water

Bubble

"We don't grieve in a bubble," my bereavement counselor tells me. She's been advising me about grief, not only as an experience, but as a process and opportunity for learning. There's been no way to talk about the death of my father late last year without framing it within 2020's overwhelming and worldwide losses. Piled on top of those, grief feels bigger. Cumulative. We build grief debt, as others have called the build-up of loss upon loss upon mounting loss. [...]

Soul

When I was a river guide I carried Barry Lopez's River Notes in my ammo box. I liked to lend it to the passengers or read essays from it aloud on my raft. In 2015, I told Barry about its importance to me the first time we had a conversation of more than a few words. He looked at me carefully for a minute and went back to his work. Later I learned through his wife Debra Gwartney how uncomfortable he was hearing that kind of praise. Maybe the words cast him as a god in a way that put pressure on our friendship. [...]

Lifelines

Staying alive on the 2020 rollercoaster ride has meant taking shelter—and finding connections where we can. This year's traditional year-end list of resources for writers and readers features a few favorite literary and environmental lifelines from the past twelve months. [...]

Forward

The young man standing six feet behind me offers to buy my drink.

I’ve wandered up the river to Main Street to mail a letter at our small-town post office. Making an unplanned stop at the local coffee shop, I’ve asked for a golden latté and ginger scone. Rung up and ready to pay the shop’s one barista before she fills my order, I’ve realized my wallet must be sitting on the kitchen island back home. [...]