Culture

Astronomy | Culture | Stargazing

Life on Venus

“Apparently it smells basically like death… It just smells horrific. We once, I think, found a report of someone saying it smelled like the rancid diapers of the spawn of Satan.” – Clara Sousa-Silva, NPR interview Life on Venus? Not exactly, but life swirling about in the clouds of Venus is apparently a very real…

Culture | Philosophy | Travel

The World As We Know It

“… and anyhow travel is over, like one’s books and the rest of civilization” – Rose Macaulay This Macaulay quote, plucked from the extraordinary Erik Larson book The Splendid and the Vile, was from a letter that she wrote to a friend after her London flat was destroyed in 1941 during one of the many…

Culture

Social Media Fasting

For all the madness in the world, it feels both quiet and ordinary most days. Until you pick up your phone and read the stream of toxic opinion and rage tweets anyway. In an attempt to dial down the craziness I deleted the Twitter app three days ago and find it a refreshing non-factor. There’s…

Culture | Environmentalism | Stargazing

Seeing Stars

“The stars, that nature hung in heaven, and filled their lamps with everlasting oil, give due light to the misled and lonely traveller.” – John Milton One side effect of the wildfires in the West are the clouds of wispy smoke high up in the atmosphere turning the days an overcast grey. At night the…

America | Culture

Rising Up in Sterner Days

Well, it’s 9/11 once again. And judging from the animation on both sides of the political spectrum, we aren’t as unified as perhaps we should be as we stare down a pandemic. I have friends who chafe at wearing a mask, friends who chafe at Black and/or Blue lives mattering, friends who despise the current…

Culture | Environmentalism | History

Over and Over

“To do the same thing over and over again is not only boredom: it is to be controlled by rather than to control what you do.” – Heraclitus Heraclitus seems to be trending on the blog, coming up a couple of times in the last 24 hours of writing. Purely coincidence, but then again maybe…

Culture | Hiking

Collapsing the Space Between Us

“Walkers pass tight lipped, eyes avertedOnly dogs tugging on leashes want to collapse the space between us”– Ken Burns, In the Social Distance A couple of days ago I had the audacity to post an opinion on Facebook and immediately faced the crush of for and against dialog that’s lasted far longer than the typical…

Art | Culture | Travel

A Virtual Visit to Kópakonan

There’s a statue standing on the rocks at the edge of the tidal range in the remote and sparsely populated town of Mikladalur in the Faroe Islands. It depicts a Kópakonan, or a “seal woman”, who would shed her seal skin to walk amongst the humans on land. When she wanted to return to the…

Career | Culture | Fitness | Hiking | Philosophy | Stoicism

Prominence

“Make sure you’re not made ‘Emperor,’ avoid that imperial stain. It can happen to you, so keep yourself simple, good, pure, saintly, plain, a friend of justice, god-fearing, gracious, affectionate, and strong for your proper work. Fight to remain the person that philosophy wished to make you. Revere the gods, and look after each other….

Culture | Fitness | Philosophy

Unfolding Your Own Myth

“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” – Rumi There are a lot of stories out there. Stories of accomplishment, stories of conquest, stories of adventure and love and tragedies overcome. Humanity is full of stories. The ones we tell others to make them believe we’ve got…