Category Nature

Snow in the Sahara

These photos are pretty cool, but apparently it isn’t a rare phenomena: While this week’s Saharan snowstorm was unusual, “it’s not like it’s never happened before,” Kaplan says. Last winter saw a similar dusting of snow over the Algerian town of Ain Sefra, which NASA’s Earth Observatory says is sometimes called the “gateway to the […]


Growing up we had an ash tree in our front yard. It was a ragged and sickly tree, every winter we wondered if it would make it to spring. Eventually we cut it down. So in my mind I identify ash with sickly, and sure enough, every time I see an ash tree it is […]

Seeing and Naming

An old post from June from the soon-to-be-defunct blog. I am pleased to say I now know much more about trees than I did when I wrote this.  Humans are very visual, so interacting with nature is all about learning to see: teaching our brains to pick out important details from the millions that bombard […]

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 […]