Category: Nature

Mission to Mars

It’s a big universe out there. We’ve all looked skyward, trying vainly to gauge the distance to a star, mesmerized by the immensity of space and the comically irrelevant role we play in the Grand Scheme of Things. We’ve all imagined that somewhere out there in the twinkling infinity something awaits us. We’ve gone to...

An Antidote for Depression

Plant a garden.  Dig up soil that previously hosted grass. Get dirt under fingernails and a pleasant ache in the back and fingers. Feel the sun. Drink the water. Share both with your baby vegetables. Forget, if only for a few hours, what a cruel place this world can be.

Caloric Equality

Our finely developed sense of American vanity keeps us obsessed with working out and dieting, with inspirational weight-loss stories and TV game shows in which dramatically shrinking waistlines are seen not as a sign of dwindling well-being but as a heroic conquering of anarchic eating compulsions. We fortunate ones desperately want to be thin, but...

Walking NYC

On the annual listings of “Greenest Cities in America,” New York, surprisingly, ranks near the top. A stellar public transportation system and the energy efficiency born of density has a lot to do with it. But maybe the most compelling factor is this: folks walk.  New York City isn’t the Italian Piedmont or French Riviera....

Poem: Let’s Take a Trip

Let’s take a trip to the promised land. You’re not alone, I’lll hold your hand. We’re on a journey, side by side. You be the tourist, I’ll be your guide. We won’t stop til we get where we’re meant to be goin’. So long as the love and the music is flowin’. Free.  See! Epiphanies...

Underfed and Overpopulated

For Americans drowning in super-sized sodas, bursting with high-calorie fat bombs from the Dollar Menu, and dying from generally too much of everything except self-discipline, it may be hard to understand that a large portion of the planet’s population doesn’t have enough to eat. If the projections are to be believed, it’s only going to...

A Lesson from the Garden

Of all the vegetables a gentleman farmer cultivates, tomatoes may be the easiest to grow organically. Aside from onions, indestructible optimists who require virtually no care whatsoever, tomatoes seem to provide the organic gardener with the highest success rate, the best fruit-to-labor ratio. They’re vines, and, like most vines, if they’re left to their own...

Boom and Bust

The snowshoe hare, a long-eared cutie at the bottom of the Arctic food chain, roams the 6 million acres of Alaska’s Denali National Park, eating the bark off of spruce saplings with the voracity of locusts. When the rabbits (and the squirrels, and the picas, and all the other little critters that provide sustenance for...

Poem: The Tree Regarding Himself

If there is nothing so lovely as a tree, what, in idle moments,  Does a tree gaze upon for pleasure?  The bird, yellow and daft?  The squirrel, dancing from trunk to branch, a ballerina on the bark?   Modesty, Mommy Nature says, is our greatest virtue. Recognize how small and insignificant your roots and branches and...

Learning from the Fires

Thanks to weather that’s more or less perfect year-round, not to mention the best looking waiters in the world, Southern California is a place where many people want to live. Probably too many. Even with the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage industry and foreclosures on the rise, LA and San Diego County still have some...