Saturday, September 27, 2008

Urban Wildlife

Yesterday as I was leaving for work I witnessed an extraordinary event. As I slammed shut the front door, I heard the flapping of tremendous wings. When I looked up, I saw a large bird flying away with something white in its talons. It was a hawk, and when I looked toward the green across the street and saw the hundreds of white feathers strewn across the lawn, I knew that the hawk had killed one of the neighborhood pigeons.

The hawk landed on a fence at the end of the block, and dropped the white bird. I walked across the street to the scene of the killing and saw in the middle of that patch of white feathers six feet in diameter, newly spilled, red, red blood.

The hawk stayed on the fence for a long time. It was still there even after I went back inside to report the carnage to Calderoj. I drove by it, stopped, backed up, and attempted to take a picture of it with my phone. But it just stayed there, guarding its prize.

Calderoj reports that a dead, headless pigeon was on the ground next to the fence when he walked by on the way to the bus. Apparently, there was no hawk in sight.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sarah Palin is Running for First Lady, Not VP

Yep. She is. More about that later.

Renowned Social Sciences Magazine Makes Several Literary Allusions

The Economist makes three literary allusions in its September 20th edition. On page 19, in an article on the state of global finance today, can be found two headings taken from Yeats "The Second Coming," "The blood-dimmed tide," and "The centre cannot hold." But the real beauty of these headings is how they tie to the front cover, which is the crisis imagined as a "widening gyre."

Saturday, September 20, 2008


If Calderoj had been Adam, we'd never have been kicked East of Eden.

Can I tell you how much I love this time of year? It isn't oppressively hot, and the air always smells so fresh -- with just that hint of mountain pine. Then there's the breeze, which is low and constant. And the sun. It's so bright and it makes the turning leaves bright.

This year I've been very aware of this time of year. I've had to be aware of it because I'm inside so much now. Law school requires a lot of studying. I have to be aware of it or I'll wind up thinking about the test for negligence, or the rules of civil procedure as they relate to personal jurisdiction. Instead, I make sure I'm aware. I take the prettiest route to school from work. I make sure I take the long way from the parking lot to the college so I can breathe in the air and feel the sun and see the trees.

So today, after studying with my Law School BFF, I came home and went out into the garden.

Dear Reader, our garden is overgrown. I have been in school for a month now, and I have not been out there since. I have, however, been there in mind and in emotion. Mostly, I imagine the plants that I planted, tended, and watered all summer choking under the sumac, and expiring from absence of water (the monsoon didn't show up this year after all). Then I worry about the plants.

So imagine my surprise when today I found the tomato plants hanging over under the weight of their fat fruits, the cantaloupe producing giant, perfectly round fruits, and he corn, still standing, with cobs waiting. I waded in and gleaned.

I love the smell of a garden. I'm not talking flowers, because I have none. Instead, I love the smell of a tomato patch. I ran my hands over the rosemary. Delicious. And huge. The bush is massive. So is the basil, though it is seeding. And then the French lavender. I ran my hands over it until they were covered with a fine layer of oil.

Then I went in and found Calderoj napping. I held my fingers to his nose. I woke him up. "What are you doing?" I explained, "Doesn't the garden smell wonderful?" He replied, "I was sleeping." I complained, "I've just done something entirely archetypal. I've been out in the garden and now I'm coming in and tempting you." Calderoj elected to continue sleeping rather than bask in the lavender scent of our garden. Apparently it is important to have properly firing neurons when one wants to smell a garden properly.