on the ursidae
They say the brown bear has the strength of nine men and I say, in that case, he's more like a woman. The closest ancestor to the short-nosed brown bear made his way southward from North America, freed by the formation of the isthmus of Panama during the Miocene epoch, in what I imagine was Gabriel Garcia Marquez's own deft, creative hand at spinning...
on starting over, again
It’s 3:00 a.m. in Hargeisa, and I’m caught between a (literal) nightmare that woke me, and suhoor, the pre-dawn meal before Ramadan fasting begins, which makes it useless to go back to sleep now. So, let’s do this… I’ve long been a fan of the start-over, the blank page which holds promise, tabula rasa. I made “art” prolifically as a child, but one errant mark...
2017 Lessons in humility
The year also brought a whittling of the self, especially a recognition of my limits. Time expands beyond the moment to the far reaches of age where, if I'm lucky, I'll look back fondly on slow walks down the stairs, on the lines of schoolgirls in long, bright yellow hijabs like flocks of canaries, on the hot stacks of loxoox in the kitchen each...
on that life I always wanted
Over the last five or six years, my constellation has expanded, the points of light farther flung, moving ever outward. But the weight, the gravity of the galaxy remains. There is no escaping yourself. Recent chapters of my life have seen travel like I hadn't expected, but that I embraced with the zeal of a child offered an unexpected dessert--that's for me?!--probably undeserving but...
on travel favorites: long hauls
After 4 years abroad, and enough inter-continental travel to warrant a few opinions, I thought I'd put together a quick list of travel favorites for long-haul trips (8+ hours, in economy class). My first goal is to share, but my second is to hear suggestions; there are always more efficient, more pleasant, and less harried ways to reach your destination.
on an upswing
Somewhere in there I lost myself, I tipped into the darkness that comes around every now and again, pays a visit without invitation, overstays its welcome. The darkness of old would shock me into submission, steamroll me to the point of immobility. And, looking for something to blame, I'd get lost in arguments with myself about the origins of my own depression - circumstance,...
on a trip to Berbera
Time passes, and there you are doing things you didn’t know were possible: harvesting tomatoes; meeting ministers; winning the trust of neighbors; chatting with cargo ship crew from New Jersey at the Berbera port; stripping down to bathing suits on a Somali beach, guarded by baby camels and soldiers with AK-47s. You made it, and the story no longer writes itself; you’ll have to put...
to market, to market
An advantage of visiting a place more than once is that you're no longer hostage to its sensations, or to its beauty. The second, third, tenth times around you might avoid being bowled over by the aromas and flavors, tingly with the aura of the landscape; you're likely have your wits about you, and that means you can make reasonable decisions about where to go, how...
what’s to eat #28
Sure, this is about the sweets: the chewy, the crispy, the honey-soaked, the ones you buy from your guy, the one to whom you trust your most saccharine indulgences. But this is also an ode to them: The Sweetsmen.