He stood outside the Camp Noyo kitchen, a rickety wood structure, his back to the camera, his gaze fixed on a small window reflecting a knot of branches. He wore a dark jacket, though because of the camera’s night vision, it gleamed white. His pants had split in the rear, and he’d tucked the ankles into pulled-up socks, pseudo-military-style. In his right hand, he clutched a rifle, as large as anything in the movies.
Kersheral graduated on an unbearably hot Saturday in May. An hour before the ceremony, she rushed around her room, powdering and highlighting her face, painting her lips with a mauve-ish color called Lolita. She assessed herself in the full-length mirror on the back of her door: flowered sundress, strappy heels, big gold hoops Ana had brought. “I look so grown,” she whispered to herself. “Like an adult.”
I explain my personal connection to this piece in this Q&A.
They worked and scrounged and slept on couches to put themselves through school. Will their degrees be worth it?
Andrew was a curious kid, head always burrowed in a book, but he was too young to realize that the ice-cream dynasty had dissolved. All he knew was that it was the middle of the night and his father was kneeling before him on the pavement. “I’m going on a little trip to Charlottesville,” Bob told him. “I’ll be back next Monday. Do you understand?” Andrew nodded. Bob faded into the dark. He didn’t come back the next Monday. He never came back.
Can Andrew Gifford undo a city’s nostalgic love for his family’s name?
Roger Mahony was a national advocate for undocumented immigrants, and his voice carried sway on issues from welfare reform to the racial tensions arising from the O.J. Simpson trial. But in a locked cabinet in the L.A. archdiocese headquarters, files bulged with evidence that he was covering up sexual abuse of children.
In the abuse scandal that has shaken the Catholic Church, Roger Mahony is a singular figure.
A few weeks ago, when the mission was still a dark fantasy, their pal Scott had warned them: “What we’re doing, you know, is dangerous. We could be hurt, we could be shot by these knuckleheads, we could be thrown in prison for the rest of our lives.” David Brutsche didn’t flinch. “I’m willing to give my life for this,” he said.
The roadside spectacle provided Middlegate — a 17-person cluster of RVs and modest homes — with an identity, and weary drivers with a rare and towering landmark on the 280-mile stretch of highway known as the "Loneliest Road in America." The shoe tree was something in the middle of nothing, and perhaps that's why its destruction has been so deeply felt.
On the "Loneliest Road in America," locals mourn a stately cottonwood like an old friend.
“You don’t realize how much you hear of yourself,” said Jacob Job, a dark-haired beanpole in a brownish T-shirt and olive cargo shorts. “Your breathing, your clothes moving, your joints popping, the sound of you swallowing.” Only by staying quiet — melt-into-the-forest quiet, hear-twigs-snap-and-insects-buzz quiet — could we find the distinctive trill that had so far eluded him.
This piece was part of the issue "Listen," a finalist for a National Magazine Award in the Single-Topic Issue category.
Studying soundscapes as extensions of landscapes, and noise as a potential contaminant.