There’s no wifi at my Aunt Mary’s beautiful old house, so we watch the tide come in and go out again twice a day. There’s a moment of stillness when it turns, the water clearly going under the bridge in one direction, and then a pause for maybe three or four minutes, and the surface begins to move the other way, little riffles, and after a while all the boats turn on their moorings and face their prows upstream, the “up” being a figure of speech because it’s quite flat here.
A long time ago (2001?), in a galaxy far, far away (southern Utah), I discovered a magical restaurant next to a stalwart lodge in a very small mountain town. “Discovered” is not the right word: my friend Julia took me there for a few days of hiking. She had come upon it the year before, during a rambling solitary road trip, and fallen in love with the landscape, the food, the owners, the striated red rock cliffs, the wind in the aspens.
Since then, I’ve been back five times. Once more with Julia just after her father died. Once to teach a week-long writing and yoga workshop on the premises. Once for a private writer’s retreat of my own. And twice for overnights as I was passing through the region.
This last time my friend Heidi and I delivered a grandfather clock to Laramie, Wyoming (that might be my favorite travel sentence of all time), and were heading home to California in a roundabout way. Heidi, reasonably enough, did not want to drive twice through the vast emptiness of Nevada,
My sister Sarah has always been good at adventures. Both the larger-than-life experiences anyone would call adventures, and those ordinary quotidian events that she makes so much fun they turn into adventures. These photographs, (all taken by and copyright Sarah Fisk, 2016) are from a trip in the first category.
Sarah and her sweetpea John flew to Italy last week to see Christo’s temporary installation of floating piers covered with orange fabric. The piers connect two islands in Lake Iseo, Italy, with the mainland, and cover approximately two miles.
I’ve been impressed and moved by Christo’s work for decades. In collaboration with his late wife Jean-Claude, he’s designed amazing outdoor art installations that always relate somehow to the landscape, including the Running Fence in my home county in California (1976) and
Over the course of my life I’ve envied several friends for their incredible sense of design. One of them is Jacquie, who lives in California’s Sierra foothills, overlooking the south fork of the Yuba River.
Jacquie lives in a two-storey handmade house that she and her ex- built together decades ago. Constructed of wood and plaster, with a greenhouse at one end and a tin roof, it’s powered by solar panels. She burns oak and manzanita for heat in a vintage stove and gets her water from a spring, gravity-fed into the kitchen sink.
Everywhere you look there’s a nook or cranny, a vignette, some artistic juxtaposition of…
I am not a farmer. I’m not even much of a gardener. My skills relate to hiring smart people and then agreeing with their ideas, which is how I come to have any sort of garden at all. But for the last few years, water has been in short supply in California. The combination of drought on the land and a certain hollowness in my wallet has left me with many weeds. There’s one little spot, though, that I reserve every year for tomatoes.
Even though I shop at one of our four local farmers’ markets for my summer produce, I still grow my own tomatoes. After experimenting for a few years, I only grow cherry tomatoes — they’re easy, don’t seem to have any diseases (at least at my house), and can be eaten straight off the vine. Plus, they’re so beautiful!
I get my plant starts from one local nursery and several small farms in the area. I know these seeds have been organically …
I want to show you some clips from a talk I gave on creativity, but the constraints of this blog site prevent me from just putting the video here. However, if you click on the “continue reading” note at the end of the boxed paragraph, below, you’ll be taken to the right page — on my other, non-blogging site — where you can scroll down a bit and click on the video.
If all this sounds like too much work, here is the synopsis: …
Every morning for the last several years I have jumped out of bed, raced into some clothes, and driven on automatic pilot over to my favorite café for breakfast. “Breakfast” = coffee, some sort of protein, and a whole wheat bagel or equivalent. “Coffee” = a latte. The food plan I follow asks me to finish breakfast within an hour of getting up, which is why I do this so quickly.
Long ago on television there was a show called “Cheers,” describing the antics of some regular customers at a bar in Boston. If you’re older than dirt you may remember this. The show pointed out the need we all have for…
For about ten years I’ve been doing something fun with a few of my friends. It has the utilitarian name of “Craft Day.” Four or five of us get together, usually on a weekend afternoon, and do whatever hand-work types of chores have been piling up in our lives.
We started out focused on repairs: hemming, darning, mending, reglueing, and so forth. But after a while we graduated to making new things: lavender sachets and wands, pot holders, all kinds of clothing (knitted, crocheted, and sewn), lamp shades, bird houses, you name it.
It’s wonderful to be able to spend hours in company with friends and also accomplish those tasks that most of the time we don’t feel like doing. And our definition of “craft” is very broad. I’ve sorted through boxes of papers, put together a free-standing clothes closet, grated nutmeg. One year I even did my taxes at Craft Day because I kept procrastinating at home…
We follow the same principle as the old-fashioned quilting bee from the 19th century — where groups of women would get together and make a quilt, something that…
There’s a new house in my town that I just adore. It’s heading in the direction of a modern farmhouse but with great vintage details. Right now, it’s built but not landscaped yet so it’s easy to see the place from all angles. In a year or two, enough shrubbery will have grown to obscure some things, so I asked my friend Heidi to take photos of it this week.
When I was young, I spent most of my time in California, going to school, playing Jacks, popping those funny seaweed poppers that washed up on the Carmel beach. But in the summers we went back East to my mom’s native landscape of New England.
Even though Europeans laugh when I say this, New England is famous for its age and history. Its houses and public buildings are mostly square, multistoried, and have regularly spaced…
Not every line of every poem is going to be memorable, but once in a while a line sticks in your brain and stirs things around in there. Even, sometimes, one you wrote yourself. This is from “Daybreak,” the opening poem of my last collection: The More Difficult Beauty. Published by Hip Pocket Press, Gail and Charles Entrekin’s excellent enterprise in Orinda, CA. The sixth line.
And here I am reading the poem at a TEDx talk in San Francisco a few years ago, called The Edge of What We Know. (The voice introducing me is a robot, fyi.)
You might want to submit some work to the Entrekins’ well-respected environmental literary web-zine Canary. It will prompt you to figure out what watershed you’re in, at the very least, for the bio they ask.