On the Boy Scout Trail, in the Redwood National Forest, 12 miles from coastal Crescent City, California, and 27 from the Oregon border, an informational sign at the 6 meter wide base of a fallen tree explains that the Redwoods are gregarious trees. Their shallow root system, relative to their massive hundred meter heights, requires them to live in groves. Their long roots grow shallow but reach out to neighboring roots, wrapping and coiling, and eventually growing together in order to support the upright weight of a community of trees which average 600 years old. In May, when Emmett and I crossed the country to meet these trees, I imagined them holding hands underground, fully aware of their reliance on each other.
Category Archives: Language
Sitting now in the empty staff room of my high school, I have just finished Bruce Chatwin’s On The Black Hill. I picked it up in a used foreign-language book store in Kyoto several weeks ago and have since then been consuming it reguarly with the same kind of avid attention one might give to a good cup of tea. I was able to soar through the final seventy-or-so pages that remained and I can say that On the Black Hill is one of the best works of fiction I have read in some time.
In Kentucky we used to walk a mile to Kroger’s grocery store to buy Soy Delicious peanut butter chocolate swirl ice cream. We would bring our own spoons and eat out of the pint on the way home. We didn’t keep soda in the house so that I could take thesis writing breaks and walk to the corner store. Earlier on than that, a few friends and I walked to a creek 15 miles outside of town. We packed olives and bread and apples and forgot to apply sunscreen to the backs of our necks. Our long hikes on the trails of Mammoth Cave National Park and through Daniel Boone Forest changed what we considered “walkable.” Continue reading
We’ve only known her for one day and we might already Ω her. Capucine is a four year old little girl who lives in France with her family. She is a riveting storyteller and skilled actress. Her mother has been posting videos of her on Vimeo.com for over three years. Now, that which was probably an effort to keep Miss Capucine in touch with friends and relatives has made her a global sweetheart. Our friend Bonny sent me a link to this video—THANK YOU—it made my day. Continue reading
As part of my brief and unstudied education in Japanese I have been working out how to read family names. This is a manageable place to start, for nearly all names are made of only two kanji, pictographic characters descended from Chinese. Once I stopped associating each character with a phonetic counterpart, I was able to divine the symbolic meaning of the names. The characters’ sounds change depending on placement, noun-consonant morphology, or age of the name. The character 山, for instance, almost always reads as “yama”; however, in older family names and place-names 山 may read as “san” as in “Fujisan,” the famous mountain. In the greater picture, 山 means “mountain.” Once I focused on this, the names of the people around me began to tell a story that is not always obvious in the wake of Japanese modernity.