Like You’re Not Even There

  Last Sunday I saw a mountain lion, a full body profile, spotted from a dirt road. Healthy size and age, tail like a rope. By the time we backed up the truck, it was gone, disappeared into a brambly ponderosa forest. I don’t know why, to find tracks, or a scent, I jumped out […]

Whispering Walls and the Nature of Acoustic Geometry

In caves and rock walls of the southern Utah desert, pictographs have been painted, added to the backs of clamshell-shaped sandstone enclosures. Many are noted to have acoustic properties, meaning these ancient, Indigenous images seem to be correlated with the way sound reflects around them. I’ve spoken in a normal voice back and forth from […]

When My Girlfriend Almost
Ate Dog Food

The two of us moved in together a few weeks ago. With a moving truck, towering boxes of books, and every edible thing she could remove from her previous household, we merged lives. Whose tea strainer should we keep, whose collapsible metal steamer, whose box of African rooibos? When she found a dead silverfish hanging […]

Children Like Sand

Sand blowing and grains hurdling over each other, landing and knocking the next, is called saltation. This is how dunes move, not sheering chaos, but each grain effecting the other, billiard balls knocking each other down the line. Kids found that if they stood on a dune crest, there was so much saltation, sand blowing […]

I, Also

  The other day I was at a natural history museum sitting with a paleontologist, a dear friend of many years. We were talking about the situation between women and men. I had recently written about her research on dire wolves. We’d gone back and forth on the page, her asking me to take out […]

The Case of the Missing Sandstone

Flying through Monument Valley on the Arizona/Utah border recently, I was crammed into an old and slow Cessna 140 taildragger. Light filtered through the smoke of distant wildfires. It felt like looking through antique glass at a country of stone giants. We’d arrived at the last blink of this particular landscape, buttes shipwrecked alone in […]

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. […]

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 […]