Tuesday, June 19, 2018

an eldorado hollyhock

I've been hoping for years that one of my hollyhock seeds would actually take, and bloom.  Today, I located, at long last, one very short, but perfectly formed plant.  I am impressed.  I thought that it would be a tranquil image in the midst of a few very non-tranquil few days - I'm currently halfway back to LA, and was detranquillized, whilst posting it, by news crossing my screen of a fire burning in Griffith Park, by the observatory - maybe a mile west of us.  Thankfully rapid response and little wind means that it seems to be under control - but my nerves (and doubtless Alice's nerves) could have done without that.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Here for a midsummer second

Yes, it's our parched back yard in Santa Fe.  I flew out today to pick up my car from Albuquerque airport - mercifully the battery (it's a hybrid) wasn't yet flat - and have come to pick up all the books and papers and clothes that I drove out earlier in the summer, little suspecting that our plans would be so upended ... I set off back in the morning; Alice has chemo again on Thursday.  It's almost unbearably tantalizing to be here for such a tiny burst of time ...

Sunday, June 17, 2018

looking at you

Here are a pair of green eyeballs on Sunset, and a dark June sky in not-so-sunny Los Angeles.  

Saturday, June 16, 2018

a katydid

... by our front door this afternoon: so very beautiful and intelligent-looking.  Katydids are one of those mysterious - to me - creatures that exist in American fiction: I was googling "grasshoppers" to try and identify this particular 2 inches of emerald green loveliness, and found this instead.  I'm not quite sure what kind of katydid it might be - a male treetop bush katydid, maybe? - there are (who knew) many similar varieties.  They might, indeed, eat citrus fruit, but I don't think that one constitutes a plague.  On the other hand, Alice is reading Caroline Fraser's Prairie Fires - her biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, who experienced plagues of locusts on the American plains (and that caused me to remember not just the large ones that we had to dissect at school, well pickled in formaldehyde, but being on a train going through Rajasthan on one occasion, through a dark cloud of locusts, and - although the guards told us to shut all the windows - how some large and pale pink-green ones made their way into the corridor and the toilet ...).  This katydid was small and delicate by comparison.

Friday, June 15, 2018

a university under wraps

Given the apparently rudderless, leaderless state of USC at the moment (for whatever is happening behind the scenes, not faculty, not staff, not administrators seem to know), there's surely some kind of a metaphor to be found in the shrouded state of the library today.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

June morning walk

Up early for a walk this morning, before it got too hot ... Usually I'm reluctant to take a walk first thing in the morning - it's normally my very best working/thinking time - but this summer, I'm working (not that it's much of an effort so far) at breaking, or at least compromising, what I think are my usual habits and rhythms.  It's good to know that I can, indeed, be more flexible than I thought (and yes, I returned and did an excellent morning's work ...). 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

rake, flowers

From  yard, outside the door to my study: a rake.  A rather beaten-up looking geranium.  A fuschia.  I start every day with the aim of hurling myself energetically at gardening (after all, I have the time and space and potential for regular watering this summer).  Every day, I seem to count myself to have achieved something if I have, indeed, watered, and dead-headed some flowers.  Once again, I'm hoping, sincerely, for something more ambitious tomorrow.  Read this as allegory, if you wish.