Nature and the Outdoors

The Whistlers: Bill’s Account

I’ve got calluses on my hands from burying my brother. If we’re rescued today, I’ll have to explain that to someone. Some search-and-rescue trooper, some forest ranger, will hold my palm to the light of a chopper window and want to know how I managed to rub the heel of my hand raw. I practice, sometimes. I practice what I’ll say to people when we get back home. Dr. Harmon, the department head, will need to know how I got Geoff and Lillian killed doing what was supposed to be straightforward field research. They were both his students, hand-picked for great things, led astray by the man who wrote his dissertation on the Russian Yeti, who taught a cryptozoology class disguised as a folklore survey. I got bumped off the tenure track for that. Harmon talked over me in meetings. Like I wasn’t there.

The Whistlers: Ruth’s Account

The man on the trail is dead and will need to be moved. It is a more difficult task than I would have guessed, and nearly impossible for a 5’ 4” woman with no help and no gurney. I tried to drag him toward camp right after I found him this morning, but only succeeded in pivoting him and twisting his legs around each other horribly. Bodies look so wrong once they stop feeling pain. I never thought I would have so much experience with death, but I haven’t cried over the loss of someone since the lighthouse. This man shit his pants before he died, and moving him made the smell worse. It will bring the animals in. Still no sign of Ira or Bill.

The Wolves of These Frozen Woods

I can’t stand to be back here. This tiny, rural town I grew up in, it makes my skin crawl to see everything around me. I’m well into middle-age now, but it’s like this town has been frozen in time since I was a teenager. And the older I get, the more things that in …

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Beach

I still dream about the ocean, waves capped with foam, the whispered poetry of high tide, pools filled with brine-crusted treasures. I dream about storms and faces. A roar of thunder wakes me to a cold sweat and an empty room, and I try to fall back asleep. I try to dream of something else, …

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Northern Lights

I never wanted to go on that stupid hike in the first place. Yet there I was, allegedly enjoying nature and getting healthy exercise while hiking from “cabin to cabin” in the Norwegian mountains with the devil spawn otherwise known as my class. Woohoo, right? For a misanthropic misfit like myself, it was a nightmare. Within half an hour of walking on the uneven path over the heather, I was at the back of the group.

The Animals On My Farm Always Kill Their Newborns

Before I take my life tonight, I need to write down what brought me to this point. Just for my own sanity, just as a catharsis. If I’m feeling brave I’ll post it on the Internet when I’m done. And if I do – if I’m actually talking to some human soul out there – …

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The Roots of Wewoka Cemetery

After a short time of exploring the Oklahoma territory where they were forced to go, a group of Native Americans stumbled upon a mysterious plant while hunting. This plant looked like a gnarled tree root, with so many twists and turns within its seemingly fragile length that one could barely tell it was not one …

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Where the Birches Lean

It was the last week of school before Christmas break. That meant that the students and teachers of Ridgecrest Christian Preparatory Academy had little intention of actually working. Most classes had become a social hour but Mr. Winthrop had decided to take this opportunity to give his senior English class a writing assignment. He requested …

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The Canada Geese of Lake Pleasant

I’m a researcher studying Canada Geese for the last ten years. I’ve never published my research. Specifically, my small team and I study a small population of Canada Geese that migrates to Arizona during the winter months from Alaska. This work mostly involves checking the new adults tagged during the summer months from our sister …

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The Unfortunate Life of Jamie Robert Mitchum

My mother always told me to stay away from Jamie Robert Mitchum. Maybe I should have listened to her. I guess I didn’t really understand why at the time. I guess children are more trusting. Sure, he was strange. Anybody could see that. Jamie was the type of kid to play with a magnifying glass …

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The Portal in the Woods

“Dad, you said you’d play catch with me!” I yelled as my father walked past me to his office, where he spent most of his days when he wasn’t at work. “I’m sorry, bud, I’ve gotta get these documents done for tomorrow’s big meeting. We’ll do it another day, okay?” I frowned. That was the …

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Bigger Fish

My friend and I have always known not to go into the woods around my house at night. I live in a really, really rural area. Like, the nearest house is about a mile away kind of rural. I love it; I grew up in suburban areas, so living somewhere so far away from civilization is really …

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whispers from the woods

Whispers from the Woods

I remember when I first moved into this accursed house, I was 10 years old and loved all the things a ten-year-old boy loves, you know; climbing trees, catching bugs, playing cowboys and Indians, those sorts of things. We had moved from the hussle and bussle of “The Big Smoke” to the small Cheshire village …

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slithers

Slithers

Arthur had just come home from a week of restful camping with his 2 best friends. The three of them had been planning the trip months in advance due to the increasingly toxic work environment that was created with their new supervisor. Arthur was particularly excited when the three of them had planned the trip, …

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There's Something in the Fields behind my Apartment

There’s Something in the Fields Behind My Apartment

I’ve never really considered myself to be much of an explorer or even a particularly brave man, however that hasn’t seemed to stop me from getting in the predicament I’m in now. It was around 3 months ago that my girlfriend of 4 years left me for another man, and she really was the last …

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The Big One

The competitors of the thirtieth annual “Super fish” tournament sponsored by the Angler Warehouse could not have asked for a better day; seventy-five degrees and not a cloud in the sky.  The competition was open to just about every type of fish that Lake Michigan had to offer, but when several large Pumpkinseeds or Rock Carp counted the same as an average sized Sturgeon or Catfish, the fishermen were always on the hunt for “the big one.”