The 100 Seconds to Midnight Notebook

As a LGBTQ+ writer and lifelong activist, I will share ideas or thoughts from my personal notebook (some with photos) to inform, uplift and build solidarity in this time of existential human crises, namely pandemic, equality/justice, and climate change. So many of us are suffering, anxious, or isolated. I have created a private Facebook group as well, where members will be able to reciprocate with their own ideas and thoughts. If you wish to join, click this link for The 100 Seconds to Midnight Notebook Facebook group.

100 Seconds – Part 1 – Hummingbirds 5/24/21

A whirr of wings Motionless, as if perched on an invisible precipice Along with owls, hummingbirds are my favorite family of birds. They belong to the avian family Trochilidae; their closest relatives are swifts. The almost 340 hummingbird species are found only in the Americas. Traveling beyond the “New World”, the niche of nectar-sipping birds […]

100 Seconds – From a Hunting Ground to a World Heritage Site 5/23/21

My Passage to India Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan I thought long and hard about traveling to India — the difficulties of the journey, health and safety concerns, the thought of being immersed for ten days in a totally unfamiliar society and culture, whose people have suffered so much poverty and exploitation, where suppression of women […]

100 Seconds – 5/21/21

When at last I found Ithaca’s shore, I gave it all I had and all I have been. For like the poet, Sara Teasdale, I understood that in life one must barter…. “Life has loveliness to sell, All beautiful and splendid things, Blue waves whitened on a cliff, Soaring fire that sways and sings, And […]

100 Seconds – A Fine Madness 5/20/21

Astonishing Topiary of England and France Topiary is the art of clipping hedges and trees into ornamental shapes. Topiary is ostentation, whimsy, a compulsive impulse to have nature resemble geometric contours or animals. A fine madness of human creativity; however, the opposite of Japanese niwaki, which seeks through minute pruning and training to create the […]

100 Seconds – Gone to Soldiers 5/05/21

My Journey to the Lost Garden of Heligan, Cornwall, England There once was a place, a lost garden, that evokes Pete Seeger’s poignant song about the never-ending waste of human lives we call war: “Where have all the soldiers gone? Long time passing Where have all the soldiers gone? Long time ago Where have all […]

100 Seconds – Spirit Guide of the Cloud Forest 4/29/2021

The Quetzals of Monteverde, Costa Rica Somewhere on this earth, a place calls out to you, with an emotional power that could only be real. That place for me was Monteverde, Costa Rica in 1997. I came to Monteverde with the hope of seeing a rare, beautiful bird, the Resplendent Quetzal; during mating season, male […]

100 Seconds – Close-Up to Creation 4/25/2021

Georgia O’Keeffe’s Flowers Some artists speak directly to your heart, not just through the subject matter, but also in color, form, light, and viewpoint, an entirety of invention that awakens a personal meaning and delight for a lifetime. Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) is one of those artists for me. A print of her work called “The […]

100 Seconds – Your House is a Canvas 4/22/2021

My Journey to Charleston House, the home ground of the Bloomsbury Group I set off on a day trip aboard a sluggish train from London’s Victoria Station to the south of England. My destination: Charleston House, located in the village of Firle in East Sussex, not too far from Brighton. Charleston House hosted and housed […]

100 Seconds – Ten Million Whispers 4/17/2021

This post will be rather different. I felt compelled to write this piece and share it with you, given what is happening in our country. Your thoughts gratefully appreciated. I was born in 1946. WWII was over. Soldiers weren’t the only ones killed. No, this was a total war on civilians, and ten million Jews, […]

100 Seconds – Niwaki Gardens 4/14/21

Making a garden is a form of art and escape from human woes, letting nature carry, subdue, and astound us with its boundless beauty. Each garden reflects local culture and its individual gardener, a human creation that always should be organic and protective of wildlife. Of all garden styles, the Japanese garden is designed to […]

100 Seconds – Montezuma’s Oropendola 4/7/21

My Journey to a Central American Rainforest Most of us can instantly remember the scariest plane ride they’ve had. Mine was the short flight from the airport in Belize City to a remote rainforest eco-lodge, an enclave of elevated cabins and dining hall built on an ancient Mayan site. Over 300 species of birds have […]

100 Seconds – Sakura Sunday 4/4/21

In my spring garden, I gaze in rapture, each day new life, new blossoms of white or pink, first peach, then apricot, pear, and lastly apple, each tree setting its own time to stir. It reminds me of Sakura, the ancient Japanese festival of cherry blossoms and the tradition of “hanami”, where people walk amongst […]

100 Seconds – The Southern Cassowary and The Dreamtime 03/29/21

My Journey to An Ancient Rainforest I joined a small group hoping to find one of the most astounding, endangered flightless birds in the world — its sanctuary, a tropical rainforest called Daintree in Queensland, Australia. The air in a rainforest drips, its humidity nearly oppressive, like a greenhouse gone feral, every scrap of light […]

100 Seconds – French Lessons for Gardeners 3/24/21

My Journey to Provence: Potagers and Lavender Fields My basement flat in London came with a modest outdoor space. For an unlimited quantity of Fosters and pizza, two Aussie brothers built me a rude potting up shed, made the garden access safe, and hauled off rubbish – a brew of bricks, rotten boards, and broken […]

100 Seconds – March Madness 3/19/21

The March Hare is my favorite Lewis Carroll character, first introduced to the reader at the Mad Hatter’s tea party in “Through the Looking-Glass”. Carroll drew on a rich vein of folklore surrounding this creature which is so iconic with the English countryside. To me, the March Hare seems more philosophical than mad, questioning conventional […]

100 Seconds – 3/17/21

At the Lakes of Killarney, a local woman told me to look out for a water spirit, known in Irish as a “luchorpán,” meaning a “wee creature”. These spirits over many centuries became the mischievous household fairy said to haunt cellars and drink heavily, called leprechauns. Wishing you safety and peace on this St. Patrick’s […]

100 Seconds – Fly With An Eagle 3/15/21

The last white-tailed sea eagle in Britain was shot by hunters in 1918, but the story doesn’t end there. A Scottish conservation team brought them back via “rewilding”, a purposeful restoration of an eco-system destroyed by humans. Now they’re a protected species in Scotland. Chicks were taken from a donor population in Norway and flown […]

100 Seconds – All Passion Spent 3/13/21

All Passion Spent Vita Sacksville-West and Sissinghurst Castle Garden To my knowledge, there is only one internationally famous and glorious garden that was created by a married couple, who were in fact living underground gay lives. That place is Sissinghurst; the pair, Vita Sacksville-West and Sir Harold Nicolson. It’s only a few hours from London’s […]

100 Seconds 3/11/21

The weird but wonderful Malaysian (left) and tawny (right ) frogmouths, both masters of camouflage, related to nightjars. Only by sheer luck, my guide spotted the tawnies. They’re known in Australia as the nocturnal vacuum cleaners of insect pests. In the daytime, they perch motionless on a tree branch.

Ghosts of Granada

100 Seconds – Ghosts of Granada 3/9/21

My Journey to Southern Spain I rented a mini Fiat at the Madrid airport. Armed with a map, I drove off on my own to Andalusia in the southernmost part of Spain. First destination, Granada. Even before the quintessential Muslim paradise garden, the Alhambra, my first day in Grenada was earmarked for the homes of […]

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