Notes On Winter Climbing In The White Mountains – I

Last week, I drove up to New Hampshire–more specifically, to the White Mountains in New Hampshire–to do a little guided climbing. (With the endlessly patient and tremendously knowledgeable Nick Aiello-Popeo of Synnott Mountain Guides in Intervale, NH.) Climbing in the winter is supposed to be hard work; this past weekend turned out to be just that.Continue reading “Notes On Winter Climbing In The White Mountains – I”

An Unforgettable Image, Appropriately Contextualized

In the summer of 1992, I traveled to India to visit my family: my mother, my brother, his wife (my sister-in-law), and my little, then barely six months old nephew. The monsoon lay around the corner, promising mixed relief from the brutal heat of the North Indian plains; the humidity would still oppress, but evenings andContinue reading “An Unforgettable Image, Appropriately Contextualized”

Bilinguality And Being ‘Different People In Different Languages’

Over at LitHub, Ana Menéndez asks that age-old question ‘Are We Different People in Different Languages,’ and, by way of a partial answer, writes: For me, language was a kind of initiation into multiple realities. For if one language could be certain of a table’s gender and another couldn’t be bothered, then what was trueContinue reading “Bilinguality And Being ‘Different People In Different Languages’”

Richard Holmes On Biography’s ‘Physical Pursuit’ Of Its Subjects

In an essay describing his biographical work on Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Richard Holmes writes: [A] biography is…a handshake….across time, but also across cultures, across beliefs, across disciplines, across genders, and across ways of life. It is an act of friendship. It is a way of keeping the biographer’s notebook open, on both sides of thatContinue reading “Richard Holmes On Biography’s ‘Physical Pursuit’ Of Its Subjects”

A Grandmother’s Gift: A Curiously Significant Number

I’m a numbers nerd; in all probability, this stems from being a sports fan. I calculate sports statistics in my  head; I can effortlessly multiply any pair of two-digit numbers in that same location; I retain an astonishing number of odd numerical markers in my cranium. As such, some numbers acquire a significance that goesContinue reading “A Grandmother’s Gift: A Curiously Significant Number”

Let’s Hear It For The Trailhead

The trailhead is a good friend to all hikers, but it may be especially helpful to the day-hiker. There it is, the turnoff as indicated by the map, the sign indicating hiking and adventure are proximal, the quick check to ascertain the fullness of the parking lot–dismay if too full, glee if many spots stillContinue reading “Let’s Hear It For The Trailhead”

Repent, The End Of Yet Another Year Is Nigh

It is June 30th, 2015; half the year is over. Depending on your age, you will react to this news with indifference or a curious mix of panic, terror, and melancholy. My reaction, as you might guess by my decision to write this post today, veers–sharply–toward the latter. Forty might be the new thirty, orContinue reading “Repent, The End Of Yet Another Year Is Nigh”

Chatwin And Nietzsche On Metaphors, Words, And Concepts

Writing of the Yaghan people and Thomas Bridges‘ Yaghan Dictionary, Bruce Chatwin writes: Finding in primitive languages a dearth of words for moral ideas, many people assumed these ideas did not exist, but the concepts of ‘good’ or ‘beautiful’ so essential to Western thought are meaningless unless they are rooted to things. The first speakersContinue reading “Chatwin And Nietzsche On Metaphors, Words, And Concepts”

Of Pilots’ Comrades And Young Imaginations

On Father’s Day, like last year, I posted a photograph of my father on Facebook. This one shows him as a young pilot, standing in his flying overalls next to a fighter jet; he stands proud and erect, carrying his flying helmet tucked under his arm. Here it is: the man, his steed, the glamourContinue reading “Of Pilots’ Comrades And Young Imaginations”

The Dog Stars: The Apocalypse As Outdoorsman Fantasy

Peter Heller‘s The Dog Stars is one of those post-apocalyptic novels in which authorial fantasies are overwhelmingly transparent. The world is coming to an end; flu has stalked the land; millions have died. Violence is the currency of most human interaction; food is scarce; government is invisible. And so on. You’ve seen most of thisContinue reading “The Dog Stars: The Apocalypse As Outdoorsman Fantasy”