Saturday, April 30, 2016


My piece about the mule deer in Topanga Canyon has been published by University of New Orleans' literary journal, Ellipsis.

Here's the link: 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Confederate Jasmine

It seems like in just one day, all the Confederate Jasmine in town has burst into full bloom. Everywhere I go I smell its sweet scent, and see its white flowers. Here massed in a hedge. There climbing up a telephone pole. There on a fence, or  climbing over a vacant house. I once grew this plant as a finicky hanging basket plant in Seattle. Not here. Here it takes over!

Trachelospermum jasminoides is a vigorous evergreen vine with white five-petaled star-shaped flowers. It's a native of China and is not related to the "real" jasmines of the genus Jasminum. 

It gets its common name because it grows so well in the Southern states, those once part of the Confederacy. This is a legacy that perhaps this pretty flower should have outgrown. In Europe, it's called Star Jasmine. That might be prettier.

Nevertheless, there is so much of it here in New Orleans that it has filled our late April evenings with scent.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Fruits of wisdom

I went to the New Orleans Museum of Art today with a friend. On Wednesdays, admission is free to Louisiana residents.

Looking at art with a friend is always a good thing. Some works stir my brain, other works stir my friend's brain. We can point out interesting details to one another. We can go to a cafe after, and talk about things that well up in our minds after seeing the pure and vivid expression of feeling that others - some long, long past - have left in the world.

I am thinking of a Greek double-handled vase from 400 BC, emblazoned with an image of a swan flapping its wings.

Or the stairway of the Paris Opera House in 1880, viewed by an impressionist painter.

Or a medieval altarpiece portrait of a saint - who happens to look exactly like a bartender friend of mine.

Being able to share these experiences with friends is a treasure. I'm so lucky.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Hey y'all

It's a busy time for me. Sorry for no posting. I'm moving into a new place and things are scattered. I've got papers to write, too. Also family things going on.

Spring in New Orleans is lovely, and each time I can snatch a moment to be outdoors or take a walk on the levee, or hang out with friends, it's a treasure.