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The Pricey New World of Meditation Studios

The Pricey New World of Meditation Studios

In Unplug, an upscale meditation studio in Los Angeles, you have to walk through the gift shop in order to get to the meditation hall. This was my first clue that things were different. Over the past few years, I have done a fair bit of meditation and am profoundly grateful for the opportunity. I also have had the good fortune to learn to practice in a non-profit setting that never turns away anyone for lack of funds. But early this summer, an editor at…
Where the Wild Things Were

Where the Wild Things Were

Denali National Park conjures images of the eponymous peak, muscular rivers, expanses of tundra, grizzly bears, wolves, caribou...and dinosaurs? Just 12 years ago, a precocious undergraduate on a field trip discovered the first known dinosaur track in Denali. Since then, researchers have identified hundreds of trackway sites with incredible details, including little holes drilled by prehistoric birds looking for seeds and markings from 70-million-year-old raindrops. Plant fossils are so well preserved that they even exhibit damage from tiny insects. But for a long time, one thing eluded paleontologists: bones. It was the…
The Very Long Way Home

The Very Long Way Home

Glacier Bay National Park, in Alaska, was founded with good intentions in mind: to protect a wild land still recovering from the recession of a massive, steamrolling glacier and all the whales, otters, fish, bears and wolves that haunt the fjords and mountains. But when the monument was established in 1925, the local people, the Huna Tlingit, who had lived there since time immemorial, were not consulted. This, in fact, was not uncommon among national parks and monuments that laid claim to native lands. Thus began…
The Necessity of Desert Wanderings

The Necessity of Desert Wanderings

This past weekend, the forecast called for snow and unseasonably low temperatures. All of Durango seemed to be eyeing the mountains for one last ski expedition. Meanwhile, I was going to the desert. Admittedly the idea gave me pause, particularly the prospect of flash floods. Despite the skies rumbling with clouds and the snow-covered grass, we departed. How bad could it be? I love these fly-by-the-seat weekends. We wound up camping at Hite under mottled skies and waking up to high clouds and perfectly cool weather.…
Finding Perspective in an Old Dance Hall

Finding Perspective in an Old Dance Hall

Just a few days after an election that deeply affected me, I set off into the heart of Trump country: rural Texas. Admittedly, I was a bit wary. I recognize and honor the diverse political viewpoints of our country, but this election felt like a personal attack to me. And yet, here I was on a plane to Austin... The assignment was not political in nature whatsoever. It was a feel-good story about a diverse group of music and dance aficionados who are fighting to stabilize and protect rural Texas'…