Author Archives: David George Haskell

Jerusalem mourning. Fracture.

This is what the busiest street in the Old City looked like today in the midafternoon. Shopkeepers have shut down in solidarity with the people of Gaza. Normally this street is so utterly packed that movement from one end to … Continue reading

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Dawn over the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem

Welcomed by calls to prayer, rooftop roosters, and hundreds of explosions, the 3:30am chorus of fireworks detonated in narrow streets.

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Jerusalem, before Ramadan sunset

The streets are jammed and the food vendors are almost crushed by the crowds surging at them. Then the sun drops, the sawm (fast) is over, and the evening iftar feast begins. Just thirty minutes after the streets were choked … Continue reading

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Hidden communities of fungi nestled within tree leaves

A maple leaf is more than it appears to be. Its substance is made not just from plant cells, but from a community of many species. “Maple” is in fact part plant, part fungus, part bacteria. Just as the human … Continue reading

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Quicksilver

After heavy rain, water turns mercurial on nasturtium leaves. The water balls into a skittering drop, seeming to float just over the leaf’s surface. I was reminded of chasing liquid metal over chemistry lab benches in the days before kids … Continue reading

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Listen: underwater crackly, groany kōans

Drop a hydrophone into shallow salt water at latitudes less than 40° and you’re likely to hear a crackling sound, sometimes so loud that it drowns out almost all other underwater sounds. This din is created by snapping shrimp, tiny … Continue reading

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Summer Solstice…zoological celebration

A few of the creatures we’ve run into on St Catherine’s Island, GA, during the Island Ecology class:

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Washed up

The students in the Sewanee Island Ecology Program have repeated the studies that I began last year of “trash” on the beaches of St Catherine’s Island, GA. We search standardized transect lines in the wrack on the upper beach. If … Continue reading

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Garlic mustard, when it’s at home

Naturalists from North America will recognize this plant, the maligned, non-native garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata). I photographed this one in South Queensferry, Scotland. Recognition is likely not the only response to the sight of these leaves and flowers. Hands and … Continue reading

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Satsuki bonsai

“Satsuki” bonsai at the National Bonsai Collection in Washington, DC. These small trees (Rhododendron indicum) are native to Japan and grow  just a few feet tall in the wild. They are cultivated for their prolific blooms and tolerance of pruning. … Continue reading

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