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 […]
At first it may sound a bit kooky to talk about “conversing” with nature. But the oddness of that idea is really due to the inadequacy of our words, even our human conceptions. What happens when entering the Great Conversation is much more profound than trading mere words, or even human ideas. […]
The United States’ stark political divide has many of us shaking our heads in bewilderment and frustration. What is at the root of our seemingly insurmountable differences? Perhaps the wedge that divides us is as fundamental — and viscerally powerful — as fear. […]
Whether one believes in the literal or religious truth of the Christmas story or not, it remains a powerful and influential tale, obviously for Christians, but even for many non-Christians. Over the years, as the Yuletide celebration commences, I have often discovered new ideas in this simple yet profound tale. This year, the story of the nativity has helped me understand something about what is important for community. […]