Browsing: Books

At its best, a close relationship is a partnership of mutual nourishment — a portable ecosystem of interdependent growth, supported by a network of trust and tenderness. It profoundly changes a person and yet helps them become more authentic as assumptions give way to presence and issues are transformed into open connections. In his slim and remarkable book Twice Alive (public library), poet, geologist, and translator Forrest Gander uses inspiration from the natural world to create a poetic “ecology of intimacies,” honoring lichens’ “extreme frugality in drought” and the “long soft sarongs of moss” as a means “to rediscover the essence of… read article

You are aware that life ends in death and love ends in loss. Still, you see the beautiful afternoon light shining on the face you love, knowing it will soon fade, and the beloved face will also fade someday. But still you love, because life is short but meaningful, and love connects the impossible and the eternal. I ponder this and a part from Louise Erdrich’s 2005 book The Painted Drum (public library) comes to mind: Life will break you. Nobody… read article

A version of this essay appeared in The New York Times Book Review. A cloud is a spell against indifference, an emblem of the water cycle that makes this planet a living world capable of trees and tenderness, a great cosmic gasp at the improbability that such a world exists, that across the cold expanse of spacetime strewn with billions upon billions of other star systems, there is nothing like it as far as we yet know. Clouds are almost as old as this world, born when primordial volcanos first exhaled the chemistry of the molten planet into the sky,… read article

Every night, for every human being that ever was and ever will be, the Moon rises to remind us how improbably lucky we are, each of its craters a monument of the odds we prevailed against to exist, a reliquary of the violent collisions that forged our rocky planet lush with life and tore from its body our only satellite with its miraculous proportions that render randomness too small a word — exactly 400 times smaller than the Sun and exactly 400 times closer to Earth, so that each time it passes between the two, the Moon covers the face… read article