Dry Run

Just when I thought autumn had finally arrived with a two-day rainstorm, the winds changed and summer is back. It’s as dry as ever, and no end in sight. In keeping with this year’s extreme weather, I noticed something different on my running loop. Earlier this year, after a wet spring, a local meadow was…

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Dusk Reflection

​​​It’s been a long week of heat. A massive storm blew through, the crashing wave of a  weather front, flooding streets and downing branches in just a few minutes. It feels like the weather is echoing current events. Now, at least, a bit of evening quietude as the thunder moves on down the road, leaving…

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Abundance of Sun

June 21 marks the longest day of this year in the northern hemisphere, and thus, it’s officially summer. Happy Summer Solstice! At least here in south-eastern France, the dog days have already begun – hot and sunny and cloudless and dry. We’re in the midst of the year’s first proper heat wave, with the temperatures…

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Failed Elver Balance

As the season comes to an end for harvesting the young American eel known as elver, I thought I would revisit a topic I’ve often written about on ChampagneWhisky. The American eel was once a remarkably abundant marine animal along the eastern seaboard of the United States and Canada. Along with its close cousins, the…

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Waste Not

Many years ago, I was on vacation on a small Caribbean island. The hotel was new, and a man from one of the neighboring rooms found out just how new when he turned on the bathroom faucet, only to have the water run from the sink straight on to his feet. The drainpipe hadn’t been…

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Enduring Collection

The image below, of bottles and some kind of a collection, immediately made me think of marine life. Maybe it’s the small, irregular pieces carefully arrayed beneath each bottle. Maybe it’s the size of the bottles and their tidy alignment, paired against the sandy randomness of their spilled contents.   I thought it might be…

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Clepsydra Elegy

It should come as no surprise that one of the earliest tools humans used to tell time was water. After all, it’s what we are, what we need to live. A clepsydra is an ancient clock system that, at its most basic, uses two bowls, one nested inside another. The outer bowl is filled with…

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Beneath the Sea

It always counts as a surprise when we find out that unexpected networks have been operating right under our collective noses. We use the word ‘discovery’ to describe the newness to our understanding, even if, in retrospect, it might be a bit like describing a city’s take-out food delivery system as a ‘discovery’ just because…

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What We Do In The Dark

Almost everything about fossil fuels, by definition, happens in the dark. The organisms that form coal, gas and oil form in the dark; they are extracted from deep dark places that are under water, under mountains, beneath broad plains. From well to tank, most oil never sees the light of day unless there’s a leak,…

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Looking Forward, Looking Back

We were recently at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, where we viewed an exhibition called You Say You Want A Revolution. It was a compilation of materials and installations that illustrated the upheaval in popular culture and music from 1966-70, and asked whether they impacted the way we live today and think about…

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