Is it by the least expectation or the most that we discover beauty and joy?  I realize my blogs have taken shape through a series of walks, mostly in the same area.  How daring is that?  No trams nor trains, no underground or light rails; my financial advisor pushes me to take at least one international trip a year, to jump at the chance of last minute destinations.  Enjoy while you can, he almost threatens. Right. And so I've rambled--both physically and as a wordsmith--along the same sand-packed trail, really...

I saw that long line those many years ago in the Centrum of Warsaw Poland.  On a gray Sunday, it curled out onto the cobblestones leading to one of the cathedrals downtown.  Always on foot, a moving target of sorts, I was alone on a Fulbright teaching grant for seven months, seeking to immerse myself in local culture.  Moving, seeking, always observing.  Weekends, when there was no class I sometimes went whole days without speaking.  My communication was to watch others, a secret sharer. It's Sunday, I thought, as...

There's a trail I like to take back of the small cluster of houses where I live outside Las Cruces.  If I can I walk it early mornings and evenings just before dark.  When I was a kid I did something similar, walking the pasture behind my parents' house.  On good days I'd spot a horny toad or two, ground squirrels, and puzzled over holes.  Did they harbor a rattlesnake? Here, near the Rio Grande, I'm entertained the same way: a prairie falcon one day, a Black Phoebe the...

It's the title of John Graves' 1960 memoir of his trip along the Brazos River before a series of dams forever changed its landscape.  And his. And ours. I'm reminded of what we all share of rivers altered and mostly forgotten when I see the Rio Grande near Las Cruces, New Mexico "turned off" each year.  Yes, the flow from Caballo Dam near Truth or Consequences is throttled usually in early fall, and by the end of October you cross a bridge over a mostly dry sandy river bed--save...

I'd just finished reading Jerry Rogers' manuscript about his big brother lost in the kamikaze hit on the USS Franklin during World War II.  I'm to blurb the book--one of those endorsements you read on the back covers--and I was struggling to find the right words to celebrate Jerry's lasting brotherly love and talents as a historian in recovering Elden's story from the family's cache of letters. And then I checked Facebook, always interested in my nephew's and great-niece's posts--the best way to stay in touch with this long-distance...

I wish I had thought of that title.  Yes, it's i quotes. Yes, it's someone else's--Thomas L. Friedman of the New York Times.  My hat is off to Thomas for writing about the threat of extinction, well, not just the threat: the reality of it. One of the most devastating numbers he gives--"The African elephant population is in drastic decline, having shrunk about 30 percent from 2007-2-14." This is unprecedented and reflects a population dropping by 8 percent a year due mostly to poaching.  Go read a book called...

I walk daily near my Las Cruces home, really a bit out of town across the banks of the Rio Grande beneath an ancient volcanic cone called Picacho Hill.  Farm land lies east and west of the Rio Grande so that my sunrises and sunsets feature not only the Organ Mountains in the distance but acres of chili, alfalfa, and pecan orchards. It's a lovely site despite the development--on up the road a golf course, ritzy houses, and BMW's during rush hour. I live in what I call "the...

Back when I was visiting Peggy Pond Church at her retirement facility in Santa Fe, I would arrive some mid-mornings to find a note on her door:  "Napping, come on in."  Peggy, a poet and writer in her 80's, was an early riser (4-ish), so 10 am was a perfectly respectable nap time.  In a little while she would emerge from her bedroom; as I waited I never failed to take note of a post card of a coyote stuck to her filing cabinet drawer. From l983 to l986...