December 10, 2014 § Leave a comment


Listening to the rain, Clara brushed the day’s work from her hair. She 
surveyed the house again, looking for anything left undone. Baxter,
the old spaniel trailed her, restive.

She bathed.
Dressed with measure.
Heated a brandy.

“Time to go now,” she said, turning off lights.

By midnight the river was in the parlor.

New Comers

July 7, 2014 § 3 Comments

It was not an innocent conversation.
He is younger, I am a woman. I have lived in the neighborhood more than twenty years; the oldest of the newcomers. He is the newest, and wanting bad, to put his stink on his place, a second home in the country.
It is more or less than a neighborhood beef.
It was civil. Metered. He owns and manages his own business, clearly sees himself as a good communicator, but he doesn’t attend to the nuances. Nuance is my metier, was my profession, is my passion, pricks my curiosity feeds me lures me seduces me, is my drug of choice and I get it and savor it wherever and whenever I can.
Ironically my argument brooked no nuance whatever, needed none. What he had done was wrong. And I’ve come to learn in that instance once said, little else needs saying. Wrong is wrong. But, it still is a matter of opinion. A matter of culture. Of values. Of bearing. Of citizenship. Of how do you know. How do I know. Eeny meeny miny moe. Same neighborhood. Different world.

He said he had the right to have an open campfire on his property.
No question. I said. And lawful. Warming or cooking fires are.
But not the whole story. It is a hot dry July in the middle of one of the worst droughts on record, fire danger is EXTREME, water is scarce, and his property is under Redwood and low hanging Bay trees in the middle of a populated neighborhood. And the afternoon wind was still blowing. Sparks were flying. And one of the neighbors, scared, called the fire department. We all were worried.
In full regalia they came, and left. He is within his rights to have a cooking or a warming fire on his property.
No question.
But, had we asked them, if having a fire under these conditions was prudent, or a reasonable risk, they would have said no. He agreed. But thought it was his right to take this risk. We all take risks he said.
No doubt.

But, personal risks which implicate others are no longer personal. Behaviors which can inflict harm on others are inherently a public matter; the rights and good of the many instead of the rights and pleasures of one. The very building blocks of community. Of civility. Of respect.
I said his having a fire was wrong.
He said he had the right.
I said, given the conditions it was wrong, and disrespectful.
He wondered if there was anything he could do to allay my fears.
I said, wait for the rains.
He smiled.
He thought I was taking it too personally. He’d never had a fire get out of control. And he, wanting to be honest said it was likely he would continue to have campfires any time he wanted.
As I expected.

Not an innocent conversation. It is the changing of the guard. A young man unto himself, proud of the sovereignty he has a right to. Me, elder at the outpost, responsible now to the good of the many and the differences between right and wrong.





oct 15 santa rosa

October 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

you could sure tell in the crowd who has a sense of history, lots of us grayhairs, lots of grayhairedfolk in wheelchairs, with o2 tanks, hearing aids, and canes but nevertheless there for the duration, and the yoot, but who seemed missing were the 40 somethings with their kids…and the nextdoorneighbor kids, but of the ever increasing number (first article said hundreds, now its more than 2500) who showed up many brought their own signs, (and musical instruments)…my two favorites were this is soooooo not over, another one said, and elect statesmen not politicians (ain’t that the truth….) graphically our talkback was the best, biases withstanding

pocket canyon dusk

October 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

it is not the line of cars
but the way the light

on the road is
glinting through the trees

that puts me in mind of
coming home

asked and answered

July 23, 2007 § 2 Comments

Calling the Kettle Black

Tank top and shorts it was hot as hell he had no hair by choice metal studs through his scant eyebrows eyes that didn’t dart but didn’t look either tattoos like brands on his arms good ink well done and on his calves under calf length white socks.

He twittered ducked rather than shrugged and looked to his boss who laughed more than giggled but just the same, when I asked “what do the tattoos on your legs say?” gave the side slide nod. “White pride,” he shrugged now. “I did it before. That’s why I cover them up…don’t want to go to jail,” he mumbled.

Young now. Young when he did it. Probably in jail. Done and undone, neither at his behest. Forgive him father for he knows not what he is doing.

We talked a lot after they left. Kept the doors open wide not only to dry the carpets they’d just cleaned. Paul adamant they couldn’t return. And my being a Yid notwithstanding needing some steps in between–to  speak up; standing for notwithstanding–his pride our belief in difference, neither were self-evident.

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