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How I Spend My New Summers

A haibun - a short prose passage followed by a haiku - in Dawn Songs: A Birdwatcher's Field Guide to the Poetics of Migration, edited by Jamie K. Reaser and J. Drew Lanham

How I Spend My New Summers

Published Works

Hammer Test

New from River Teeth: "Hammer Test"—An essay that explores killing one species to save another. Order your copy of issue 24.2 today from River Teeth.

Groundhog Days

This essay looks at the Bosnian War in the context of a power outage in in Texas in February, 2021 that left 4.5 million homes and businesses powerless and almost 15 million people with either dirty water or none at all, some for several days. The "massive electricity generation failure" even has its own Wikipedia entry. More than a hundred people died, including an eleven-year-old Conroe boy who froze to death in his bed.


This essay is currently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Groundhog Days

Learning the Birds by Susan Fox Rogers

"Writing with raw honesty and an endearing humility, Rogers describes the spark that instigated her journey to learn about birds."

Mountain Time

"The ancient Irish believed that heaven and earth exist in closest proximity in the thin places. The landscape of thin places is alive with the visible and the invisible, so intimate they share the same frequency. The ancient Irish felt that in a thin place, there is time and space for eternal things like splendor and love. They imagined that in a thin place, where the veil between the sublime and the profane is insignificant, mystery marries nature in a passionate embrace. A thin place calls your attention to these things if you're listening. The more closely you listen, the more you learn, the more you love. You can choose how you want to love and for how long. If you choose to love a constellation or a mountain, you can love it forever."


This essay was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Mountain Time

Guardian of the Garden

"Guardian of the Garden" is my essay describing lessons learned about motherhood from a bluebird. The anthology When Birds Are Near was published in October 2020 by Cornell University Press, edited by Susan Fox Rogers.


This essay was nominated for a 2021 Pushcart Prize.


About this essay, judge Alison Stine writes "I kept coming back to this piece, both for its language, which is lyrical and memborable, as well as the sotry, which is the simplest story of all: love. But the writer expands on the definition of love, learning to love herself even in the absence of the companion the narrator calls simply No Word. Some things resist definition, are everything and nothing. Love is also a landscape..."


This essay was awarded the 2020 Penenlope Niven Creative Nonfiction honorable mention from the Center for Women Writers.

Bought and Sold

A search for an inherited plot of undeveloped land in New Mexico inspires this sprawling history of lies and broken promises involving railroads and ranchers, land grants and land grabs.


"When my father died on Christmas Day in 1989, he left his Deming Ranchettes to me in his will. Select Western Lands, Inc., a company that endures today primarily in the archived records of the lawsuits filed against it, had subdivided pristine New Mexican desert fifteen miles east of the city of Deming, population eight thousand at the time my parents bought their ranchettes, into a crazy quilt of eighty thousand half-acre lots. Infrastructure—paved roads, water, utilities—was nonexistent. I was the sudden new owner of two of those lots." 


This essay was nominated for a 2020 Pushcart Prize.

Bought and Sold

Time Passes Like Water

In a cavern eighty feet underground, Renata realizes she is not as young - or as strong - as she used to be. Her panic is equaled by her inability to ask for help. She understands she has become like the cave, where time, like water that shaped the cave, leaves only the memory of what has been diminished.


This essay was nominated for a 2020 Pushcart Prize.

How Much Does A Bag Hold

When two hungry and thirsty men appear on her property in southeastern Arizona, Renata must make some decisions, knowing that aiding illegal border crossers is a felony and that her neighbors are watching.


"We were unaware of anything unusual happening out there, a crisis arriving on our doorstep, until the greyhound, who had grown so accustomed to the scores of resident jackrabbits he didn't even notice them anymore, barked. If you spend enough time in the desert, where your closest neighbor might be half a mile away, you notice subtle shifts in color, small movements in the mesquite." 

What the Two Percent Are Saying

"Prairie dogs have one of the largest vocabularies in the animal kingdom, with more sophisticated language skills than whales, dolphins, or parrots. Prairie dogs have a call for human and can add syllables to that call to say tall, thin human in a blue shirt and short, fat human in a yellow shirt. A prairie dog in Utah can invent a new call for something she has never seen before, and a prairie dog in Colorado will understand what that call means the first time he hears it. And yet prairie dogs are killed in shooting competitions, to make way for development, and by law in some states. With only two percent of the historic population of prairie dogs remaining, time is running out to hear what they have to tell us."