Musings on getting a total knee replacement

W Goodwin

In the predawn hours of a Pandemic morning, my partner Jan is driving us through mostly empty streets toward the surgical wing of one of south Denver’s major hospitals. Medical magic is about to be enacted upon my 77-year-old body.

Lost inside my head, I hardly notice the dark world passing outside the car. The fact that I am not actually nervous rolls around in my mind. I think back to all the long hikes I’ve done, especially those months in the Himalaya. I imagine keeping a 7-minute-mile pace over decades…


Image by author

Hairy Guys

By W Goodwin

I still remember the evening my kid brother announced to the family, “Guess what! We’re mammals!”

He was 12 and looked it, but only a few months later his androgenic hormones began ripping the hinges off the doors of his metabolism. The spreading shadow of a beard started changing his boyish face. Every day we saw newly emergent hairs growing from his body. Chest. Arms. Axilla. Legs. Crotch (described, not shown, thank god). So far so good, according to mom. But the hair kept coming. Chest hair became contiguous with arm hair which soon spread…


A Woman for President and a Woman for Vice President

by W Goodwin

You should know right up front this isn’t one of those well-researched position papers. It’s not even a realistic political proposition. It barely rises above the level of a casual observation despite the fact American voters are at a place we’ve never been before. The possibility is so unique someone has to shine a light on it, and it looks like that someone is me.

For the first time in America’s short history, we have the opportunity to elect women for president and vice president. This is…


A deep sponge-covered wall of a Meso-American reef (colors inverted).

Words and images by W Goodwin

Every time I descend into the sea, I ask myself, “Am I dreaming?” The shapes and colors, subtle and subdued one moment, exuberant and boisterous the next, suggest paintings by Dali or some artistic Drama Queen. It was some time before I realized all the extravagant forms, the gales of hues and the sensual parades of sea life are dependent upon sponges.

Sponges, the sessile creatures of the phylum Porifera, arrived here from an ancient world. They are survivors of the Precambrian seas and the only animals to contribute parts of their DNA sequences…


It was 1979 when I decided I needed a break from my graduate school. I treated my decision as an excuse to travel with my trusty Canon AE-1 and forty roles of Tri-X. During that year I went as far as Nepal but my four months in Afghanistan left some of the deepest impressions. It was an Afghanistan that no longer exists. I know for a fact three of the people in these four-decade-old images are deceased and I suspect all the others are too. …


Image by Author

Is it a conveyance? A metaphor? Or a hungry machine...

By W Goodwin

Our travel day began at dawn in the Caribbean. Now it’s a dozen hours and a thousand miles later, and I notice the sun is setting outside the downtown Denver transit complex. Lynn and I clamber with our luggage from the airport train. A down-escalator takes us to a tunnel-like hall running beneath tracks and streets. At the far end, an up-escalator leads to the terminal of the commuter train we intend to catch.

We’re both schlepping roller bags filled with mostly diving and photography gear; each…


Image from Unsplash

Fan Letter to a Medium.com Writer

In Which a Parrot Sheds Some Light

By W Goodwin

Dear Shannon Ashley,

It seems you’re one of the most popular and prolific writers on Medium.com. Your writing dwells on relatable (that word again?) issues that resonate (and that one?) with your readers. Personally, I go for your clear voice — the “you” in your words that makes you seem familiar and knowable. So even though your topics are not always congruent with my own concerns, I love reading you. When I say “love,” please understand…

As passionate and carnal as you’ve convincingly told…


Cultivating a beautiful, transporting experience with mushrooms

Illustration: Nan Lee

Lynn and I are fortunate: We are tightly and broadly linked both physically and spiritually. Adventuring together for five years now, at 58 and 75, we seem to have acquired at least a modicum of sense and experience to see us through our escapades. Now we have decided to become psychonauts.

We did not embark on this lightly. Only one of us is psychedelically experienced—that would be me, with a handful of encounters with LSD, mescaline, and mushrooms, the last time being 40 years ago. I did not expect to re-enter the psychedelic realm again, certainly not at the three-quarter-century…

W Goodwin

Bound to the ocean and reflecting mixed genetics, I am compelled to write about the sea while living in Colorado.

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