Mapping Landscapes Within and Without

Saturday, January 14, 2017 - 5:30 am

Mapping Landscapes Within and Without

Winter’s starkness and its unencumbered beauty go beyond the external. The season’s surroundings provide a vista, allowing us to map the contours of our own interior geographies, the inner landscapes of beauty and imperfection within each one of us. This week’s offerings come back to these ideas of place and space time and again. May they be of assistance as you move forward into 2017…

A view of the Fleetwith Pike. (Paul Albertella / Flickr / Some Rights Reserved)


To Make Landscape a Place, You Have to Feel It
Fiona Stafford

Words like “place” and “landscape” are no longer synonymous, Ms. Stafford makes clear in this essay. A thought-provoking study on our evolving notions of place from inside and out:

“Places can require absence, at least to be felt most deeply. So perspective matters when it comes to place.”

(Parker Knight / Flickr / Some Rights Reserved)

When Our Instincts Are Smarter Than Our Certainty
Courtney Martin

“I usually ask the right questions and, most often, am woefully wrong about where to find the answers.”

We often gravitate to obvious sources of instruction, but as Courtney reveals, life’s questions find their response in experiencing others in unexpected places. A perfect read to open this glorious new year of possibilities and imperfections.

(Nishanth Jois / Flickr / Some Rights Reserved)

A Glimpse in the Pinewoods of a World That Could Be
Parker Palmer

“This / is not a poem about a dream, / though it could be. / This is a poem about the world / that is ours, or could be.”

Parker invokes the poetic words of “Saint Mary Oliver” to remind him of a world that is yet possible.

(On Being / Flickr / Some Rights Reserved)

Beauty Is an Edge of Becoming
Krista Tippett

Nine years after his death, the Irish philosopher-poet John O’Donohue’s words and wisdom glow ever brighter. And when it comes to talking about deep beauty and transformation, very few people affect us quite like him:

“Beauty isn’t all about just niceness, loveliness. Beauty is about more rounded substantial becoming. And when we cross a new threshold worthily, what we do is we heal the patterns of repetition that were in us that had us caught somewhere.”

What Else We’re Reading

A Billion Dollar Gift for Twitter
from Medium

Anil Dash (who’s our guest in next week’s podcast!) is “trying to make tech a little bit more ethical and humane.” And Twitter is a realm that’s looking for help. One key suggestion: give users tools to combat abuse and “organized mobs of attackers.”

The South Face of the Mountain
from MIT Technology Review

So often we compartmentalize our sensibilities and quarantine them to neatly defined areas in our life. But what if we cultivated and melded those qualities more often? John Maeda is a savant who calls for healing this split within a discipline he loves: computer art.

From Our Tumblr

Music for the Moment: “Golden Days”

A new band out of Chicago was featured on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and I’m finding it a perfect backdrop for writing this week’s newsletter. Take a listen!

From the Archives

Trees in Olympic National Park (James Gaither / Flickr / Some Rights Reserved)

An Acoustic Ecologist Takes You on a Hike Through the Hoh Valley Rain Forest

Silence is an endangered species, says Gordon Hempton. Quiet is a “think tank of the soul.” He defines real quiet as presence — not an absence of sound, but an absence of noise. Take this four-minute walk with him to One Square Inch of Silence, a sacred place void of man-made sound in Olympic National Park outside of Seattle. It’s a soundscape meditation that will do you some good.

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May the wind always be at your back!

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is the cofounder of On Being and currently serves as publisher & editor-in-chief. He received a Peabody Award in 2007 for his work on “The Ecstatic Faith of Rumi” and garnered two Webby Awards (in 2005, and again in 2008). The Online News Association nominated his journalistic work multiple times in the general excellence and outstanding specialty journalism categories. Trent’s reported and produced stories from Turkey to rural Alabama, from Israel and the West Bank to Cambridge, England.

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