Category: ecology, environment

Boundary Bound

Once, when I thought my days were numbered, I had a peculiar desire. Before I die, I want to walk around New Mexico, exactly on the boundary. Circumambulating my home state would be an inane ritual. Maybe I would put on whiteface and wear a clown suit. I didn’t die and the ritual didn’t happen….


Where Is Here?

A block away there is a plaque tucked away in a front yard filled with so much greenery that the house is almost hidden. Each time I pass, I stop to read, “We would like to acknowledge that we are on the Haldimand Tract, land promised to Six Nations in 1784, traditional territory of the…


Sacred Space and the Southwest

Sacrality is, above, all a category of emplacement. –Jonathan Z. Smith A few years I saw a map of Christendom put forth by a Protestant Reformation Society in which the catholic countries were painted black, and the protestant countries in a light color. The black was the Kingdom of the Beast where the children of…


Ritual and Nature

By some accounts ritual behavior is utterly natural, “hard-wired” into the structure of the brain and nervous system, a function of our biological or animal “hardware” rather than our cultural “software.” Even if we try to escape explicit rites, tacit ritualization nevertheless emerges unbidden. If we do not initiate youth into adulthood, they will, perversely…


Sitting in a Sandbox

As a kid I spent hours, days, and years exiled to a sandbox a few miles south of Clovis, New Mexico. A drought eventually forced us off the land because we didn’t have the money for an irrigation well. Indoors, Mom was baking chocolate-chip cookies. I wanted to be indoors, but she said I had…


Bruce Springsteen’s Christian Jeep

Dear Jeep, Christian nationalism cannot unite us


Scouting the Horizon

I’m always scouting. I have a propensity to watch the horizon. What is it you do when you “scout?” It’s hard to shake grade-B cowboy movies out of my imagination. Scouts rode ahead, over horizons, then back to the wagon train—usually with bad news unless San Francisco was just over the mountain. White Cavalry Scout…


Walk of Wisdom

A Pilgrimage to a Sustainable Lifestyle by Damiaan Messing In a special issue about pilgrimage and sustainability Jacob’s Staff, the Dutch Santiago Pilgrims Association magazine, published an article about the creation of the Walk of Wisdom. This is a translation and revision of the original article. De Kleine Aarde My brother Martijn and I were on…


Why Endangered Species Need Saints

by Sarah Pike Link to the original. This article was published by Counterpoint Navigating Knowledge on 7 August 2019. With some of my students, I bent down to fill a cup and drink from Saint Gobnait’s holy well in the woods near Ballyvourney, a small town in southern Ireland. We had approached the site by passing through…


What Color is Ecology?

I’m interviewing my daughter. She’s seven, her top front teeth have been snatched by a fairy, and this is a Big Questions video, a tradition our family has carried on for twenty-five years. I ask what kind of person she is, prompting her with a few options. I tease her by asking if she is…


Talking with Plants

I’ve just returned from Union Theological Seminary in New York, where I was working with Claudio Carvales, a professor of worship, and his students in a course called Creating Rituals in Community: The Work of Mourning The Earth. Together they design rituals in class, then enact them publicly in James Chapel. Recently, they confessed to…


Performance is Currency in the Deep World’s Gift Economy

An Incantatory Riff for a Global Medicine Show Prior to publication, this was a script for oral performance. Publication required the decorum, the civilizing influence, of those speed bumps we call paragraph breaks. Even though the original script was not written as poetry, it looked like poetry on the page. It looked that way to…


Galisteo Cemetery

A slide show of the Old Galisteo Cemetery, Santa Fe County, New Mexico   [metaslider id=270]


Why build your house on sand?

In the parable of the wise and foolish builders, Jesus says, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall,…


How to ride an iron horse?

I’ve been riding the Iron Horse Trail for years. In 1997 Kitchener-Waterloo drizzled a ribbon of asphalt over an old rail bed connecting the twin cities. Since then, we fine, upstanding citizens have been practicing–ambling, walking, riding, jogging.  I say “practicing” because for some of us this is lifelong learning, and because some of us…


Why build your house on sand?

In the parable of the wise and foolish builders, Jesus says, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall,…


Bury me where?

I have retired five times. Now I’m blogging about the little things to which life and death appear to be tethered. Some call Big Questions “religious;” others, “spiritual.” Both terms are troublesome, so I try to avoid them. I don’t believe in blogs any more than I believe in what most people call religion. Too…


The trail begins and ends where?

In my imagination here’s where the trail ends (or, maybe, begins).

Don’t click “play” unless you have a full 2 minutes and 40 seconds (which isn’t a lot of time in view of eternity).

A sacred place hallowed by solemn ritual?

A place of doodling?

Artistic practice?

Ancestor veneration?

 

How paltry, our imaginations…


Listening with courtesy

An interview with Tim Lilburn by Darryl Whetter, Studies in Canadian Literature / Études en littérature canadienne, [S.l.], Jan. 1997, accessed 02 Oct. 2017. ISSN 1718-7850. DW: You write and speak about poetry as a “courteous” way of seeing. How does this notion of courtesy affect your work technically? TL: First of all, I don’t…