A view of the Bayou

Down in the bayou, spring comes around mid-March, but no one takes it seriously. Within a couple of weeks, the temperatures are so hot that everyone has forgotten spring. It is like a ghost, barely there when it is there, and barely remembered when it goes. The season that came before spring is hard, by the way, to call winter. It just isn’t cold enough by northern standards. Some of the trees down here do drop their leaves in the colder months. Maybe they do it just for fun. The people and fauna and flora of the Louisiana bayou all have a tendency to quirkiness. The fact that some of the trees pretend to a more northern nature is looked upon with indulgence.

Everything is mixed-up in the bayou. Half the vegetation acts perennial, half acts deciduous or in some variation between the two. That’s the Creole way, the Cajun… More…

If only we were so well-adapted to winter.


As a native Californian deprived of real winters, I most definitely romanticize the season. I expect to sing “Silver Bells” while dancing down the street of town, past shops decorated with Christmas lights and snow. Truly.

Alternately, I imagine ice skating on our local pond and wandering the nearby woods through quiet, soft snow. In my head, its like the rural winter scene captured by biologist Bernd Heinrich in Winter World. Bernd tells of wandering in the snowy woods of Maine, and finding hints of life and beauty everywhere: the call of the great horned owl and the coo of doves, the tracks from moose and big cats and wolves, a scampering chipmunk and a hidden den of porcupines, and snow-frosted trees. Of course, since I live in New Jersey, I don’t really expect the moose.

Winter World… More…

Shopping for Handbags

One of my seasonal rites is shopping for a new handbag.1 It’s a mystery to me why I have to do this. You’d think a bag would outlast a season.2 But these things get a lot of wear and tear. Pen marks appear on the surface; unidentifiable lint accumulates at the bottom; once-sturdy straps fray and then suddenly snap, scattering loose change, Kleenex, tampons, and costly pills for allergy and anxiety in all directions.

Even the best handbags don’t wear well. I inherited two Coach bags from my mother. Coach bags are supposed to be indestructible, and, it’s true, they don’t fall apart — they just look increasingly awful. One of the bags my mother left me was originally off-white but, with time, turned a sickly beige. One day, I realized it had taken on the coloration and texture of human skin. The other bag was black and… More…