The Cicadas Come, on Little Hook Feet

  One evening this month I was coming back from the library. The pollen was at its worst, but I was sick of being indoors and thought I’d sit down on the grass in front of my building for a few minutes. I opened up one of my books, then felt guilty about choosing the […]

Sketches of Panels

Every year, Johns Hopkins Medicine runs a boot camp for science writers in Washington, D.C. They cover some topic in science. For science writers, it’s a free introduction to a hot area of science (with breakfast, lunch, and tasty snacks). For Hopkins, there’s a chance someone will decide to use one of their experts in […]

Cherry Blossoms, Close By

Here in Washington, D.C., we love our cherry trees. The cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin, near the Jefferson Memorial, get all the attention. And they deserve it–they’re lovely. This year, peak bloom was an elusive creature. February was so unseasonably warm that the Park Service predicted peak bloom would come March 14 or 15, one of […]

Moby Peep: A Peeps Diorama

I have a bit of a thing about whales. The shelf above my desk at home is full of whale art, and a National Geographic whale poster hangs in a frame above that. Along with that, I have a thing about Moby Dick, which is a book about whales. So when it was time for […]

Concert Bug

Sunday afternoon I sang a concert of madrigals and other choral music of the last few centuries. It was in the pleasant modern chapel at a retirement home. Between sets, the music director introduced the next group of songs. A set of Elizabethan madrigals, with plenty of fa-la-las. (They don’t mean anything, but they’re joyful.) Some […]

Redux: A Snow Day

The last few days in Washington have been beautiful, springlike. Soft breezes, temperature in the 60s and 70s. Which would be fine, if it were spring. But it is February, and it is not fine. This weather is making me angry. I try to enjoy it, because it’s what we have, and it is, objectively, […]

What I Learned From a Year of Drawing [almost] Every Day

I’ve made a lot of attempts at drawing in my life. I took required art classes in high school and a non-required one in college. Every few years through my adult life, I’d get together some pencils and paper, do some drawings, and, within a week or two, drop it, frustrated by my lame attempts. […]

Tea: An Appreciation

1991 or so: An overnight field trip to Wallops Island, Virginia. The tap water is hot. I convince myself it’s hot enough to make tea, and make tea in my Nalgene. Why did I even have teabags with me? I think I wanted to be the kind of person who is prepared to make tea […]