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Bayou-Diversity (27 January 2019) As a species we have never liked the darkness of night. For several hundred thousand years we have retreated to caves and other shelters, huddled closer to blazing fires, and shouldered a heavier burden of anxiety soon after sunset. Predators real and imagined lurked in the shadows; denizens of the spirit world had their way after dark. Everyone had stories of bad things that happened when the vital sense of vision was rendered impotent at night. Nothing much has changed today for most people. In Louisiana where many are familiar with our forests and swamps, the idea of being in their midst at night without an artificial light of some sort is not appeal

Tree Connections

Bayou-Diversity (13 January 2019) At the top of my long driveway through a patch of diverse forest that is at least 130 years old, there was a peculiar episode of mortality not long ago. The deaths involved three large trees that, up until the time their leaves withered and transpiration failed, appeared healthy. They all died within a two month period. The victims were within forty feet of each other, and though there were many others nearby, none were affected. Adding to the mystery was the fact that the trees were of three different species – a white oak, a mockernut hickory, and a southern red oak. Other than a couple of recent droughty summers that likely stressed the forest to som

House Guests

Bayou-Diversity (5 January 2019) HOUSE GUESTS A house guest of ours left recently. Now I love company. We have a big house in the woods with lots of room for folks to spread out if necessary—but three months is a bit long even for the best of friends. He didn’t say a word when he left either. I have to admit that I had been encouraging his departure for quite some time even to the point of—dare I say it—attempting his assassination on more than one occasion. He drove me to it you see. It started when he began eating the dried flower arrangements in the living room. This bit of thoughtlessness was only the prelude to fractious rude behavior. This guest was a mouse, a native white-foo


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