Hard Times in the Younger Dryas

This time last year, most of North America was buried in an unusual cold period. The jet stream had hemorrhaged in early January and the Polar Vortex that usually sits atop the hemisphere like a halo came pouring down. Known as the 2014 North American Cold Wave, temperatures plummeted, particularly in the Northeast and Upper […]

Rainforest Drop In

I didn’t intend to fall in love with the rain forest. It crept up on me, imperceptibly at first, because the West Coast was never a place I had intended to stay. My roots were nurtured in the farmland, lakes and forests of Ontario before transplantation to the West, an alien habitat of strangely mild […]

Guest Post: In Praise of Snow Geese

On New Year’s Day, my friend Randy Roberts and I put on white hazmat suits and went out to shoot snow geese.  We were told that the birds regard a human in a white suit as one of their own and they let you walk freely among them, something hunters supposedly discovered a while back. […]

Gender in the Paleolithic

Camped with six adults and five children on the south-central coast of Alaska, I was doing a little writing experiment. I had been following possible Paleolithic routes, taking off with adventurers across glaciers and mountains to get a sense of living and traveling in the same landscapes people faced tens of thousands of years ago. […]

A Snow Day

The first snow of the year, and the first noticeable snow of this winter, fell here in D.C. on Tuesday. Yes, we know that our reaction to snow makes no sense. No, we don’t have enough snowplows. No, we don’t know how to drive in snow. You’re very clever for noticing, People Who Live In […]

Holiday Redux: The Ceremonial Stone

LWON is celebrating the holidays by re-running some of our favorite posts. This post originally appeared in slightly different form in July 2014. Sarah dipped her fingers in a red mineral paint and lifted them to her face. She put streaks above her cheekbones and up her chin, her design standing out against a backdrop […]

Holiday Redux: The Beauty of Punctuation

LWON is celebrating the holidays by re-running some of our favorite posts. This post originally appeared in November 2013. Several years ago, I splurged on a gorgeous red hardcover edition of Strunk and White’s classic book on writing, The Elements of Style. Illustrated by Maira Kalman, the pages are filled with fanciful depictions of punctuation […]

The Long Legacy of a Good Deed

Two years ago this week, a well-known environmental organizer named Sombath Somphone was detained at a traffic stop in downtown Vientiane, Laos, and driven away in a white pickup. He has not been seen or heard from since. You can read a lot more about Somphone, his work in Laos, and his wife’s remarkable efforts to […]