Therese DesCamp

Wide Spot: Broken Bones

Environmental activist and Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy once said, “You don’t need to do everything. Do what calls your heart; effective action comes from love. It is unstoppable, and it is enough.” Or as one of her students transmitted it to me, “Everything needs to be done, so everyone should do what they’re doing.” I’ve … Read more

Wide Spot: Imagine That

Years ago, as part of a retreat for environmental activists, we did an exercise imagining different points of view. Here was a scenario: a waterfront property owner had dumped sand to add beach to his property and, in the process, eliminated a wetland. There were three points of view: first, the wetland, its plants and … Read more

Wide Spot: Words Matter

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” When I was a kid, that children’s chant was a talisman to protect us from the startlingly painful names that kids fling—Fatty, Stinky, Coke-Bottle Bottoms and worse. But the words stay with us. Yes, I’d rather be called a name than physically … Read more

The Kitchen of Love: Eating Gimpy

In the kitchen of love,  only the beautiful are killed. Death does not frighten a true lover  for those not dying for love are already corpses. –Rumi Translation by Maryam Mafi and Azima Melita Kolin I knew it was her as soon as I pulled the bag out of the freezer.  I knew because she looked … Read more

Wide Spot: Revisionist History

Last night, out of the blue, an email arrived bearing a 43-year-old video. Sent via a chain of friends and relatives, the clip showed me at my first wedding, singing my heart out to the accompaniment of a slide guitar. My niece appended a note saying that she fully expected Pete Seeger to come onstage … Read more

Wide Spot: Cook Your Potatoes

It’s a fallacy that deer don’t eat potatoes, or at least strip the plants naked. I guess I should be grateful for the stalks and tubers left behind, and hope that the deer get sick enough to discourage further nocturnal raids. It’s another fallacy that talking about how we feel always results in connectedness, support, … Read more

Wide Spot: The Answer, My Friend…

If you’re as old as I am, you’re already singing the next line in this iconic Dylan song.  You also know that the answer “blowing in the wind” is both blindingly obvious and as ephemeral as a breeze down Carpenter Creek Canyon. I’d like to think that one answer to Dylan’s rhetorical ponderings is blowing … Read more

Wide Spot: Fresh New Hell

The line “What fresh new hell is this?” was famously coined by the American critic Dorothy Parker when her writing was interrupted by the telephone. There’s something deeply true captured by Parker’s flippant phrase, that oh-so-human experience of feeling overwhelmed by one calamity while still in the throes of previous one. I prefer numbness to … Read more

Wide Spot: Moral Proximity

I am an avid reader; unlike my high-minded family and friends, however, I prefer novels to non-fiction. A well-written novel can introduce me to a whole new way of understanding the world, like Richard Powers’ The Overstory. Even the deceptively simple novels of the ethicist Alexander McCall Smith—such as The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency … Read more

Wide Spot: Close the Language-Door

I thank my lucky stars (as my mom used to say) that I have a dog. Among other things, having a dog means that I am committed, no matter how somnolent, to an 11 p.m. walk every night around the front yard. Last week’s yard visits included views of the full moon—more accurately, the Pink … Read more