. Even with light pollution from big cities like Portland, you can still find the bri...

May 8, 2018

I recently returned to Oregon after graduating with my masters from the University of Utah. Utah was beautiful in its own high-desert way, but Oregon's dark forests and jeweled rivers will always be my home. And, let me tell you, there's no better time of year to be back! Late spring means sunny days (interspersed by the usual rain, of course), a resurgence of birdsong, and a bright bursting of plantlife! 

I took my first walk...

January 14, 2018

Every year, around the Winter Solstice, I know there will be buds on the Indian Plum bush. You have to look closely to see them, but they're there, tightly furled and reddish-brown at the tips of the branches. By the end of February, the buds are obvious--long and bright, spring green. And, by March, the Indian Plum is the first bush to open its leaves. Likewise, in the fall, Indian Plum is the first bush to yellow, and the fi...

November 4, 2017

If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

When I first read this Emerson quote in high school, I felt a deep sadness. I had never seen a sky untouched by light pollution. I could easily count the few stars that were visible beneath the city lights, and I did so, dreaming of the darkest of all skies, a great, impenetrable field of starlight; the haunting, ve...

September 22, 2017

To develop a sense of place, you must know where you are. And, when you truly know where you are, you will also know who you are.

Of course we all know where we are, in a way. I, for example, am in Salt Lake City, Utah right now, sitting at a tiny little desk in my tiny little room in my shared apartment near the school where I'm getting my master's degree. But my sense of this place, of Salt Lake City and of Utah, extends far...

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© 2019 by Snail Co.

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