Politics is Personal

Politics is personal. My grandfather Henry was born the day after Independence Day. We drove from Columbus, Ohio, to North Carolina each summer to celebrate his birthday and the Fourth of July on the Outer Banks. One summer, Henry gave us money to buy beach towels. We ran down the road to the Trading Post in […]

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I’m Coming Out

“Why didn’t you tell me?” I’ve been getting this question a lot, since our circles have begun overlapping. Accompanied by bewilderment or curiosity, the asker often conveys a sense of betrayal, as if they were somehow misled. So, I’ve decided it’s time to come out in the open: I’m a twin. As in identical twin. No, […]

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On Weed(s) and Teens

  We pulled them out. The unwanted weeds. Brought by wind and in free city mulch. From who knows were. They took up residence in the pavement cracks and the bare dirt, and the gravel. We deemed them undesirable. Despite their wild beauty. Despite their many (medicinal and edible and material) uses. Germinated by winter […]

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Hello Darkness, My Old Friend

I remember darkness. I found darkness in the Appalachians … and the Outer Banks … and Tucson … and camping in the Sierras. Two winters ago I drove my son to Mammoth so he could snowboard. I left Los Angeles after work and Levi fell asleep halfway up there. Past Bishop the sky darkened until […]

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Reframing Lawn: From Fallow to Bygone

The fourth Drought and Beauty series lecture was last Friday, organized by the landscape architecture departments of Cal Poly Pomona, USC, and UCLA. Eleven of us gave quick, pecha kucha format presentations, followed by a brief response from two local writers. I chose to tell the story of one reason I work in landscape architecture: my […]

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Summer Rain in L.A.

We all needed the rain. Four years of drought left our trees, plants, soil, wildlife, and spirits in thirst. My eyes, ears, nose, and skin drank in the rain as it came … steady at times, in bursts and downpours at others. Thunder and lightening took me back to east coast summers at the ocean. After the […]

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For the Birds…

My grandma was a birder. I caught her enthusiasm for spotting and identifying our flying feathered friends on a trip to Sanibel Island in 1980. She introduced me to Great Blue Herons and Snowy Egrets, Ibis and Roseate Spoonbills. We saw Cormorants and Little Green Herons and Cattle Egrets. These most magnificent wading birds stood poised for us in […]

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Biophilia/Biophobia

We humans have a complex relationship with nature. Those of us who work to conserve, restore or design with nature often take for granted humanity’s dependence on and innate love for nature. “Biophilia” was E.O. Wilson’s suggestion that we as humans have an instinctive bond with other living systems. I feel this when I’m in urban […]

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School for the Angels

I always loved school. Even chronic shyness couldn’t dampen my drive to learn and do my schoolwork and please my teachers. From elementary through college and years later in graduate school, I failed only one class, and that was because I decided I’d rather sleep in than go to my 8:00 a.m. Intro to Economics class. So, despite […]

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Nowhere … but Somewhere

AMTRAK DAY EIGHT November 28, 2014 I fall instantly in love with places. These eight days on the train I have given my heart to the mesquite-laden hills around Austin … the sun-drenched center of Forth Worth … Saint Louis’ sorrowful elegance the night after the non-indictment … a distant Illinois farm house friended on […]

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