Archive for Work and Adventure

Along the Borderline…

On our recent Grand Tour of Texas, just upstream from this spot there was a boatman offering to row us across the Rio Grande so we could have our passports stamped in Mexico. It’s a novelty, of course, but the Boquillas Border Crossing is one of the 48 official crossing points on the US-Mexican border.

I didn’t bite on the boat ride or buy a handmade trinket from the young Mexican sitting in the shade of a spindly tree along the trail, but it felt surreal to be there on the dusty edge of the Chihuahuan desert peering into the mouth of Boquillas Canyon while hearing in my head the mean-spirited chatter about rapists, drug dealers, and other criminals swarming toward the US border determined to steal our jobs and destroy our heritage. read more

Share with:Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Chaos Keeps the Guns Blazing

“Chaos is the science of surprises, of the nonlinear and the unpredictable. It teaches us to expect the unexpected. While most traditional science deals with supposedly predictable phenomena like gravity, electricity, or chemical reactions, Chaos Theory deals with nonlinear things that are effectively impossible to predict or control, like turbulence, weather, the stock market, our brain states, and so on. These phenomena are often described by fractal mathematics, which captures the infinite complexity of nature.” (fractalfoundation.org) read more

Share with:Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

In Search of Heroes

My wife thinks I write too much about the past. She’s concerned that it dates me and worries that readers will think I’m old and out of touch. I agree with her that it’s important to live in the present, messy as that present is, but the past gives us context and offers us lessons for the present.

In times of stress I often find solace in books, and last week’s news cycle drove me into a new translation of The Odyssey. I’ve tried it before; in 1996 I listened to Robert Fagels’ version on tape but couldn’t finish it. The new translation by Emily Wilson is a fluid retelling of the saga that breathes a contemporary feel into the ancient story without damaging its classical roots. It’s full of brave warriors, damsels in distress, dangerous ogres, duplicitous enemies, faithless gods, raging storms and at its center an action hero working his way home from the Trojan War. I was immediately sucked in. read more

Share with:Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

Running Rapids and Reading Obits…

I feel blessed with friends who are smart, up to date, and engaged in the world, but I’m bothered by a recent phenomenon. Increasingly, M and I find our conversations with friends begin with an organ recital – what hurts, new ailments, what needs to be replaced, good home remedies, doctors’ appointments, and physical therapy magicians – before we move on to the nation’s health.

We also talk about scanning newspaper obituaries for friends and the names of notable people we admire. This wasn’t the new normal until about a year ago. Now it is. Last Sunday, for the second week in a row, the long form obituaries in the New York Times’ were all of people in our decade of life. I immediately went to the Social Security Administration’s life expectancy calculator to see how long I have. read more

Share with:Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

A Friendship in Black and White

In 1964, Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and Congress passed the Civil Rights Act. A year later the Voting Rights Act and Great Society legislation followed. Schools in the South were being integrated. It was the Summer of Love in San Francisco. It was the year I graduated from law school at UC Berkeley. I truly believed we were entering the post-racial era.

Flash back 20 years to 1945; I was an eight year old 3rd grader at Isaac I. Stevens Elementary. America was fighting WWII on two fronts. Gas and sugar were rationed and Ted Williams was flying Marine F4U’s in the Pacific theater. read more

Share with:Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone