From Here to There

On the train!

Today I am going to New Orleans, on the train.  I’m doing it just for the hell of it, really, and to write; a more detailed explanation of my “writing on the train” project can be found here.  I have actually never ridden a train other than steam engine excursion trains in the US before, even though I adore trains immoderately. I am writing this while riding, ensconced in queenly comfort (compared to an airplane seat) and having just fetched my breakfast from the dining car.  We left … [Read more...]

Love and Magnolias

Magnolia in bloom

                                                      "Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”-- Maya Angelou The magnolias are in bloom.  A week ago they were just buds mostly, slim white fingers on big, dark, glossy trees.  Now they are a riot … [Read more...]

The Witchcraft of Place

pokeweed

Every so often, I teach a workshop I call "Ditch Witch:  Magical Uses of Common Roadside Plants."  When I first started working on the idea, I sat down and wrote all of the names and uses of plants I could think of, restricting myself to ones you would normally see just walking around.  When I got to twenty-five, I decided I had enough to go on with and started culling it down to the few most useful and common ones, to prevent overload. It helps that I have the vast well of knowledge that … [Read more...]

The Holt

Land's edge in Lincoln Park, San Francisco

When I was a kid, I used to go out to Lincoln Park in San Francisco by myself nearly every day. These days, you can get a call from the cops if you let your pre-teen kids out of the house without supervision in California, but back then, it was completely normal. Every day after school, when my homework was done -- or when I claimed that my homework was done -- I would head out the front door and up the hill a couple of blocks to the playground. The park would usually be full of neighborhood … [Read more...]

What I Know of a Creek

Amazon distance

This morning, like most mornings, I rode my bike to work along a creek, my pockets stuffed with peanuts. I've been feeding the crows, you see.  My best friend does this, and taught me.  He holds his hand in front of his face before tossing unsalted whole-shell peanuts where the corvids will see them.  It'd been a practice I'd long intended to pick up, but I've only started it recently, and only after finding the corpse of a dead crow on one of my rides home from work. The name of the … [Read more...]

The language of birds

Three house finches at a bird feeder

I'd love to be camping right now, somewhere nice and inaccessible, but the fact is I must be on a computer, earning my paycheck. I am fortunate however in that I can work from the comfort of a screened-in back porch with a lake view.  It also has a view of my bird feeder.  I am a big fan of finding the sacred wherever you are, and I was on a futon with a laptop, grading.  If I must sit still for a long period of time, and look up every time a movement catches my eye … [Read more...]

With a hey and a ho and a hey nonny no

Pink flowered wood sorrel

This is going to be uncharacteristically brief as we have reached that important seasonal milestone, the end of the semester.  I teach college English, among my other unfortunate vices.  So here's a recording of pioneering jazz singer Maxine Sullivan's version of "It Was a Lover and His Lass" from Twelfth Night, because Shakespeare.  You're welcome. It's going to be Beltane any minute now, and while my friends in more northern climes are grumping about when is spring going to get here, … [Read more...]


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