Tag Archives: Inspiration

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

21 Jun

Today is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.  I was thinking of writing about the beauty of the passage of time, of watching and noticing the way the light changes and taking joy in it–but, James Carroll at the Boston Globe said it much better than I could:

Intimate awareness of nature and its cycles…was an ancient mode of survival. But survival is at issue again. Noticing the length of light now, reveling in the sun’s achievement, rejoicing in Earth’s perfect balance, honoring the summer solstice — loving it: This is how we became human, and it is how we stay human.

One of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver, reads “The Summer Day,” which ends with the beautiful line that titles this post:

Happy solstice!

The Arctic Irony

20 Jun

A version of this essay without photographs was published in SAGE Magazine in April 2011, and can be viewed as originally published here.

It’s ten thirty at night, and in the bright light the wet caribou comes over the rise and rolls her eyes at me.  Thirty more caribou does and calves follow, knee joints popping and hooves clicking on the loose gravel of the hilltop.  Frozen in place, I watch the caribou walk steadily past, nose to tail, shaking off fur still damp from their river crossing in the valley below.  Brown with lighter spots on top and short, fuzzy horns, the animals are so near and yet seem oblivious to our presence.  Their breath hangs in the air, shot through with buzzing flies.  The enchantment lasts until one nearly steps on my knapsack and the camera inside.  I take an involuntary step forward, my shadow crosses the face of one of the mothers, and the herd takes off—thundering down the slope and across the mountain bowl faster than seems possible.  In their wake, a few long, thick hairs settle down onto the rocks at our feet and we gaze after the herd, watching mothers and babies scatter across the bowl like so many white ants on a dull green background. Continue reading

My 2011 commencement speech from Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

14 Jun

My classmates elected me and another graduate, Pablo Reed, to give 5-minute speeches on our commencement from graduate school.  I gave this speech on May 23, 2011, in New Haven, CT.

This is not the highest-quality video, but it’s all audible.  Transcript after the jump.

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