Upon this Dharma I Will Build My Church

In ways I have not felt since family church attendance and teenage religiosity, I’ve undertaken some changes to my life and habits of late. This surprised me, to be honest. After a solid 20 years as a set in my thinking go-it-alone atheist/agnostic*, I wasn’t planning for or seeking a change of pace to myContinue reading “Upon this Dharma I Will Build My Church”

A Year in Trees (And Tree Books)

2020 meant many things to me, not surprisingly or even remotely unique. But 2020 was, in the end, a year of trees; a year in trees. This has been a surprising, enriching tree awakening that began around January 1 and blossomed into a spring of discovery in the neighborhood and the mountain trails I frequent.Continue reading “A Year in Trees (And Tree Books)”

Are We Entering a New Progressive Era? (Reviewing Robert Putnam/Shaylyn Romney Garrett’s The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again)

I came across Robert D. Putnam and Shaylyn Romney Garrett’s The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again in David Brooks’ October 15 New York Times opinion column “How To Actually Make America Great Again.” It’s worth quoting at length. Here’s what David wrote: “The Upswing,” aContinue reading “Are We Entering a New Progressive Era? (Reviewing Robert Putnam/Shaylyn Romney Garrett’s The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again)”

The Long and Short Of It (Reviewing Samantha Shannon’s The Priory of the Orange Tree)

Note: This is a review of Samantha Shannon’s The Priory of the Orange Tree. I avoid spoilers but touch on general themes, world build, and plot dynamics. You have been warned. The Good. The Priory of the Orange Tree came to my attention via the best possible path: received as a meaningful gift picked outContinue reading “The Long and Short Of It (Reviewing Samantha Shannon’s The Priory of the Orange Tree)”

A Non-Partisan Take on Election Day In-Person Voting

I’m not here to say I’m non-partisan. That doesn’t seem technically possible when actually voting in a two-party political system, unless someone is committed to writing in unaffiliated candidates. I’m here to say how excited in a completely non-partisan manner I am to vote in-person on Election Day. (Note: My political leanings have changed overContinue reading “A Non-Partisan Take on Election Day In-Person Voting”

A Challenge and a Tone Poem (Reviewing Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste)

“Race, in the United States, is the visible agent of the unseen force of caste. Caste is the bones, race the skin.” Isabel Wilkerson’s Warmth of Other Suns moved me in ways few books have. Reading Caste, her second book, was a different but no less profound experience. While the former was about the past,Continue reading “A Challenge and a Tone Poem (Reviewing Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste)”

The Great Dungeons and Dragons Revival

Warning: This post requires some knowledge of Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying to understand its myriad references. I can’t remember the exact year. Probably 1993. I do remember the basements, however. Plural. We were forced into multiple dark corners for this particular hobby, it being the time when some parents still worried that we were enactingContinue reading “The Great Dungeons and Dragons Revival”

Back at it with DC UL — Adventures in the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania

Cross Posted from http://www.dculbacking.com You might ask how I accidentally ended up with a DC UL Backpacking crew. In this case, what started as a Purple Lizard map hike that I intended to do as yet another solo adventure in this time of socially distancing ended up being shared by email to a few backpackerContinue reading “Back at it with DC UL — Adventures in the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania”

American Graffiti on the John P. Saylor Trail

“You coming to the party?” he asked.  I turned around on the trail and noticed a guy about my age.  He was holding a scrub brush in his hand.  “No?” I replied sheepishly.  “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” I didn’t have much time to say anything else as he smiled at meContinue reading “American Graffiti on the John P. Saylor Trail”