Nature in a can: Tenn Williams and Thom Pynchon

In Night of the Iguana, a play first performed in 1961, but evolved out of a short story over a period of about fifteen years, Tennessee Williams expressed anger at our species for ruining our planet.   In the movie of 1962, starring Richard Burton as a disgraced priest, his character, at the end ofContinue reading “Nature in a can: Tenn Williams and Thom Pynchon”

Puzzles and mystery: How they differ

Sometimes the computational powers that be conspire to foil a post. That yet-to-be-posted item might have been trail inspirational: this one I found thought-inspiring.  From a medical blogger flying under a banner headline: Embrace the Mystery This distinction between puzzles and mysteries is described in a powerful new book by Ian Leslie: Curious: The Desire toContinue reading “Puzzles and mystery: How they differ”

The slow pulse of nature, via Beethoven (and others)

Alex Ross of The New Yorker is by acclamation the most loved of classical music critics today. This spring he gently lauded a new pianist, Igor Levit, for his playing of Beethoven at his most natural.  In his words I heard an echo of an idea from Carl Jung about the connection between introspection andContinue reading “The slow pulse of nature, via Beethoven (and others)”

John Luther Adams at Ojai Music Fest (outdoors)

Thanks to a video maven from Bart's Books, here's what the final movement of composer John Luther Adams' Strange and Silent Music looked like this morning at Besant Hill in Upper Ojai. During the entrancing performance, which began on the drums, moved to the east for a soft thudding playing of the gongs, to theContinue reading “John Luther Adams at Ojai Music Fest (outdoors)”

Love as a force of nature: Jeanette Winterson

From an untitled post at Soaked in Soul: "I used to be a hopeless romantic. I am still a hopeless romantic. I used to believe that love was the highest value. I still believe that love is the highest value. I don’t expect to be happy. I don’t imagine that I will find love, whatever that means,Continue reading “Love as a force of nature: Jeanette Winterson”

Is “The Descendants” as grand a movie as “Tree of Life?”

Elbert Ventura in Slate argues that The Descendants is a great movie, despite its too-pretty-to-be-true Hawaian setting.  Don’t let the soothing uke and sun-dappled sadness fool you—The Descendants is no less interested in the cosmic than that exegete’s delight The Tree of Life. He argues that we overlook its soaring depiction of the natural world, with nature'sContinue reading “Is “The Descendants” as grand a movie as “Tree of Life?””

The beauty of nature fading away: Haruki Murakami

In the best speech I have read since the last Vaclav Havel speech I read, Haruki Murakami reflects on the tsunami that hit Japan a year ago and  "mujo" — the fading of beauty. If we think about nature, for example, we cherish the cherry blossoms of spring, the fireflies of summer and the redContinue reading “The beauty of nature fading away: Haruki Murakami”

The refrains of nature: Rachel Carson

If we think of Rachel Carson, we probably remember her for alerting us to the massacre of the birds by DDT in Silent Spring,  and overlook her earlier, more poetic works, such as her bestseller The Sea Around Us, which was excerpted in The New Yorker, won the National Book Award, and numerous other prizes.  YetContinue reading “The refrains of nature: Rachel Carson”

Rachel Carson on how to introduce children to nature

At a lecture attended recently by a thousand or so people at UC Santa Barbara, the great E.O. Wilson was asked an open-ended question about introducing children to nature. Wilson took it as a "how to" question. He mentioned that he was "one of two living persons who worked with Rachel Carson," and made aContinue reading “Rachel Carson on how to introduce children to nature”