Category: the world and Mother Nature

Book # 23 in 2018: “Mad Enchantment” by Ross King

Posted June 25th, 2018
Mad Enchantment

Every time I pick up a Ross King book, it’s longer and weightier. Brunelleschi’s Dome was a little bit of a thing, perfect for reading on a transcontinental flight. Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling was longer but then the Sistine Chapel ceiling is a better documented creation. The Judgment of Paris was longer still and…

Book # 11 in 2018: “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben

Posted April 2nd, 2018
Book # 11 in 2018: “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben

My maternal great-grandfather, Elwyn Greeley Preston Sr., established for his family a summer retreat on Squam Lake in Holderness, New Hampshire. He acquired several contiguous parcels of land on Mooney Point and filled in a number of marshy areas to create firm ground on which to build camps for himself and for his four sons…

Beautiful Blue Danube 4: Pilgrimage

Posted June 6th, 2016
Beautiful Blue Danube 4: Pilgrimage

I was alone in the church, and the two people I saw as a reached the summit had gone when I came out. A slight breeze tousled my hair away from perspiring neck, a mother’s caress; I was still slightly breathless after the climb. Birds sang and the sun shone on Mariahilf, deepening the colors…

La Jolla 1: Sea Lions and Pelicans

Posted January 10th, 2016
La Jolla 1: Sea Lions and Pelicans

Ranks of palm trees, beyond the baggage carousels at the San Diego airport, slender trunks curved like a scoliotic spine, confirmed that we were back in southern California. We expected rain, floods even, and landslides. We arrived to blue skies, temperatures in the high fifties and a hopeful forecast. I chose the white Camry in…

Our Friend Vince

Posted July 1st, 2015
Our Friend Vince

Our grill is no less used that the stove. It produces a perfect roast chicken and keeps the smell of onions out of the house. When red peppers are cheap, we blister a few dozen over the flame and freeze them in olive oil for whenever we need them. And, of course, it does an…

Šeima Means Family 5: In My Dreams

Posted May 17th, 2015
Šeima Means Family 5: In My Dreams

It was possibly the best day of the trip. Or maybe not best. Maybe it is the one most firmly nestled into my visual cortex, the collection of images most likely to reappear when I am asked about Lithuania, what I experienced, what I remember. In television programs like Who Do You Think You Are?…

Summer Storm

Posted September 3rd, 2014
Summer Storm

The sun has all but set in the muggy torpor of early evening when the storm explodes almost without warning: the pure white of lightning, pandemonium of thunder, warm wind whipping, weighty drops crashing. The deer that had come for their apples disappear into the comparative shelter of the woods. Over the tattoo of the…

Down to New England 4: Earth, Air and Water

Posted June 25th, 2014
Down to New England 4: Earth, Air and Water

It is the light, it is the air, the dark featheriness of pine and fir, and the distinct chill of a summer’s evening. Our camp on Squam Lake in New Hampshire, my realest “home” gave me this with each visit; and now so does Maine. Whether it was the strangeness of the room, the fatigue…

Back in the Garden

Posted March 15th, 2014
Back in the Garden

The ground is soggy, the sun is bright and the wind whips up now and then. Although there are patches of snow and ice here and there, there is no sense of winter, only the certainty of spring. The garden is a wreck. There is so much dead foliage, not just the detritus not cleared…

Sea Cloud 5: The Islands Cruised

Posted January 30th, 2014
Sea Cloud 5: The Islands Cruised

This cruise on the Sea Cloud–History and Gardens of the Caribbean–coordinated by Academic Arrangements Abroad, will be almost certainly a once in a lifetime thing. First of all, there’s the cost. We are never likely to have that kind of disposable income; had the boat been the Sea Cloud II or some other vessel rather…