Jul 052016

The gods listen to your heart, not your tongue.

The Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel

Of the many places I have visited, Egypt is among the most complex and sometimes overwhelming. It is unrivaled both in the astounding scope of its history and the sheer volume of its archaeological treasures. During my journey there in December, 2015, our guide was magnificent at teaching us about a culture and history that extends back to 10,000 B.C. and beyond. Indeed, he told us, fully 20 percent of the monuments in the world are there in Egypt…and we saw many of them during our ten days with him. Continue reading »

Dec 282015

Five a.m. in Chicago, Saturday, December 19. It’s two p.m. in Cairo, and Luxor, and Aswan, and lunch is already finished. This morning is the one when I know I have finally returned across the time zones, when I awaken feeling refreshed and present, after three nights of trending this way. And already, Egypt feels like a dream to me. It was a more amazing journey than I ever thought it would be.

IMG_20151215_094229752 Continue reading »

Oct 282015

A 60 year old bull elephant lies dead in Zimbabwe this fall, one of the largest ever seen, with tusks that reached the ground. He was the “prize” of a German hunter who paid his guides about US$60,000 for what was deemed a legal hunt. That’s about one thousand dollars per year of that magnificent creature’s life. I hope that hunter knows that for every glimmer of conquest he feels, darts of disbelief at his actions throb for millions like me at his dumbfounding thickheadedness.

The hunt (such as it was, in a special game preserve) may have been legal, perhaps, but I shake my head at any pretense that what he did was right. I ache for the elephant slaughter that continues in Africa and Asia, and mourn the loss of this majestic, smart, social creature and the hundreds of thousands of smaller but no less necessary ancient creatures, such as rhinoceros and lions, who continue to be poached, and poisoned wholesale at their water holes, and gunned down. The word relentless is not too strong. The word extinct is a shivery potential whose proportions are menacing. Continue reading »

Aug 252015

How can anyone not love a place surrounded by place names like Vilcabama and Urubamba and Salkantay. Indeed, the name “Machu Picchu” itself rolls off the tongue in such tantalizing fashion that it’s easy to like even before you know how amazing it is. It’s the “lost city of the Incas” which, as with the city of Sleeping Beauty, was covered by dense vegetation for centuries before being rediscovered.

In the case of Machu Picchu, rediscovery had to wait from around 1530 until July 24, 1911, when American archeologist Hiram Bingham was snooping around those dense, green mountains looking for something else. (Technically, he didn’t “discover” it—the locals knew something was there and, indeed, farmed some of Machu Picchu’s terraces. But Bingham, through an April, 1913 article in National Geographic, brought the site to the world stage, making it now the most-visited tourist destination in South America.) Continue reading »

Jul 012015

“Every now and then, bite off more than you can chew,” says the quote on the paper end of my Sweet&Spicy teabag from Good Earth this morning. No problem. I do this all the time.

07-01-15 498

The first realization that maybe I was trying to do too much came in seventh grade, when the only time left in the day to practice piano was 5:30 a.m. I played quietly, and pondered the thought that this was probably not normal, but that’s about as far as that idea went. All my life, I have delved into a wide array of opportunities because, dang it, I don’t want to miss anything. Sports, adventure, games, reading, thoughtful conversation, joining rescue and other assistance groups, serving on various boards of directors, raising a child, training dogs and horses, lately, firefighting. Why not? Everything is fodder for a broader life, a chance to learn new skills, try new things, push forward into the unknown.

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