Category Archives: Op-Ed: Opinion & Commentary

The Maternal Line: Eulogy for a Beautiful Woman

A father. His daughter. His daughter’s daughter. A river. No, that’s not right. The River. Theirs is a story that began long ago. But it hasn’t ended yet. And The River flows through it.
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by Tamia Nelson | May 10, 2018
Originally published in different form in different places in other years.

Absent Friends Article on Tamiasoutside.com

The girl found The River irresistible. Whenever she could, she scrambled over the cliff that rose precipitously from the swift waters. The snowmelt‑swollen spring torrents carved deep potholes in the cliff’s sheer walls, and when the floods receded, the girl sometimes found stranded trout in those dark recesses, swimming frantically in futile circles. That’s when she taught herself how to tickle trout, catching the imprisoned fish in her hands before returning them to The River. It was a difficult job, even a dangerous one at times, but seeing the trout swim free was all the reward that she asked — or wanted.

When she wasn’t climbing the cliff, the girl often dabbled in The River’s shallows, turning over cobbles to see who might be living under them. … Continue reading »

Eulogy for an Old-Timer

Jack was a bit of a bastard, really, but he had a soft spot for birds, chipmunks, and his beloved mountains. He also had a soft spot for me. And though he died many moons ago this month, but he’s still with me every day.
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Absent Friends Article on Tamiasoutside.com

by Tamia Nelson | April 14, 2018
Originally published in different form in different places in other years.

He died nearly half a century ago this April, at the age of sixty-five. It wasn’t an easy death. He “died hard,” as folks used to say. I won’t kid you. He was no saint. He was a bit of a bastard, in fact. Still, he had his reasons. He packed a lot into his sixty-five years. He raised three kids on little or nothing. A fourth, his youngest son, drowned one winter when he broke through the ice on a local lake. What with one thing and another, he never had an easy life. He lived through two major wars, several diphtheria epidemics, and a depression — and that wasn’t all. … Continue reading »

Learning to See: Happy Are the Painters

When a Christmas Eve fire left Tamia with little more than the clothes on her back, she mourned the loss of her camera and photos. But out of this loss came something of enduring value: She learned to see again. And so can you.
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by Tamia Nelson | March 23, 2018
Originally published in very different form on June 6, 2000

Nearly forty years ago, Farwell and I made our first home together in what had once been the servants’ quarters of an imposing Victorian manse. Then, on Christmas Eve, the century-old structure burned to the ground. As luck would have it, we were away from home at the time, visiting family, but we didn’t escape unscathed. Except for an aging Volkswagen Beetle and the clothes on our backs, the flames consumed everything we owned.

This blow fell hard on us. We had no insurance, for one thing. Still, although we missed our tent, our sleeping bags, our climbing gear, and our books, the losses I felt most keenly were my treasured Nikon camera … Continue reading »

Self-Reliance Revisited: Why Does the Slave Embrace His Chains?

Having explored the downsides of bucket lists in an earlier article and then waded into the murky waters of device-driven commercial media last week, Farwell now turns his attention to the devices themselves—and to the effect they’re having on how we experience our world. Do you think this doesn’t have anything to do with canoeing? Well, you couldn’t be more wrong. That’s Farwell’s notion, anyway. Why not see what you think?
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by Farwell Forrest | February 16, 2018

I don’t suppose that anyone reads Emerson anymore. I know I don’t. No, that’s not true. I didn’t. But I do now. And only now do I realize what I’ve been missing. My belated foray into the thickets of Transcendentalist literature began prosaically enough. I was chasing down the source of a quote I’d seen in The Complete Walker, and the search took me to one of Emerson’s most celebrated essays: “Self-Reliance.” I found the quote I was seeking in short order, but I also found a lot more—an exhaustive, eye-opening discourse on the worm … Continue reading »