Each summer, our columnist has been making a pilgrimage to one of nature's great treasures: the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. In his twilight years, he ponders the resurrection that takes place under the most destructive circumstances and the "vast web of life in which body and spirit are one."
To be confronted with a serious illness is to be confronted with a fear of death for most of us. How do we balance hope with realism? And how do we age with grace? Drawing on Atul Gawande's book, Mary Jo Bennett highlights some ways our culture is evolving in its relationship with death.
With the near-constant news of extra-judicial police killings and mass shootings, it would be easy to live in a constant state of fear. Faced with his own fragile mortality, a Buddhist contemplates our collective fear and grief. For him, meditation is not about relaxation but about awakening to life — in its wonder and in its sorrow.
Pediatric oncologists and parents alike are searching for someone to help them bear the suffering they must witness. An essay reflecting on doctors, Dante, and treating children with cancer.
Sometimes we buzz through our social media streams and forget to pause, connect, and read more deeply. The marvelous writer Terry Tempest Williams teaches us to do just that — all through the story of her dog.
Some days you remember forever and ever. A picture and a poem to celebrate Haggadah possibilities during Passover.
Inspired by a mother's observation of her toddler's awe of the world, Parker Palmer reflects on the mystery of the world and the grace of wholeness — delighting in the gift of life as a septuagenarian.
Some of the best things of the week: on quiet nobility, thin places, the fist of fate, severed friendships, and Malcolm X.
The memory of a father weeping reminds a son how men often don't tend to grief well. But, by sharing emotions, fathers may be a key in helping boys grow into stronger, more compassionate human beings.
We are told to embrace the fact that death is part of life. Embracing emotional honesty, Parker Palmer shakes his salty fist at fate's inevitable hand with a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay.
The highly acclaimed and beloved poet Mary Oliver reads her four-part poem, "The Fourth Sign of the Zodiac," — a poem in which she explores death, purpose, and the call to live after being diagnosed with lung cancer several years ago.
In a somber week, Omid Safi offers a powerful reminder to remember the humanity at stake in world news, Reza Aslan provides needed context, Parker Palmer reflects on the illuminating power of Thomas Merton's words, a writer muses on our discomfort with death, and Courtney Martin pens a love letter to the shared silences that join us together.
Have our funeral rituals disengaged us from the embodied act of physically burying the dead? A grandson on the our discomfort about death — and we can reconnect with the lives we lost.
A tribute to the children and adults who died in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School honored with a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye. A list we must return to and remember out of love and hope for a safer world.
From a virtuosic performance to an audio selfie and poems on abundance, a feast of ideas and passages for you to take into your week.
Atul Gawande's new book on the aging and the dying process inspires this column on turning bearing witness to our own instincts and doing things a different way.
Sometimes a song can help us through the darkest hours of our lives. Reflecting upon the loss of her father, Jen Raffensperger shares Josh Ritter's "Lantern" as her greatest musical moment for the Your Audio Selfie project.
Our executive editor's weekly post on all things curious and aspiring — on topics from leading a less busy life to seeking rootedness and a cancer patient's call to her senses.
Dispatches from PopTech, a magnificent essay on Bach, an invitation to find the autobiography of your voice, a meditation on the splendor of Autumn, and an instructive essay on shedding old mindsets.
As the chlorophyll fades and the splendor of fall emerges, a meditation on color, mortality, and divine presence — complemented with the poetry of Rumi and Farid un-Din Attar.
Our executive editor rounds up things seen and unseen — from poetry and trees to anger and rhythm.
In a society uncomfortable discussing death, a new museum in Brooklyn is taking up the charge. Barbara Becker offers her perspective on the exhibition, "The Art of Mourning."
A daughter shares this meditation on the grief and the loss that comes slowly from losing her mother to Alzheimer's disease. Through the story of Gethsemane, she finds an uncomfortable solace and a quiet rebuke for falling asleep while waiting.
As you read this poem, Parker Palmer asks us to ponder a simple question: "How, then, shall I live?"
The best of the week — including an invitation to communal song, forest music from Schumann, words of gratitude and grace from Mary Oliver, and the manifold gifts of a storyteller.