Thinkpiece

I read a ton of essays and posts after the election – do we still call them thinkpeices – “to get some perspective” “to get other people’s thoughts.” I read pundit thoughts, journalist thoughts, politician thoughts, and economist thoughts. I read foreign thoughts and domestic thoughts. I read black thoughts …

The Hubris of Bridges

Bixby Bridge (19916363835)

I know I spent ten years of my life designing bridges, and that as a result I probably understand the principles behind their operation better than the vast majority of people out there, but I just saw a picture of the stunning Bixby Bridge carrying Highway 1 in Big Sur, California and was struck for the first time by the horrifying hubris of building bridges. The gall to think the ground is not good enough, that a road should vault through the air, on as little substance as possible, and remain aloft, because it takes too long to go around! Who do we think we are to build such monstrous babels?

(image via wikimedia commons)

Idle Talk

Realization: I’m tired of being confined to the incredibly limited dialogue around me. All anyone talks about are events, people, politics, opinions-made-facts-made-battle-cries, and yes I know these things can often be important, but where is the talk about ideas, or, god forbid, life itself? These latter topics are what lend …

The Myth of Sisyphus

Every Western ideology promises some ultimate goal — a happy, a just, or a peaceful society. I don’t believe in that. We are things in flux. It may be that the stone always slides away from us and must be rolled back up again, but it’s something we must do; the stone belongs to us.

Gunter Grass in the Paris Review’s Art of Fiction No. 124

Stargazing

I’m down here on Earth, like always, stargazing in the winter cold clearing of some forgotten forest, a retreat from the lights of civilization that even out here still pale the darkness of the horizon. I’m staring outward, but it’s hard to accept the scale of what I see. I …

Tending the Fire

The breeze, the salt breeze, the fresh breeze, the one that comes off of the Gulf, interrupted by nothing but the bristling silhouettes of oil rigs, rolls across the shifting peaks and valleys of the waterscape, beyond the piled rocks of the breakwaters and comes ashore on the beach of …

Traditions

When asked “what is home,” the biggest temptation is to describe geography. It is easy to underestimate what makes up “home” as a street plan overlaying terrain, as a palate of colorful buildings, as an environment of favorite trees and familiar cafe’s. But the old idea that home is more …

Hear Me

I remember when I first came across Twitter. It was exciting. With just a few clicks I could connect with anyone in the world. I could hear new ideas from diverse voices. I could see the world through anyone’s eyes. All I had to do was add them to my …

A Beginning

This is not a travelogue. Not yet, anyway. Hopefully it never will be. I have a site for that. I have an outlet for the things my wife and I see and do abroad. If I’m talking about sightseeing in the stories following this one, I’ve lost my way. The …