Rethinking Scarcity: A Journey Through New Mexico’s Gypsum Dunes

When the alarm sounds at 6 am, the tent walls are already glowing and the morning air is balmy. Propping myself on one bare arm, I watch Mike’s sleeping face next to me and realize how badly I need a renewal of spirit. Mike’s and my relationship has been tinged with angst lately, not because of a relational mismatch, but because I, at least, am caught in fear that there will never be enough abundance, joy, or connection to stretch across the negatives of life. I’ve come here, to camp in southern New Mexico, because I need perspective, a reminder that spaciousness of

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Don’t Wake the Monsters!

That Christmas Eve, we made Korean picnic rolls: thin, dry rice tortillas dipped in warm water to soften, filled and rolled up with bean threads, scrambled egg, cucumber, chicken and cilantro, some spicy radish; everything sliced into elegant long matchsticks. We all put our hands into it, this new tradition for a holiday celebration in a new place. Our housemate, Mun-Hee, was born in Korea and shared stories of how her mother would make this lunchbox meal for school field trips; it was a special treat. We were heading to Cochise Stronghold in the morning to open stockings

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What’s in a Face or The Eyes Have It

It wasn’t so long ago that former U.K. foreign minister Jack Straw asked that devout Muslim women remove their face veils, or niqabs, whenever they appeared at his office for a semi-private meeting (a woman would be present). This was the start of the face-veil firestorm that would spread through much of western Europe. Future prime minister Boris Johnson chimed in, indelicately stating that niqab-wearing women “look like letter boxes.” Former prime minister Tony Blair drew his own line in the sand, stating that face veils were “a mark of separation.”

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Tribal Radio

KMHA went dead today. The “voice of the people” silenced in the middle of some sad country song. Life moves along the prairie edges – some don’t make the wide turns, hug too close to the ground, their bodies pulled out from the ditch. Inside a weather-worn trailer a newborn kicks its way into the world as a bottle rolls to the floor and out the door to reappear under melted snow in a spring thaw. Underneath the frozen ground

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Love Refugees

The two men could not have been more different. One kept a picture of Jesus over his bed, the other a framed photograph of a naked woman in his living room. Both lived in cheap quarters along South Tacoma Way, in the years C-130s routinely flew low on their approach to the McCord Air Base. Vietnam was winding down. Noise from the planes rattled windows and caused conversations at the law school, where they were both

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And Cassie Is Dancing

It’s 2012 and Cassie is dancing. It’s a Friday in spring at a place off South Street at a weekly party known as “alien sex club,” and Cassie is dancing. She is painted in pastels and primary colors from tattoos that swim like a school of carp over her body, and her hair is long and green. It swims, or swishes, or spins: whatever movement freshwater fish make is what the tail of her hair did and does. And it is a

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Simon has avoided me since I arrived a day and a half ago but tonight he leans across the table towards me, his green eyes intent, abandons his meal after a couple of bites and pelts me with questions while I try to eat the dinner Sarah has made us.

‘Did you see much of your aunt and uncle when you lived in Scotland? Where did they live? When did you first meet them? How did they meet each other?’ Each question comes

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On Hands: A Meditation

A gorilla’s hand looks almost identical to a human’s. Palm smooth while the back can be hairy. With meaty fingers and strong, opposable thumbs. A gorilla’s hand holds branches and trunks as they scale trees in search of food. Wide enough to cradle a coconut or jack fruit or a baby’s head. Gentle enough to peel and proffer bananas to a sibling, to groom and pick lice from a lover’s fur.

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On Mourning Properly or the Rules for Grieving and Dealing with Others Grieving at Funerals

The theme of MOST funerals is something like sadness, or missing Nana, or general mourning. The color scheme is black, and the food selection is bland (because now that the dead can’t taste, why should you enjoy your chicken piccata). Going in cocky and all-knowing can get you into trouble. Knowing the religion of the dead is a good lead, but that only lets you know the flavor of mourning to expect.

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