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The Waiting Game

Voters in Arlington, waiting to absentee vote before the 2012 Presidential Election. Photo by Aaron Webb/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 One of my fears, when I moved back home from DC to my minuscule hometown in a sparsely populated region of California, was that I’d lose what I consider an important modern survival skill: the ability to wait in line...

A (Mostly) Indoor Sunday

As it turns out, Millie Ramsayer, who lives down the hall and is the Best Girl, got me outside for a game of fetch Sunday evening, right when the snow was turning to something worse. In Washington, D.C., in winter, a lot of horrible things fall out of the sky. We sometimes get a good honest snowfall. But usually it’s something worse – some godforsaken...

Courage and Kazoos

Kazoo, Wikipedia This post first ran in October 2019. Here’s hoping for the glorious return of school talent shows in 2021-22. About a year ago, I attended a high school talent show. It was over two hours long. The multipurpose room smelled of old pizza and pubescent sweat. The folding metal chairs made me squirm uncomfortably in my...

Some crowd-sourced reflections on E.O. Wilson and Tom Lovejoy

Just before the turn of the new year, E.O. Wilson and Tom Lovejoy, two of the world’s most celebrated biologists, passed away within a day of each other. That they left the world together felt fitting, given the extraordinary interplay between their work. It was Wilson, after all, who, in a series of mad, ingenious experiments on Floridian islets, proved...

Guest Post: My Other Pandemic

I could tell you the fentanyl statistics – that in one year 100,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, 28% more than the year before, and that 80% of those deaths were linked to fentanyl, a synthetic opioid – but I would rather tell you what I have learned from my teenage son. He is currently in recovery from fentanyl addiction. Since early childhood,...

2022: Resolutions & Aspirations

Cameron: In 2022 I really want to learn how to do a loud whistle. Happy to take Zoom lessons from any Person of LWON, because then I will only be spitting at my laptop and not in your face. Husband told me I should maybe choose a more pandemic-appropriate skill. Christie: Cameron, when I was a kid I spent a long period (it felt like a year,...

2021: Bragging

2021 was 2021, but we found things even in 2021 life to be proud of. Being pragmatic, we aim low. Ben: – sort of taught my thirty-pounder terrier/pug mix (who is also Jane’s dog’s doppeldogger) to skijor – with a group of fellow Olds, destroyed a group of local teenagers in a game of pickup basketball – plowed my car into a snowbank while watching...

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

I received the unusual gift this season of a stuffed mountain lion. On any other day I’d politely turn it down, but it was a thing to contend with and now it is perched in the den, a Christmas gift with its clawed catcher’s mitt of a right forepaw extended for a swipe. The pose is not serene, nose curled in offense, mouth displayed half-hissing. Putting...

First Do No Harm

One of the first things I did when my family moved to our house a few years ago was buy a decent bird feeder. I filled it with seed and hung it from an eave on the porch, and less than a minute later a couple of black-capped chickadees flitted over to investigate. Before long song sparrows joined them, and then dark-eyed juncos, house finches, spotted...

Snapshot: Streamside Snake

One of the great pleasures of the pandemic era has been going on hikes with my dad. We live in the Washington, D.C. area. When you think of this area, you may not think of hiking. But my parents live quite close to an undeveloped ravine with beautiful tall trees, kingfishers, and the occasional Common Watersnake. (I think. Someone who knows your herps,...

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