CULTURE

Finding Beauty Close to Home

The key was to forget what I was looking at and focus on what I was seeing; not a “rose,” but a particular arrangement of shapes and colors. I moved in close and approached the plants from unexpected angles, and I stepped back, to capture the larger landscape in which the plants were flourishing. I tried to go beyond photography to achieve something more akin to painting.

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The Piano is His Living Room

One of the most wonderful releases for New Yorkers emerging from shelter-in-place has been the joy of entering pianist Collin Huggins’s “living room” in Washington Square Park. Each morning, the slender Huggins wrestles his 900-pound piano from its storeroom at the Judson Memorial Church at the north end of the park, places it on a dolly and moves it onto center stage.

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The Philosophy of Sailing

“The sea is in all things the teacher of men….Time on the water is quite different from time on land. It is more continuous; it is more part of the breathing of the world; less mechanical and divided for it is in the hours when he is alone at the helm, steering his boat along the shores, that a man broods most upon the past, and most deeply considers the nature of things.”

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From Conversation to Conservation

The creek behind our place had turtles along with frogs, crayfish and a few catfish, and on our family vacations to Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes, I encountered snapping turtles, musk turtles and painted turtles all with personalities of their own.

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Animal Grace

“There is another crime that humanity is committing against itself, the breaking of the Animal Contract. This is the contract that exists between ourselves and the other animals, making us partners in sharing the planet…” –Desmond Morris

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The Pandemic Philosopher

Rodin’s Thinker wasn’t navel-gazing in some idyllic Eden. He was originally stationed at The Gates of Hell and pondering death on a vast scale. Nothing focusses the mind like facing our own mortality. And there’s good reason for enduring this discomfort. As Plato said, philosophy is the practice of studying death in order to fashion richer, fuller lives.

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It’s Time to Reinvent the Human

In the 1988 environmental classic, Dream of the Earth, Thomas Berry warned that Western civilization was on the verge of collapse. To protect our planetary home, he said, we would have to reinvent the human, reorganizing all of our professions so they support the web of life.

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An Artist Responds to COVID-19

Art has the power to move us from reactivity and despair to a place of calmness and resilience. That’s why we need it more than ever now. A few weeks ago Denver photographer Lauri Rose Dunn started creating a series of mandalas—one for every day of the coronavirus epidemic.

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