Here’s a wacky idea: Our concept of a “year” is blocking our effectiveness in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. OK, bear with me. One of the most common expressions I’ve seen and heard — on social media and in real-live conversations — is that 2020 sucks. In a lot of ways that of course is true, […]
We are in a coracle with no oars or rudder, heading to an unknown fate. We are in peregrination. So that’s my topic for the return of UR Here. Rarely have I just not known what to write about for this column. Even though I was ecstatic that Little Village was coming back to print, […]
Imagine a city council meeting where a citizen walks up to the microphone during the public comment period and says, “I would like to devote my time to being silent in order for all of us gathered here to consider our individual parts in this public issue we are discussing.” Imagine a community forum where, […]
I saw the fallen larch early on the morning of Sept. 10 as I walked from the bus to my office in Jessup Hall. My eyes widened and my spirits dropped as, from a distance, I saw the tree lying flat on the ground. I audibly said, “Oh no.” Before I went to work, and before the remains of the tree would be gathered and taken away by university personnel […]
What does your place sound like? We spend enormous chunks of our lives in our homes and workplaces. More and more, we’re coming to understand the effect these frequent haunts have on our physical and mental health, our emotional states, our creativity and productivity — in short, our very well-being.
As someone easily overwhelmed by crowds and sensory overload (and more so as I age), I can find Iowa City’s wonderful summer festivals a challenge. I have many times enjoyed the tunes, charts and riffs flowing from the stages of the Iowa City Jazz Festival. I have often parked my camp chair on the Pedestrian Mall on Friday night […]
In recent weeks and months, I seem to have been bombarded with pleas for monetary contributions, all promising a world of abundance if the scarcity in question can be resolved. Most, if not all, of these causes are worthy. We have created a human world where too many good ideas are chasing too few dollars.
We are always embedded in the land we dwell upon. In practical terms, our physical bodies are dependent on a functioning ecosystem, so our inescapable obligation of environmental care is to our own benefit as well as that of the health, well-being and integrity of the living earth. But when we are truly home in […]
As I entered Susan Craig’s office to chat about her career with the Iowa City Public Library and her impending retirement, I encountered a familiar sight: Susan at her conference table, calmly working through a ream of budget and statistical sheets. […]
The wonders of any month lie in the cycle of nature, in the continuum of life. I take special joy in October, thanks in large part to its specificities: beautifully colored leaves; crisp, cool air; lengthening shadows at early twilight. But I also embrace October’s place in the round of the year: the slowing of life after the rush of summer, the gathering bounty, preparing for winter’s rest. In recent years, I have paid greater attention to the sonic as well as visual landscape and its part in nature’s cycle. This autumn, I’m paying special attention to the white-throated sparrow. […]
Since his days as an urban and regional planning professor at the University of Iowa, Iowa City mayor Jim Throgmorton has encouraged us to see our community through “unfamiliar eyes” in order to understand it better. I am fortunate that I do so every summer. For a good number of years, I have been privileged […]
Over the past year and a half, I have grown to know and love the Iowa prairie as never before. I am in the final stages of a project with my co-author, Cindy Crosby, that involves writing about and photographing the tallgrass prairie. While I have always relished visits to a prairie, this project has […]