Pebble on the Tongue: From the Basement of Suffering

Given the loss and suffering that marks these days, here is the sense of a moment recounted by Sadako Kurihara, poet of Hiroshima: In Hiroshima, in a basement, mid stench and death, a young woman goes into labor. A woman, herself moaning with pain, steps forward. “I can help with the baby. I am a … More Pebble on the Tongue: From the Basement of Suffering

Omnibus: It Doesn’t Quite Mean ‘All’

Somewhere between the jet set and the purist pilgrims who shamble along the Camino de Santiago are those who ride the ‘bus’, a shortened form of the more picturesque 19th cent. French term, ‘omnibus’.  It’s that ‘omni’ part that gives pause – omni being Latin for ‘all’.  Which explains a great deal about bus travel … More Omnibus: It Doesn’t Quite Mean ‘All’

The Long and Winding Road: Mythic Highway, Honeymoon Beach

Paul McCartney, so the story says, retreated alone to a farm in Scotland once where he sat at the piano gazing on the trace of a road meandering wild heather, the moors and lochs beyond – in short, his life – and penned a ballad: ‘The Long and Winding Road’. Were there a list of … More The Long and Winding Road: Mythic Highway, Honeymoon Beach

The Die Is Cast: No Friends But the Afghan Mountains

Come September 11, 2021, by presidential decree, the last troops of a Western alliance will strike their regimental colors, stow their gear and board massive transports for rear bases in Europe, the Middle East, and North America.  They leave behind razor-wire perimeters, bunkers, the tangled wreckage of warfare, frightened collaborators, and trauma as far as … More The Die Is Cast: No Friends But the Afghan Mountains

Lion’s Den Discovery: Pushback on a Eurocentric World View

On the southern fringes of the Kalahari across the interior of southern Africa stretch ranches and dryland farming in all directions.  Here and there outcrops and hills break the monotony of the plain often overlooking seasonal streams and rivers.  Near such a ridge, in 1924 the unlikely settlement of Taung (‘lion’s den’) was the epicenter … More Lion’s Den Discovery: Pushback on a Eurocentric World View

In A Potato Cellar: Beneath the Sign of a Ropey Tornado

Spring may be the season of daffodils and birdsong, but a shift in the jet stream also lifts a curtain on the annual drama of tornadoes.  We once sat enthralled while listening in disbelief to the nonchalance of friends in a Tulsa, OK suburb who described the ravages of a storm that passed within hailing … More In A Potato Cellar: Beneath the Sign of a Ropey Tornado

Myanmar: The Road Beyond Mandalay

Not only the road to Mandalay, but city streets the length and breadth of Myanmar stream today with protestors flashing the three-fingered salute, with flotillas of motorcycles and scooters, monks in maroon robes, even the occasional elephant.  Unseen are the armies of government workers, railway staff, nurses and doctors, power plant personnel and bank tellers … More Myanmar: The Road Beyond Mandalay

Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia: Beware the #30 Tram

Few cities in Europe can match Barcelona for its storehouse of cultural riches.  The tourist industry knows it only too well, sending 30 million visitors coursing its way every year.  Very nearly all of them were surrounding the famous Sagrada Familia basilica the day we arrived by train from Valencia. We’d been foresighted enough to … More Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia: Beware the #30 Tram