Monarch2

The Lifecycle of Butterflies

In Michoacán, the migrating mariposas appear with November, as if trailing the marigolds trucked in for Day of the Dead. They come by the fragile millions, fluttering a few thousand miles from el norte to the transvolcanic range of their own origin. As such, the monarcas are seen to symbolize the annual returning of souls, they are the mascot of the local soccer club, and ... [Continue Reading]

RufiThropeVela4

Why I Didn’t See the David (and other methodologies of heartbreak)

When I was twenty and graduating college, my grandmother gave me the kind of balls-out crazy gift-of-a-lifetime that characterized her gift-giving oeuvre. It was a three-week trip to Italy for myself and a friend. A shoestring trip to be sure: two coach tickets, enough money only for the cheapest hostels and maybe one meal a day. But it was Italy. I had been studying both ... [Continue Reading]

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Of Bikes and Men

If you enjoy this story, please consider supporting Vela on Kickstarter! We thank you infinitely for your support. I’ve just completed my first year as a full-time lecturer teaching writing at a state university, and this is, undoubtedly, the most anticipated summer vacation of my life. After nine months of being tied to my desk, of prepping, teaching, reading, and ... [Continue Reading]

Photo: Jorge Santiago

Our Own Ocean

During the longer days of our cross-country road trip I slept in the car in the early afternoon, dozing in the passenger seat as Cam’s Toyota ate up miles of American highway, the flickering sun through the windows casting all my dreams in a strange, mottled light. Cameron, for his part, was content to drive in relative quiet, one hand on the wheel and the other in ... [Continue Reading]

Photo by keightdee

A Return to Limantour

The sublet in Berkeley was our last resort. My father and I had been kicked out of the bottom floor of a house in Sausalito for breaking the unstable leaseholder’s plate, and we had traipsed the cold streets of San Francisco for days, looking for an affordable place. That futile mission had ultimately landed us here, just off of Telegraph Avenue, at the threshold of an ... [Continue Reading]

Day16_Crow

In the Form of Birds

The summer my father died I bought a book on Southwestern birds. It was he who had given me my first feeder on my 8th birthday, back when we lived in New Orleans. He’d gotten the bird-feeding bug, I’m guessing, from his mother. At his parents’ house in Springfield, Pennsylvania, there was one of those open platforms—a plywood landing about six feet high. My ... [Continue Reading]

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V-Formation: Two Years of Vela

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. - Annie Dillard It is September again, and those of us who live life by semester are splurging on some new color corduroy and those of us who migrate are emerging from the summer’s stupor, plotting our coordinates, testing the wind. It follows then that September marks the anniversary of a launched endeavor ... [Continue Reading]

LifeinMongolia

Snow in Mongolia

When I phone Amaglan in Mongolia, the first thing I want to tell her is that it’s snowing here in the U.S. But I can’t find the words for it. This shocks me. I sit there, holding the phone, watching the snow falling onto a triangle of lawn at my parents' house in suburban New Jersey. I listen to the cadence of Amaglan speaking in Mongolian, carefully enunciating words ... [Continue Reading]

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The Journey in the Song

"But what can be the shared space of meaning and sound?" Jean-Luc Nancy, Listening "All I've got to put in a song is my own experience,” Leonard Cohen once said, speaking about the process of songwriting. But as a listener, you could invert the sentiment, too: all I've got to get out of a song is my own experience. I remember my mother driving me to school when I ... [Continue Reading]

domestic

My Husband Travels

It was eight minutes before the taxi arrived to take my husband to the airport. We were in the bathroom, throwing toiletries into a tartan sponge bag. “Here’s your glasses cloth,” I said, treading carefully. “I’ve washed it for you. Your glasses look so much better when they’re clean.” That was it. In a last minute panic, he hit the roof. “Shut up, ... [Continue Reading]