Pterodactyl on My Back

I’m trying to get the pterodactyl off my back. You’ve heard of the butterfly effect … the pterodactyl is no less intertwined into every choice we make. With the Dakota Access Pipeline injustice, fear of fracking-related earthquake, and a general repulsion for war, I’m making a bigger effort to wash my hands of oil and its […]

Read more

Skipping

I missed it: skipping. Skipping stones … skipping sisters … skipping heart beats. I showed my kids how to skip. We used to skip often down sidewalks … across lakes … into the ocean. Then we stopped. Because it embarrassed them, and I embarrassed them. These things that once made us smile, they were gone for […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

A Garden for Drought

I am not one of those Midwest transports to Los Angeles that basks in the endless sun of summer (and fall and winter) and complains when the thermometer falls below 60. Though I remember the dire sadness of the 109th gray day in a row before spring, I need one every now and then. I […]

Read more

Road Trip

My two teenage sons and I started the summer with a road trip. A road trip of the sort that we all both dreaded and looked forward to at the same time. A trip across the entire United States … or at least most of it. Their dad and I had taken our two oldest […]

Read more

A Search for A Place

Twenty-two years ago, I had just married, was graduating college, and on a search for a place to live. I imagined myself settling into family life and raising children in one place, wherever that place might be. Instead, I moved through six communities as I raised three children, went back to school, divorced and began […]

Read more