Posted by: ktzefr | October 2, 2015

Waiting for Joaquin…

on a yucky, rainy, chilly Friday. 

Watching the birds.  I’ve refilled all the feeders — the two for the hummingbirds, the two thistle feeders for the finches, and the big squirrel-proof apparatus that feeds everyone else.  The goldfinch are partway through their molting process and the bright yellow boys of summer look…well, dirty.  Their winter colors, like many other birds that completely molt in fall, are drab. 

The little hummers stay perched on the feeder for a long time, drinking as much as they can.  I suppose all this rain has washed the good stuff off the flower blossoms.  This week I’ve seen many hummer battles.  I worry about them surviving the drenching from Joaquin that is to come later this weekend.  But I suppose if these tiny critters can make it all the way across the Gulf of Mexico to their winter getaways, they can survive the coming storm.

Every year about this time I start to get antsy, too.  Yesterday, I pulled a sweater out of the “winter” closet for the first time since spring.  On the floor of that closet is a line of luggage.  Over the years we’ve gone from big, hard-sided, heavy suitcases to smaller and smaller, lighter and lighter bags.  I pull out the sweater, shiver in the cold, and think about taking out one of those small bags, stuffing it to the brim, and heading somewhere warm.

But that’s not going to happen at the moment.

So, the hurricane headed this way got me to thinking about the birds, and the birds got me to thinking about the upcoming migration south, and that got me to thinking about food.  Mexican food.  Good, authentic, the real-deal Mexican food.  For the moment, I’ll have to settle for looking at pictures of my favorites and remembering…

These amazing Sopes (chorizo, chicken, and beef) at La Bohemia on the Jardín Unión in Guanajuato City.  It’s only rain outside my window, but I can almost hear the mariachi music…

Sopes, La Bohemia, Guanajuato City, Guanajuato, Mexico; Photo:KFawcett

Sopes, La Bohemia, Guanajuato City, Guanajuato, Mexico; Photo:KFawcett


Check out SOPES, a good recipe to make at home.  Queso fresco and Crema Mexicana are always best, but this recipe does include ways to substitute if you cannot find real Mexican cream and cheese.  

Hmmm…wondering what I’ve got in the refrigerator on this yucky, rainy, chilly Friday.




Posted by: ktzefr | September 24, 2015

Reading and Eating: Nourishing Body and Soul

Reading and eating go together.  One nourishes the body; the other nourishes the soul.  I like to read good literature and eat good food.  The books I choose have passages I will underline and read aloud, passages that require me to take a closer or a different look at life.  I don’t want to waste precious reading time on material that doesn’t matter and won’t be memorable.   


Likewise, I eat healthy fruits and vegetables and whole grains.  But…I also like chocolate chip cookies and ice cream and pizza. And I didn’t always read only the good stuff.  As a teen I tended to read what was popular at the time. 


Summer 1966.  I was anticipating starting college in the fall.  I would lie in the sun, cover my body with baby oil (no sun screen back then), and read paperbacks from the drug store.


At the top of everyone’s list?  Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann.  Everyone had read it, was reading it, or was about to read it.  At first, I thought the “dolls” in the title likely referred to pretty Southern California girls partaking in all sorts of wild escapades — a great escape from the very not-so-wild world of Southern Appalachia.  I was wrong.  The “dolls” were sleeping pills.  The wild escapades were more tragic than exciting.  And the characters (rumored to be based on real-life celebrities) were neither likable nor memorable. 


There were, however, many books worth consuming at the time.   Even if they were sometimes difficult to consume.  I tried to grasp the story in Nabokov’s Pale Fire, but there wasn’t a story to grasp.  And yet this new way of writing a novel was intriguing.  Nabokov was a butterfly collector and provided great technical details about his specimen.  Pale Fire is also a collection of sorts.  It was like opening an old cigar box someone had stored in the attic and finding fragments of a life.  An acorn, a smooth stone, a cardinal feather, a shard of colored glass.  No story, but bits and pieces to admire for their own sake. 


Another…Heartland by Wilson Harris.  A confrontation between technology and nature, logic and magic, in the jungles of South America.  Ordinary prose devices are used to tell the story to a point, but when it comes to conveying the mysteries of the jungle and the mysteries of man’s unconscious mind, the few fragmentary poems are far more effective.  Another different way of writing a novel.


Other good stuff from the mid-sixties — Chinua Achebe’s A Man of the People, Nadine Gordimer’s The Late Bourgeois World, and Muriel Spark’s The Mandelbaum Gate.  And, of course, Walker Percy’s The Last Gentleman.  The chief character in Percy’s book is a young Southerner who feels like a misfit in New York City. He chooses to view life through a telescope, which he sets up in Central Park and eavesdrops on others.  But plot is not the most important element here either.  It’s about character development and the way people speak and define themselves geographically and historically. (I could identify.  I grew up in Appalachia where folks take pride in defining themselves geographically and historically.)


For me the most fascinating aspect of good literature is often the way a book or poem or short story is written.  I like prose that is poetic.  I prefer character development over plot.  If I pick up a book and flip through and discover that ordinary prose devices are not the norm, I’ll give it a second look. 


I’m not sure how I got from reading the classics, Heidi and Huckleberry Finn in elementary school, to Valley of the Dolls as a teen.  I guess it was akin to wanting Bass Weejun loafers and Ambush perfume.  The teen years are fitting-in years, and there is a real need to be doing what everyone else is doing at the time.  Then I grew up.  Along the way, I discovered the joy of being different, and I re-discovered literature.


Since reading and eating do go together, and it’s important to nourish the body AND the soul, I always choose good books to go with my chocolate chip cookies.


Posted by: ktzefr | September 16, 2015

MexiCoke and Memories

Coca Cola Made in Mexico; Photo:KFawcett

Coca Cola Made in Mexico; Photo:KFawcett

I’m a hipster.  This, according to a recent article in Smithsonian Magazine.  I’m a hipster because I like Mexican Coke (as in Coca Cola, the sweet, brown liquid in a bottle).  The all-American soda — except it’s not.  The Coke I like is labeled “hecho en México ” (made in Mexico).

South of the border Coke is made with real cane sugar.  Here it’s made with high-fructose corn syrup.  Mexican Coke comes in glass bottles like the ones I remember from my growing-up years.  Here it mostly comes in plastic and cans.  I don’t like foodstuffs in general that come from plastic or cans.  No matter who says it’s all the same or you can’t tell the difference or one way is as good as another…in my book, it’s just not so.  Sugar is sugar.  And glass is glass.  And the Coke I remember from the 1960s is “real” Coke.

According to the aforementioned article, a French magazine back in the 30s speculated that the “beautiful Coke bottle with the contoured curves” was designed like a woman’s body.  But the Coke folks say that isn’t true; it was shaped to resemble the cocoa pod.  Either way, I prefer the old-fashioned glass bottle.

Mexican Coke is my madeleine (remember Proust and his madeleine cookie dipped in tea and how that taste and scent brought back volumes of memories?).  Well…I drink a bottle of MexiCoke and I’m a kid again in Kentucky, slipping a cold bottle from the ice box in our store in the country.  Or sitting in the front yard shade, watching the cars go by…or riding around town in my friend’s Mustang convertible with the top down…or cooling off after the Saturday night dance at Jack’s Blue Room on the Courthouse Square.

And, later, drinking Coke around the world.  I remember paying $2 for a bottle of Coke in the 70s in Venice, Italy.  We hadn’t had a Coke or anything else we were accustomed to for weeks, so we ordered a Coke from room service at our hotel in Venice.  They brought a single bottle to the room on a tray with glasses and real linen napkins.  No ice.  And the Coke was warm.  Two dollars plus tip.  We could have bought a six pack at home for less.  But we enjoyed that Coke immensely and celebrated, flinging open the thick wooden shutters to sit in the window and listen to the music wafting from the houses and sidewalks and gondolas on the canal.  Italy in the air; America in a bottle.

I take a sip of MexiCoke and I remember drinking Coke in Mexico in the 80s because I couldn’t drink the water and didn’t like beer or wine (at the time:).  Coke on the beach in Cozumel.  And, over the years, with panuchos and salbutes at sidewalk cafes in Mérida…with guacamole on the porch of an old hacienda in Chichen…with gorditas in Guanajuato…with nopales in San Miguel.  Mexican Coke.  It’s about summoning up the good stuff.  Memories.  Happy times from decades ago or just last year.  It’s about nostalgia.

And being hip, of course.  At least for some folks.

A couple of years ago I had lunch at Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York City.  We’d heard amazing things about David Chang’s restaurant.  But I didn’t know they sold Mexican Coke.  At $5 a bottle!  I opted for water with the pork belly bun.  I’ll pay more for MexiCoke over the other stuff, but not that much more.

Bottom line:  I like Mexican Coke.  But I don’t care whether I’m hip or not.


Coke’s history/story is complicated.  Full of truths and half-truths and gossip.  In Mexico they tell the story of how Coke executives come down every year to bid on the vanilla crops.  (Vanilla is another story — the secretive trade and bidding wars and globetrotting adventures that revolve around a tiny white orchid are fascinating.)  In any case, back in the 1980s New Coke was introduced.  No one liked it.  So, a few months later they went back to the old formula — re-introduced and re-labelled as Classic Coke.  The story goes that the Coke folks wanted to save money by eliminating vanilla as a flavoring, since the price and availability of vanilla can fluctuate dramatically.  Coke came out with the new drink and got rid of their stockpiles of vanilla, but…no one liked New Coke.  The company was forced to then buy back the vanilla at a wildly inflated price, go back to the original recipe, and give it a new name.  And so it goes.  May be true; maybe not.

And there are other stories, other issues dealing with the sugar industry, globalization, health concerns…


Check out the Smithsonian article to read why “The Story of Mexican Coke is a Lot More Complex than Hipsters Would Like to Admit”





Posted by: ktzefr | September 11, 2015

Words that Dance


Sometimes when I’m reading a passage the words dance right off the page and into my heart.  At other times, I may read pages and pages or even entire books without having this happen at all.  When it does I’m grateful.  It’s the reason I read.  It may be a description of a place I’ve never been or a place I love.  A bit of conversation.  A few words of wisdom often passed along by the author in the guise of a wild or lovable or eccentric character.  So, my favorite books are full of dogeared pages and underlines and stars and sticky notes.  I selected a few at random from my shelves, checked out the sticky notes, and found the words that had first “danced” off the page…

The following is from the poem “Ithaka” by Constantine P. Cavafy.  Selected by the Brazilian film director Walter Salles for inclusion in the anthology, Poems That Make Grown Men Cry: 100 Men On the Words that Move Them, edited by Anthony and Ben Holden.  It’s always good to be reminded that the journey is at least as important as the destination.

“Keep Ithaka always in your mind.

Arriving there is what you are destined for.

But do not hurry the journey at all,

Better if it lasts for years,

so you are old by the time you reach the island,

wealthy with all you have gained on the way,

not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.”



These two short passages are from Euphoria by Lily King, a novel inspired by the events in the life of the anthropologist Margaret Mead.  The first quote is a lovely image from Papua New Guinea and the second is something to consider when we think we have all the answers.

“We passed through a long swath of fireflies, thousands of them flashing all around us, and it felt like soaring through stars.”


“What’s the point of anyone’s search for answers?  The truth you find will always be replaced by someone else’s.  Someday even Darwin will look like a quaint Ptolemy who saw what he could see but no more.”


The Old Gringo, a novel by Carlos Fuentes, loosely based on the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the journalist Ambrose Bierce, has been called “a dazzling novel” and “a perfect little gemstone” with the “fierce magic of a remembered dream.”  It was easy to flip through this book and find my underlines.  Here are two:

“…a journey is painful for the one who has to remain behind, but more beautiful than it can ever be for the traveler.”


“There are people whose external reality is generous because it is transparent, because you can read everything, accept everything, understand everything about them: people who carry their own sun with them.”


I pick up Billy Collins when I leave for an appointment or a trip or when I have only a few minutes for a cup of tea before I have to do some chore.  His slim collections of poetry on my bookshelf are full of colorful sticky notes to mark my favorites.  These words are from a poem titled, “A Question About Birds” in the collection, Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems.

“I am going to sit on a rock near some water

or on a slope of grass

under a high ceiling of white clouds,

and I am going to stop talking

so I can wander around in that spot…


through a forest of speckled sunlight…


and listen to the songs of birds.”


There’s a special place on my bookshelf, too, for Paulo Coelho.  When I started reading Manuscript Found in Accra I decided not to underline or draw stars or fold over corners of pages.  I would have ruined the book as there are so many little bits of wisdom scattered throughout.  Instead, I kept a notebook.  It was tough to make a decision, but here are a few…

“Scars speak more loudly than the sword that caused them.”


“Do one thing: Live the life you always wanted to live….  The angels say: Now!”


“…to those who believe that adventures are dangerous, I say, try routine; that kills you far more quickly.”


“It is the imperfect that astonishes and attracts us…. A sunset is always more beautiful when it is covered with irregularly shaped clouds because only then can it reflect the many colors out of which dreams and poetry are made.”


“Time and life have given me plenty of logical explanations for everything, but my soul feeds on mysteries.”


Every now and then I take down Cynthia Ozicks’s Metaphor and Memory, open a page — any page — and read with satisfaction.  A few days ago I read, again, “The Shock of Teapots,” a lovely essay about the nature of travel.  It’s still relevant more than two decades after publication. 

“Travel returns us in just this way to sharpness of notice…what we remember from childhood we remember forever — permanent ghosts, stamped, imprinted, eternally seen. Travelers regain this ghost-seizing brightness, eeriness, firstness.”


“Nothing shakes the heart so much as meeting — far, far away — what you last met at home…a battered old stoop or the shape of a door appears beautiful…”


I had never read José Saramago until this past weekend.  I bought this tiny book, The Tale of the Unknown Island, at a used book sale a few years back.  It’s been sitting on my shelf.  It took less than an hour to read.  José Saramago won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998.  The “creative punctuation” took a bit of getting used to, but the words were clear…

“My belief was that, with sailing, there are only two true teachers, one is the sea and the other the boat, And the sky, you’re forgetting the sky, Yes, of course, the sky, The winds, The clouds, The sky, Yes, the sky.”


“If you don’t step outside yourself, you’ll never discover who you are.”


“…this is the way fate usually treats us, it’s there right behind us, it has already reached out a hand to touch us on the shoulder while we’re still muttering to ourselves, It’s all over, that’s it, who cares anyhow.”


Have a great weekend…step outside yourself, hold on to words that dance, embrace the mysteries!







Posted by: ktzefr | September 4, 2015

Favorite Friday Foto…

Hitching a ride on the Potomac…

Duck on a raft on the river; Photo:KFawcett

Duck on a raft on the river; Photo:KFawcett

Posted by: ktzefr | August 31, 2015

Around the World in a Teacup: history, legends, and lies


Tea has been around for nearly 5,000 years.  It all began in China…

According to legend, tea was discovered by the Emperor Shen Nung, a scholar and herbalist who drank boiled water for his health.  One day when he was resting beneath a wild tea tree a breeze stirred the branches and caused a few leaves to fall into his simmering water.  He found the resulting brew much more revitalizing than plain boiled water.

Japan…Sometime around A.D. 800 a Japanese monk who was studying in China returned home with tea seeds to plant on the grounds of his monastery.  Later, when he served this tea to Emperor Saga, the emperor ordered tea cultivation established in Japan.  (It just takes a cup to get hooked.)  The Japanese quickly turned tea drinking into ceremony involving a precise pattern of behavior designed to create a “quiet interlude” during the day for spiritual refreshment and attaining harmony with the universe.  Okakura Kakuzo wrote in 1906, “Teaism is a cult founded on the adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday existence.”  (I agree — a cup of tea, a chunk of chocolate, and a “quiet interlude” to watch the goldfinch come to the thistle feeder.)

Europe…No one knows for sure whether it was the Dutch or the Portuguese who brought the first tea ashore, but it was early in the seventeenth century.  Supplies were then re-exported to Italy, France, and Germany.  The real tea lovers, however, were the Russians and the Brits.

The first tea came to Russia as a gift from the Chinese to Tsar Alexis.  Soon, hundreds of camels were trekking to the border at Usk Kayakhta, laden with furs to exchange for tea.  The journey from Chinese grower to Russian consumer could take up to a year and a half, and by the 1800s Russians were drinking more than 6,000 camel loads of tea every year.  With the completion of the Trans-Siberian Railway, however, the transport time was reduced to just over a week!

In England tea was first advertised as a cure for every known ailment.  Thomas Garraway, a merchant in London, was one of the first to offer the sell of tea by auction.  He wrote that tea “maketh the body active and lusty…it vanquisheth heavy dreams, easeth the brain and strengtheneth the memory, it overcometh superflous sleep…”  I admit that, on occasion, I have imbibed in a spot of tea to overcometh superflous sleep because I needed to keepeth going.

The British went nuts over tea and the country was soon paying exorbitant prices for it, since China had no interest in trading for cotton, the only export England had to offer.  Opium came to the rescue.  The Chinese craved it and the British East India Company started growing it in Bengal.  The Brits, via merchants in Calcutta, sold it to China for silver.  Then they used the same silver to pay the Chinese for tea.  Opium was illegal in China and there were severe penalties, but the trade continued until a Chinese official named Lin Zexu confiscated 20,000 chests of it and stacked it on the beach in Canton to let the waves wash it out to sea.  A year later, Britain declared war on China and China retaliated by placing an embargo on tea. By then, however, the Brits had found several areas in India and Ceylon where they could cultivate tea.   

Ceylon…The main crop had been coffee, but the coffee rust fungus killed the majority of plants and estate owners had to grow some other crop in order to avoid ruin.  A Scotsman named James Taylor arrived in Ceylon in the mid 1800s and was put in charge of sowing the first tea seeds.  He quickly acquired some basic knowledge of tea cultivation, used his own bungalow as the factory, and rolled the leaves by hand.  The tea was deemed delicious, and Taylor soon had a fully equipped factory. 

By the late 1800s Ceylon had become a major British tea-producing area.  The country  changed its name to Sri Lanka; the tea did not.  Today, high-grown Ceylon teas have a beautiful golden liquor and intense flavor.  (I’m lucky to have a Sri Lankan friend who brings me bags of the real deal when she goes home for holiday.  In addition to the whole leaves, a popular local drink uses tea “dust” that is made by crushing the leaves into a powder.  Tea made with dust is generally boiled the last few minutes with milk, similar to the Indian masala tea.   In general, I would never add milk to tea, but good Indian masala made with milk and cardamon is a treat.)

India… the Brahmaputra Valley is the largest black tea-producing region of the world.  It borders China, Burma, and Bangladesh and gets very high rainfall and soaring temperatures, creating an enormous natural greenhouse for producing some of the finest varieties of tea in the world (First Flush Assam, Second Flush Assam, as well as greens and blends).

My personal favorite Indian tea, however, is darjeeling.  On a clear day, at 6,000 feet above sea level, these tea pickers can see Mount Everest in the distance.  Thousands of acres of tea bushes produce the best darjeelings, often referred to as the “Champagne” of teas.  No sugar, honey, lemon, or milk with this tea.  It’s naturally infused with a wonderful floral scent.

Viet Nam…The scent of tea has always been important to tea drinkers.  During the Nguyen dynasty (mid 1800s), King Tu Duc was known for drinking lotus-scented tea.  On the day before his morning tea, he had workers row to a lotus growing lake and place a small handful of tea leaves into each lotus flower blossom and then bind the petals.  The tea would dry overnight and absorb the scent of the flowers.  The next morning it would be picked and brought to the king for his morning tea.  Nowadays, the methods for infusing tea with lotus blossoms are a bit more modern.

Africa…Several countries in Africa grow tea. Cameroon’s first bushes were planted on the slopes of an active volcano.  The Kenyan highlands produce some of the highest quality of tea in Africa.  German settlers planted the first tea in Tanzania.  And, in South Africa, locals drink 10 billion cups of tea each year.  Zulu tea from this area has become popular in Europe and the US. 

Mexico…Countries south of the border are not known for growing tea, but indigenous people served herbal tea for centuries before the Spaniards arrived.  Some varieties are purported to have medicinal benefits.  A few, however, can be toxic in large doses.  My favorite (safe to drink in any quantity) is flor de Jamaica.  Every Mexican market has these dried hibiscus flowers that make a refreshing herbal iced tea or agua fresca.  It’s deep red in color with a sweet-tart flavor, high in Vitamin C, caffeine free, and sold in many restaurants and by street vendors.  It’s best served very cold with a lot of ice.  Also, an herbal tea that I’ve enjoyed in Mexico in private homes (don’t know if it’s sold in markets) is tea brewed from the leaves of the lime trees that grow in many home gardens.

In other Latin American countries the most popular tea drink is yerba mate, an herbal variety from the mint family. 

 The U.S. —  When tea came to the colonies New York City became a tea drinker’s haven.  Quality drinking water was not always available back then, so special water pumps were installed around Manhatten.  Tea gardens became popular and tea was drunk in the same elegant fashion as in England with expensive silverware and porcelain — symbols of wealth and social status.  Families with no money, however, still drank tea as this represented breeding and good manners.  A pot was kept on the stove all day for family and visitors.  Some folks enjoyed the scented green teas from China, but the Quakers drank theirs with salt and butter!

The Boston Tea Party ended America’s teatime.  When British troops arrived and the War of Independence began, The U.S. became a coffee-drinking country.

And so it goes…





Posted by: ktzefr | August 12, 2015

Words…and the trouble they get into

Birds, Mayan Textile; Photo:KFawcett

Birds, Mayan Textile; Photo:KFawcett

I was reading poetry this morning in Spanish, side by side with the English version, and thinking about the images lost in translation.  Sometimes the translations on Facebook and other online forums are almost silly, in addition to being incorrect.  And I can imagine all sorts of misunderstandings as a result.

In any case, it’s the beauty of the Spanish language that is often lost in translation.  Even when the English is correct, i.e. the meaning is accurate, the image may not be as…pretty as it is in the original.

Consider these…

“…dentro de cada palabra existe una sonrisa”  Translated: “…inside every word there can be kindness.”

The meaning is okay, as translated, but isn’t the Spanish, “…inside every word exists a smile” prettier?


“…por los caminos olvidados de California” Translated: “…through the backroads of California.”

Of course, we call them backroads, but think of the different image for olvidados when it’s more specific — forgotten/left behind“What the heck is a forgotten road?” someone may ask, but a poet knows.  


“…de sus labios brotaban palabras melodiosas”  Translated: “…rhyming words would pour out of her mouth”

I suppose if the English version said “from her lips sprouted melodious words” it would sound a bit awkward.  But…words can be melodious without rhyming.  And sprouted?  I like it.  I image tiny seeds in the mind that become sturdy sprouts before they’re spit out. 

Oh well, when you read the English translation of a Spanish book, just remember that chances are it’s a whole lot prettier in Spanish.

So, I’m not a poet, but I like to play with…


I am a collector of words.

I pick them up from one page

and pluck them down in a new spot

to see where they take me.


Words do not sit still. They walk and run,

Skip and hop, fall and fly. They bounce.

They fling themselves from one place to the next.

They can dive and splash or soar above our heads.

They leap, but sometimes not too high.

They can be cautious, too.


Words are time travelers.

They can go from here to there,

And from there to here,

On a moment’s notice.


One word can jog a memory.


Words are not like people; they mean

What they say.


And they don’t care whether

you like them or not.


Some words are weak; some are strong.

Sometimes one is better than another.


It’s no secret that some words act like they’re alive!

They can run amok and cause great harm.

But the right word at the right time can also heal.


Words can change the world…

But only if they’ve been picked up

And plucked back down

In the right places.



Posted by: ktzefr | July 24, 2015

Favorite Foto Friday — Blue-Footed Booby

Blue-footed booby, Isla Espanola, Galapagos; Photo:MFawcett

Blue-footed booby, Isla Espanola, Galapagos; Photo:MFawcett

Isla Espanola, Galapagos — We are in a panga, a large rubber raft, headed to a clump of black volcanic rock — one of the few dry landings on the island.  Turns out not to be as “dry” as we thought.  We scramble ashore with the waves splashing against the rocks and walk single file along a natural jetty where we are met by a welcoming committee of one  — a blue-footed booby perched on a tall boulder preening himself.

As birding goes, the Galapagos is the place to be.  Since the birds have no fear of humans, they will sit for any number of portraits. 

A few interesting facts about this pretty bird…

1)  They love their colorful feet and they strut around, stepping high, to show them off during the mating ritual. The fancier the dance and the bluer the feet – the better to win a mate.

2)  Blue-footed boobies are carnivores.  They especially enjoy anchovies.

3)  These birds can live up to 17 years and have a wing span of 5 feet.

4)  They are excellent divers; when they see a school of fish, they fold back their wings, streamline their bodies, and dive headfirst into the water.  Their eyesight is excellent and their aim is on target.

5)  Blue foots can hatch 1 to 3 chicks and both parents feed and take care of them.  They use their webbed feet to cover their young and keep them warm.

6)  These birds are not graceful on land and their clumsiness may be why they were called boobies, which comes from the word bobo, meaning stupid. They are not, however, dumb birds. Early explorers considered the birds dumb because they showed no fear and were easily picked up and carted off to the dinner table.   But it wasn’t stupidity that caused them to be easy targets; they simply had no fear.  They had never met human predators and had no reason to be afraid. 

I’m glad boobies can still live, for the most part, without fear.  They show only curiosity.  This is the most striking characteristic about the animals of these islands.  I knew this, of course, but I still wasn’t quite prepared.  I continue to be mesmerized by the memories of these beautiful creatures.

I have tried, on occasion, to imagine a world in which humans live without fear, a world in which curiosity would take its place. 

Can you?


More info:

National Geographic   (Blue Footed Boobies)

National Wildlife Federation ( Blue Footed Boobies for kids) 



“I have felt nothing ever

like the wild wonder of that moment.”  ~Rumi

wild flower

I pass this flower every day.  It’s a volunteer and a survivor, growing in the pavement cracks.


“…look up: see both worlds…the ocean shaping and carrying

you along.  You’ve heard descriptions of that sea.  Now

float, trust, enjoy the motion.” ~Rumi

Bunny; photo:KFawcett

Wild Bunny; photo:KFawcett

Our neighborhood has been especially full of bunnies this spring.  I haven’t seen a fox in a long time — could be the reason.  The bunnies are trusting of us humans; if they’re enjoying breakfast, they don’t bother to run away.


“I look for the light I used to

see.  The key is hidden here

somewhere.” ~Rumi

Rose of Sharon; Photo:KFawcett

Rose of Sharon; Photo:KFawcett

My own Rose of Sharon bush has deep pink flowers.  This one I often see on my walks is multicolored.  The same bush has both white and pale pink blooms.  In the back of my yard we have a few stray lavender twigs and a bush or two that I brought from a previous house more than 20 years ago.  They spread like weeds.  I’ve given twigs away that have also spread like weeds in the yards of others.  Years of stories are hidden in the Rose of Sharon.  This one, by the roadside, must overhear some juicy tales from all those walkers and joggers and kids going to school. 


“Friend, there’s a sweetness to the moon’s

one pearl, but consider the ocean it

grew in, and the soul’s great turning

wheel.  Grafitti people on bathhouse walls

have intelligent origins, but think who

drew the mind!” ~Rumi

Swallowtail Butterfly; Photo:KFawcett

Swallowtail Butterfly; Photo:KFawcett

…or the butterfly or the bunny or the flowers.


“Spirit is so mixed with the visible world that giver,

gift, and beneficiary are

one thing.  You are the grace raining down, the grace

is you.  Creation is

a clear, flat, fast-moving creek, where qualities reflect.

Generations rush by, while

the stars stay still without a splash.” ~Rumi



I have been walking by this tree for more than 20 years and just noticed a few days ago that it’s two conjoined trunks.  How does one pass something like this and not see it?  I have also walked this way many times with friends and don’t recall anyone ever noticing or mentioning the weird tree. 

I’ve decided to slow down, start really looking at stuff, and Rumi-nating on my morning walks to see if I can feel a bit more “wild wonder” in the moments.


Posted by: ktzefr | July 2, 2015

Hummingbird Wisdom…

Hummingbird; Photo:KFawcett

Hummingbird; Photo:KFawcett

I look up from my laptop and watch the hummingbirds come and go, come and go, all day long.  They take long sips from the red plastic feeder that is supposed to look like a giant flower but really doesn’t.  It holds more sweetness, however, than a bunch of flowers — and it takes a lot less work for the little fliers to get the nectar.

He sits on the rim of the feeder and looks up and down, side to side, scanning the surroundings for other birds, protecting his territory.

It doesn’t matter if there are two feeders or three or more.  A hummer does not like to share.  When another bird comes, he swoops down out of nowhere and chases it away.

I watch him sit on a tiny dead branch of the dogwood tree.  On guard. Perhaps the hummers know something we humans often forget: if you don’t guard the sugar water, someone else will take it.

He does not know, cannot know, that at my house the supply of sugar water is endless, that it’s okay to share, that I could feed a flock of hummers and prepare them all for the long trip across the Gulf of Mexico next fall.

If I could talk to a hummingbird, I would set his mind at ease.  In exchange, perhaps, he would tell me what it feels like to fly.



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