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Essays

  • The dictionary reader

    The dictionary reader

    What kind of person spends the whole summer stuck inside a cabin reading the dictionary?

  • The bare bones of life

    The bare bones of life

    The rocky, remote landscapes of the Southwest have long served astronomers as a metaphor for the surfaces of other planets.

  • A tenderfoot in Taos

    A tenderfoot in Taos

    An exhausted young mother, her lively new baby, and a compassionate drunkard have a brief but lovely encounter on the plaza in Taos, N.M.

  • Northward

    Northward

    The unexpected loveliness of the song of the varied thrush reminds the author that the birds are on the move, driven by climate change.

  • Natural comfort

    Natural comfort

    It seems romantic to die alone in the wild, until you begin to lose the people you love

  • Time to breathe

    Time to breathe

    Stargazing and geology satisfy the spiritual needs of a Utah writer and teacher.

  • Schmear campaign

    Schmear campaign

    How do you find a really good bagel in a place like Missoula, Mont.?

  • The vitality of language

    The vitality of language

    A mother introduces her newly adopted child to the birds at a raptor rehabilitation center and teaches her their names.

  • Why I ride the Greyhound

    Why I ride the Greyhound

    Every passenger aboard a bus becomes a citizen of the world, contemplating the Western landscape as it passes by.

  • The Universe on Blacktop

    The Universe on Blacktop

    A Colorado family finds satisfaction -- and cash -- in scavenging metal for recycling.

  • Crown of horns

    Crown of horns

    Unexpected encounters with an injured bull elk and a couple of teenage boys lead a writer to consider the meaning of fatherhood.

  • The call of the tame

    The call of the tame

    Jack London devoted much of his short life to what we would now call sustainable agriculture on his beloved Beauty Ranch in California.

  • Carrying your own load

    Carrying your own load

    Sharon Levy’s friends, Kerby and Irene, lived off the grid in Northern California and taught her a lot about life.

  • The fine art of bureaucracy

    Forty years ago, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation commissioned 40 artists to document -- and glorify -- its dam and reservoir sites.

  • For the love of stuff

    For the love of stuff

    A decision to buy a new car spurs thoughts of a beat-up, rusty old Datsun station wagon.

  • Change we could believe in

    Change we could believe in

    How to fix the West by consolidating land agencies and charging people to build in Stupid Zones.

  • Trashing the earth, and the truth

    Hal Herring relates the ugly story of how the Bush administration used its influence to try to kill a story about the impacts of energy development.

  • A word in favor of rootlessness

    The author of Rogue River Journal muses on the power of place.

  • Methow Homecoming

    Methow Homecoming

    A man contemplates his relationship with a landscape that he is always loving and leaving.

  • Real work

    Real work

    The joys – and hardships – of outdoor physical work take a toll.

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