Why We Love a Good Apocalypse

The other day, my wife and I were hiking through Point Defiance when our conversation turned to the end of the world. If there was a major natural or man-made disaster, how would we survive? Would we be able to hunt the deer in the park? Or should we aim to steal a boat fromContinue reading “Why We Love a Good Apocalypse”

Wrong Neighborhood

He pedaled down the alley. Alone. In the dark of night. A bag of groceries hung from one handlebar. Mostly crackers, jerky, eggs, a bottle of cheap bourbon. Music pumped through his headphones like water to a boiler. The sky above was a wash of pink-tinged clouds laden with snow. A few icy flakes drifted downContinue reading “Wrong Neighborhood”

Sleeping Giant

Today, the ridge overlooking the snow-covered northern face of Mount St. Helens is dotted with small brush, lichen and wild grass. Chipmunks dart between the rocks. Tourists take photos to post later on their Facebook profiles. But 34 years ago, the place where I stand was buried by a boiling mudslide, smothered by pumice andContinue reading “Sleeping Giant”

Looking at Pictures of Strangers

I don’t know the people in these photos. I don’t know their story, where they live, what their names are, what makes them happy or sad. All I know for sure is that someone left this stack of photos perched on top of the crosswalk button near the train station. Passing by them every day forContinue reading “Looking at Pictures of Strangers”

Ripped from the Headlines

A man was hit by a train in my town today. No one knows why he walked in front of the oncoming fright train as it barreled through Flagstaff early this afternoon. We’ll probably never know for sure whether he thought he could outrun it or if he intended to die there on the tracks.Continue reading “Ripped from the Headlines”

Death of a Goldfish

My grandfather’s passing didn’t feel real. My memories of him are vague. I remember him watching TV while sitting on the overstuffed recliner in my parents’ house, remember him shuffling around his little house in Havertown, Pennsylvania on a muggy summer’s day wearing large, dark glasses for his cataracts. I don’t remember going to theContinue reading “Death of a Goldfish”

Immortality and the Written Word

In Guatemala City, there is a large cemetery, which covers several acres. It is perched at the edge of one of the city’s many deep ravines, above the slums and the garbage dump. Ravens circle overhead; families bring flowers; stray dogs stand guard over the broken windows of dusty mausoleums. Walking between the high wallsContinue reading “Immortality and the Written Word”