Don’t Touch

Ears back means, I don’t like you. I’ve learned this because Penny is a magnet. Even while sleeping in his preferred position on the sidewalk — something I call “dead-dogging-it”: lying on his side, four legs stuck out, head resting on one incredibly soft ear — he’s irresistible. Serious businessmen pass and can’t hold back…

Elk River, Oregon © Tuula Rebhahn

River Time

The film was gorgeous but Tim’s short presentation afterward was electrifying, careening through fifty years of conservation history as his beautiful photographs flashed across the projector screen. As I watched, I couldn’t help but wonder where river awareness has been my entire life.

In Praise of the Unmanicured Lawn

There’s a fat bumblebee swerving between the buttercups in the shaggy patch of grass below my porch. She delicately mounts a yellow petal and investigates its inner regions, then sails to the next, a shaggy head of white clover. I know I should mow the lawn. The dandelions are reaching their long necks up to…


You hear the creak of the metal gate behind you, the echoing clang as it closes, but you don’t look back. The Things have caught up to us, left us drawing erratic breath under a stormy sky, standing at the edge of somewhere we don’t quite recognize.

The dunes. The distinctive smell hits us first, its sharpness invoking the spiky dune grass. We walk between clumps, each point penetrating our jeans, the skin on the back of our hands, demanding attention.

Forty-Five Minutes in Venice Beach

A large man wearing a black t-shirt that reads in block white lettering:  “I’m here to fuck shit up and leave” lounges on a cement bench. It wraps around the base of a palm tree guarding a mound of grass the size of a suburban front lawn. This is hot for October. The city sweats…

Free Pile, Brown House at the End of the Road

Everything free! Teddy bears, an alarm clock with real numbers that turn on wheels, four fireplace matches in a disintegrating box, a dozen dog-eared math workbooks. One hundred titty twisters, a thousand pokes to a prepubescent chest, fifty noogies, three attempted swirlies. Come get them, before they’re gone! A plastic trike. A bicycle with wooden…