science

Welcome to my every-so-often mid-week posts highlighting books on my reading stack. Some are books I've sought out, some come to me for review, and others are gifts.

The first one straddles the zone between science writing, nature journal, and memoir. That reach makes for a fascinating read.

Blazingstar flowers (Mentzelia sp.) open in early afternoon and attract night-flying moths and other pollinators. Blazingstar flowers (Mentzelia sp.) open in early afternoon to attract night-flying moths.
Dr. William Austin Cannon, my maternal great-grandfather, out researching the Sonoran Desert near Tucscon, Arizona, in the early 1900s. Photo: Arizona Historical Society Library My great-grandfather, Dr. William Austin Cannon, out researching the Sonoran Desert near Tucson, Arizona, in the early 1900s.
Rhymes With Orange, Copyright Hilary B. Price

"May this be the end of your fight with cancer!" wrote a friend in a recent email. Referring to health treatment in the language of warfare, no matter how well meant, makes me profoundly uncomfortable. It runs counter to the basic beliefs I've used to successfully manage my own health all these years, and to the course Richard and I are taking with his brain cancer. We don't see this journey as a fight because to battle cancer is to fight ourselves at the deepest level: our own cells.

Last week I reviewed essayist and environmental philosopher Kathleen Dean Moore's new book, Wild Comfort, the Solace of Nature for Story Circle Book Reviews and excerpted the review on this blog. Kathy had graciously agreed to an email interview, so I sent her some questions about the book and her work.

Spring has finally arrived in our part of the southern Rockies, at least as far as the wildflowers in our yard are concerned--and these natives have much more experience in discerning the change of seasons than I do, so I'm inclined to trust them. My favorite of all is pasque flower, a wild relative of anemones and buttercups that is the first spring flower to bloom in dry mountain grasslands like ours.

The other day we drove home over the mountains from Denver, knowing from the weather forecast and road report that we were headed into high-wind conditions going across South Park, the shallow bowl of mountain grassland that lies at around 9,500 feet elevation (give or take a few hundred feet) between our valley and the Great Plains. (Yes, the very South Park that inspired the television show.)

Wednesday was a long day. We left home at seven-forty in the morning, as the sun was coming over the Arkansas Hills, and returned after sunset, which meant we saw some spectacular alpenglow like that in the photo below, but we didn't get home until after dark. In between we drove to Denver for an appointment with Richard's radiation oncologist and his "fitting" with the radiation techs who will give him his five-day-a-week doses of radiation.

Yesterday, Richard and I drove to Denver on a perfectly lovely November afternoon with no wind or blowing snow, or any of the other weather tricks that life in the Colorado mountains can conjure. We left home at a few minutes after two--right on time--and sped up and over Trout Creek Pass, across the winter-brown prairie of South Park (that's a bit of South Park below), and up and over Red Hill and Kenosha passes, and then up and down through the Foothills and into the Metro area by a few minutes before five, skating in before the rush hour traffic got too bad.