The Spirits of Greenport

The ‘citiots’ are coming. Having spotted a herd of fanny packs on the horizon, I sent a fistful of golden chocolate doubloons raining down on the throng of incoming tourists. Beside me, my classmate, Dory—named, ironically enough, after the fishing boat—bellowed “Ahoy, matey!” in a quasi-pirate accent. Adjusting the feathers on my skull-and-crossbones cap, I…

(Re)visiting Princeton

The whistle sounded behind me as I retraced my steps from the train station to Whitman College, lost in memories of a magical weekend. For two days, my younger sister, Angelina, had stayed with me on campus. That weekend, there was no such thing as homework—the only item on my agenda was to have fun with my best…

You May Say I’m a Dreamer

For the past three years, I’ve kept the same slip of paper pinned to the bulletin board in my dorm room. It reads: “I think guitar groups are becoming passé.” – Record Company Executive in his 1962 rejection letter, one of many sent to the unsigned Liverpool-based band known as The Beatles.  In 1963, The Beatles…

9.11.01

When you live in a tree, every story seems to start off with a leaf. This one in particular, however, was different from the rest. Huddled in our nest, my brothers and I marveled at the funny green leaf, beaks agape at its rectangular shape and exotic squiggles. When Mama returned from the river at…

Winter Break

To an onlooker, it must have looked like I was auditioning for a Life Alert commercial—“Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” With a sickening crack, my right foot twisted beneath me, sending me tumbling to my dorm room floor. Curling up in pain, I played the sound over and over in my mind,…

“The Road” to Hope

In a bleak, monochromatic wasteland, a “banished sun circles the Earth like a grieving mother with a lamp” (32). For the inhabitants of this barren, post-apocalyptic world, man’s bravest feat is waking up in the morning—mornings that are met not with symphonic sparrows and songs of the world’s awakening, but with the all-encompassing reality of…

The Earth Has Music For Those Who Listen

On a warm spring night in California’s Palomar Mountains, a young man named Richard Preston stood beneath a sky full of stars. Slowly, he wandered toward a small white dome that stood out against the night’s cloak of darkness, lured by a combination of curiosity, elevator music, and laughter. Pausing in front of the astronomy…

“The Most Fantastic and Impossible Rock in the World”

The days leading up to the fifth of August had been characteristically Irish, complete with clouds in Connemara, a daylong drizzle in Dingle, and forty-mile-per-hour winds at the Cliffs of Moher (which, under said conditions, were more deserving of their Princess Bride alias, the Cliffs of Insanity). In Ireland, the island nation that gifts its…

Oh, How We Have Lived

Life on Earth is ending, Aurora, when yours only just began. Our morning started like any other: me, cocooned in cotton but so very free—because there you were, curled up beside me. Slipping out of bed, I tiptoed to the kitchen to prepare your breakfast. Outside, snow spiraled through the late-December air. Peering through the…

A Cross-Section of Life

“These are the weird shapes that started everything.” Tucked away in Guyot Hall, the geosciences enclave of Princeton University, Associate Professor Adam Maloof examines the rock around which his entire career revolves. Embedded in the limestone exterior is what, upon first glance, could be mistaken for a series of hieroglyphs—and yet, this particular fossil predates…

Fire Bridge to the Sky

On New Year’s Eve, people worldwide tilt their heads back as fireworks paint the night sky with showers of glittering gold. Meanwhile, at the North Pole, Mother Nature puts on an atmospheric exhibition all her own: the aurora borealis. Shimmering in multicolored ribbons of green, red, blue, and violet, the aurora has mystified humankind since the…

The Colors of the Sky

On an afternoon in the late 1960s, John Pagano’s Rambler rolled to a stop on the service road of the Grand Central Parkway. His son, Joey, pressed his face against the passenger window, eyes trained on Runway 4. Having grown up four miles away from La Guardia Airport, Joey didn’t have to read fairy tales…