Category Archives: Blog

Mindfulness Without the “Meditation” by Renee Branson

Photo looking up through tops of trees

Meditation has been proven to manage stress and anxiety, increase focus, and interrupt negative thought patterns. For a variety of reasons, however, many people don’t feel that traditional meditation is for them: it feels “too woo-woo,” or counter to their practice of faith, or seems connected only to the practice of Buddhism. It needn’t be any of those things. In its simplest terms, meditation is the use of a technique to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. Still, whatever a person’s reluctance towards meditation, no practice … Continue reading Mindfulness Without the “Meditation” by Renee Branson

This Mouse Drowns by Mercury-Marvin Sunderland

Rain drops sliding down window

  The sound of rain. It gently taps on the roof. The blinds are closed, but you can see that outside there are a few other green apartment buildings surrounded by an evergreen forest. The branches are dotted with white frost that can be mistaken for snow. But it’s not snow. It just looks exactly like it. You pull up the blinds just to make sure. No, it’s not snow. On the forest floor below you can see great big puddles welling up over dead leaves. The rain starts slowing down. It stops. The world … Continue reading This Mouse Drowns by Mercury-Marvin Sunderland

Bonfire of the Vanities: Coming to a School Board Near You by Deborah M. Prum

Photo of cover of Rats, Bulls, and Flying Machines

Twenty years ago, a reporter called me with bizarre news, so bizarre that I instantly wrote him off as a prank caller. He claimed he was from a town out West, maybe in Colorado? I am fuzzy on the details. I didn’t write down a word he said because I didn’t believe he could be serious. He asked if I was the author of Rats, Bulls and Flying Machines: A History of the Renaissance and Reformation. I replied in the affirmative, wishing he’d get to the point. At the time, I worked from home, a home … Continue reading Bonfire of the Vanities: Coming to a School Board Near You by Deborah M. Prum

Re-Wilding by Laura Marello

Photo of purple marigolds

There is a 1990s concept, or perhaps an older concept made new and currently gaining currency, called “re-wilding.” It is the prospect of making tamed and domesticated things wild again. Since 2008 or so, this concept has skyrocketed in book titles, and I imagine other places. It was originally used by Michael Soulé in the 1990s to capture the idea of restoring a landscape to its original wild state by introducing keynote species, native plants, and thereby allowing the natural environment to slowly return, restore itself. The major example was returning wolves to Yellowstone. But … Continue reading Re-Wilding by Laura Marello

Lynn Coleman: Honorable Mention in Art Contest

Painting of large fire

Lynn Coleman has earned an Honorable Mention in Streetlight’s 2021 Art Contest   I moved to Southern California in 1962 from central California. The first wildfire I remember was in 1967 and started near the Chatsworth Reservoir. My girlfriend was up there with a boy (we were sixteen) after telling her Mom she was spending the night with me. They barely made it out alive. In 1970 the Chatsworth to the Sea fire burned thirty-two miles from the Santa Susanna Pass to the Pacific ocean in Malibu. Friends lost their homes and art studios. When … Continue reading Lynn Coleman: Honorable Mention in Art Contest

Simple Instruments by Fred Wilbur

Drawing of shapes within a circle

I have always thought that John Donne’s metaphor of the drawing compass in “Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” one of the most ingenious in English poetry. Not simply about two lovers parting, it describes a coming together through love. Another metaphor I greatly admire (along with everyone else) is the choice depicted in “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. These two ideas in juxtaposition seem to conjure the structure of ‘theme and variation’ so elemental to art: the certainty of the circle with the uncertainty of lines pointing in different directions. Not exactly opposites, perhaps, but … Continue reading Simple Instruments by Fred Wilbur

The End of the Global Village—On TV Anyway by Miles Fowler

Photo of TV with cartoon playing

I’ve noticed that when I get together with friends, we never ask each other, “Did you see [fill in the title of a television program that recently aired]?” as those of my generation once might have. Rather, the question now is, “What are you watching these days?” We no longer assume what we used to assume, which was that our friends have watched the same things on television that we have seen—or, at least, there was once a good chance that they might have. Sometimes, it turns out that we have seen the same programs, … Continue reading The End of the Global Village—On TV Anyway by Miles Fowler

Robert Schultz: Winner of Streetlight’s Art Search by Elizabeth Howard


Robert Schultz is the 1st place winner of Streetlight’s 2021 Art Contest   Robert Schultz considers himself a fortunate man. A retired Roanoke College English professor, he still follows his daily work schedule, keeping regular hours writing and reading at his desk and working in his studio. He lives on a cul-de-sac in Salem, Va. surrounded by woods and his wife’s bountiful gardens. Then the pandemic hit. “I was rocked by the historical and maddening circumstances which came along and were made worse than needed due to leadership issues,” says Schultz. He was already photographing … Continue reading Robert Schultz: Winner of Streetlight’s Art Search by Elizabeth Howard

Winners of Streetlight Art Search Announced by Elizabeth Howard


  The first place winner of Streetlight’s art contest is Robert Schultz of Salem, Va. Schultz’s work, Specimens of the Plague Year, documents a year in the pandemic with his thoughts, quotes from scholars, poets, and current news events, all illustrated with scanned images of plants and flowers from his wife’s garden. Images are selected from some thirty-seven illustrations in Schultz’s elegant photo journal, Specimens of the Plague Year. A sampling of Schultz’s nature images will be featured in Streetlight January 7-24th. His work will be exhibited at Chroma Gallery, Charlottesville, during February, Robert Schultz … Continue reading Winners of Streetlight Art Search Announced by Elizabeth Howard

Time Suck by Erika Raskin

Photo of old vaccuum

  Here are things that I have done to avoid writing: chase my recalcitrant dog around the house for an entire afternoon trying to clip his nails, read all the comments on an article I wasn’t even that interested in, and although the effect would be transient at best, close my laptop to reorganize the kitchen cabinets. Last week, as I was struggling with the same sentence for more time than is either normal or healthy, the doorbell rang. An enthusiastic man introduced himself and his assistant. ‘I promise we’re not here to change your … Continue reading Time Suck by Erika Raskin