Japan’s Fukushima Disaster and Its Impact on Fish in the Pacific Northwest

A fishing boat in my home port of Auke Bay, Alaska. By Gillfoto, via Wikimedia Commons.

If you have environmentalists as Facebook friends, you may have seen an image and headline making the rounds suggesting that leaking waters from the Fukushima nuclear reactor in Japan is poisoning the waters of the Pacific Ocean. As a passionate lover of wild Alaskan salmon, that had me worried. I've had moments of mild panic thinking that the bounty of the seas may be gone forever.Salmon are the major fruit of harvest season for me. I was raised subsistence fishing in the waters of … [Read more...]

The Weight Of A University

Kelvin Grove Art Gallery and Museum from University of Glasgow

Last week I found myself on the Glasgow University campus and was struck by the feel of it. The area taken up by University buildings, old and new, is quite large, and the whole of it has a certain weight to it. There's a sense of something deep there.Some of the University buildings are very old. The architecture looms large. Certainly that's part of the weight, but not all of it.There is something else. I want to say that it's a scent, but that's not quite right. A presence is more … [Read more...]

Night Sounds: An Sionnach In East Cork

Monday night, shortly after midnight, I was pulled from my bed by the strangest sound. I had been reading when I heard it, and at first I thought it was a cow, or maybe the sheep dog down the lane. But when it came again I didn’t recognize it, so I crawled over to the window-seat and leaned out of the upstairs window, hoping to hear more clearly. The valley below was shrouded in a thin mist, which was illumined under a cloudy sky. It was deathly still, with not a whisper of wind. Then the call c … [Read more...]

London Calling: connecting with big cities

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Last week I was in London.  It was my first real visit to the city (layovers at the airport don’t count), and I was like the proverbial kid in a candy shop.  I wanted to see ALL the things, have ALL the experiences, and, probably somewhere deep in my heart, I wanted London to rub off on me.  So many British cultural icons emerged from London that the city itself has become iconic.  It represents an idea of ‘coolness’, a playground for ‘cutting-edge’ artists and cultural creatives at the fore of s … [Read more...]

A Forest Walk

The remains of an old building in Dalkeith Country Park

Last week I took a short, unplanned holiday to Edinburgh. I spent Wednesday in the Old City right next to Waverley Station where my train from Glasgow arrived. I enjoyed a museum visit, an art gallery, and some leisurely book store browsing. In the evening I headed to Dalkeith where I stayed Wednesday and Thursday nights, allowing me to spend Thursday and Friday hiking through the village of Dalkeith and through the forest in Dalkeith Country Park.The three days of walking around with a … [Read more...]

People and Place

This way to the Iron Age earth works

Today I have no answers or great stories to tell, just a rambling discursive meditation on the relationship between people and place. Do people make a place the way it is or does a place shape the people who live there?Chicken. Egg. There's really no answer to this question. But when you think of the personality of a place, it has a lot to do with the culture and personality of the people who live there.But the personality of a place shifts over time, in part because of migrations of … [Read more...]

Syncretism: An Immigrant’s Path

Diversity Quilt, Image by Oregon Department of Transportation, click to see on Flickr.

Finding the spirit and flow of the place where I am is an important part of my spiritual practice, but not every practice I hold is specific to place. Just as I eat foreign foods and local dishes, and just as I say uniquely Scottish words with an obvious California accent, my practice is blend of here and there. My practice has always been a bit of a blend of things, certainly in my adult life, but even in my childhood I had an internal religion that did not map exactly to the conservative … [Read more...]


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