Adirondacks - Algonquin Peak seen from the South Meadows Lake plain in North Elba
Adirondack Mountais
Algonquin Peak seen from the South Meadows Lake plain in North Elba.

orogeny ô-rŏj′ə-nē

n. The process of mountain formation, especially by a folding and faulting of the earth’s crust.

n. Same as orogenesis.

n. the process of mountain building by the upward folding of the Earth’s crust.


The world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at our own feet, and learn to be at home. Teachers are everywhere. What is wanted is a learner.

∽ Wendell Berry

Doing Our Part

dragon sitting on gold
A reasonable amount of ready cash.

Dear Mr. Kushner (or whoever is currently being President),

Ordinarily, I am a wildly wealthy person. However, due to the recent plague, it seems my main income source, wage slaves (or as we like to say between us, the poors,)

the rest “Doing Our Part”

Graphic

Last night, I dreamed that Hope Sandoval was at the end of the couch reading a book. When I sat down, she put her bare feet under my thigh to warm them up.

It was a really good dream, and … the rest “Graphic”


Book cover illustration
Delaware Water Gap – George Innes, 1859.

First Paragraph:

The paragraph that follows is an encapsulated history of the eastern United States, according to plate-tectonic theory and glacial geology.

—John McPhee. “In Suspect Terrain.”

Ruinous

Cutting path in mountain for border fence.
Ruinous.

1969: “…One giant leap for mankind.”

Fifty years later: “We should build a giant fence.”

It’s 20 million dollars per mile, but how do you but a price on an idea this good?

If you support this, may the ghost … the rest “Ruinous”


Accolades

Painting. Frank Dicksee, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, c. 1901
Painting. Frank Dicksee, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, c. 1901

It occurs to me that if I were to take myself seriously as a writer, a poet, a purveyor of ideas, a mark of my success would be to present my writing to the world while escaping the indignity of … the rest “Accolades”


First Paragraph:

Each year, after the midwinter blizzards, there comes a night of thaw when the tinkle of dripping water is heard in the land. It brings strange stirrings, not only to creatures abed for the night, but to some who have been asleep for the winter. The hibernating skunk, curled up in his deep den, uncurls himself and ventures forth to prowl the wet world, dragging his belly in the snow. His track marks one of the earliest datable events in that cycle of beginnings and ceasings which we call a year.

—Aldo Leopold. “A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There.”


Clarity

Oljato-Monument Valley, United States
Oljato-Monument Valley, United States.
Photo by Ganapathy Kumar.

I take a solo excursion into the canyonlands with some water, some nuts, some berries.
The water runs out.
The nuts and berries run out.
My legs give out.
I sit down and lean against a rock.
I go through … the rest “Clarity”


Confront

Head butting buffalo.
Photo by Uriel Soberanes.

I understand why some of my friends feel compelled to periodically post “why can’t we all just get along” messages on their social media feeds. Animosity and vitriol are not the mental space most of us want to inhabit. Posting … the rest “Confront”


Lee Konitz

It’s important to remember.

We lost altoist Lee Konitz this week. Not a superstar by today’s standards, but essential to the jazz story, and one of my favorite players.

Konitz’ playing was spare and intellectual. His sound was so dry, … the rest “Lee Konitz”


Re-Branding

Well, there is this virus propagating worldwide and it’s been suggested that we stay indoors so it doesn’t keep spreading.

The problem is that we’re tired of doing that now, so we’re going to be re-branding this situation as government … the rest “Re-Branding”


No domestic animal can be as still as a wild animal. The civilized people have lost the aptitude of stillness, and must take lessons in silence from the wild before they are accepted by it.

∽ Isak Dinesen

First Paragraph:

This is the most beautiful place on earth.

—Edward Abbey. “Desert Solitaire.”

The true and durable path into and through experience involves being true to the actual givens of your lives. True to your own solitude, true to your own secret knowledge. Because oddly enough, it is that intimate, deeply personal knowledge that links us most vitally and keeps us most reliably connected to one another.

∽ Seamus Heaney,
University of North Carolina Commencement Address, 1996

Seamus Heaney

Yesterday, April 13th, was the birthday of poet Seamus Heaney. My father’s birthday is also this month and when I pulled this volume of Heaney’s poems off my bookshelf, I remembered that this was yet another gift of verse my dad had given to me a number of years ago.

Here’s a poem about fathers and sons. (My father is alive and well, despite what the sentiment of the verse implies.)

Follower

My father worked with a horse-plough,
His shoulders globed like a full sail strung
Between the shafts and the furrow.
The horses strained at his clicking tongue.

As expert. He would set the wing
And fit the bright steel-pointed sock.
The sod rolled over without breaking.
At the header, with a single pluck

Of reins, the sweating team turned round
And back into the land.
His eye Narrowed and angled at the ground,
Mapping the furrow exactly.

I stumbled in his hob-nailed wake,
Fell sometimes on the polished sod;
Sometimes he rode me on his back
Dipping and rising to his plod.

I wanted to grow up and plough,
To close one eye, stiffen my arm.
All I ever did was follow
In his broad shadow round the farm.

I was a nuisance, tripping, falling,
Yapping always. But today
It is my father who keeps stumbling
Behind me, and will not go away.

—Seamus Heaney, Poems 1965-1975