Sleeping Bear Dunes

In my 50 Hikes in Michigan guidebook, Sleeping Bear Dunes occupies a full ten slots. This spot on Northwest Michigan’s coastline, about 40 minutes west of Traverse City, is renowned for its scenery, characterized by the stunning contrast of undulating sand dunes meeting the flat waters of Lake Michigan. A visit to Sleeping Bear DunesContinue reading “Sleeping Bear Dunes”

Weekly Wanderings: May 13, 2023

Yesterday marked 15 years since a deadly earthquake hit Sichuan Province, causing the deaths of at least 85,000 people and revealing widespread corruption in the local government and construction industries. I wrote about the Wenchuan Earthquake on its tenth anniversary in this post (which I revisited yesterday, checking all the links and updating them asContinue reading “Weekly Wanderings: May 13, 2023”

Weekly Wanderings: May 6, 2023

The ongoing decimation of Twitter coincides with my own desire to get back into a daily writing practice, so I’m reviving this blog. I’m making a minimal commitment here: a photo and short gloss on Mondays, and a “Weekly Wanderings” round-up of five stories/thoughts/recommendations each Saturday morning. If and as I can, I’ll post occasionalContinue reading “Weekly Wanderings: May 6, 2023”

“Luxury Off the Rails”: The Peking Express Review

“For the rest of my life,” Lucy Aldrich wrote in the November 1923 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, “when I am ‘stalled’ conversationally, it will be a wonderful thing to fall back on: ‘Oh, I must tell you about the time I was captured by Chinese bandits.’ ” Aldrich might have written lightly of theContinue reading ““Luxury Off the Rails”: The Peking Express Review”

Protests in China: Read, Listen, Watch

During the weekend of November 25-27, protests broke out in many Chinese cities, immediately lighting up the China Twittersphere and leading to endless speculation about threats to Xi Jinping’s authority or the prospect of a violent crackdown like the one carried out on June 4, 1989. Chinese government authorities quickly quashed the demonstrations, but theContinue reading “Protests in China: Read, Listen, Watch”

Burying Books versus Praising Them

When asked as a child to name my hobbies, my usual response was “books.” I wasn’t athletic or artistic; I couldn’t play a musical instrument or entertain an audience on stage. My skill was reading, and I honed it daily: on the bus ride to and from school (two hours a day just to read!Continue reading “Burying Books versus Praising Them”

Getting to Know the Gusset

Michigan is referred to lovingly as “The Mitten” for the way its shape resembles one of those cold-weather accessories the state’s residents normally wear from October through April (at least). In the four years since I moved here, I’ve traveled almost the width of the mitten’s cuff, from Detroit in the east to Kalamazoo inContinue reading “Getting to Know the Gusset”