Some twist of conversation the other day brought up the subject of very ancient trees whose products are still being harvested: The world’s oldest cork tree The Thousand Year Old Rosebush The World’s Oldest Apple Tree (browse the photo galleries) The Olive Tree of Vouves (there are several other very old olive trees listed here, […]


Adventures in shopping for fruit: Best done at dawn, at the CADEG (a sort of wholesale market). Fruit picking techniques: Melons, knocking. Pineapples, sniffing. Oranges, squeezing. Mangos, looking. Best smells: mangos! What a perfume! It filled the car on the way back. Oddball specialties: just beer and salt cod; just pumpkins; just watermelons Fun details: […]

Shattered glass

A friend was mentioning some teachings that stood out in his mind over the years, that I likewise found touching: God takes the shattered pieces of our lives and makes a beautiful stained glass window out of them. God is love. But sometimes we think of the love part in human terms, and try to […]

Boring sports

If you work out at the gym or walk the dog for exercise, and feel the need for some adrenaline, enjoy this ridiculous sport in which energetic young men race down mountains on mountain bikes, starting at the very top, on the glaciers, and ending at the very bottom, in some little village. It takes […]

Thinking long term

I can’t recall any instance in my secular life where someone, faced with dealing with a perpetually annoying person, shrugged and said “Look, in 20 years he’ll be gone, let him do his thing, treat him kindly, and later someone else can do a better job of it. Patience!” Being accustomed to working in NYC […]


A friend and I had a laugh last night, watching some video interviews with an interesting old man, and ruing the presence of the video-maker/interviewer, whose interruptions, asides, interpretations and questions only distracted from the engaging presence of the old man. Then I could only think of more examples: most vividly recalling going to a […]

Am I right?

Everyone seems to think they are right. And I do, too. Weird, right? This is why people have arguments over Thanksgiving dinner. I keep noticing, however, how much of what we say has no basis in fact. I wonder sometimes if it counts as lying. It’s not ill-intentioned, but it’s garbage. I suppose there’s some […]

Nuns behaving badly

A theme that recurs in some stories of saints is how their peers resented them for their piety, or for their efforts to reform the convent when they were in a position of leadership. I’ve run across another example today, from the story of Our Lady of Good Success, in Quito, Ecuador. One of the […]


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