Trees and Traditions
An article on fig trees spurs a reflection on forgotten gardens and how they might change our experience of urban history.
A Fig Tree in Summer
A backyard fig tree prompts a reflection on gardening, nature, and place amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and self-isolation.
Solace in the Garden
Amid the distressing events of the past weeks and days–ongoing pandemic, massive unemployment, police violence, civic unrest, and horrible presidential leadership, I’ve found it challenging to concentrate and write. My subjects have grown smaller in scope and range, largely focusing on the happenings of nature in my wife’s and my backyard.
Plants & America: A July 4th Reflection
Every summer, near the Fourth of July, I try to read a history of the American Revolution or a biography of a founding father. This period has long captivated my imagination: Enlightenment thinkers led a young nation discovering its identity.
A Local Seed Library
While returning several slightly overdue books–yes, I resemble the stereotypical book hoarder–at the Mid-Manhattan Library of the New York Public Library on a recent afternoon, I noticed a flyer promoting a seed library. Any library member could request up to three packets of non-GMO vegetable, flower, or herb seeds. My interest was piqued.
A Spring Ritual
In recent past posts, I’ve reflected upon nature and the arrival of spring. This season of renewal has captured my private thoughts as well. The physical, imaginative, and spiritual worlds seem refreshed and expectant.
Shattering Concrete: Urban Agriculture
Recently, I watched Urban Roots, a documentary on the urban agriculture movement in Detroit, Michigan. The film was released in 2011, just as the Motor City approached the height of its fiscal and governmental crisis. The state of Michigan assumed control of the city in 2012, and the city declared bankruptcy in 2013.
Cleaning Up the Garden: a Passage into Winter
During the past several weekends, I have been cleaning up my garden to prepare for the coming winter months. Bit by bit, I approached this annual seasonal project: I pulled up the remaining pepper and tomato plants, pruned bushes and shrubs, dumped potting soil into the compost bin and pile, put away chairs and tables,…
Strange Bedfellows: My Fascination with OffTheGridNews
When my wife and I purchased our home several years ago, we found ourselves faced with a multitude of immediate and long-term repairs and projects. Our new home was over a century old with beautiful interior flourishes and the proverbial “good bones.” Although we lived in a lovely remodeled apartment during the first three years…
Stray Thoughts: Memorial Day Weekend 2016
Memorial Day ushers in the summer for most Americans. When I was a child, summer days burst with wonder and adventure. Even the most jaded adult, I believe, still clings to a notion of summer as a time of leisure, pleasure, and contentment all tinged with magic. Sit in your yard or your neighborhood park…