Just The Ancient Ones We Have Not Come To Know Yet

One of the most popular shows on the cable channel Animal Planet is a wildlife documentary series called “River Monsters.” The show is actually great fun and it’s appeal is easy to understand: go to fascinating places and see animals you have never dreamed or heard of. Television watchers love journeys into the unknown, guided…

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How Little Is Enough?: Building The Life of a Place

I’m suspicious of most Rumi quotes that you find floating around the internet because of this article and ones like it with a serious critique that most English translations take out serious content and context from the writing. That said, there is a Rumi quote floating around the internet that says “There are hundreds of…

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The Invasion and The Courtship of the Land

If a doctor says to you “the procedure is non-invasive” there is usually a sigh of relief. The reason for that is that the word “invade” or “invasive” has an aggressive and hostile sense to it. Whether the invaders are direct (zombies), swarming (insects), tiny (viruses) or massive (aliens from space) there is a definite…

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Mugwort: Not Subjugated, Still Dreaming

At the Union Square Farmers Market here in New York City you can buy Mugwort for five bucks a bunch. Which is hilarious because it is a weed and growing everywhere. Medians. Parks. Street corners next to lamp posts. I have loads of the plant growing in my backyard. In speaking with an herbalist friend…

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On The Crucible of Dixon Ticonderoga #2

I’ve been a book person my whole life but I never was much of a margin scribbler. Sure, I had used highlighters as a kid and underlined things here and there but I was more of a visual recollector. I could sort of see in my mind where on the page things were that I…

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The Patrimony of Crepissage

It has been told that one of the subtle violences committed by modern missionaries in Central America was to force indigenous people to abandon their traditional homes of bundled grasses skimcoated with mud for cinder block houses with corrugated metal roofs. The missionaries insisted that these new houses were better because they would last longer…

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Jacaranda: On The Mandatory Mess of Beauty

The Jacaranda is concussively beautiful tree. Seeing one or seeing a host of them together gets your eyes drunk with a purple wine that is hard to conceive of. The luminous quality of their purple, lilac, and lavender blooms seems to be interior to the petals. You might even say that the saturation of the…

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Tending The Scars In The World: On Birches, Play, Sand Pipers and Childhood

There is an awful lot to like about Robert Frost’s poem “Birches” but the first three lines will do for now: When I see birches bend to left and right Across the lines of straighter darker trees, I like to think some boy’s been swinging them. It is such a sweet vision. That those trees…

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The Snail: The Purple Donned, Still

Four thousand years ago in Crete ancient fisherman left huge crushed shell middens of a particular kind of sea snail in massive piles in spots in their old cities. We aren’t completely sure what those middens were a sign of but there is a very good guess. Three thousand years ago in ancient Phoenicia, those…

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The Elder Function of Surfing at Huanchaco

I have never surfed. Or ever really tried. I’ve swam in the ocean. I’ve body surfed. And in my youth I used boogie boards on loan from time to time. And I’ve loved the ocean and I have loved surfing movies and video clips and I’ve loved watching from the shore too. How easy it…

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