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…

Fierce Compassion in the Anthropocene

By Willa Miller

During the winter season a few years ago, 108 inches of snow fell in Boston, breaking the record for the most seasonal snowfall in recorded history. And this snow, it did not melt. We watched it drift into six-foot banks in our backyard, burying our dwarf Japanese maple entirely. Day after day dawned frigid, stinging our cheeks as soon as…

Choosing Less

By Matt Miles

The phrase “voluntary simplicity” has, to my ears anyway, a quasi-paradoxical ring to it, not unlike “waking dream.” It accrues meaning by pointing to the implicit assumption in its antithesis: That we are by default, if not involuntarily, immersed in a world that tends toward complexity and confusion. For most of us alive today in the hyper-real world of the…

Finding a New Religion of Meaning

By John McIlwain

New York magazine recently published one of the grimmest accounts of the possible results of climate change. Unfortunately, it comes at the same time as news arrives of the long-anticipated “calving” from the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica, creating of one of the largest icebergs ever, a sad reminder of the startling changes being brought by the warming planet.…