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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Six Things to Love about February 2014

1.  Groundhog Day, 2 February.


My month started off hysterically.  I walked into my twelve-year old’s bedroom to make sure he was up for school and he was hiding under the covers with the iPad waiting to see if Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania had seen his shadow. Let me put it this way: Christopher believes the groundhog over the most seasoned meteorologist.  Anyway, we are apparently having six more weeks of winter.  I know this has been a cold, rough winter for much of the nation, but this Texas girl is thrilled.  That means six more weeks of cute winter clothes that I hardly get to wear anyway.  Plus, every time this day rolls around, I think of that movie with Bill Murray called “Groundhog Day,” and it makes me happy all over again.

2. The Olympics, Opening Ceremony and Events, starting 7 February.

I love the Olympics–and even though that fifth ring for the opening ceremony failed to open, I still was wowed by the whole spectacle, and you cannot help but love Team USA.

I can help loving those sweaters, but the team:  Love. Them. Continue reading

Tree at My Window, Window Tree

Emerson tells us “Nature is a symbol of the Spirit.”  My students and I excavate the sections of his essay Nature; we are diligent in murdering to dissect.  They read lines that make me cringe, because my head is so full of technology and Blackboard and advising and grading and commuting, that I realize I hardly ever think about nature anymore.  I feel like a lapsed Catholic having to read about Mass.  When I have my epiphany that I never think about nature, I don’t mean the notion of nature as everything outside of the soul–I mean like leaves and trees. I have to pencil nature in like yoga class and getting my tires rotated.  I have to seek nature out, it is so far removed from me.   Continue reading