My Rod and My Staff Comfort Me?

Anger and rain pelted the rubble as I half-stumbled down the South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon National Park.  Seems every time I take South Kaibab down, I get mad at myself for something. I’d missed a shuttle bus to the trailhead and I’d forgotten the rain-hood that protects my backpack.  I was blind to […]

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Things a Mountain Taught Me

I had hiked mountains in England’s Lake District a couple years before, and again yesterday.  Today I decided to get adventurous.  I took a ferry from the resort town of  Windemere across the eponymous lake, largest in England, to the tea-cozy village of Ambleside with its farms hemmed in by dry stone walls.  Then I […]

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Water Falls Yet Does Not Die

Water spills over the cliffs, bashing itself against the granite again and again, dropping down into plunge pools dozens of feet below.  It does not die.

Water drops from highest sky, yet does not shatter.

Not imprisoned in a skeletal shape, water sculpts the bones.

Water assumes no form, and so it is every form.

Ice and cloud, storm […]

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The Trouble with Paradise


Help me!  I’m in heaven and I can’t get out! I thought as I swung through the moments.

I maundered through a riparian gallery of muddied maple and soggy sycamore on the banks of the Des Plaines River.  River and I threaded together under the shuddering I-294 bridge.  When I turned my back to the traffic, […]

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Kissed by Rain. Kissed by Ticks.

My sister, a fellow woods walker, has often admonished me about the dangers of tick infestation, particularly the eastern wood tick. Ticks seem disgusting suckers.  Members of the arachnid family along with spiders, mites and a host of other eight-legged extraterrestrials, ticks seem to me disgusting little suckers.  Illinois forests contain thousands of white tail […]

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The Rainbow Rim


On the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, across gravel roads 39 miles from Jacob Lake, I arrive at Parissawampitts Point, a vista point just west of the National Park.  The forecast calls for rain over several days.  The rim cools down, devoid of people in its early October mien near the NPS closing point of the […]

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It took me all day, but I arrived in the early afternoon. Headstones brooded over the flat, like the ruins of old, ceremonial crypts in which a dynasty from another geologic epoch were interred.  Haunting spires erupted from the floor of an ancient sea.  In a burning silence they presided, breathing and flickering through the […]

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The Lonely Cat Club

The more days I log on this planet, the less I believe in the proposition called accident.   The Catholics call it miracle.  The late evolutionary biologist, Stephen Jay Gould, called it contingency.  Brits in the 19th century used the word Providence.  Today, we use the words serendipity, synchronicity, and the term black swan event.  Whatever […]

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The Last Locust

They only come out every 17 years.  An annual variety – the dog day cicada – emerges each August, but they have blue eyes rather than red, and their synthetic rattle keeps me from sleep as they trill deep into the hot nights, sometimes lasting until late September.

But I’d only heard and seen the 17-year […]

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The Fox

I’ve read my share of mysticism, philosophy and religious history.  These three bodies of knowledge, to the extent to which they agree, seem to converge on the same point, to describe the same Self.  The Upanishads speak of Brahma, the Ineffable Self.  The Christians describe the indwelling Christ, the Christological consciousness that resides within all […]

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