Monthly Archives: September 2016

In the hood


Bass River, MA

Here is a very special ecosystem. It is a neighborhood. This cluster of birdhouses stands in the backyard of one of my neighbors from thirty-some years ago. She would build a neighborhood for birds because being a good neighbor even extended to her feathered friends. In her nineties now, Ann called me this evening. She struggles with her health, but we talked about good memories and beautiful places. She has always been an amazing gardener, so she created much of the beauty around her. She taught me to garden, and in so doing, gave me a lifelong gift. I just want to say, “Thank you.”

Fear & awe


Death Valley, CA

In the October National Geographic, Timothy Egan writes about the dearth of millennials visiting our national parks. He tells of Los Angeles students brought to Death Valley who wouldn’t leave their van because they were unnerved by the emptiness. I understand their fear and acknowledge my own on my first trip to Death Valley. I wanted, though, to overcome that fear, so I stubbornly waited it out. In its place, I discovered awe and expansiveness. Is our addiction to technology another feeble attempt to exert control over the uncontrollable? We are more than that, and our world is far, far more than that. Our national parks aren’t just post card scenery. They can transform us.



New Denver, British Columbia

This photo speaks to me as no other. Not because of the image, but because of what it represents. This is a park in a small town in British Columbia where once, during World War II, there was a Japanese internment camp. When the war was over, when the Japanese were released, many chose to stay in New Denver. Their former lives were gone. They started anew. Together, they decided to create a Peace Park. They made the best response, really the only response, to evil. Their answer was “peace.” On the 15th anniversary of 9-11, it must be our answer, too.

The impossible dream

Garrapata Quixote

Garrapata Beach, Big Sur, CA

I came across this fellow one day up against the cliff wall. It could be anyone, but I say it is Don Quixote without his steed. Something about the way he brandishes his sword strikes me as quite quixotic, defined as “idealistic without regard to practicality.” The practical is much out of proportion in our times, so I will take a stand for the idealistic, and this driftwood man will be my champion.