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Showing posts from September, 2010

The Brain "on" Nature: out of reach on the river, then back in the rim world

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It was tempting to stay--to keep our rafts pointed downstream and our oars in the water--at peace with each other and with life on the river.  How simple to spend one's days floating, contemplating water dappled by sunlight, molding palmfuls of river clay with our fingers, writing unhurried thoughts into the pages of our journals, sharing morning coffee and evening stars.  How simple, this temporary life on the river.

The red cliffs and black rocks of Westwater Canyon on the Colorado River are surprisingly accommodating. Nooks and crannies provide cool hiding places. Wind and water carve curvaceous armchairs into shiny black schist boulders. Sandstone crumbles and forms river beaches soft enough to sink one's toes into, or to sculpt one's face upon. These are simple joys. One discovers that comfort is a relative term, much easier to find on the river than expected.

A month ago, The New York Times published an article by Matt Richtel about five neuroscientists who spent a wee…