What the Crystal Ball Never Reveals: A Few Words about Blogging

A writer [and photographer], I think, is someone who pays attention to the world. ~ Susan Sontag I missed my anniversary this year, for the first time. Five years ago, I started blogging, and began writing regularly (or at least fairly regularly), for myself and not for deadlines, not because of external  “whip wielders” such…

In My Grandfather’s Garden, or, a Long Apothegm on Apricots

I don’t really remember my grandfather very well, for he died just a month before I turned 14. Yet he left a legacy that lies hidden deep in my brain, a usually dormant place where I apparently shelve all my food memories. But in the right circumstances, and with the right stimulus, that place –…

Moonstruck, a Meditation on Earth’s Moon

The crescent moon rises in the early night sky, a scythe among the clouds, sharp against the fading blue and the sun’s dying light. Cooking by the light of the full moon, the shadows in the corners illuminated, tugging at my mind. I bend low, hunting for a knife to chop the onion, slice the…

The Promise of Apple Blossoms

Spring, when she sashays in, always takes my breath away. Such vivid raiments cover her, so radiant that Joseph with his coat of many colors could only turn green with envy. The eye hardly knows where to light, much as a honey bee – turned loose in a field of daisies – darts from one…

Look Up, Look Down: Escaping to the Real World

When spring peeks stealthily through the trees, the smell of the air transports me – as it were – to my grandmother’s vanity table. There I used to sniff her talcum powder, inhaling an aroma reminiscent of flowers, patting my face with the fluffy white powder puff, until I looked like a singer in a…

Fallow Time, or, The Rewards of Lying Low and Following Winding Paths

The photographs said what I couldn’t. The winding paths on Roanoke Island, site of Raleigh’s Lost Colony, ending up in as-yet-unseen destinations, presented me with an unanticipated gift, fruit of the fallow time thrust upon me recently. What does it mean to be fallow? Uncultivated, unplowed, untilled, unseeded, unplanted, unsown, unsowed, empty, neglected, unused, idle,…

Libraries, Passageways to the Universe

Without libraries, I would not be the person I am today. Without free access to books that libraries (and taxes) provide, I would have been bereft indeed as a child. My family only owned a couple of copies of the Bible foisted on my father by Baptist grandmother and volumes of novels from the Book…

A Lesson from the Day of the Dead

Time comes to a halt on All Souls Day (Todos Santos), November 2, a day of ancient ritual. I learned that lesson when I spent the day with a Mexican family in Puebla, Mexico. To miss this celebration of death was simply unheard of. Our place was the cemetery, where the grandparents lay under thick…

The Zen of Artichokes

I love autumn. If it’s not the leaves and all the color, then I find poignancy in the drying and dying weeds littering the ground. They embody survival to me. One plant I particularly love is a thistle-like plant, filled with tiny seeds attached to billowy white parachutes. The least puff of wind forces the…