Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dank earth & sea turtles

When my son was little and my parents visited often, I lived in San Antonio, a completely different biome from where I'd grown up.

My mom and dad would make the 5 hour trek from the Gulf coast to the hill country about every 6 weeks. They didn't want to miss a single milestone of their grandson's development. 

They'd arrive in a flourish of hugs and kisses and inevitably my mom would throw open her suitcase right there in the living room, unable to wait another second to bestow gifts upon her grandson.

And in that moment, out of their luggage would waft the scent of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Green and fertile, dank and earthy, it is powerful imprinting. Always catching me off guard, the aroma would whisk me back to the only other home I'd ever known, a small frame house surrounded by lush subtropical greenery. 

I've often thought that something of this experience is how a sea turtle returns to its beach from across the ocean's great expanse.

A more practical use of this olfactory association -- it makes me the human litmus test for spotting a bottle of corked wine: smells just like home.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


There's nothing quite like a retraction of your liberties to help you appreciate them more fully.

I'm home most days, working with plants in some capacity, even if that means only entering the quantities of bulk herbs on a spread sheet. Some days take me out into the garden, or further afield, out into the desert.

Recently, I agreed to work one day a week at a friend's wine shop, allowing him the opportunity to run errands and set meetings. He and his wife have two trips planned for the Summer, so I'll have a four-week stint and another one for two weeks.

It didn't seem like a big deal, I can always use the spending money.

But that morning, everything was an ordeal. Breakfast seemed insurmountable; packing a lunch elicited feelings of panic. I left with damp hair and a feeling of dread.

Oh, I got over it. I absorbed a quick tutorial on French wine, put up a display of Pinot Grigio, and rung up customers. And on the drive home, sitting in traffic with the other commuters, I reflected on my good fortune: to spend (the majority of) my days at home with the herbs.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Herbal Care Package

My daughter texted to say she's sick. She's already got a supply of Elderberry, so I am delivering the other essentials.
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