Ours is an age defined by refuse – by refusing, that is, to deal with our refuse.
Trash accumulates in all areas of the planet, including – and especially – America’s treasured national parks. A recent, personal, non-scientific survey of Yosemite’s iconic attractions reveals a pernicious aggressor. Few outdoor enthusiasts would encourage littering, yet many cause this offense, often doing so unwittingly. Resolving the issue necessitates a much higher degree of coordination between park officials and attendees.
Continue reading “At the Corner of Truth & Trash”
Like a conspiratorial merchant, blue can elide detail and flatten context within the pleasure it provides. Azure sky can be lustrous and turquoise water can be inviting – almost as if adjectives were more important than verbs. So much effort is expended understanding what the sky means, may mean, and has meant, that we forget our human capacity to survive the depravity of slightly less-warm mornings and hair-adjusting breezes.
Continue reading “No Better Weather Than Now”
Beginning whole then fragmenting, condensing, clotting, generation by generation, descends the family wisdom. But it passed over me. Or passed under me – I wouldn’t know. For on a recent day as my hiking path wore treewards, the trail seemed more personal than any ancestral message I could recall. No idiom nor motto nor slogan stuck as deeply as a winter burr, and that distinction, so I thought, is a deficit. And immediately, doubt rang the doorbell of my mind: it taunted my family’s way without words.
Continue reading “The Indefinite Third”
Forest forms live in and out of dimensions. Treetops to root bottoms: the curious eye explores them each and all. As that focus travels, to the wending of lines and greater lines, organisms become pure geometry. Like bookshelf inhabitants, individual firs unify, and symbolic meaning displaces life in its barest sense. Entire populations are known by one or two blithe names. Certain woodlands gently appraise the landscape, others rise and fall with the whispers of cliffs and shadows.
Continue reading “Of Shapeless Honesty”
Damp is wet is driving down – it’s rain to end this drought – and mud grows deep and branches leap into coastal hills. By August, we knew what was to come: clouds would line the ridges, streams overflow, and humans park their boots at home. And when November showered, the trails emptied. Friends wanted clean noses, deer misplaced their fleece, bikers liked warm fingers, and hawks outgrew their jackets.
Continue reading “Rainwalking”
Contrast lines those glacial tremors and barren scratches. They need not apologize for their appearance; they are equal to any of Earth’s luscious or fertile lands, even if our tongues obscure them in the language of austerity. We call the high desert a stark backdrop to greater dramas – but why is the landscape, itself, not a protagonist? Or, more precisely, if each severe peak and bleak valley seduces the eye and pulls at our shoes, what is humanity’s attraction to such purported wastelands?
Continue reading “The Deep Face”
Grass nearly glowers in the punctured inland sun. Clouds have climbed to cooler climes. Hills unfold the miles and dust these legs like well-sneezed clay. It sounds of yellow bugs and rolls and roils daytime shadows. These hands swell into impostors. These cheeks drool with a grime that stains a shirtsleeve black. These knees have not yet fainted; but soon, a break, I promise!
Just atop the next hill.
No, no, fine! The one after.
Continue reading “More Than Calming”