Author: Amber D. Stoner

Amber D. Stoner is a writer and book artist living in Eden Prairie. As a child, she wrote in a tree by the Mississippi River. As an adult, writing outside and about nature continues to deepen her connection to people, places, plants and all sorts of critters.

Ode to Spring Green season is nearly here Sweet-water scent of life Cool, tender reeds on sandaled feet Green means birds Chirps, warbles, whistles, clicks, streams Masked by leaves, hidden among trees Song from everywhere and nowhere Green wild prairie grass Untamed spirit of growth Lively emerald spires piercing Through the brown blanket of last year On a quiet path, the umbrella of trees whispers “Walk and relax and breathe” With a slight breeze, delicate quaking jewels Of fresh leaves spin vibrant Rosy and white petals of crabapple blossoms Release a fragrant melody for the bees Season of buttery trumpeting…

Read More

There’s a steep grassy hillside along Valley View Road where the kids and I check for wild turkeys on the daily drive home from school. These birds are so big, so distinct, that we exclaim their appearance from a block away and try to count how many are strolling the slope as we drive by. When the midafternoon sun shines down on a flock of turkeys basking in the warmth, we see the many shades of brown in their feathers. At the right light and angle, wild turkey feathers flash iridescent with startling touches of green, purple and bronze. Both…

Read More

Snow and ice settled thick on our deck steps, making it a hazardous trip to the compost bin near our garden. Not wanting to toss perfectly compostable veggie peels into the garbage, but not eager to spend 30 minutes in the freezing cold to shovel and chisel the steps clear, we stuck a tall garbage bin on the deck and called it good enough. We would open the deck door a crack and toss into the bucket our potato skins, banana peels, and lettuce lost to the back of the crisper finally found. No shoes, hats, or mittens required. I…

Read More

We arrived at the west entrance of Staring Lake Park at 9 a.m. and an outside temperature of -9°F. We waved to Erin, who was in the only other car in the lot. Singing along with Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite” to pep us up, we finished putting on our hats and gloves and beads. Only once our eyes were the only part not covered by two or more layers did we get out of the car. The creak of the door proclaimed the bitter cold. “Happy New Year!” we shouted. The four of us, my husband Mike, my sister Toni, our…

Read More

On a quiet, cold winter morning, I catch a flash of red outside my window. Looking up, I squint against the bright sun and spot a red squirrel perched on the branch of our crabapple tree nibbling the small red fruit she holds in her tiny paws. Her tail is folded up along the length of her back, like a furry boa. Her white belly and eyes ringed in bright white fur are in stunning contrast to her mostly reddish-gray coat. She basks in the sun, balancing on the thin branch. The tail fur glows with sunlight and flutters in…

Read More

Acres of cattails glow golden in the steep slant of the November sun. Standing on the boardwalk at Cardinal Creek Conservation Area, I reach up to touch the velvety brown flower of the cattail. This time of year, the flowers are frizzing out from their tightly packed brown cylinders into the fuzzy fluff that inspired their name. I tug at the shedding seeds, and the fluff expands and expands, cottony foam releasing sails of seeds. Cattails, a marsh plant, thrive along the edges of lakes and rivers and across wetlands providing food and shelter to muskrats, deer, ducks and more.…

Read More

On a crisp autumn evening in my backyard, I hear a gray treefrog’s slow musical trill. A reply sounds from the planter on our deck. The air is cool, dry, and leafy. I often see treefrogs when they are green and nestled on a hosta leaf. Still, they adapt to their surroundings and turn a mottled gray when I spy them snugged along a wall of our cedar planters or tucked into the spout of our watering pitcher. At night, they climb up our deck doors with their white bellies and large toepads smooshed against the glass. The croaks echo…

Read More