In the predawn hours of Monday, January 16, 2012, Ed Forrest, an off-duty battalion chief for the Seminole County Fire Department, woke to a voice on his two-way radio. A request was out for Tanker 24 to respond to a fire in nearby Longwood. Forrest recalls
lurching from his bed, confused: Longwood is a small city on the outskirts of Orlando; six thousand-
gallon water trucks like Tanker 24 are reserved for backcountry wildfires and infernos. Forrest called the dispatcher, who explained that the oldest tree in the state — a thirty-five-hundred-year-old bald cypress named The Senator — had burst into flames.
The caribou and wolf, the fig and fig wasp, the monarch and milkweed—some species are so interdependent, they
seem to constitute a single organism. John Vaillant’s debut novel, The Jaguar’s Children, opens with the hint of another interspecies relationship, that of Mexico’s indigenous Olmec people and the jaguar.
Paw-prints dotting the snow, rain squiggling down a window, tunnels raised up through the lawn — do designs like these tempt you to read them? As if, “written” by the fox, cloud, and vole respectively, each conveyed a necessary message? Those predisposed to scan the natural world for signatures and missives, as if it were all one gigantic three-dimensional book, may also enjoy Jody Gladding’s third full-length poetry collection, Translations from Bark Beetle.
Paulus is the author of the ceramicist’s bible, Finding One’s Way with Clay, and a
handmade book in which he’s written a voluminous list of senses: sense of temperature
and temperature change (#7); sense of fear, dread of injury, death, or attack (#27); domineering and territorial sense (#36); sense of pupation, including cocoon building
and metamorphosis (#50); a sense of being known (#60)—sense upon sense, handwritten in green Magic Marker.