• February and March 2018

    Thursday, March 29, 2018 2 Permalink 0

    The weeks have grown steadily lighter. Earlier mornings, later evenings, shorter nights. The hints of spring started in January with winter jasmine, and like a chorus building to a finale, the flowers have come out in steadily increasing numbers ever since. It has not been the most beautiful spring I can remember here, owing to heavy rains ...

  • Candlemass 1956

    Friday, February 2, 2018 0 Permalink 0

    We are closer in time to the winter of 2056 than to the winter of 1956, but there are still those who remember that earlier year as the worst winter of all, even though it was in some ways one of the mildest on record. It was a year of extremes, maybe much like this one, ...

  • Freezes like tiny hammers

    Friday, December 1, 2017 0 Permalink 0

    In fall there is the expected seasonal stained-glass pattern of autumn leaves, orange-and-red. There is rust. There is ochre - the bright and distracting display. But there are so many other colors also which our habitual imaginations exclude. The successive freezes expose them like tiny hammers shattering the glass of tradition so that we can see ...

  • Cold snap

    Thursday, November 16, 2017 2 Permalink 0

    Amble, pre- The years pass with dizzying speed. It's already time for the first hard frost again this morning. We have been here in this one place for so long now that the moment becomes melded with the memories of the 4 or 5 or 6 first frosts before. I cannot keep all the years straight, and ...

  • Fruiting

    Friday, August 4, 2017 0 Permalink 0

    We may be more attracted to flowers, but it is the seed, fully formed, that sustains us. We eat the fruit and the seeds. The flowers are just an attractor toward the goal of fertilization. It's what comes next that propagates life - both of the plants, and our own. It is that time of the ...

  • The Bees

    Tuesday, June 27, 2017 1 Permalink 0

    The bees are in their full fervor this week, after the heatwave has subsided and before the predicted heavy rains to come. The flowers are doing their best to be available for any and all dates with them. The delicacy of this operation, repeated over and over by thousands of callers on each stem, is mesmerizing. It ...

  • Canicule

    Thursday, June 22, 2017 3 Permalink 0

    It has not really been a heatwave (une canicule, in French) in the same devastating sense as the other parts of the world have suffered this week, but it has been assez chaud, and particularly for the season. We have been going down to the cave each evening to keep cool until bedtime, and have ...

  • The Sexual World

    Saturday, March 18, 2017 6 Permalink 1

    The best two classes I took in college were The Taxonomy of Flowering Plants, and Linguistics 101. They are not dissimilar in the gifts they have continued to give through my entire life since. They both gave me a way of seeing past the surfaces we take for granted, to look closely, toward much more ...