The Myth of Peak Stuff

“Scientists say the weight of human-made objects will likely exceed that of living things by the end of the year.”                                                 ~ Helen Briggs A good friend warned me years ago about peak oil, when the production of oil from the Earth reached its peak, and the amount of oil remaining would continuously decline, exacerbating […]

Back to Nature

“Bury me not, on the lone prairie.”                                                 ~ The Cowboy’s Lament It was a lonely grave, no other markers or structures nearby. An old board, with flaked paint almost obscuring the message, stood upright in the desert at the base of Utah’s Book Cliffs. Maybe it had been some cowboy riding the lonely range […]

A Bug in Your Ear

… It is not a sentimental but a grimly literal fact that unless we share this terrestrial globe with creatures other than ourselves, we shall not be able to live on it for long.                                 ~ Joseph Wood Krutch “The truth is that we need invertebrates, but they don’t need us. If human beings were […]

Point of View

The greater the circle of understanding becomes, the greater is the circumference of surrounding ignorance.                                     ~ Edwin Chargoff As an adult, I’ve pretty much always read the newspaper daily. I’ve never been much for the evening news, but over the past few years, my wife and I have routinely watched Rachel on MSNBC. I […]

Ruin Porn

There’s a strange and undeniable draw towards abandoned places. Ghost towns, forsaken movie palaces, swank shipwrecks, crumbling castles and the like all lure in adventurers with their promise of poignancy and a special brand of voyeurism.                                                                 ~ Melissa Breyer Every day it seems like I’m reliving some great disaster of history — a pandemic, […]

Cold Fire

“Mushrooms are one of our biggest allies if we hope to have any chance of healing the earth.”                                                                 ~ Sarah Kuta Humans have changed the planet’s ecosystems, both intentionally and inadvertently. Our very presence requires competition with other species for resources and our successful proliferation compounds that issue. We also perform actions that damage […]

Scaredy-Cat

As a kid, I was scared of lots of things. Sometimes, my older brother “worked with me” to overcome my fearfulness by scaring me at unexpected times. He might creep up on me while I slept, grab me by the throat and growl. He might sneak up on me during our Saturday night “Midnight Monster […]

Solistalgia

“When one is considering the universe,” Ella Frances Sanders observed in her lovely illustrated celebration of wonder, “it is important, sensible even, to try and find some balance between laughter and uncontrollable weeping.”  “Our life has become so mechanized and electronified,” said the Hungarian journalist and László Feleki “that one needs some kind of an […]

Butterfly Wings

In junior high and high school, I became interested in stories about World War Two and read dozens of books about the war. I got to know Europe and the Pacific in ways that I never learned in my classes. Of course, I had read National Geographic, Kipling, London, Burroughs and Haggard, so I was […]