Up the Mountain, Into the Woods: Two Weeks at Wildacres

For Judi Hill


“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods

1.  Houston

The thrill of the city is that it is always moving:  you will never run out of things to do. Houston holds out her hand, and you take, take, take:  The Alley Theater, The Houston Symphony, The Menil Collection.  I could never leave and still feel like I was touring the globe.  We don’t have to try to be diverse, multicultural, international, endlessly interesting.  We already are.  Many days, I spiral the city on Beltway 8, driving to my university in the southwest part of the city.  There is a lot of concrete, brick, and mortar around me.  Nature has been tamed for so much for our progress.  Nature punctuates the city, not the other way around.

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911: The Names

Doni M. Wilson:

For the victims of 911 and Benghazi.

Originally posted on Reflection and Choice:

I wrote this a year ago to honor those who lost their lives in both 911 tragedies.

All night I thought about the families who lost so much on September 11, 2001, the day of the most devastating domestic terrorist attack in American history.  Over 3,000 Americans lost their lives.


All week I have been debating whether or not my son, Christopher, who was born in 2001, should watch the documentaries reliving those tragic events.  We watch, but it is still hard to comprehend.  It is still hard to believe.  Christopher says he does not remember a time when we did not think about terrorists.  It is the new normal.  We know when something feels like terrorism.  We do not believe there is such a thing as “spontaneous attacks” anymore.  Those are just words that are made up.

All morning I thought about how I could come up with the…

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Bright Star

All day I have been thinking about August, with its steamy heat, threatening clouds, violent clashes, super moons, and super stars, some of whom have fallen, and left us forever.

It hasn’t been the easiest month in the world.

When the word hit that Robin Williams–so quick on his feet, so thrilling to watch as his manic humor unfolded–had died, I really could not believe it.  It sounded like a hoax, a terrible mistake, and I was just waiting for someone to post that it was all a big joke, that he was fine, making a movie, performing for the USO, hanging out with his friends.  You know:  being himself, one day after another.

That is how it is sometimes:  something is over, and you would do anything to bring it back.

But you can’t.

Someone leaves, and you would do anything for that person to walk back through that door.

But they won’t.

Lots of words have been written about his death, the ones that keep ringing in our ears: depression, alcoholism, drugs, bi-polar disorder, rehab, treatment, struggling.  I keep thinking about one of his last interviews in which he said he was okay with being unhappy sometimes.  I know we need these words to identify certain problems, but somehow, they still feel hollow as explanations or even contributing factors to a mystery as wide as the sea, the mystery of why one would choose death over life.  We will never really know the answer to the question “why?” and maybe that is part of why it hurts so much–silence is such meager solace when mourning a loss.

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