As a fan of Margaret Renkl's weekly New York Times columns about the natural world, I was looking forward to getting my hands on this, her first collection of essays. It did not disappoint. The book toggles between the author's family history and her observations of the flora and fauna in her half-acre lot in Nashville, all in short, two to three-page pieces. Initially, I was partial to the nature essays, with their close attention to birds, arthropods, nests, weeds, and weather, but as the story of her family history unfolds, I found that thread equally compelling. Ultimately, the two themes intertwine, through her meditations on loss and her habit of close observation. As a friend and fellow enthusiast remarked, she is "the guru of paying attention."