On recent lake walks I have noticed the absence of our familiar little furry caterpillars. However, I have seen a lot of frisky scrub-jays in the, well, the scrub. The scrub-jay is a very clever and determined little bird… one of the few to eat the hairy caterpillars that have guard hairs that other critters find abrasive when swallowed. The little scrub-jay simply shaves the caterpillar by rubbing against the sand before swallowing the delicacy.


An already-plump Western scrub-jay about to feast on a formerly-hairy caterpillar. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2015.


November 23, 2015

“The chess-board is the world; the pieces are the phenomena of the universe; the rules of the game are what we call the laws of Nature. The player on the other side is hidden from us. We know that his play is always fair, and patient. But also we know, to our cost, that he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance.”

Thomas Henry Huxley, 1825-1895


Robert Frost quote illustrated by Meredith Eliassen, 2015. Caption “Pawny: I’m on my way!” originally based upon concept by R. I. Otterbach.

“How many times did it thunder before Franklin took the hint! How many apples fell on Newton’s head before he took the hint! Nature is always hinting at us. It hints over and over again. And suddenly we take the hint.”

Robert Frost, 1874-1963



Pebbles Beneath a Stream

November 19, 2015

I have wondered what life would be like if everything went as I planned or wanted. Would I be happier than I am today?

To shiny pebble at the bottom of a stream, a butterfly flying free seems to be capricious as it carries pollen amongst the flowers: both are equally spiritual formations to my view. Between you and myself, I would have thought of myself as the pebble. Imagine my surprise to be called capricious.

I recently came across a quote by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto (1843-1923) that made me pause… and reflect.


“Give me a fruitful error any time, full of seeds, bursting with its own corrections,” by Pareto, design by Meredith Eliassen, 2015.



Introducing Lacy the Lizard

November 4, 2015

Reports of the elder member of the Lucky the Lizard posse surfaced when I was visiting my parents in Sedona recently and I went to investigate. The only lizard to be seen was the young ‘un hanging out on my parents front porch, but he gave me a full description of how Grandmother Spider watched the handsome Lacy dreaming wide-awake and attached her web to the back of his head so that he would carry her language to the other lizards, which I illustrate in this drawing done in the style of Peter Parnall.

Drawing of legendary lizard of the Southwest as described by anonymous young lizard on October 14th, drawn by Meredith Eliassen, 2015.

Drawing of legendary lizard of the Southwest as described by anonymous young lizard on October 14th, drawn by Meredith Eliassen, 2015.


Lacy the Lizard Notecard