The Cheapskate Intellectual

A journey through matters of spirit, sustainability, and self-reliance

Yo, Thoreau.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived [….] Our life is frittered away by detail […] Simplify, simplify.”  […]

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Dandelion wars.

It’s that time again: the latest round of the anti-weed, lawn-spraying wars.  In our town, this plays out not only in individual lawns but on the campus of our college, which routinely comes under fire from lots in the community and some on the faculty for its annual spraying (usually around Memorial Day.)  I am […]

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The triggering town: some thoughts on pedagogy, warnings, and experience.

Sitting in my backyard on the first warm day of the year, I’m reading my first-year college students’ last papers: personal reflections on Plato’s “The Allegory of the Cave” and its application to education as they want to continue to experience it. Emphasis on experience. One after another, they return to Plato’s central image: a […]

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Dreams of sun.

There’s a particular kind of sleep that waits for you when you’ve been outside working all day, especially in a garden: a kind of heavy, instant falling-off that nevertheless feels light, as if your sleep-sodden body might lift and rise at any moment and crack and sprout into something you’ve never known till then you […]

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New life, in waiting.

For the last few weeks of what’s been a brutally long winter, this was what I saw when I opened my bottom cabinet: thronging vines springing toward the light they’d been seeking in the dark, on their own, whether I was there to open the door or not.  These are last year’s potatoes, harvested but […]

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The twentysomething brain (and beyond.)

(from my manuscript-in-progress) Significantly, Buddhists call looking at an object or emotion steadily for some time and processing the emotions that arise “sustaining the gaze.”  The ability to “sustain the gaze” without distraction from within or without is the ability to rest in the relative stability of a mature understanding of reality, to pay attention […]

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