Category Archives: body

John Keats and “the spotted child.”

In one of his famously long, thinking-out-loud journal letters to his brother George and sister-in-law Georgiana, finished and sent in January 1819, John Keats talks about cats: There is another thing I must mention of the momentous kind;– but I … Continue reading

Posted in body, Romanticism, the past, travel | 2 Comments

Bacon and Brussels sprouts.

Next time you want a quick, warm, good winter supper — or a dish for Thanksgiving — especially if you are a Southerner in the Upper Midwest, here’s what you do: Go out in your garden and break off some … Continue reading

Posted in body, food, gardening, gratitude, seasons, self-reliance | Leave a comment

This is your brain on skis.

I learned to cross-country ski from a student of mine about three years ago, on an excursion with a bunch of other novices and a few ultra-experienced daredevils who could launch themselves off the side of a hill, spin in … Continue reading

Posted in body, Driftless region, resilience, seasons, self-reliance, yoga | 4 Comments

“Learn, little cousin:” Seeing with Signorelli.

Something about Christmas mixes emotion and memory like no other time.  This is the hinge of the year, the liminal space where we could step one way or another way, where we can and can’t see what’s coming.  Where we … Continue reading

Posted in art, body, culture, mystery, spirit, the past | Leave a comment

Let there be light.

On an ordinary November afternoon I sit on a chair in my eye doctor’s dim exam room, chin in the camera-machine, straining not to blink against the stinging dilation drops leaking through my lashes.  A white flash jolts straight to … Continue reading

Posted in art, attention, body, mystery, spirit, teaching, travel | 1 Comment

The patient gardener? Labor and humility.

I spent the middle of May — just after classes ended, even before turning in my grades — in a fever of garden work, reclaiming a quackgrass-infested lily bed and moving and spreading a giant pile of mulch and constructing … Continue reading

Posted in attention, body, gardening, resilience | Leave a comment

Essentializing the animal: owls, war horses, and poetry.

Coming out of my office late this afternoon, I spotted a barred owl up in a tree outside the building, hunched against the trunk, squinching his eyes against the light and stoically standing off a pair of crows who were … Continue reading

Posted in animals, art, attention, body, mystery | 1 Comment