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 […]

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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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Community … continued

Last Christmas I wrote about the community I found by accident … because of an accident. This season has me thinking a lot about the community we make on purpose. Our lives are wound up in our communities, whether we ask for it or not. Our communities make us feel welcomed or ostracized, safe or afraid, […]

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Sharing Beauty

Today was different. This morning I went out in my garden and watered for the first time in a month. I did a little pruning. Just a little … to remove the spent flowers from my favorite Poppy. I didn’t notice what was different at first, but I felt it. In fact, I didn’t realize what was different […]

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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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