Archive for May, 2013

What We Are Reading May 31 2013

This week we celebrating Robert Macfarlane’s The Old Ways, a snippet from Rebecca Solnit’s forthcoming book, our singing planets and the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of Mt. Everest!

“The object we call a book is not the real book, but its seed or potential, like a music score. It exists full only in the act of being read; and its real home is inside of the head of the reader, where the seed germinates and the symphony resounds. A book is a heart that only beats in the chest of another.”

Rebecca Solnit has a new book, The Faraway Nearby, coming out in June. Here’s an excerpt on the power of storytelling and reading courtesy of Guernica.

What is the sound of a planet moving through space? NASA shares a video for your ears.

“The landscape is not something to be viewed and appraised from a distance, as if it were a panel in a frieze or a canvas in a frame. It is not the passive object of our gaze, but rather a volatile participant – a fellow subject which arches and bristles at us, bristles into us. Landscape is still often understood as a noun connoting fixity, scenery, an immobile painterly decorum. I prefer to think of the word as a noun containing a hidden verb: landscape scapes, it is dynamic and commotion causing, it sculpts and shapes us not only over the courses of our lives but also instant by instant, incident by incident. I prefer to take ‘landscape’ as a collective term for the temperature and pressure of the air, the fall of the light and its rebounds, the textures and surfaces of rock, soil and building, the sounds (cricket screech, bird cry, wind through the trees), the scents (pine resin, hot stone, crushed thyme) and the uncountable other transitory phenomena and atmospheres that together comprise the bristling presence of a particular place at a particular moment.”

Several of us have been reading and exclaiming over Robert Macfarlane’s The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot. He’s a gifted observer and writer who may become your favorite literary traveling companion. Here’s an insightful review from The Guardian.

Expeditions to Mount Everest have generated a mountain of books. Here’s a quick survey of the literature including this year’s additions on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the first ascent by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay.


This is yet another in a series of posts about what we’re reading at Whole Earth: stories about the environment, ecology, travel, outdoor living, ideas, art, writing, history, science, and creativity, and the people who make it happen. Have a suggestion? Please leave us a comment so we can add it to our reading list.

Hostelling World Travel 101

Do you long to travel the world? Do you have a mental itinerary drawn up but you’re not sure about how to make it reality given the state of your finances and the state of the world? Fear not! Heather Schultz is here to help. She wants to show you how safe, inexpensive world travel is possible!

Whole Earth Provision Co. is pleased to announce a free travel education workshop at our Mockingbird Lane store in Dallas on June 5th at 6:30 pm. Heather Schultz, a volunteer Travel Educator with Hostelling International-USA, will be leading World Travel 101 for first time and novice international travelers. Heather will show you how to plan an itinerary, prepare a budget, survey your transportation options, how to save and carry money, how to pack, choose accommodations, and be safe.

Hostelling International-USA was founded in 1934. Today it is a part of a network of over 50 quality hostel facilities across the United States (including Austin and Houston) and is affiliated with an international network of over 4000 hostels in over 80 countries. Heather Schultz, the workshop presenter, has a passion for traveling both in the United States and around the world. She delights in the joys of immersion in new cultures and places and loves sharing her experiences with others. So let Heather set you on a pathway to new adventures in 2013 and beyond with World Travel 101.

What We’re Reading May 24 2013

This week’s offerings include three videos: a public art project in action, icebreaking in Antarctica and Carl Sagan on the Pale Blue Dot. Did you know just how closely you’re related to a blade of grass? And lastly, the Oxford English Dictionary can’t find a book (source of 51 words!). Is it hiding on your bookshelf?

Now this is a public art project we would love to see here in Texas! Swings, lights, music and fun! Check out the video to see and hear it in action.

Meet your cousin, the blade of grass. It may have a spatial extent of only a few centimeters but in the temporal direction it stretches back for almost a third of the age of the universe.

Is it too darn hot (already)? Here’s a refreshing video of two months of Antarctic icebreaking time-lapsed to less than five minutes (with penguins!).

If you have a copy of Meanderings of Memory by Nightlark, published in 1852, the folks at the Oxford English Dictionary would love to see it.

Carl Sagan was inclined to take the larger view of humanity’s place in the cosmos. He sees our descendents in the far distant future as nomads among the stars but still tethered to the Pale Blue Dot.


This is yet another in a series of posts about what we’re reading at Whole Earth: stories about the environment, ecology, travel, outdoor living, ideas, art, writing, history, science, and creativity, and the people who make it happen. Have a suggestion? Please leave us a comment so we can add it to our reading list.

Jane’s Window

If you live in Austin, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Jane Sibley. She is a cultural icon known for her philanthropic and organizational work with the Austin Symphony, Laguna Gloria and farther afield, the Rock Art Foundation and Seminole Canyon State Park, to name only a few of her endeavors. She dresses with an artist’s flair for color and design and has the well-stocked mind of a storyteller and conversationalist. For most of us, this would be as close as we could come to “knowing” Jane Sibley. But now, with the publication of Jane’s Window: My Spirited Life in West Texas and Austin, we can learn much more about her long and varied life.

Jane Sibley’s Texas roots run deep. She begins her memoir with her great great grandmother Mahala Milligan who, in 1860, helped her children remain calm during a Comanche raid by reading aloud to them from Shakespeare. The raid claimed the life of Sibley’s great great grandfather, the first elected Sheriff of Mason County. The sharp flint spear point recovered from the Sheriff’s body and the book of Shakespeare, have remained in the family to this day.

Born and raised in Fort Stockton, she was the only child of a family that believed in education and the cultural graces. Sibley arrived in Austin in 1941 to attend the University of Texas where she earned a degree in studio art and later returned in 1962 as a wife and mother of three children, ready to begin a new chapter in her life. The rest, as they say, is history.

Reading Jane’s Window is a bit like sitting with down with Sibley and hearing her tell the story of her life, complete with sly asides and unsolicited, grandmotherly advice. She recounts her family’s triumphs and tragedies, her role in the creation and reformation of several cultural and historic Texas institutions, and introduces us to her lifelong friends, family and other individuals she’s been privileged to know and to meet. She also offers up a tasty serving of stories handed down through the generations about life in West Texas.

Jane Sibley is a strong Texas woman, unafraid to speak her mind and ready to take on life’s opportunities and challenges. How has she managed to do so much in one lifetime? This may be the answer:

“I have experienced my own share of bumps along the way. They have slowed me down temporarily, but I never let them stop me. I simply kept going, working toward worthwhile goals, doing what needed doing. I have never been a person who looked back with regret. I always keep my eyes and my will focused on tomorrow. I have been given some great opportunities and have always done my best to give some back. And may I add, I have had a lot of fun in the process.”

So here’s your chance to hear Jane Sibley tell the story of her life, one of great accomplishment, in her own witty and insightful voice in Jane’s Window.

Jane’s Window” is available at our N. Lamar, Westgate and San Antonio stores. *edited 5/24

What We’re Reading May 17, 2013

Chinese Native Dogs may be our best living link to the transformation of wolves into man’s best friend.

Planning to boldly go to the new Star Trek movie this weekend? Matthew Yglesias’ places the new movie within the canon and opines on why the series matters almost 50 years after its debut.

The designers Hilden and Diaz have created a chandelier that projects tree shadows onto surrounding walls bringing the winter woods or a fairytale forest indoors.

“Wild animals were foraging on the pages of every bedtime story, and my daughter was sleeping in polar bear pajamas under a butterfly mobile with a downy snow owl clutched to her chin. Her comb handle was a fish. Her toothbrush handle was a whale. She cut her first tooth on a rubber giraffe.” John Mooallem in his new book Wild Ones considers the question: Why is it that right when someone is learning to be human, we surround them with animals?

The high alert at Mexico’s Popocatépetl remains in place. On May 15th, there were 22 separate explosions. You can follow the action on webcams.


This is yet another in a series of posts about what we’re reading at Whole Earth: stories about the environment, ecology, travel, outdoor living, ideas, art, writing, history, science, and creativity, and the people who make it happen. Have a suggestion? Please leave us a comment so we can add it to our reading list.

What We’re Reading May 11, 2013

Wherever you stand, be the soul of that place.    ∼ Rumi

Whole Earth Provision Co. got its start from a note in the Whole Earth Catalog. It said: “We’ve been telling everyone who’s inquired politely if they could open a store – Go Ahead.” The rest, as they say, is history. This year marks the 45th anniversary of the publication of the Whole Earth Catalog and The Guardian has published an appreciation of the Catalog and its creator Stewart Brand. If you’re not familiar with the Catalog, you might enjoy this online exhibit Access to Tools created by the Museum of Modern Art in New York or you can browse through an actual Catalog online at the Whole Earth Catalog archive.

This is the book that many believed changed the world. “Though it wasn’t exactly a book, it was a how-to manual, a compendium, an encyclopedia, a literary review, an opinionated life guide, and a collection of readers’ recommendations and reviews of everything from computational physics to goat husbandry.” Or as John Markoff, a technology writer for the New York Times, puts it, the Whole Earth Catalog was “the internet before the internet. It was the book of the future. It was a web in newsprint.” The Catalog showed us that the world in all its variety of people and places, ideas and manifestations is an interdependent whole. As the (updated) Last Whole Earth Catalog said: We can’t put it together. It is together.

Sabastião Salgado, creator of some of the most memorable photographic images of the past thirty years, has a new exhibition and book: Genesis.

“During a bout of illness in the late 1990s Salgado returned to the ranch in Brazil where he grew up. To his dismay he found it much changed: the lush vegetation and rich wildlife he remembered from childhood had largely been decimated. With his wife and collaborator, Lélia Wanick Salgado, he decided to replant nearly 2 million trees and watched as the birds and animals returned to the renewed landscape. Thus the idea for Genesis was born.” …According to Salgado, “these photos are “a call to arms for us to preserve what we have. Of course, “he says, “it is not possible to ask people to go back to live in the forest, but we can preserve and protect this, our real heritage.”

Salgado recently presented a Ted Talk in which he tells his story and shows images from the exhibition and the book. If you’re not familiar with Salgado and his work, it’s a great introduction.


This is yet another in a series of posts about what we’re reading at Whole Earth: stories about the environment, ecology, travel, outdoor living, ideas, art, writing, history, science, and creativity, and the people who make it happen. Have a suggestion? Please leave us a comment so we can add it to our reading list.

Patagonia Advocate Weeks

Patagonia Advocate Weeks are almost here! From May 15th through May 31st, Whole Earth Provision Co. and Patagonia Footwear are teaming up to support Audubon Texas. How does it work? For every pair of Patagonia shoes purchased at Whole Earth during Advocate Weeks, Patagonia will donate $10 to Audubon Texas.

Patagonia is a participant in 1% for the Planet. Every year they donate 1% of their profits for the preservation and restoration of the natural environment. Your purchase will help direct some of these funds to Audubon Texas.

Audubon Texas is the state program of the National Audubon Society. In Texas, if you are diligent you might see 623 species of birds in the course of a year, more than any other state. Since 1923, Audubon Texas has protected birds and their habitats with stewardship and conservation education programs at their centers in Dallas, Cedar Hill and San Antonio and at sanctuaries in Brownsville, along 600 miles of the Texas coast and across the state.

So please stop by Whole Earth during Patagonia Advocate Weeks. Try on a pair of Patagonia shoes, get a free download card for 1% of the Planet – The Music Volume 1 (while supplies last) and support Audubon Texas with your Patagonia footwear purchase.

How Whole Earthlings Celebrate Mothers’ Day!

At Whole Earth Provision Co. our amazing staff members have lots of ways to make sure that their Moms have a special day. How do we know? We asked! Here are a few of our family traditions.

As you might expect, getting outdoors is high on the list of Whole Earth Mothers’ Day activities. Family picnics, day hikes and visits to public gardens are very popular. If you don’t already have a favorite picnic spot, this might be a great time to begin the search for that special place. Be sure to take a kite or two. Flag Pole Hill in Dallas and Zilker Park in Austin are two of our favorite spots to have a picnic and fly a kite. And don’t forget to take your camera. Some Whole Earth families make it a point to take a family photo every year on Mothers’ Day. Mom is often the family photographer, so be sure that she’s in this photo!

Many Whole Earth Moms love gardens and gardening. The Dallas Arboretum was mentioned several times as a favorite Mothers’ Day destination. This is a wonderful time of year for visiting public gardens in Texas as roses and many native plants are still in bloom. Helping Mom in her own garden is another way we celebrate. Planting flowers that attract bees and butterflies, helping to take care of organic gardens and mini orchards and creating beautiful landscapes are just a few of the ways that some Whole Earthlings spend time together with their Moms.

Maybe your Mom has a favorite State Park! Hiking, biking, swimming, canoeing, exploring and just hanging out is a great way to enjoy Mothers’ Day. One Whole Earth family heads off to Dinosaur Valley State Park every year. The Texas State Parks website is a great resource for finding State Parks close to home.

Some Whole Earth Mom’s begin their day with breakfast in bed prepared by the kids, while some families head off to Mom’s favorite restaurant for a Mothers’ day brunch or dinner. For others, it’s a party! The generations gather for a feast featuring all the family’s favorite foods. Afterwards, the Dads take charge of the kids so that the Moms can relax and enjoy their special day together.

Does Mom have a favorite game that everyone can play? One Whole Earth family has an annual Farkel tournament to celebrate Mothers’ Day. Others play classic yard games like Croquet or Badminton. One Whole Earthling Mom is an artist. On Mothers’ Day, mother and daughter find a beautiful spot and spend the day painting together.

If you won’t be seeing your Mom on Mothers’ Day, don’t forget to take time to call or Skype. This is a great time to ask some family history questions or to request a favorite family recipe.

For some of us, our mothers are no longer living. But we can still celebrate our happy memories and abiding love. One Whole Earthling wrote:

Since I was a young man, whenever I was away from home, I would keep a travel journal. I would send post cards, from places both exotic and mundane. The one constant in that exercise of communicating through writing thoughts and feelings, observations and experiences, was that I always sent a card to my Mother, if no one else. It was she who taught me to write; to let people who mattered to me know how I felt about them; to keep in touch by sharing experiences; and to send thank you notes written in my own hand. It is the simple act of writing with a single confidant in mind: one who inspires me. One who quite literally gave me my voice, a meditation, if you will.

My mother passed in 1994, 19 years ago. Every Mother’s Day, I find a time to open my journal, read a few things to her out loud. My backyard, a knoll beside the river, the cemetery, a bathroom on a bus speeding across the Atacama desert in Chile have all served as a podium for me to share with her. Happy Mothers’ Day, Lula Bell.

And a Happy Mothers’ Day to all of you from Whole Earth!

What We’re Reading May 3, 2013

What a week! There were so many great stories that we had to set some aside for later. What made the cut? Jack Kerouac at Desolation Lookout, a man who truly transformed his home by planting trees, the world’s smallest movie and the story behind Cinco de Mayo!

Desolation Outlook

Jack Kerouac’s ordinary failure in the wilderness is perhaps a more honest reckoning on the meaning of wilderness for us everyfolk than all the successful accounts written by the hard men of the great American Wilderness tradition.”

A still from Forest Mana movie in post-production about Jadav Payeng and his forest.

Here’s the story of a man who really planted trees and created a jungle.

IBM has made the world’s smallest movie using individual atoms as pixels!

Cinco de Mayo dancers title=

We all love Cinco de Mayo, but how many of us know the story behind the celebration?


This is yet another in a series of posts about what we’re reading at Whole Earth: stories about the environment, ecology, travel, outdoor living, ideas, art, writing, history, science, and creativity, and the people who make it happen.
Have a suggestion? Please leave us a comment so we can add it to our reading list. We enjoy reading each and every one of them.

Deepak Chopra Ticket Giveaway

Deepak Chopra is coming to the Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas on May 29th. Dr. Chopra will be sharing age-old spiritual wisdom and new insights, linking the latest breakthroughs in neuroscience with our aspirations for health, well-being and spiritual realization. Based on his latest book Super Brain he’ll discuss how we can learn to use our brains instead of being used by them. According to Dr. Chopra, “You won’t know what your brain can do until you test its limits and push beyond them.”

Whole Earth Provision Co. stores in Dallas will each be giving away a pair of tickets to the event. Stop by our Mockingbird Lane or Preston Forest stores, fill out an entry form, and you’ll receive a $5 Whole Earth gift certificate and a chance to win. We’re accepting entries from May 1st through May 21st. One entry please, per person. The drawing will be held on May 22nd, and the winners contacted by the AT&T Performing Arts Center. Come see us! You might win and you’ll save on your next purchase.