The maple trees along my street hold on to green leaves that ought to be red by now and yellow like the sun that won’t stop warming us, I mowed the yard one last time before putting the machine away for the season, optimist about almost nothing beyond the end of yard work, believing it … Continue reading October
I recently read Alan Lightman’s Probable Impossibilities, and sat for a while with the notion of an indifferent universe. I decided I was pretty okay with it. It takes the pressure off to know that the cosmos really does not care. This weekend I wandered through the museum at the Working Men’s Institute in New … Continue reading Indiana: It’s Not That Bad!
But if you hate the system, and you reject what it represents, and you are against the hierarchies and societal organization it perpetuates, and already regret how it affected yourself or how it may eventually affect your own kids — you also have to reckon with how your participation, even your reluctant, conflicted participation, sustains it. … Continue reading You’re Complicit, I’m Complicit
Jon Michael Greer writes about what he calls the metastatic growth of intermediation, a phrase that furrowed my brow for a bit until I worked out that he was referring to the process by which supply meets demand within our increasingly dysfunctional economy. Also: what it means for workers and peasants when so many intermediaries … Continue reading It’s the Intermediaries
At what point will we call the folks fleeing the drought-stricken west and southwest “climate refugees”? And are they really going to Duluth, or is that just cable news conjuring a trend from random acts of dislocation? Perhaps my old stomping ground in the rust-and-snow-belt will become a new safe haven for those exhausted by … Continue reading The Fate of Peasants
Over mugs of coffee at my coffeehouse some 20 years ago, my friend Ricky said, apropos of nothing, “I’ve seen an ivory-billed woodpecker.” At the time I was new enough to the area to not know about the elusive ivory-bill, how it captured imaginations in these parts, sent scores of bird-watchers into the woodlands of … Continue reading The Last Ivory-Bill
This weekend is the Women’s March, happening in Washington, D.C., and in cities around the world, a reprise of the 2017 March that took place the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration. That demonstration has been cited as the largest single-day protest in U.S. history. Nearly a half-million people came to Washington for the march, another … Continue reading Activated
I’m trying something new here, devoting the last Sunday post of the month to the sharing of a handful of links that piqued my interest this month but didn’t make it into a post. Rather than let them get buried under the new stuff that arrives daily (so much stuff!) I thought I might pass … Continue reading September Links
We slipped into autumn overnight. This afternoon’s high temperature was 15 degrees lower than yesterday, and the rain is no longer warm. The cats want to sit closer; it won’t be long before my orange tabby will be hovering over the heat vent in the kitchen, absorbing all the warmth the furnace has to offer. … Continue reading Slack 2.0
When it rains you can smell the earth that lies a scant few inches beneath the kitchen floor, in that half-jacked crawl space of red dirt and someone’s idea of what a home can rest upon, a few cinder blocks, a half dozen milled timbers, all that lies between me and collapse. When the time … Continue reading Crawl Space
If you’ve been reading here a while you likely know I’m not much enamored of the cult of productivity. My antipathy pre-dates this blog, but if you’re curious, here’s an early rant that remains one of the most popular posts on the site even after ten years. Anyhoo, I’ve been lately enjoying the work of … Continue reading Finite World
The Delta Variant is a reality made by cultural claims scratched into our minds. A certain type of American freedom is worth the death of children – it’s a war cry long shouted abroad and now hissed at home. Meg Conley, “Many Happy Returns: a Birthday on September 11. In her latest post, Meg Conley of Homeculture … Continue reading Not Even Past
I was introduced recently* to the work of Iain McGilchrist, philosopher, poet, psychiatrist, polymath, best known for his 2009 book The Master and His Emissary, in which he explores the current neuroscience regarding the hemispheric functions of the brain, and considers how those brain functions have shaped western culture. I’ve spent some time this past … Continue reading The Other Left-vs-Right
I keep thinking about something Margaret Atwood said when I interviewed her in 2017: Every dystopia is someone’s utopia. So whose utopia is this? Ann Friedman, Whose Utopia is This? The congee I had for lunch today was served with sauteed cabbage and mushrooms and fresh ginger and a fried egg. It was delicious. Aside from the … Continue reading Who’s Utopia is This?
Think deeply about what you want to put back into your life. This is our chance to define a new version of normal, a rare and truly sacred (yes, sacred) opportunity to get rid of the bullshit and to only bring back what works for us, what makes our lives richer, what makes our kids … Continue reading Inertia
When I first encountered the word “showrunner” I thought it referred to the person who went for coffee and bagels for the tv production crew. You know, the “runner.” We had a runner when I worked in corporate, all those years ago. This was the person who delivered important documents to the FedEx counter at … Continue reading Rules for Showrunners
Near the end of his new book, After the Fall, Obama White House adviser Ben Rhodes writes of a meeting between Obama and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Rhodes describes their brief conversation and ends with an observation: This reflexively defensive guy was a thirty-four-year-old worth $44 billion, the world’s fastest-growing billionaire and CEO of a … Continue reading Who Watches the Watchers?
I went to the library this week and came home with Carlo Rovelli’s Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, recommended in a recent newsletter by Austin Kleon, and written for readers with basically no scientific background whatsoever. I do not understand physics. I read A Brief History of Time — twice! — with complete incomprehension. My … Continue reading A Radical Absence of Certainty
A locally-owned food-based business in my community found itself in hot water on social media this week after announcing it would be closing on Sundays because “nobody wants to work.” The comments that followed were blistering. Even I was surprised. Apparently the working class in my community is fed up with being called “lazy.” The … Continue reading This Rigged Game
I think virtually everyone, except perhaps the very Zen or very old, goes through life haunted to some degree by the feeling that this isn’t quite the real thing, not just yet – that soon enough, we’ll get everything in working order, get organised, get our personal issues resolved, but that till then we’re living … Continue reading Waiting 2.0
The U.N. IPCC report on climate change was devastating. But it came on a busy news day, what with the governor of New York resigning amid scandal and the governors of Texas and Florida pretending the latest deadly surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations in their states is not the result of their own gross negligence, but … Continue reading Oops, Out of Time
The sooner we let go of our overinflated sense of importance and grasp that we’re just one civilization out of many, going through the familiar arc of rise and fall, the sooner we can get to work on the possibilities that are still within reach. John Michael Greer, The Future is a Landscape I went to … Continue reading Possibilities Still Within Reach
The life coach wants twenty-two hundred dollars to talk to me on Voxer, meet with me on Zoom, to share the keys to the internet kingdom with me, she will unlock the secrets to a life less disaffected, but I will have to do the work, she says, as if it were a choice, as … Continue reading Life Coach
What you’re feeling is exactly how it feels. It’s Saturday and you’re thinking about food while the world is on fire. This is normal. This is life during collapse. Indi Samarajiva, “I Lived Through Collapse. America is Already There.” I went to a local coffee shop yesterday, sat outside with my cold brew and watched … Continue reading Life During Collapse