Outdoors

Wardens break case of serial offender

Jensen Afield

Seated behind the wheel, alone in the truck in the darkness, I was scared beyond words. If the cops came along, there would be big trouble. If I didn’t do my job right, there would be trouble from my father. With a great affection for antiques back in the 1960s, dear old dad probably purchased half of the vast array […]

Slow start for snappers


One moonless May evening, my husband and I walked down to our local pond, flashlights in hand, to look for toads. We were delighted to discover hundreds of them, floating, darting, and jockeying for position in an explosion of courtship. Their surround-sound trills left our ears ringing. The toads were frenzied, focused only on each other, and highly concentrated in […]

Dark fisherman sees the light

Jensen Afield

Even as he walked the beach an hour after dawn that morning, the dark fisherman was fishing. He held no rod or bait, but was fishing for information. His wife once remarked, as they strolled along near the water’s edge, peering down into the sand for a glimpse of colored glass that, to the untrained eye, hardly stood out from […]

Dissolute dabblers


Robert McCloskey’s “Make Way for Ducklings” is one of my favorite childhood books. I loved the way Mr. and Mrs. Mallard interacted, their seemingly endless search for the perfect nesting place, the description of classic Boston neighborhoods, and the whimsical names of their eight ducklings. Not until I started reading the story to my own children, several years ago now, […]

DEATH is the way of LIFE

Jensen Afield

Man has endured the ongoing trial of survival since he first stood erect and began his march from Africa to all points of the earth. Just try to imagine what it was like for a small band of Homo erectus, especially before the magic of fire — perhaps the greatest accomplishment of man — came under his control. Large, hungry […]

Mysterious web decorations


When I was little and tagging along as my dad tended his vegetables, I would sometimes find large black and yellow garden spiders. They were beautiful, and I noticed they had a curious trait: They often added a bright white decorative zigzag to their webs. I always wondered why, if a spider web is meant to catch insects unawares, these […]

MISSING THE MARK

Jensen Afield

More often than not, outdoor writers are the only source that hunters, anglers and trappers have at their disposal to get their up-to-date, accurate information about what is happening in the outdoors. Many of these writers do their jobs; some of them are out of their league, in terms of writing; others have simply sold out. Now, to be honest, […]

The gregarious blue heron

THE OUTSIDE STORY

Years ago, friends and I spotted a group of huge nests high in the trees along the edge of a large pond: a great blue heron rookery. From across the water (a respectful distance to avoid disturbing the birds), we observed the goings-on through our binoculars. Adult herons flew in and out of the colony, their long necks and heads […]

In spring, BIRTH and DEATH in the wild

Jensen Afield

There is such an abundance of life in the spring. Newborn fawns, wild turkeys, birds of all kinds and the young offspring of predators. All must be raised with care and caution; all must be fed. It is a time of wonder; it is a time of new life. It is also a time of death for the very young. […]

A volcano in New Hampshire?

THE OUTSIDE STORY

North of Concord and south of the White Mountains is an estate romantically named Castle in the Clouds. Reclining on the patio there on a pleasant spring afternoon, you might enjoy the sun as well as the view. While it’s a beautiful view today, 122 million years ago it would have been a lot more exciting: you would have been […]


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