In Memory of Richard Sommer

We lost a fine friend and a pioneering man this week: Richard Sommer, founder of the Oregon vinifera industry. In honor of him, I am posting a profile I wrote many years ago about this remarkable scientist and winemaker. I apologize for the tiny pix on short notice. Richard, we shall drink to you tonight. […]

Tour de Energy

While I realize that that there are many Americans who pack away 8,000 calories a day (Manhattanites excluded), few of them actually could ride a stage in the Tour de France. Much less the whole thing. Much less eat 8,000 calories a day and lose weight over the course of a month. This here interesting […]


Spicy dog eyes Yangon curry We are back. It’s a short flight from Yangon to Bangkok, barely an hour, but it feels like a journey between worlds. Time jumps forward at touchdown: 9:30 a.m. in Burma is 10 a.m. in Bangkok. The former sets a pace 30 minutes askew to the rest of the region. […]

A Tent, A Fire

We went camping. I LOVE camping. We don’t do it often enough. I suppose it would be something of a strange concept to many of the people we meet in our Asian travels—they already live in bamboo homes with breezes sneaking through cracks in the walls and creatures of the night prowling outside. The stars […]

Cody, 1996-2008

I can still hear him lapping up the peanut butter, his long tongue working all the edges of a sticky-gooey spoon. Cody loved peanut butter, so I’d sneak him a spoonful every time we found ourselves alone in the kitchen. He loved chips, too. And he loved picnics, nosing his way beneath people’s elbows, sniffing […]

Corn on High

It’s considered the longest continually occupied settlement in the United States. Acoma Pueblo sits atop a 367-foot sandstone mesa that hits 7,000 feet—high enough, the sun feels close and the wind ardently fierce. This place was founded in the 12th century. Just a handful of people live here now, but tourists come by the busload […]

Earth Thoughts

Happy Earth Day. A few days ago, a reader asked me to “kiss the New Mexico sky” for her, and that’s precisely what I’m doing on this cloudless day. Lately, I feel I’ve been kissing the ground too, tasting its grit between my teeth as I dig around the yard and the wind kicks up. […]

Nuclear Sausage

Under ordinary circumstances this New Mexican brat, eaten at about 5,000 feet, would be less radioactive than a brat in Denver or Quito or Lhasa because our exposure to cosmic radiation increases the higher we go. But this brat is special. This brat was sold beside cheeseburgers, chips and hotdogs last Saturday at the Trinity […]

Village Life

Here I sit on the back patio, spring sun riding the air. An annoying ATV buzzes around the block — I hope that doesn’t last. May the child grow bored. Quickly. I am thinking about what it means to live in a village. I hear our next-door neighbor hollering at her animals. She keeps dogs, […]