Why Am I Not There?

I’m not at the totality today, and it’s been gnawing at me. Between 1 and 7 million people are estimated to witness this swath of darkness across the middle of North America from coast to coast. I live about an eight-hour drive away, and I’ve heard totality is a mystical experience, once in a lifetime. […]

Redux: Konrad Steffen’s Desk

This post ran originally in November of 2014, about excavating the desk of a prominent ice researcher at a small camp in Greenland. The researcher, Konrad Steffen, appears alongside Al Gore in the film and book “An Inconvenient Sequel,” which just released. With record high temperatures sweeping the country, enjoy some ice and snow. Earlier […]

Labyrinths and Mazes

There is a difference between the two. In one you can’t get lost; one way in, one way out. The other is full of dead ends and false passages. I take my kids to labyrinths. When they were little, we walked in socks along the path of a smooth stone labyrinth on the floor of […]

Death in the Line of Treasure Hunting

A treasure hunter recently died near the Rio Grande in New Mexico. His body turned up in the backcountry after he was reported missing. This is the second death of a treasure hunter looking for an ornate bronze chest said to be hidden somewhere between Santa Fe and Canada by multi-millionaire artifact collector Forrest Fenn. […]

The Last Word

June 26-29, 2017 Ann turns a line in the earth into a geologic haiku, feeling her way along the remains of a coastline 200 million years old. On one side of this line lies an “unholy cat’s breakfast of hard metamorphic rocks” and to the other is “boring clay and mud and sand that took […]

Redux: The Unknown Grizzly

This post originally appeared March 7, 2013. In the mail yesterday I received a grizzly bear skull from an acquaintance and taxidermist in Soldotna, Alaska. Expertly cleaned down to chalk-white bone and glistening, thumb-sized canines, it was the size and general shape of a football, and as smooth as sanded wood. My friend had apologized […]

Motherhood Week: O Mother, How Art Thou

“There is something to be said for being with your teenage daughter and not showering for six days,” a mother told me recently. Daiva had just gotten back from a trip to Death Valley with her 16-year-old daughter where they cooked on a backpack stove and climbed over dunes. They drove to the farthest ends of […]

Kiss of the Assassin Bug

    I was bitten the other night. I would have taken a picture of the turgid, blood-filled bug that stuck its rostrum inside of me for a liberal helping of hemoglobin, but my girlfriend smashed it with a rock and spattered the thing while I cheered her on. It was hard to resist the killing. Normally, I try and treat other […]