Musings . . .

on the passing scene

On Listening

I’ve spent the last few days on silent retreat in the country with my eyes closed, mostly listening. There are very few human sounds out here except for the occasional car arriving, so nature’s ‘biophony’ is clear to be heard, especially at dawn and dusk when the...

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My Birthday Message to Everyone

Hello, my family, friends, neighbors, community… Here is my offering to you in the month of my 86th birthday. I figure this is a pivotal moment in history, as well as a turning point in my own life, and I’d like to pass on to you a magical gift that was given to me...

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Walls

I live at the cul de sac of a road that ends in forest, in a wood-framed Priory that once housed six Catholic priests, but not anymore. My own rooms, I would guess, were once used for visiting clergy because they look out onto an impressive lawn, but the...

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Einstein and Me

Years ago, being shown around the Lick Observatory and mesmerized by the big dome, especially where it opened to reveal a portion of the night sky, I got separated from my group when they moved on to the computer rooms, and I got left by myself—accidentally on...

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On the Spectrum

When I was seventeen and studying at Deerwood for the summer, I met Eric, an unusual fellow, a violinist, who decided we were meant for each other, and would not leave me alone. At first it was flattering, but after he composed a string quartet for me and then...

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FRIENDING

FRIENDING  Many years ago, fed up with a few friends who tended to be around when they needed something, but not otherwise, I decided to give them a test: I would ask each one for some kind of help and see who came through, and who did not. Those who said Yes,...

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The Fungus Among Us

THE FUNGUS AMONG US Before he died of AIDS in1992, the botanist Jim Hickman and I loved to wander in the redwoods around the Northern California coast, searching for fungi emerging from old trees and forest duff and for trilliums blooming in early Spring. Jim was a...

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Candle in the Night

I must have wrenched my arm yesterday, because I woke up in pain this morning wondering if my body was letting me know that it was time to watch for signs of the inevitable breakdown of aging. Actually, it wasn't anything more than a pinched nerve from carrying an...

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Staying Warm

It is Christmas Day, and here I am living in a former Catholic Priory with a small community of folks who identify themselves as “Christian Mystics,” and though I'm not a Christian, I suppose I am a 'mystic' which means that willy-nilly, I feel at home here. In any...

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Lakshmi

In the late 1960s when our three children were young, we spent a year in Northern India where Herb was teaching at a new Institute on the Ganges Plain—IIT Kanpur. The same night we arrived all the electricity went out—not an uncommon occurrence, we were soon to...

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Photo of Carolyn North by Susan Wilson

Carolyn North

Photo: Susan Wilson