Photo: Gwen Harlow

The Tweakers or the Ghosts

You know you’re close when the fog thins out, when the dull pink behind cuts through, when the hills along the highway become vacant and brown. Staples, Starbucks, Target, In-N-Out; casinos and check cashing. The spires of the oil refinery silhouetted and pumping exhaust that smudges across the sky. The last exit before the Carquinez Bridge, before the end of the East ... [Continue Reading]

8. La Niña y su Pollo

Oaxaqueando

In Spanish, almost any noun can be fashioned into a verb by applying the suffix -eando. Sabadeando: Saturdaying. Domingueando: Sundaying. You're not just going to the park on Sunday, or eating day-old chicharrines and watching fútbol hungover on your couch, you're domingueando. You're embodying the essence of the day. In this collection of street photos, photographer ... [Continue Reading]

man-o-war photo

An Unwanted Guest

I didn’t see the jellyfish, but I felt it—a searing pain at my ankle that shot up through my leg, bringing me, in a matter of seconds, to my knees in the sand. I looked down and saw its limp, blue body floating away from me down the rivulet I’d stumbled into when the sand along its border collapsed under my step. The creature had gripped me with its tentacles for ... [Continue Reading]

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That Spanish September

When I graduated from college, in the spring of 2001, it seemed to me that where I situated myself, where I’d been and wherever I went next, indicated who I was. Place was like fashion, a signifier like a college sweatshirt. But place was also a passport, a record of collected stamps and visas, sure, but a ticket elsewhere. And since I had always admired beyond limit ... [Continue Reading]

"The Purest Form of Play," by Miranda Ward

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]

seeds

Seeds

My grandfather lives among the trees. He is streaked with dirt, brown as a fallen acorn. When he walks, the leaves bend under his feet. Years ago, he kept caged pigeons in his garden. In the morning, he would jangle their cage to announce himself. The garden is his domain, and everything in it his subjects. Out there, we know not to tangle or disturb. We are visitors. ... [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]

road1

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]

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The Trip Inside

Warm summer night, window open, leaves cutting the streetlight into pieces that flickered across the bedroom floor. We lay on top of the sheets, him on his side, me under his arm. I said I couldn’t sleep. “Let me show you a trick.” He pulled his arm out from under me and rolled onto his back. “I used to do this when I was little,” he said. “You put ... [Continue Reading]