1. Wilderness in the Urban

    Wildness in the Urban

    “You have a leaf in your hair.” The checker points toward my head, having scanned my last item. Her comment catches me by surprise, nudging me out of my patterned customer routine. I hesitate. I reach up to check. In my hand is a crinkly, brown paper birch leaf. I examine it. The person in line behind me pushes forward, imperceptibly irritated. The checker looks at the leaf as I roll it betwee…Read More

  2. The Judge-Jester and the Little Boy

    I walked into the courtroom and saw the judge dressed up like a jester. Hanging from the rafters were orange, yellow, and blue bunting. Balloons were everywhere. In the middle of the court room was a huge piñata. Over four feet, top to bottom, a deep ruby red. It was in the shape of a heart. Beside it was the most beautiful wooden gavel, two feet long with thin silver filigreed inlay. Around the …Read More

  3. Nairobi, Kenya…Portland, Oregon

    It was May in Nairobi, Kenya. At midnight in this great metropolis, the floral scent of Jacaranda trees wafted into the windows of our small cement second-story flat. I lay half asleep, thinking about my daughter. She had come into this world, almost one month previous. She was small and fragile, and unbeknownst to us, she had contracted malaria. Born in the hospital during the incessant downpours…Read More