Rock of Ages

I found myself falling down a rabbit hole of time that led me into strange other worlds.  But unlike Alice, who explored a fantasy wonderland full of the topsy-turvy features of an imaginative mind, I was entering real worlds that once all resided right here on our own planet earth.

Matriarchs and Monarchs

The seemingly impossible becomes possible when all the generations are strung together, each of us playing a humble role in a magnificently evolving lifeline. The monarch knows this instinctively.

Moment of Zen

Some see the glass half empty while others see the glass half full. But Joe showed us something different—how to savor each drop.

Out of Eden

Night after night, I heard the porcupine chewing away at my flowers, and each morning saw new patches destroyed by its voracious appetite. I was still enamored with the porcupine and all the wildness it symbolizes—but I wanted it destroyed.

At Death's Door

Those at the end of their time on earth do not show us what to do on our deathbeds but what to do in our lives.

Shoreline Cleanup

It’s a brisk fall day, the sky weighed down by leaded clouds, and we are embarking on another shoreline cleanup in Maine, wary not of the waves, wind, and a potential rainstorm, but of what we will encounter across the bay.

For the Birds

Why do I need to know whether it’s a warbler or a kinglet that is shaking the pine needles in front of me? For the same reason I need to know if it’s Susan or Mary who I see at a party.

Out of the Fog

As we spent more time in Maine, I came to discover the blessings of sea smoke, which reveals more by showing less. 

They Say There Are Moose

Despite their big obtrusive antlers and bodies so large they look like they just walked in from the Pleistocene, the moose blend in to the background, and you don’t even know they are there.

The River

I have lost control.  I'm a good swimmer. But the rapids' strong vortex spins me and sucks me under, making my struggle to surface a battle with a force much greater than I.


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Below are published excerpts from Margie Patlak's nature memoir More Than Meets the Eye: Exploring Nature and Loss on the Coast of Maine and her other published personal essays.