Essays

Is there really freedom in the outdoors?
Is there really freedom in the outdoors?
After a year indoors, a writer remembers the joy — and pressures — of a childhood spent in Utah.
What makes a whimbrel?
What makes a whimbrel?
A writer reflects on natural cycles of absence and abundance, loss and love.
In Nogales, joy endures
In Nogales, joy endures
The Borderlands may be militarized, but for writer Alberto Ríos, it’s still home.
The lessons on storytelling that William Kittredge taught
The lessons on storytelling that William Kittredge taught
The beloved teacher and writer was preoccupied with the particular.
Studying seabirds, the sentinels of the ocean
Studying seabirds, the sentinels of the ocean
Perspective from one of the longest, largest and most comprehensive seabird monitoring efforts in the world.
Through wildland firefighting, finding a space to heal
Through wildland firefighting, finding a space to heal
A grieving daughter encounters solace in an unexpected place.
Of hawks and hope
Of hawks and hope
In a climate collapse, a wildlife biologist turns from sadness to action.
How an intimate burial can make death human-sized
How an intimate burial can make death human-sized
In burying a stranger, a writer learns that dying can be as small and personal as life.
Hunting for myself in the high Montana sagebrush
Hunting for myself in the high Montana sagebrush
A hunter celebrates a new vision of queerness and rural culture.
Inhospitable, remote and compelling: The island swallowed by nowhere
Inhospitable, remote and compelling: The island swallowed by nowhere
Alaska’s St. Matthew Island has had its share of human visitors, but none can remain long.
COVID-era lessons from homeschool
COVID-era lessons from homeschool
Don’t be terrified. Be ready.
When home is next to an oil refinery
When home is next to an oil refinery
All I knew about Wilmington, California, was poverty, so I long hid my connection to it.
Now that you’ve gone West, young man
Now that you’ve gone West, young man
Toward unlearning Manifest Destiny.
The physics of connection and solitude
The physics of connection and solitude
In the middle of a pandemic, a lifetime of lessons from a parent.
Who’s looking out for elders on the Navajo Nation?
Who’s looking out for elders on the Navajo Nation?
A reporter documents lack of food and harsh conditions for many Diné elderly, and few willing to take responsibility.
Am I an invasive species?
Am I an invasive species?
How COVID-19 and ‘murder hornets’ compelled a writer to rethink invasions.
Heartache, compounded
Heartache, compounded
After her son’s death, a writer searches for a path forward through personal and climate grief.
Safe at home in Los Angeles
Safe at home in Los Angeles
Even under restrictions, the city shines for all to see.
During the pandemic, how do you ethically get outdoors?
During the pandemic, how do you ethically get outdoors?
Sheltering responsibly doesn’t mean you have to stay inside.
Overcoming winter’s alienation
Overcoming winter’s alienation
I long felt shut out of the season. Snowshoeing changed that.
The wildness is in me, too
The wildness is in me, too
People were excluded from the wild, historically, and in today’s rapidly digitizing West.
Searching for winter in  Palm Springs
Searching for winter in Palm Springs
As the West warms, hunting for snow becomes part of the adventure.
The mystery of mountain lions
The mystery of mountain lions
Despite decades of research, myth and fear still surround the animals.
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