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The Apple Tree Episode

  My husband climbs into the car loaded with several sacs of apples and mutters, “I had an encounter with the New Boulder.” “Uh oh,” I respond. For my dear husband, late September often means apple-foraging. Through years of cycling the county’s backroads, he developed a mind map of the apple trees along the rights of way. A few years ago we planted a couple of trees on our property and foraging elsewhere has been unnecessary. But our trees, along with many others in the area, took this...

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Conscious Companionship

  Reading a few things lately by Daniel Pinchbeck, I appreciate the way that he’s willing to talk about consciousness. Even so, I find myself wishing he would go a little further. I want to step beyond the lonely, claustrophobic bubble of humanism, and frankly, the techno-utopias of transhumanism give me the fucking willies. We need to shift our consciousness to include a sensing of how we are companioned by other beings. We need to rejoin the others. This has to be something that...

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The Way of Orphanhood

I have often written about the need to create a new life-affirming culture as the most pressing task before us. The hypermasculine story of rational hegemony and the promise of technology is toxic and urgently needs to be replaced. But with what? And how? Recently I heard Bayo Akomolafe, a Nigerian intellectual, speak about similar topics. His personal story involves leaving academia and decolonizing himself by returning to traditional Nigerian village life. He is a cultural refugee of sorts....

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End of the Road

Thanks to my husband’s regular reminders, I’m aware of the phenomenon whereby we selectively register information that reinforces our existing views. Perhaps I am guilty of that. I’m the first to admit that I am skeptical of gadgets and the way that our over-reliance on technology distorts our experience. Given those disclaimers, I find myself wanting to share the news story about the man who drove off an abandoned freeway, inadvertently killing his wife, because he was apparently paying more...

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Grace

At the end of my 9 miles I saw them. Three enormous bull moose by the parking lot. So did everyone else. Part of me was annoyed that these people should get to see them too. Some old belief about the necessity of earning joy. Carloads of pale, soft-bodied Walmart shoppers shuffled over to the edge of the willows. Please shut the hell up. Please just look. The woman on my left asks her companion, “What do you suppose they’re for? We don’t use their meat… or their fur…” “You mean, what’s God’s...

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Breaking the Trance

  For most of us, it’s really hard to imagine what the Great Turning could look like. (I’m using Joanna Macy’s description of the shift towards a life-affirming society – in contrast to the “Great Unraveling” in which we keep going down the path we’re on.) This is the monolithic power of late capitalism: It has all but destroyed the possibility of even imagining alternatives. That’s what totalizing narratives do, and the one we have going right now is sine pari. It’s horrifyingly...

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