Going to l’Estaque

I’m up early, driving to l’Estaque. Heavy traffic along the Autoroute to Marseille, but not nearly what it will be during rush hour. I arrive around 7:45, with the sun just above the horizon.

I head first to Corbières at the eastern edge of the village. Cézanne explored and painted…


A Brief Foray into the Phenomenology of Cycling

Umberto Boccioni, “Dynamism of a Cyclist,” 1913

“We have learned again to sense our bodies; we have discovered, beneath the objective and detached knowledge of the body, this other knowledge that we have of it because it is always with us and because we are our bodies. …


William D. Adams

THE SENATE’S ACQUITTAL OF DONALD TRUMP on the charge of inciting insurrection on January 6 casts a glaring, unflattering light on the Republican senators who voted to exonerate the former president. There’s plenty to say about their cravenness, but the real story lies elsewhere. The impeachment trial…


William D. Adams

ON THE EVENING OF THE DAY OF THE 2016 ELECTION, I left my office near the National Mall in Washington around 7 pm and walked to a restaurant in the Navy Yard, several blocks south of Capitol Hill and not far from my apartment. …


IT’S THE FOURTH OF JULY WEEKEND IN MAINE. Thanks to vaccines, something like normal life is reemerging across the state. Small towns are holding their traditional parades. Families and friends are gathering again in small and large numbers. Lakes and beaches and parks are full of people. …


SEVERAL WEEKS AGO, I visited the First Burying Ground of the Settlers of Newbury, Massachusetts. My 9th great-grandfather, Robert Adams, is buried there. Robert and his wife, Eleanor Wilmot, arrived in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1635 and lived for two years in Salem before joining the fledgling Newbury community. …


William D. Adams

“Vision is the meeting, as at a crossroads, of all the aspects of Being.”

The French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty spent the summer of 1960 — his last — in the French village of Le Tholonet, about 10 kilometers east of Aix-en-Provence. Over the course of that summer…


William D. Adams

The Bassac River in Chau Doc City, Vietnam

In March of 2017, I travelled to Vietnam with a fellow veteran of the American war. It was our first visit to the country since our military deployments there — mine in 1968–69 to an Army advisory team deep in the Mekong Delta , and his to…


William D. Adams

ON JULY 25, 1967 I WAS ORDERED TO REPORT to the Godman Army Airfield at Fort Knox, Kentucky. When I arrived, I learned that President Lyndon Johnson had authorized the use of federal troops to suppress the civil unrest in Detroit that had erupted a few days…


William D. Adams

May 1, 2020

ONE OF THE NOVEL EXPERIENCES of life in the time of the coronavirus is the sensation of being lost. Waking in a dark and unfamiliar room; traveling in a foreign country without a map; drifting, rudderless, on the ocean. All metaphors lead to the…

Bro Adams

William Adams lives and writes in Portland, Maine. He served in the Obama administration as Chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities from 2014–2017.

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