The Lady and Le Guin

Late last month, I got to camp with a group of ecologists at the base of Mt. St. Helens, in southwestern Washington state. Some of the scientists had been studying the mountain since shortly after it erupted on May 18, 1980, and they were full of stories about the changes they’d seen over the past thirty-five […]

U2 Gets Onto People’s Skin

Once upon a time, I was a fan of bands that gave me some kind of alternative cred. I have been to a ton of They Might Be Giants concerts, which places me solidly in the ranks of the nerds. I spent many years in love with R.E.M. and have listened to all of their […]

Painting Fire With Fire

The Carlton Complex, the largest wildfire in the history of Washington state, started on July 14, 2014 in the foothills of the North Cascades. When it was finally extinguished, almost 40 days later, it had burned more than 250 homes and disrupted thousands of lives in Okanogan County, a rural county on the northern edge of the […]

After Antman: More Amazing Bug Superhero Movies

This weekend the movie Ant-Man opened. It’s the latest in the pretty-entertaining crop of movies based on Marvel Comics characters, like Iron Man and The Avengers. I haven’t seen Ant-Man yet. But I’m not going to let that stop me from telling film executives what their next insect-based superhero movies should be. There’s already been […]

Guest Post: Waiting Out the Latter Days

Steven Smith — a photographer who grew up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormon church, and whom I’ve known a long time — sent me a book he’s just published.  It’s called Waiting Out the Latter Days.  It’s almost entirely photographs which I love but am incapable of reading, […]

Where the Wind Has No Name

Of all the evocative place words humans have come up with, the words for local winds may be the most varied and most charming. There’s the Albrohos of Portugal, the Gilavar and the Khazri of Azerbaijan, and the Shamal of Iraq. There’s the Cape Doctor of South Africa, the Hawk of Chicago, and the Wreckhouse winds of Newfoundland. […]

Birds and Songs and Bird Songs

I walked along the edge of a cliff. Under my feet, grass. To my right, a hundred-foot drop to the waters of the English Channel. A strong wind blew off the water and over the cliff, blowing the loose ends of hair in my face, obnoxiously. To my left was a field, planted with something […]

Redux: Do Peepguins Need Sweaters?

For Easter, we thought we’d bring back this adorable post from 2014. My friends and I didn’t enter this year–we thought someone else deserved a chance to shine. Also, if anyone wants to buy a lightly used Peeps diorama, we might consider selling. It would make great yarn shop decor. On Monday, I asked: Do […]