Norwegian Wood … Isn’t it good?

“My mind is never so pleasantly empty as when I’m chopping wood.” — Arne Fjeld, quoted in ‘Norwegian Wood’ When I moved into Innisfree, there was a cast-iron beast brooding in the center of the cabin. I was both terrified and intrigued by it. I’ve lived in numerous houses with fireplaces. Never one with a …

The Strange Lives of Familiar Insects

I’m watching insects through an entirely new lens on this autumn day, bathed in October Light (as John Gardner would have it). Crows raise hell in the trees on the other side of the ridge. Stanton Moore’s tribute to Allen Toussaint rolls out of the cabin in a funky tumble of brass and drums, rattling …

When trees put on their thinking caps

The more I read about trees, the more convinced I am that they possess a sort of intelligence. In the Paris Review, Cody Delistraty’s article “The Intelligence of Plants” summarizes a lot of the current thinking on how “smart” plants are. It’s interesting and compelling. I just finished listening to the audiobook version of Peter …

I don’t think my editor will go for that

(A) reporter interviewed me over the phone. “You write so much about Eskimos in this book,” she said. “How come there are so many Eskimos?” I said that the spare arctic landscape suggested the soul’s emptying itself in readiness for the incursions of the divine. There was a pause. At last she said, “I don’t …

Bunnies and goats and Yinzers on bikes

I spent last weekend in Pittsburgh visiting family and meeting my niece’s amazing baby boy. While I was in town, I also wanted to do a little research on The Book I’ve been grappling with, but time was short. To make the most of it, I took my bike along for the trip and rode …

More screen time, please

While sitting on the deck with Sydney and Sunny, I noticed my neglected Kindle Fire and iPhone SE sitting screens-up on the table, reflecting the white oaks above them. So I reached over without moving the gadgets and took photos of what they were “seeing.” I can’t think of a better way to enjoy “screen …