Snowy road lined with snow-covered pine trees

— By Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — It was so beautiful. I was driving a friend over a wintry mountain pass to make a doctor’s appointment. We started out in a snowstorm predicted to become worse, but he wanted to make the long-awaited appointment. The pass was icy, windy, and given to areas of blowing snow that made visibility difficult, but that is not what bothered me. What bothered me was that we might be late. I tensed, trying to drive as fast as possible given conditions that varied from curve to curve, switching from areas protected by trees to others where the wind blew freely in great gusts, driving blinding snow across the road. Then, somehow, my brain switched---perhaps as we...

The Austrian Tea Pot

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — I took a handful of tea leaves and put them in my little Austrian teapot. Then I suddenly remember that I found the tea strainer yesterday. It had rolled away under the armoire. I had looked everywhere for it, given up, and just put the tea leaves directly in the pot, the old-fashioned way. It was fine except if you leave tea leaves in too long, the tea gets bitter. Still, it worked. One day while looking for something else on my hands and knees, there it was! But I had been so long without it that I forgot the next morning and put the tea leaves directly in the pot again. Then I remembered. I put my hand in the small opening and carefully took out the tea...

-- by Jeffrey Callen, Ph.D. -- “… widening the circle of conversation to include the voices of all living beings” is a core component of Earthfire’s work. It shifts the essential paradigm of the environmental movement from a paternalistic caring for nature to a search to identify shared interests of all parties. The tricky part is determining who speaks for the non-human participants at the table and how to determine their desires and intents. A beautifully-written piece by Los Angeles Times staff writer Thomas Curwen (“In the footsteps of an urban mountain lion” – 2/11/2017) highlights some of the conundrums that arise when urban areas become home to potentially disruptive...

-- by Jeffrey Callen -- The sound of rustling papers caught my attention early in the evening, shortly after nightfall. The sound was coming from the back room, a storage space where we also keep the food and food bowls for our cat and dog. When I got to the kitchen I found our cat Roxie lying crossway in the doorway, blocking entry into the back room. Her posture was relaxed but her head was up intently watching a raccoon eat the kibble in her bowl. Her body language was clear: you can have anything in this room but you can’t come any further into the house. When my image appeared behind Roxie, the raccoon—an adolescent male (his hind quarters out of proportion to his front...

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