Friday, June 26, 2020


What's with all the moths? Miller moths a pest for people, but become a buffet for bears
Yesterday a miller moth flew out of my jeans as I was putting them on. I will not comment on the symbolism of that moment.

Later, another moth flew out of the glass I use to take my pills.

I know they are harmless. They do not bite. They do not chew holes in your clothes or curtains. But they are so rude! They hide in the shadows, along window moldings, on stair bannisters, and in paneling and window frames.  

They are small, dull brownish creatures that you would barely notice if they didn’t move.
As these insects migrate from the plains to the mountains, they seem drawn to my house and front porch and garage. It’s the wood. They like the wood on the porch and the west side of the garage.
And there are so many of them! 

One evening noises from the interior caused me to hesitate before opening the side garage door.  Fearing an intruder, I peeked in only to discover legions of moths flying into the garage windows. There must have been sixty of them hurling themselves against the panes. When I open the garage to drive somewhere, a cloud of moths rushes out over the alley.

Although they seem to be everywhere (little moth corpses pepper my carpets and floors) there are fewer than in years past.  When my two cats were younger, they loved to chase them, catch them, eat them . . . then regurgitate them. By turning off all lights except those in the upstairs bathroom, I would entice both the moths and cats away from other parts of the house then close the door, leaving the insects to their feline fate.

Now I have only one cat, who is old and totally disinterested.

This year’s gang seems, at last, to be diminishing. Those that are not dead have evidently made it to cooler altitudes. And I can put my jeans on without checking.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Getting to know you . . .

I walked around my block this morning.

That’s not a big deal. I’ve lived here almost 18 years. I know the territory.

But today was different. People were outside. We exchanged greetings and pleasantries [from CDC-approved distances]. And in some cases, names [which I will probably forget because I tend to do that].

It was all cheerful and friendly. I learned more about my neighbors. About the kids with amazing bicycle helmets. About the sculptor setting up a new studio, and his wife who created their garden and took their daughter on bike rides. About the retired gentleman fixing up his front yard. Even about the woman re-re-planting a corner of her property where plants seemed never to flourish.

And all it took to ignite this flurry of friendliness was a global pandemic.


Friday, April 17, 2020

beauty in the time of Covid19

In the middle of a pandemic, there was a heavy snow that transformed our world.
 Even locked inside

Or standing on the front porch

Or walking through the Sculpture Park

We could see how the snow cushioned the trees with beauty
Yes, it battered tulips, but they will probably survive.

And so will we.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020


“No man is an island…” Nor woman either. Even though many of us feel stranded in a fearful sea, none of us is.

Legions of people are working on our behalf. We have water in our faucets and electricity to illuminate and in myriad ways facilitate our existence. The Internet keeps us quasi-connected , which is better than nothing. I’m still getting my newspapers and the mail delivery people still bundle my mail so I can bring it in with one hand (my left wrist still healing from a break). And a therapist works to make me functional.

Farmers and clerks are still managing to provide sustenance. Television still provides both essential information and diversion. My old cat provides comfort and my vet still provides the special food and medicine to keep him going. My pharmacist conjures needed medication. Texts and telephone and occasionally Skype help us keep track of each other. And new developments, like Zoom, promise new forms of connection.

And do not (ever) discount the wondrous benefits of sunshine and emerging tulips and trees pregnant with thousands of new leaves.

And chocolate.

I have long loved John Donne’s poem, written more than 400 years ago. [And now forgive its myopic gender focus because this particular time and circumstance calls for our acknowledgement and celebration of human connections.]

No man is an island, 
Entire of itself; 
Every man is a piece of the continent, 
 A part of the main. 
 If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, 
As well as if a promontory were: 
As well as if a manor of thy friend's Or of thine own were. 
 Any man's death diminishes me, 
Because I am involved in mankind. 
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; 
It tolls for thee.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Caramel Sun

On January 30, the New York Times published a remarkable photograph on its front page. It had nothing to do with the nation’s politics, the Middle East or the corona virus. In fact, it looked like some kind of popcorn ball. Perhaps a caramel popcorn ball. 

What it really was, was a closeup of the sun. Each of the ‘kernels’ is about the size of Texas. Each carries heat from the inside of the sun to the outside. When the hot gas cools and sinks, it creates the dark lines separating the cells (or popcorn kernels).

The remarkable image was taken from the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope atop Haleakala. This ancient cratered volcano is sacred to native Hawaiians who named it House of the Sun in their language.

The photo reveals that the bland yellow orb we in this hemisphere so welcome this time of year is actually a seething cauldron. The solar rays seen during eclipses can reach a million degrees Fahrenheit. Every second, thermonuclear reactions in the center of the sun turn 5 million tons of hydrogen into pure energy.

That energy makes its way outward through boiling gas pocked with magnetic storms that crackle, whirl and lash space with showers of electrical particles and radiation.

Never assume that what you perceive is the whole of reality.