Essays

A strange feeling of safety for a black American
A strange feeling of safety for a black American
Under the gaze of tribal police, a writer finds a new sense of freedom.
After the mountain yellow-legged frog disappeared
After the mountain yellow-legged frog disappeared
A wildlife biologist returns to a childhood stomping ground, devoid of its once-plentiful amphibians.
In this rapaciously dry year, a quiet question grows louder: What are we doing here?
In this rapaciously dry year, a quiet question grows louder: What are we doing here?
Drought, dread and family in the American Southwest.
Looking over the edge
Looking over the edge
2016 Bell Prize runner-up.
Healing on the river
Healing on the river
2016 Bell Prize winner.
How to shear a sheep — and why
How to shear a sheep — and why
On the satisfaction of back-breaking labor.
Remembering a ‘free man’ who died at the Grand Canyon
Remembering a ‘free man’ who died at the Grand Canyon
A transient outdoorsman, he only wanted to be in the mountains or down some canyon.
The afterlife of cotton
The afterlife of cotton
Through the present and past of a border town, on the trail of literary legend José Revueltas.
Sometimes a place
Sometimes a place
A family’s journey from the San Luis Valley to Denver, in illustrations.
How humans nurtured the hated mosquito
How humans nurtured the hated mosquito
Alexander von Humboldt and the spread of Aedes aegypti.
A mother’s flight into the desert
A mother’s flight into the desert
An excerpt from Black Dove: Mamá, Mi’jo, and Me.
 Humans and ecosystems mix it up on the U.S. - Mexico Borderlands
Humans and ecosystems mix it up on the U.S. - Mexico Borderlands
Everything moves across lines here. Nothing’s straightforward.
On borders, north and south
On borders, north and south
How the natural world challenges human notions of division.
Ranch Diaries: Two years into Triangle P Cattle, we’re coming into our own
Ranch Diaries: Two years into Triangle P Cattle, we’re coming into our own
My childhood cowgirl dreams and family traditions are settling in and coming to fruition.
The slaughter of innocents
The slaughter of innocents
After prairie dogs invade a corner of her lot, a writer weighs the cost of eliminating them.
Ranch Diaries: Late summer rain brings new wild foods
Ranch Diaries: Late summer rain brings new wild foods
How to use wild purslane and algerita berries, and how to not mistake death camas for wild onions.
A visit to the Grand Canyon, without handrails
A visit to the Grand Canyon, without handrails
A wild river is “a necessity of the human spirit.”
Ranch Diaries: After a dry spell, we finally have good rain at the ranch
Ranch Diaries: After a dry spell, we finally have good rain at the ranch
We altered our grazing plan early in the summer to account for aridity, but now we’re rolling in forage.
The family legacy of fishing
The family legacy of fishing
In a day on the river, a grandfather and grandson find joy despite the lack of fish.
Ranch Diaries: How to have a clear head and rested heart
Ranch Diaries: How to have a clear head and rested heart
It’s difficult to prioritize mental and emotional health in ranching, but vital to do so.
The Chickadee Symphony
The Chickadee Symphony
A composer reflects on three decades of birdsong.
The importance of Black Lives Matter in a white rural West
The importance of Black Lives Matter in a white rural West
A Westerner reflects on racial injustice close to home.
Ranch Diaries: On returning home from the city
Ranch Diaries: On returning home from the city
Whenever I leave, I miss out on big events at the ranch.
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