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A Time in Life for Pruning, Now

A Time in Life for Pruning, Now

Before she comes, prune the vines. It is better this way. Hesiod, Works and Days The other day my wife and I were pruning our peach trees. According to Hesiod we were late—for the star Arcturus (the ‘she’ in the quotation) appears at the end of February. As Hesiod...

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When a Woman Says Yes

When a Woman Says Yes

“...for a common life is above all things natural to the female and to the male.” Aristotle, Oeconomica One telling aspect of a marriage proposal is that the man usually has a bit to say. Even if he doesn’t actually put it all into words, he needs to be ready to give...

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When a Man Proposes

When a Man Proposes

“...for a common life is above all things natural to the female and to the male.” Aristotle, Oeconomica Even as marriage between a man and a woman is undermined, ridiculed, or simply set aside, we naturally feel the power and poignancy of a man proposing to a woman....

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Having a Homely House in Ugly Times

Having a Homely House in Ugly Times

“...the Last Homely House...a perfect house, whether you like food or sleep or story-telling or singing, or just sitting and thinking best, or a pleasant mixture of them all. Merely to be there was a cure for weariness, fear, and sadness.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The...

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Saying No in Lent

Saying No in Lent

“I shall reproach him because he attaches little importance to the most important things and greater importance to inferior things.” Socrates in Plato’s Apology Saying ‘no’ to some things has great importance in life because we want to say ‘yes’ to something else....

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If We Wear Masks

If We Wear Masks

“If beams from happy human eyes have moved me not...” Robert Louis Stevenson, A Message of Joy For many of us, when and whether to wear a mask is a painful and divisive issue. Maybe in some places it is not; or maybe if we all had a better understanding of certain...

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The Economics of Splitting Wood by Hand

The Economics of Splitting Wood by Hand

*This is a reposting of the first piece I ever posted online, almost exactly eight years ago, at Front Porch Republic. It has remained one of the most popular I’ve posted. Also, here is short video sharing my joy in splitting wood. Hilaire Belloc once wrote that he...

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Our Pressing Need for Friendship

Our Pressing Need for Friendship

“Besides, friendship is especially necessary for living...” Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics There are two reasons we might not give true friendship the priority it deserves. For some, it seems to us that we already have it. Or in any case, it is not evident to us that...

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Discord Today and the Failure of Authority

Discord Today and the Failure of Authority

The specialty of rule hath been neglected, And look how many Grecian tents do stand Hollow upon this plain, so many hollow factions ... Take but degree away, untune that string, And hark what discord follows. Each thing meets In mere oppugnancy. Shakespeare, Ulysses,...

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Woman in the Home: Making Life Each Day

Woman in the Home: Making Life Each Day

“These coppers, big and little, these brooms and clouts and brushes, were tools; and with them one made, not shoes or cabinet-work, but life itself. One made a climate within a climate; one made the days,--the complexion, the special flavor, the special happiness of...

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A Year to Turn to the Household

A Year to Turn to the Household

Now it is best that there should be a public and proper care for such matters; but if they are neglected by the community it would seem right for each man to help his children and friends toward virtue... Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics Being docile to reality means...

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New Beginning in a Long Journey

New Beginning in a Long Journey

The Magi are men who inquire into the nature of things philosophically... Rabanus There are few stories like that of three men who mysteriously appear from the ‘east’ and then disappear again in the mist of history. As a philosopher I take them as patron. In...

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