Picture of Phila

I blame this long lapse on the Pandemic.  Being restricted should have had the opposite effect.  With few distractions, wouldn’t I have wanted to write?  It appears I was absorbed by the drama —  the suffering and deaths, the stories every night on television of the terrors of intubation, of patients having to die alone, and families for fear of catching the disease prevented from being at the bedsides of loved ones.  

As if this wasn’t enough, what was happening to our democracy under a “leadership” where lies always prevailed over truth.

Reading over old journals.

But as a lover of nature, nothing equaled the horror of my beloved earth being irrevocably changed by a new climate, where the west shriveled under an ever hotter sun where rainfall came in bursts or not at all. A lover of clouds, flowing streams and the beguiling scent of the first few drops of rain at the beginning of a storm, I was a lost soul unmoored from everything I held dear.

Today is February 10, 2022, the second day when the thermometer topped 84 degrees and when less than a tenth of an inch of rain fell during January, considered one of the rainiest months.  After a December of generous rain (almost 10 inches), we thought this was a good start to a good winter.

I try to write something every day.  I’m committed to writing a nature column for our retirement facility’s monthly newsletter. I make uninspired entries in my nature notebook.  I have kept these notebooks since the 1980s when I lived in the Berkeley Hills in a house with it’s view over the Bay.  The open land next to me provided a generous helping of natural events.  What I write now is a cursory almanac of when I got up, the current temperature and weather forecast.  At least something.  To both deepen and elevate my thoughts, I had resolved to read a poem every day, but of course I haven’t.

I still have my moments of joy like this week when the brilliant observations in Rebecca Solnit’s “Orwell’s Roses” shook me awake enough to write some passages in my notebook with the bold black pen I now use.

Though I’m not sure it belongs in my Santa Barbara blog, I was inspired to write a heartfelt piece about Angora Lake as yet another forest fire ate its way up the western flank of the Sierra Nevada.  It might be worth publishing if only to jog the feelings of readers about their mountain retreat.


  1. Dearest Phila What a lovely surprise! And oh God do I-miss you. Spring is afoot or abloom or a something. And it has rained nightly for 2 days. The thick rich red green of fresh rose growth is amazing this year. Now a dose of fertilizer and I jump back as the blooms explode for Easter. I hope. I now obsessively have 146 roses. Oh wo is the world otherwise. And for you, another prelude to WW, having witnessed Munich and Poland. I was born because of a V 2 rocket attack, and then spent my first 9 years listening to everyone chatting and laughing about the good old war. I played in the ruins of bombed out houses. Now there’s a chance I can spend the last 10 years doing the same thing. When in doubt confront and flatten a despot. Who knew our new Botox Hitler would speak Russian? From pandemic to … I can’t think of an assonance. I thought the Salvation Army was supposed to fix these things. Oh. And now we can have elections again. Good old Gore Vidal, when asked about the purpose of America, said, “Permanent elections for permanent war.” Forgive the glum cynicism Phila. But please enjoy the love. Tony PS. Judy’s 5 year younger sister has pancreatic cancer. That makes everyone in Judy’s 2 generations have had cancers. Judy is well from her breast surgery but not the same person since we lost Mom.

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. My Dear Phila What a poignant piece you sent — capturing the feelings of us all. How do we deal with a psychotic Russian bent on destroying life so he can keep it. We try to keep our wits about us here in PG, but find some sanity solving small problems —not that taxes are so small a problem, but it is a current concern.

    I apologize for being so slow in responding to your email of several weeks ago. One big distraction has been the Senate hearings of Judge Jackson. I was overjoyed by Cory Bookers ‘joyful’ comment. There was also a very good photo of Jackson sitting at her table and her daughter sitting behind her with a lovely expression of pride and admiration.

    Love hearing from you and noting the photo of you sitting on the floor, reading. — Wish I were that flexible!!

    Much love, Dottie


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