This is what I need. This is what I can carry. This is what I want. These are the existential considerations of the backpacker for whom everything is about weight. You inventory it as you hike: the water sloshing around in your water bottle, the bottle itself, maps, trail mix, cheese sticks, energy bars, dehydrated … Continue reading Weight: An Outdoor Adventurer’s Guide to Parenthood
On Father’s Day, I took my older boy down to where Minnehaha Creek flows into the Mississippi River. We parked our bikes by some bushes where the path eroded away into sand. My son wanted to look for lost fishing lures to place in the little tacklebox I had given him. He carried it everywhere, … Continue reading Lost and Found
As a boy driving through the South Dakota countryside with my father, I used to see these signs in the ditch with a red X and the word THINK followed by an exclamation mark. The signs indicated that at some moment in the past someone had died in an automobile accident at that spot. Sometimes … Continue reading THINK!
A map is formed with memory. The places you’ve gone and the things you’ve done. Say a mental image of you fishing with your father when you pass a spot on a lake. Or you might think of your daughter when she was small as you drive by a deserted playground where you, long … Continue reading A Map of Memory
One morning I ran through the tunnel at the north end of Lake Calhoun. A crowd had gathered around the Isles lagoon. I could see the flashing lights of a police boat by the trees on the opposite shore. I asked a man beside me what was going on. He told me a girl had … Continue reading The Body
The favorite room in my house is my garden. I like to drink coffee on the deck and look down on it in the mornings, listening to the birds sing as they peck and flutter about. It radiates a certain energy after an overnight shower when I can smell the wet dirt and see the … Continue reading A Patch of Dirt
The family cat was gray with white paws and belly. We named it Murphy. He wore an arrogant cat-smirk of contentment and he would purr when I rubbed behind his ears. I went with my father to a farmhouse in the country that had listed an advertisement for kittens in the newspaper. My father chose … Continue reading Cat Trouble
The corpse woman's eyes were gaping black sockets. She was propped on a wooden chair with her slack arms and fingers stretching toward the floor. Her abdomen was charred and gutted like a bomb had exploded inside of her. My father had clipped the photograph from the front page of one of his leftist newspapers … Continue reading Living with Fidel