Forest Haiku

winter forest
light of the rising sun
passes straight through


needle litter
carpeting the forest floor
copper clean


straight trunks
standing tall and tidy
lack character


spring brings blossoms
but how can the trees trust
spring sometimes lies


the gnarled tree
stunted and deformed
stands post-storm

BOOK REVIEW: The Forest Unseen by David George Haskell

The Forest Unseen: A Year's Watch in NatureThe Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature by David George Haskell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amazon page


The premise of this book is simple but the result is fascinating. The author, a naturalist, picks a small patch of old-growth forest in Tennessee and visits it three or four times per month over the course of a year. He then writes an essay on something that he observed in (on, above, below, etc.) that patch that he calls “the mandala.” (FYI- A mandala is a symbolic representation of the universe, or an aspect thereof, that some Eastern religions use for meditative purposes.) While botany and zoology form the heart of Haskell’s subject matter, the subjects vary and include geology, behavior (animal and human), light, medicinal use of plants, and more.

Using a full year as his scope, Haskell catches some of the rare and ephemeral forest happenings. He drills down and offers the reader insight into what is happening beneath the bark and fallen leaves, providing background and context through his research that supplements his observations. In some of the articles we learn how the mandala may have changed over the centuries. In others we learn about happenings at scales too small for us to observe directly.

Haskell’s descriptions are often beautiful and always necessary as he conveys all through words. There are no graphics, and so the reader benefits from vivid descriptions. The chapters / essays stand alone nicely, so one doesn’t have to read the book straight through, but can rather pick the book up once in a while over an extended time — as it was written. Reading this book over the course of a year wouldn’t be a bad way to go about it, particularly if one lives in an ecosystem similarly forested.

There is a bibliography, but that’s about the extent of ancillary matter. It’s a simple book and that sparseness resonates well with the book’s theme and style.

I enjoyed this book and think nature lovers will find it intriguing and enjoyable.

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DAILY PHOTO: Man Made Forest of Bohol

Taken in December of 2017 on Bohol

This stand of trees covers a couple of kilometers of roadway in thick mahogany forest. It’s noticeable in that it seems out-of-place, and because the trees are of preternaturally uniform size. Apparently, the natural growth was destroyed and they planted the mahogany trees for something new. The forest is in the area of the villages of Bilar and Loboc on Bohol Island along the drive to one of the Tarsier sanctuaries and the Chocolate Hills.


There were lots of these crawlers present.

POEM: Deep in the Forest


deep in the forest

spots of light

spatter in a spray

a disco ball pattern

tilting too slowly

to be seen

by humans

but a blur

to the trees

humans are to trees

as hummingbirds

are to humans

flitting too fast

to recognize

living too briefly

to seem useful