Looking for Big Boy — and Friends


The kind of dust you can feel but not see. Streaked with gold. Medusa-like stems; cracks, dots, and dashes: tomatoes from a friend. I press my nose against their warm skin; even the scent is delicious.


A clerk at Burlington Coat Factory becomes enchanted with my son, then two years old. She asks him, “Can I call you friend?” I hold my breath and hope for a sociable answer. Petulant, he replies, “Call me Big Boy.”


Our canoe cuts silently through the waters of the canal. Once the province of mule-pulled coal boats, today algae and forest growth carry out their slow coup. At a clearing, we greet a fisherman: “Catch anything?” He is optimistic: “I’m goin’ to; there’s a big one in there!” We wish him luck and glide on by.

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Where the runaway imagination goes

Last summer, my vegetable garden ran away and inspired me to do the same thing.

The garden ran away with weeds, no see ‘ums, and platter-sized squash leaves. In consideration of this and of the previous years’ invasions of cabbage moths, ground hog and poison ivy, I’ve given up. The plot is ready for something new and so am I — an all new plot.

For inspiration, I consulted Thomas Marent’s “Butterfly” and other such books and discovered the milkweed plant. Perhaps I should say re-discovered because I distinctly remember gluing the seeds with their gossamer threads onto blue paper in first grade. The milkweed plant, say the books, attracts and provides habitat for butterflies.

It turns out that milkweed grows thick on the hills of the Trexler Nature Preserve above the Lehigh Valley Zoo. They stand in willowy patches and fields, in amongst the coneflowers and black-eyed susans. I found them, you see, because I’d run away, but only for the day.

On returning, I brought with me all kinds of ideas for how the future could look and so this blog was born.

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