The heat portends rain. It’s stifling, calm, sweltering. The kind of heat that leaves you with no recourse but to take a mid-day nap under a fan that languidly stirs thick simmering air but provides little relief. You wake up sweaty and confused. By late afternoon dark clouds loom on the eastern horizon; edging slowly closer, accompanied by the distant and low rumble of thunder and the far away flash of lightning against the gray-black sky. The sun is soon overpowered by the darkening sky, creating an early false sunset. Confused birds fly into the treetops to roost prematurely. A squawking ibis flies overhead announcing her displeasure. Soon the fanfare begins. Loud kettle drum crashes of thunder follow short on the heels of brilliant flashes of lightning that streak from sky to horizon. Continue reading “Pula”
I’m very disappointed in you, microfiber towel.
On a cold and wintery morning, I turn off the hot shower and reach for you through a fog of steam. You look so inviting, so warm and fluffy, like a flattened rectangular teddy bear hanging on a peg in the bathroom, waiting to wrap me in your warm embrace. Your deep, lush pilings, like intestinal villi, hold such promise for quick absorption. Quickly now, no time for delay, for with the shower off the room is already growing chilly, the cold air is rushing in. I grab you and rub vigorously. And rub some more. And yet I’m somehow no drier. And now colder than before. How could this be? This isn’t working. You’ve left me damp, chilled, heartbroken. The promise of absorption was a lie. You don’t absorb, you just push water from one place to the next. I wrap you around me, but instead of a warm dry embrace, you feel….plasticky. Continue reading “I’m very disappointed in you, microfiber towel.”
My forested suburban backyard is abuzz on this autumnal morning with the soundtrack of life. The deejay is the Northern Mockingbird, who has worked all summer long on his repertoire, sampling the songs of everyone else, keeping the bits he likes, rearranging them, altering the pitch and tempo. Continue reading “Autumn Birdsong”
Because Africa is an Adventure
Bring fancy quick-dry clothes made of rip-stop nylon (because the cruelest thorns in the world are found in Africa). The type of clothes that cost a lot of money in Patagonia catalogs. Preferably the pants that have legs that zip off and become shorts. Because you never know when you might have to zip down and run from a hungry hyena. Because Africa is an adventure. Continue reading “Because Africa is an Adventure”
Today is the autumnal equinox. Goodbye to what must surely have been one of the shortest summers in recent memory. Funny how time speeds up as we get older. After one of the most brutal winters in memory I’m not so sure I’m all that excited to see summer come to an end just yet. Continue reading “Autumnal Days”
The Arab Mare
Grandpa came home one day with a blood-red Arab mare named Suzy. We all thought he was foolish for buying her; a 65-year old man had no business on such a hot-blooded horse, a mare no less, which would be coming into heat every month and acting crazy. We were all afraid he would get thrown and break a hip. But Grandpa didn’t listen to our protests. I think he was attracted to her beauty rather than her practicality, like a man in a mid-life crisis purchasing a flashy red sports car. And Suzy was a beauty, lightly built with sleek graceful lines and a delicate head with the dished shape characteristic of her breed. Beautiful, but entirely impractical. Continue reading “The Arab Mare”
It is very cold, around 15 degrees, and a stout north wind makes it feel even colder. My breath forms a white cloud around my head each time I exhale. In the Franconia/Springfield Metro station a man stands in the entrance to the station holding a handwritten cardboard sign reading “Disabled Veteran. Any help is appreciated.” Continue reading “My People”
Waiter, there’s an elephant in my tea!
We jumped in an Indian-made version of a Jeep with a forest ranger whose services we had borrowed for the day from the government of India. Our destination was a tea estate that faces regular raids from elephants living in the adjacent forest reserve. Continue reading “Waiter, there’s an elephant in my tea!”