Can Nature Experiences Replace Mindfulness?

By Alex Tzelnic

In 2016, while trekking in New Zealand’s Fjordland National Park, my wife and I were inundated by three straight days of rain. It made for a grueling trek; our gear was soaked through, our packs weighed down by water, and every part of our bodies was sore. Each day we wondered aloud if it would have been better to have…

Opening Our Hearts to Life

By John McIlwain

But with all our contemporary tough-mindedness the question is still to be answered: what does man live for? Control of nature, mastery of the cosmos, which is what our world is mainly up to, fails to satisfy the longings of the human heart. It may be that we must in the end redesign and remake the heart. —Between Wind and…

Wild Faith

By Geneen Marie Haugen

At winter twilight in canyon country, deer materialize and vanish at dusk and dawn, as if they step through a lavender veil between worlds. One moment, the field reveals only dark boulders and shadowed clumps of chamisa; the next moment, the shadows move, shape-shifting into leggy, soft-lipped foragers. And then, they shape-shift again and are gone, invisible, as if traveling…

A Time for Silence

By Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens … Ecclesiastes For our ancestors the rhythms of the seasons were their calendar, the rising and setting of the sun their only clock. Today our clocks seem to spin much faster and it is easy to ignore—or even forget—these more primal seasons and their meaning.…

In Pursuit of Beauty

By Matt Miles

In recent months, perhaps because of the ugliness circulating throughout the national and international public spheres, beauty and its pursuit have become a subject of contemplation for me. Beyond something that is pleasing to the human senses, what constitutes beauty? And what does a genuine appreciation of beauty—particularly natural beauty—suggest about the values of individuals and cultures that exist to…

Notes on Ecological Aesthetics and Ethics

By David George Haskell

A sense of beauty is a rigorous, perhaps even objective, foundation for environmental ethics. Our human aesthetic judgment integrates many strands of experience: intellect, emotion, bodily senses, and all we know from our interactions with others, both human and non-human others. From this integration, we understand the good. Of course, an aesthetic sense is subject to the whims of desire,…

Seen and Unseen

By Matt Miles

For weeks before the event, some friends and I started preparing for the the Great American Eclipse of 2017. There were 25 of us, all of whom would watch together from a hay field next to a vineyard. While not in the 70-mile wide path of totality, our location in northwestern North Carolina seemed close enough—in the 97% range—to get…

Taking a Walk Through Deep Time

By Sam Mowe

Given the short-term concerns and speed that characterize our busy modern lives, it’s easy to forget that our original ancestors were bacteria. A new app called Deep Time Walk attempts to remind us of our common evolutionary history with all life—including single-celled prokaryotes such as bacteria that formed about 4,000 million years ago—through the combination of an audio book and…