Sneaking up on Thirty Years

1989. Thirty years ago.

I really, really have trouble accepting that thirty years have passed since Tiananmen Square, Hungary opening its border with Austria, the Berlin Wall opening, Vaclav Havel and the Czechoslovaks peacefully ousting the Communists, and the Romanians not-so-peacefully ousting Ceausescu.

I do remember being absolutely stunned and feeling the entire world reel. Because the very thought of Germany not being divided, of people able to pass easily through Berlin… It wasn’t possible. There had always been a Warsaw Pact and an Iron Curtain, and there always would be. Because that’s just how the world was. Continue reading

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Animals and Environments 2: The Land and the Bison

Another rerun in the series from 2014. I’m chaperoning again.

Imagine standing on a broad tableland, knee-high grass extending as far as you can see in all directions. The sun has just risen, well on its way north with the shift from spring into summer, and already the southwest wind ruffles the grass and hisses its hot way past. The day will be a warm one. You begin walking north. As you do, you start to see variations in the billiard table surface. Rainwater lakes, the famous playas, form broad, shallow depressions surrounded by taller grasses. Some of the largest playas have sedges, amaranth, arrow leaf, and western wheat grass in their shallows and on the shores. And you discover a faint blue line in the distance, almost like hills, or very, very far away mountains. Continue reading

Remembering and Forgetting

What should a people remember? What should individuals forget? What is the danger of forgetting?

The lectionary text this week was Deuteronomy 8. I freely admit, it has been a very, very long time since I read past Exodus without skipping to Joshua and Judges (typical, dodge all the world-building and background to get to the battle scenes). Continue reading

The Great Game

Men disguised as traders, or holy men, or religious pilgrims sneaking through unmapped territory, learning, watching, studying, hunting for traces of the enemy. High adventure in remote places, bones left in graves unknown, youth lost before it was truly known, all for the sake of the Great Game. All in the shadow of

“Himalayas heavenward-heading, sheer and vast, sheer and vast/ In a million summits bedding on the last world’s past…”*

Rudyard Kipling did not coin the term “the Great Game,” but he made it common. Continue reading

Artifacts, Culture, and Adoption

Last week I came in on the last half of a PBS program about “The Secrets of Stonehenge.” I’d read most of the different bits and pieces, but it was nice to have them all pulled together with attractive shots of Stonehenge and its environs. However, the last ten minutes or so raised my eyebrows and started me wondering… Continue reading