The Xenotopian Impulse

Until last week, I’d never heard of the Broomway. Now I long to walk it. The Broomway is a paradox: a path through the ocean, a six-century-old walkway that disappears each day. It begins on the southeastern coast of England and heads straight out to sea, crossing about three miles of sand and mudflats until […]

The Pursuit of Balance

My neighborhood, as I’ve mentioned, is an interesting place: At our weekly potlucks, we speculate on everything from the number and sex of the next batch of goat kids (money’s on two girls) to the efficacy of bourbon as mouthwash (not promising, sadly). Last week, a guest announced that he was on his way to a […]

TGIPF Guest Post: Upstairs, Downstairs

This week on LWON’s occasional series Thank God It’s Penis Friday, we bring you wisdom from not one but two authors of newly released books about private parts. (Count your blessings, people.) Florence Williams is the author of BREASTS: A Natural and Unnatural History; Jesse Bering is the author of Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That? And […]

Into the Big Empty

I grew up in the Hudson Valley of New York State, and went to college in western Oregon — both beautiful places, beloved by many. But I never knew what it was to love a place until I spent a college summer in southern Utah, where I worked as a field tech on a wildlife […]

Autopsy of an Aspen

In the rural Rocky Mountains where I live, we disagree about a lot of things — politics, religion, water, Tim Tebow — but we all agree on aspen. We love them, especially when they turn blaze-yellow in the fall, and we’d like them to stick around. So in 2004, when aspen throughout the Rockies started […]

What Would John McPhee Do?

When I’m thrashing through the brambles of a first draft, no story in sight, I have one reliable lifeline. WWJMD? What would John McPhee do to get himself out of this #%&! mess? This, after all, is the guy who found fascinating stories in citrus cultivation. And geology. And Switzerland! Some of his writing is […]

Without Learn’d Astronomers; Or, Walt, Shut Up

A book I just read said that while the sun once held a gloriously central place in the lives of men, it has now been sidelined and downgraded by science — which I disagree with, you can’t find a more dedicated sun worshipper than a solar scientist.   The  book’s complaint is standard English major stuff, […]

Stars Like Flies

Scattered around the periphery of our galaxy, the Milky Way, are upwards of 150 odd creatures called globular clusters.  They’re little agglomerations of stars that are bound by gravity into a sphere and that inside it, are buzzing around like flies.  They’re odd because 1) most stars come in singles or pairs, and globulars have […]