Through Hills and Seas to the Universe

I carved out some time on my birthday to sit in the garden, despite deadlines, mosquitoes and heat, to sit and sketch. It was quiet except for the chirping of birds (especially numerous in our tiny garden this spring) and the distant hum of air-conditioners along the alley. Even a short time spent among growing things is restorative. I share the sketch and this poem.


The trees put forth luxuriant foliage,
the spring begins to flow in a trickle.
I admire the seasonableness of nature
and am moved to think
That my life will come to its close.
So little time are we granted human form in the world.
My eyes wander
over the pictures of hills and seas.
At a single glance
I survey the whole universe.
He will never be happy,
whom such pleasures fail to please!

—Tao Ch’ien



Mothers Day


On my way back from the Library of Congress one morning, it was such a beautiful day that I took my time strolling through Capitol Hill, and I came across this mysterious garden—completely fenced, with no apparent connection to any of the surrounding houses, and bearing no sign, yet obviously cared for.

Often I carry my sketchbook without taking the opportunity to use it, but this time I justified my delayed return in order to sketch a subject so suitable to the season. Happy Mothers Day, all you Blessed Mothers everywhere, past, present, and to come!

Opera Night

We were fortunate enough to have been invited last night by a fellow parent (ah, the perks of fellow-parent-hood!) for a delicious Indian dinner and an evening of music beautifully presented by soprano Nakia Verner and tenor Dan Noone. A full opera production on a huge stage is magnificent, but there is something indescribably moving about an aria sung in an intimate space.