Author Archives: Heather


Repairing the world: the Beatles, Alaskan mountain goats, and Asiatic cheetahs

At the annual conference of the Alliance of Artists Communities, which we attended in San Jose, California, two weeks ago, I had the good fortune to attend a session with Joshua Wolf Shenk, author of Lincoln’s Meloncholy: How Depression Challenged … Continue reading

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Mind the gap: ghosts, trees, and Goodbye to a River

There’s a 5,000-pound ghost hovering over Austin’s Lady Bird Lake, the remains of a 35-foot cedar elm painted white and hoisted onto a shaft sunk into the water. Entitled Thirst, this collaborative project memorializes the estimated 301 million trees in … Continue reading

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The unsteady rock: Descartes, salamanders, and the Nicene Creed

In my last post, I compared saying the Nicene Creed to stepping on unsteady stones across a creek, stepping here and not there, meaning this and not that in an effort not to end up with wet feet and an … Continue reading

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This and not that

Last Sunday we attended a dharma teaching at Green Gulch Farm, on the western flanks of Mount Tamalpais, above Muir Beach. It was the kind of morning for which this part of California is famous: foggy and cool with sudden … Continue reading

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A tale of two kitties

We lost one of our cats recently. Mr. Allnut (named for Humphrey Bogart’s character in The African Queen) asked to go out at about 4 one morning a few weeks ago, and I let him go. He never came back, … Continue reading

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Poetry and the pelvic bowl

Some say you’re lucky If nothing shatters it. But then you wouldn’t Understand poems or songs, You’d never know Beauty comes from loss. It’s deep inside every person: A tear tinier Than a pearl or thorn. It’s one of the … Continue reading

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The cliff of the unknown: desire, tolerance, and identity

“The secret history of sex is not a story of fulfilled desires; it’s a story of expectations dropped off the cliff of the unknown.” (Nathan Heller) This is not a blog about sex, but this sentence stayed with me long … Continue reading

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Jellyfish and revelation

Once again, it’s the time of year when we ponder endings and beginnings, when we hunker down for the long nights, wonder where this year has disappeared to, and devise all sorts of convoluted theories about what is to come. … Continue reading

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Microbiomes and individual identity: Alexander Pope and the archbishop of Canterbury

I learned a startling fact the other day while listening to Fresh Air’s Terry Gross interviewing Dr. Nathan Wolfe, author of The Viral Storm, a disconcerting account of his research into pandemics like avian flu and AIDS that leap from … Continue reading

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Spring creed

In the endless heat of late summer, sometimes it’s hard to remember that Texas can be a cool and beautiful place—but it can, as we hope this poem will remind you. The lake’s complacent waters bloom before the glamorous, unhurried … Continue reading

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