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Rare Butterflies and Unsung Pollinators: Gorgeous 18th-Century Drawings by the First Artist and Naturalist to Depict the Wing-borne Beauty of the New World

The world’s first pictorial glimpse of the strange and wondrous creatures that give our planet its scent and color. A century after the self-taught German naturalist and artist Maria Merian laid the foundation of entomology with her art, and a century before the Australian teenage sisters Harriet and Helena Scott fomented one of the greatest triumphs...

Tangerine Meditation: Thich Nhat Hanh’s Simple, Profound Mindfulness Practice to Magnify Your Capacity for Joy

How to see the universe in a small orange orb. My poet friend Marie Howe gives the students in her ecopoetry class a lovely assignment: At the outset of the semester, each young poet is asked to name the animal they find most repulsive, then to learn everything they can about it — scientifically, historically, culturally. By the conclusion of the...

Growing Through Grief: Derek Jarman on Gardening as Creative Redemption, Consecration of Time, and Training Ground for Presence

“The gardener digs in another time, without past or future, beginning or end… Here is the Amen beyond the prayer.” “In forty years of medical practice,” the great neurologist Oliver Sacks wrote, “I have found only two types of non-pharmaceutical ‘therapy’ to be vitally important for patients…: music and gardens.” Virginia Woolf, savaged by depression...

Maria Mitchell’s Telescope and the Kickstarting of Popular Astronomy: The Heartening Story of the World’s First Crowdfunding Campaign for Science

“Patient thought, patient labor, and firmness of purpose are almost omnipotent.” To be human is to live suspended between the scale of snails and the scale of stars, confined by our creaturely limitations but not doomed by them — we have, after all, transcended them to compose the Benedictus and eradicate smallpox and land a mechanical prosthesis...

Naomi Shihab Nye’s Beloved Ode to Kindness, Animated

“Before you know what kindness really is you must lose things, feel the future dissolve in a moment like salt in a weakened broth.” “Nothing can make our life, or the lives of other people, more beautiful than perpetual kindness,” Leo Tolstoy — a man of colossal compassion and colossal blind spots — wrote while reckoning with his life as it neared...

Gertrude Stein on Writing and Belonging

“Everybody who writes is interested in living inside themselves to tell what is inside themselves.” “You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all,” Maya Angelou told Bill Moyers in their fantastic forgotten conversation about freedom. Beneath the surface of this paradoxical sentiment is a kind...

Seeking an Aurora: A Wondrous Illustrated Celebration of Earth’s Most Otherworldly Spectacle of Light and Color

Transcendence and tenderness in the lacuna of awe between the creaturely and the cosmic. In 1621, already questioning his life in the priesthood — the era’s safest and most reputable career for the educated — the 29-year-old Pierre Gassendi, a mathematical prodigy since childhood, traveled to the Arctic circle as he began diverting his passionate...

Secrets from the Center of the World: Poet Joy Harjo’s Reflections on Science and Meaning in Response to an Astronomer’s Otherworldly Photographs of Earth

“I can hear the sizzle of newborn stars, and know anything of meaning, of the fierce magic emerging here. I am witness to flexible eternity, the evolving past, and I know we will live forever, as dust or breath in the face of stars, in the shifting pattern of winds.” “Place and a mind may interpenetrate till the nature of both is altered,” the trailblazing...

Our Greatest Misunderstanding About Love: Philosopher-Psychiatrist Esther Perel on Modern Loneliness as Ambiguous Loss and the Essential Elements of Healthy Relationships

On the lifelong art of feeling worthy of wanting and worthy of receiving. In his revelatory 1956 classic The Art of Loving, the humanistic philosopher and psychologist Erich Fromm (March 23, 1900–March 18, 1980) dared defy millennia of cultural distortion, setting out to heal our most damaging inheritance from the Romantics and to correct Freud’s...

Of Trees, Tenderness, and the Moon: Hasui Kawase’s Stunning Japanese Woodblock Prints from the 1920s-1950s

Sylvan sublimity between the heavens and the deep blue sea. “After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, love, and so on — have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear — what remains?” the aging Walt Whitman asked in his diary as he contemplated what makes life worth living while recovering from...

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