With Darwin’s Eyes and Ears

"Odysseus in the Cave of Polyphemus" by Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678). Charles Darwin is fascinating to read, from many viewpoints. There is, of course, the obvious one—the scientific one. He is a keen observer. We marvel at the meticulous details he records about botany, geology, marine biology, and zoology, for instance. It’s impossible, though, not to … Continue reading With Darwin’s Eyes and Ears

A Strongly-Marked Picture

Pedro Figari - El gaucho Candioti. In his essay, “Circles,” Ralph Waldo Emerson, the 19th-century American lecturer, poet, and philosopher, wrote: “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm,” that is to say, without intense, eager, enjoyment or passion. Enthusiasm is unplanned. Indeed, one can’t plan for it. But it is an always-welcome guest in our lives. … Continue reading A Strongly-Marked Picture

A Token for His Protection

Plate 106 Black Vulture or Carrion Crow, John James Audubon. In Chapter 3 of The Voyage of the Beagle, Charles Darwin describes his work identifying the carrion-feeding hawks of South America. He writes the following about two of them—Carranchas and Chimangos. These false eagles most rarely kill any living bird or animal; and their vulture-like, … Continue reading A Token for His Protection