The True Names of Things

This winter I got lost in a fantasy world through the writings of Ursula K. Le Guin. That woman knew magic. Not the Harry Potter type of magic — all that shouting and running about — but earth magic.

It’s a simple theory, explained in the first book of the Earthsea series, which she penned in 1968: In the true names of things is where power of magic can be found.



You hear the creak of the metal gate behind you, the echoing clang as it closes, but you don’t look back. The Things have caught up to us, left us drawing erratic breath under a stormy sky, standing at the edge of somewhere we don’t quite recognize.

The dunes. The distinctive smell hits us first, its sharpness invoking the spiky dune grass. We walk between clumps, each point penetrating our jeans, the skin on the back of our hands, demanding attention.

Plastic Woes and Bag Lady Foes

1) During the 2011 International Coastal Cleanup, volunteers collected 120,450 pounds of plastic bags off of beaches in the United States. 

I just need some lentils. Well, and also some oats. I peer around the slow-moving bodies, hopeful for a stack of paper bags tucked between the rice and granola bins. A skinny kid in an apron is checking the steel jugs of vinegar, oil and syrup.

Pictures of Rocks and Sand

Geomorphology (from Ancient Greek: geo, “earth”; morphe, “form”; and logos, “study”): The study of the origin and evolution of Earth’s landscapes.
Geomorphophilia: The feeling of being in love with the way the landscape changes.

I walk cautiously down the narrow forest trail, avoiding little orange-bellied salamanders. (Are they star-gazers slow to seek their daytime hideouts, or just pine-needle loving amphibians out for a morning stroll?) I don’t stop to wonder…

Tuula's tiny house.

Ten Things Learned From Moving Out of a Tiny House and Into a Big House

As some of you may know, I spent the last four years living in a homemade tiny house. This winter I made a Big House transition. Here are some reflections on what’s changed.

1. You can have multiple towels going at once.
2. You might miss the company when you’re pooping after all.
3. Scissors go missing for days. Days! When they wander back, you may find yourself breathlessly excited, and also intrigued: What are the journeys of scissors?

© Tuula Rebhahn 2016

Jesus, Buddha, Trees: A Toast

The Tunnel*
Directly below us, there’s a tunnel full of alphabets and symbols. It starts right under the house and runs into the neighbor’s property, only of course they can’t see it, being underground. Only we in the house know about it; we have to be careful what we bring out.

We go down at night, bring our headlamps and cheese sandwiches in case we get stuck. The tunnel holds glittery promise: barrels of poetry, buckets of thought. We keep going. There must be something more, a new way of spelling the word love…

Copyright Miles Frode, 2018

Words in an Envelope

I have a long-distance relationship with an artist.

He sends me postcards painted on, collaged, bits of thread hanging off, sometimes some words etched in.

I return amateur drawings, bits of found art, and — most recently — words.

I don’t know why I sent a list of words. At the moment it was all the creativity I could summon. Whatever was running through me did not want to make sense. The words hung in the air and did not piece themselves together. So I shoved them in the envelope with Miles’ address on it…