A Big Place

A Big Place

Everybody knows the universe is a big place. What’s hard to grasp is how big. A few years ago I bought my wife a telescope for Christmas, figuring she could check out the moon and a few planets and get a fix on a star or two and help fill in some of the gaping holes...
A Lovely Land

A Lovely Land

A Lovely Land On a recent road trip out to Washington State and British Columbia, I found myself astonished by the beauty and variety of our continent. Not that this insight is anything new. My wife grew up near Seattle, and through the years we’ve driven or flown out...
Being There

Being There

In Chad Harbach’s superb novel The Art of Fielding, in a burial scene near the end of the book, one of the characters says of her dead father, “You told me once that a soul isn’t something a person is born with but something that must be built, by effort and error,...
Feeding the birds

Feeding the birds

Like millions of other Americans, my wife and I enjoy feeding birds. Given the fact that we live in the woods and have accidentally also found ourselves feeding bears, we long ago ceased stocking our feeders once spring has arrived and our furry neighbors have...
Chipmunk Dreams

Chipmunk Dreams

  Many years ago a family of chipmunks moved into our house. Not the house proper, of course; nothing like that. Instead they took residency under the stone-and-concrete walkway leading from the front door out to the attached screened porch.  When we built the house,...
Play Your Own Tune

Play Your Own Tune

Recently I had the honor of addressing a roomful of people interested in writing. As part of the address, I talked about the novelist Frederick Manfred, an excerpt of which follows. It’s been several years since Frederick Manfred died, and I for one still mourn...

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