To be practiced


For the last three weeks, any time I can’t find Lucas, I look for a trail of kishu peels – peeling is a recent development, and one he’s quite fond of. He is a well-known citrus lover in these parts, but still I have been astounded at the rate he consumes these tiny (they make Satsumas look massive) sweet-tart darlings. The citrus farmer at our Saturday market sells them by the pound, and each week I have purchased a pound more than the week before – but to date, they haven’t lasted past Tuesday.

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Summer’s best

photo-525We’ve reached the moment when everything is bursting-ripe, tomatoes and peaches and corn and melons, green beans and zucchinis and plums. Summer itself is dwindling, shadows are lengthening, but such glory in these final days.

My summer book bag has slowly emptied. I was inspired by Farmacology: What Innovative Family Farming Can Teach Us About Health and Healing by Daphne Miller, M.D. (Here’s an interview that gives you some sense of her work.) Alice Munro never fails to transport me, and I savored Dear Life. And after seeing my dad and stepmom both reading it, I picked up a copy of The Good Food Revolution by Will Allen of Growing Power – if you’re interested in sustainable urban farming, it’s a good read.

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Trail markers (part two)

grandma-isabelle-sam-grandpabernieFrom what everyone tells me, my Grandpa Bernie’s slides have always been in their square white boxes. The boxes are nondescript, the kind you probably picture when you think of slide boxes, if you think of slide boxes at all. They are the ones that stack easily into garage corners and attics, that protect their contents from dust while becoming thick with it themselves. If these boxes are notable, it is only for their sheer number: my grandpa had thousands upon thousands upon thousands of slides. Some of them show old old images of relatives, from the days when he himself would have been just a boy. Some show my dad and my aunts and my uncle as kids. Some show surgeries he performed, or an ongoing stream of family trips, family houses, family dogs.

bernie 1943

My favorite ones show a glimpse of my grandparents’ love story.  Continue reading

Trail markers

j and l runI tell myself that I will remember them, running along the sidewalk to the pool, all sun-bleached hair and palpable joy. I will remember their sand-covered toes, the warm sweaty weight of their heads on my shoulder, the exact way that Lucas says “I not too little,” and how Jacob sounds out “square” as “scary.” I tell myself that I will remember, I will remember just how this summer is. I take pictures, to be my trail markers.

boys at pool

Of course, I know enough by now to tell you that memory doesn’t work that way. Continue reading

Down from the mountains

kids on the riverThe south fork of the Tuolumne River curves through our camp. At the center there is a deep green swimming hole, ringed with granite boulders, indulgent on the hot, dusty afternoons. At night, from our tent-cabin, we can hear Continue reading