Category Nature


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. […]

Lock up your cat!

I was visiting my mother and saw this in her backyard: It was the second biggest coyote I’ve ever seen, and maybe only the fourth I’ve seen out and about in broad daylight. They are common in central Massachusetts, but shy. This one took off running just after he turned and saw me. But not […]

On the Goodness of the Material World

The other day I was helping a friend build a greenhouse. As we cleared snow, swung picks in the frozen earth, sank the posts and erected the structure, my friend described the principles of permaculture, an art of gardening that respects and imitates as much as possible the natural rhythms of the earth: embrace the […]