Category Nature

A Rare Find

Some time ago I wrote about the near extinction of the American Chestnut during the first half of the 20th century thanks to the Chestnut blight brought over from China. Yet the roots of the old trees live on and send up saplings. The little trees might grow to 20 feet or so before the […]

Munchausen’s By Proxy Syndrome

Munchausen’s Syndrome is a compulsive tendency to invent elaborate health problems for oneself. It is named after the German storybook character and his impossible adventures. “Munchausen’s-by-proxy” is the compulsive need of some mothers to attribute improbable health-issues to their children. Rod recalls Dee Dee — to whom he was briefly married, though they separated before […]


The neighborhood battened down the hatches until early afternoon. Around three the snow blowers and plows started up, not so much because the bad weather had passed as the fact that sunset was coming soon and snow clearing could start now or never. Despite all the hysteria on cable news, it isn’t a particularly bad storm, we’ve had worse this […]

Repost: On the Goodness of the Material World

Once again in the comment section of another blog I ran into atheist pessimism about the value of material existence. An atheist really should be neutral about material being: in that vision of the world matter simply “is” and has no value whatsoever. But in practice I keep running into deep atheist pessimism: life is awful, bloody, brutish and […]

Spring is Here

Another late Spring in New England, but it is here. A few trees even have a few leaves! To celebrate, I offer Daniel Pinkham’s “Awake, O North Wind” It is from his Wedding Cantata, which is based on passages from The Song of Songs. This song celebrates the coming of the spring rains on ancient […]


I usually don’t let myself think of spring until well into February. Last year spring came late; I found myself buying books on fly fishing and gardening just to see pictures of green stuff. I don’t even garden! It was a cold spring and even a cold, dry summer. Maybe I’m jinxing it, but this […]


In August I spent a weekend backpacking up in Maine’s Nahmakanta Public Reserve Land. Maine has thousands of acres of public land open to use for hiking, hunting and fishing, which they also lease to logging companies. The logging companies maintain the roads, so you have to pay a fee (about $20) to use them. […]