Searching for Scorpions at Night

To get close enough to a wild scorpion to take its photo is scary: the Arizona bark scorpion isn’t deadly, but it’s the most venomous scorpion in the United States, with a sting that causes severe pain.

The Scorpion Master

It’s more terrifying for the scorpion, I’m guessing. It’s Halloween weekend in Phoenix, and I’m less than an inch away from its body, a 4x micro lens on my camera phone in one hand and a Scorpion Master black light flashlight in the other. I don’t kick or turn over any rocks, and I periodically sweep the light around my feet. Continue reading

The Shimmering Slime Drawings of Snails and Slugs

Slugs and slime on a stump, Oakland, CA

It’s hard not to notice crushed snails on sidewalks. But I usually didn’t notice the subtle slime trails that emerged out of front yard gardens, where and slugs and snails glided along glittering lines of slime crisscrossing the sidewalk. These lines mapping where the little creatures have traveled are visible only for a moment, when the sun happens to light them up at just the right angle.

One trail in particular reminded me of the people who use the Map My Run app to leave trails in the shapes of a body part or to spell words, and after I saw it, I was suddenly tuned in to slug and snail drawings like never before.  Continue reading

The Flower-Popping Power of Purple Lenses

Me with a grapefruit and purple-lensed glasses. Left: naked eye. Right: view through purple lenses.

To see things differently doesn’t always mean seeing more. Limiting the senses– a candlelight dinner, a silent cathedral–enhances sensory experience.

One way to limit color vision is to wear colored lenses. I have been wearing purple lenses as sunglasses, and occasionally indoors, for several weeks weeks. They came in a pack of 12 assorted colored sunglasses from a company called Glo-X.  Continue reading

Shine Pig Season

Shine Pig

As the sun sets each summer evening, it sends a shimmering pig up the side of a tall storage building down the street. At first, the pig looks like it’s standing on the sidewalk, then it ascends the wall and fades as the sun disappears.

Brian noticed and identified it a few years ago. I still remember him standing at the window of our apartment, repeating the phrase  Continue reading

Spend Quality Time with an Inanimate Object and it will Come Alive

I have an inanimate object in my life: it is an unbroken Brazilian agate geode.

I’m hand-sanding all the way through it with sandpaper (read more about the project here) and have spent so much time with it that it’s taken on a life of its own.

Here are five ways my unbroken geode has come to life.

1. I’m afraid it will “die” by falling and breaking and the water leaking out.

The geode has water at its center, like an alien being with a Continue reading