Creative Rummage

The World according to Jessica

My father liked lists and made one the morning after my mother died. He did not want to forget the quotidian, the smaller gestures and all those details that we take for granted about our beloveds. So he reached for a pen and paper to impose some order in his shattered world. And he wrote…

Read More

Garden Variety

And then she asked why all serious gardeners, the ones who push beyond a basic marigold border, aren’t considered eco-artists. She pointed out that gardeners have a singular understanding of the climate crisis because they take note of subtle and dramatic changes in the weather, wildlife patterns, and soil.

Read More

Old School

In the early seventies, my father accepted a post in the Nixon administration to represent the United States as its ambassador to El Salvador, and my siblings and I moved to a new country and a bilingual school. Half the day was in Spanish, the other in English. My father insisted that I would be fluent in Spanish in no time. Instead, I got a crash course in bullying.

Read More

The Tyranny of Busyness

““How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days.” — Anne Dillard Day in and day out I hear how busy everyone is.…

Read More

Gift in Kind

My mother was conflicted about the holidays. She was a spiritual soul and quiet Christian and was attached to the rhythms of the Christian calendar. She attended church if the architecture compelled her, or if it boasted a great choir, but was never drawn to the built in community of a congregation. My sister and…

Read More

Elk Paean

Over a foot of snow fell at our house these past few days, and there was enough moisture in the valley to shut down the remains of the Lake Christine Fire. Winter has been inaugurated and there has been a collective sigh of relief after a summer of fires, drought and record high temperatures. Fall…

Read More

I AM AS MUCH AS YOU

These weeks have not been the nation’s finest. There have been millions of words written about the Kavanaugh/Ford hearings, and there will be many more now that he is confirmed. But I need to add my own voice to the choir. I was traveling with my son the day of the hearing and waited until…

Read More

Portals

I believe in portals. The kinds that don’t require passwords, only presence. There are famous portals like the ones in the Narnia Chronicles or the Harry Potter series. I have portals of my own: my garden is one and Independence Pass is another.

Read More

Irrational Obsession

I fit one artist stereotype quite well — I was never a math star. Far from it. I stumbled through pre-calculus and closed the door and assumed I would always bellyflop when it came to mathematics. When I took my place in the world of practical numbers -one fleshed out in spreadsheets, budgets,  and investment data – I realized I liked looking for patterns within the numbers and that…

Read More

The Map is Not the Territory

We rely on maps to navigate earthly and celestial terrain, and I feel grounded, in control somehow, when I am pulled into a fabulous map. Oh here I am! There I will go!  And then there are maps for our internal landscapes and methods we call on to steer through spiritual terrain. Mine help preserve sanity and joy—and trek through heartbreak and confusion. But they were falling short of guiding me through my own brand of American angst.

Read More