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 – 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 […]

Wild Swans

100 Seconds – Wild Swans 3/6/21

I was well over forty when I saw my first wild swan. I was crossing a stone bridge in Cambridge, England, and below me were a pair of mute swans gliding past, the water rippling in their wake. Their bright orange bills were topped with a bulbous black knob. After that, I seemingly found them […]

100 Seconds – Garden as Art and Autobiography: My Journey to Frieda Kahlo’s La Casa Azul 3/4/21

Great art and music resonate differently with each person. A certain sound or visual world can touch your very being, rich with meaning and emotion, melding with your personality, gender identity, ethnicity, heritage, memories, relationships, even shared life experiences with the artist or composer. Frida Kahlo and her self-portraits resonate with me. I can identify […]

100 Seconds – Old Religions and Green Beings 2/28/21

I’ve often wondered why we humans thought up religion, which has benefited us with social adhesion, ethical ideas, solace, great music and art, but it has a lot to answer for. Religion plays a conspicuous role in intolerance, authoritarianism, violence, oppression of women and minorities, and war. Before the modern global mega-faiths, there were the […]

100 Seconds – Your Mind Is A Garden: My Journey to Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top House 2/23/21

Millions of children for well more than a century know the opening line of this magical story: “Once upon a time there were four little rabbits, and their names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter.” The author, Beatrix Potter, was a gifted, original artist. Her books interwove the wild and human world in a unique […]

100 SECONDS – To Sleep, Perchance to Dream 2/17/21

All animals struggle to find adequate food in cold, dark winters. Around 12,000 years ago, our ancestors started planting wild varieties of peas, lentils, and barley, along with figuring out that herding animals for food and warm clothes was much more dependable than hunting or foraging. So, we humans rely on cultural solutions like inventions […]

100 SECONDS – The Beguilement of Winter 2/12/21

Winter is often described as somber, dull, dreary, endless, best to avoid by staying inside and warm. The brief days and persistent nights can make us feel depressed, especially during this year of a terrible global pandemic. Maybe I’m a bit daft to love this season, but I find that winter’s magic and majesty lays […]

100 SECONDS – Why Camouflage 2/5/21

In the animal kingdom, camouflage is a key strategy to survive and breed by disguising one’s location, blending in, appearing as something one is not like a leaf or twig, melting into the background of colors and textures of plants and trees in order to avoid being eaten or increase the chance of getting a […]

100 SECONDS – The Most Beautiful Masterpiece 1/31/21

Creating a garden is a form of love, love for beauty and the gifts of the natural world. Gardening and growing your own food are activities that make us part of the sacred space of plants. Only outdoors, do I find revitalization and serenity, despite the tempest that rages around us. My garden has distinct […]

100 SECONDS – 1/29/21

Circum-horizontal arcs, or “fire rainbows” are refractions of sun or moonlight on plate-shaped atmospheric ice crystals. I couldn’t quite apprehend that this phenomenon of nature was real, not a virtual fantasy.

100 SECONDS – The Genius of Trees 1/25/21

In an unexpected summer storm, I dash underneath an old valley oak and look up at its thick, furrowed trunk pushing upwards to the sky, the hail bouncing off its spatulate leaves. Trees are so familiar to us, but too often we view them as simply objects, background, or products, incapable of awareness, memory, feeling, […]

100 SECONDS – THE CURE OF TROY 1/20/21

THE CURE OF TROY by the great Irish poet, Seamus Heaney, is oft quoted by our new President Joe Biden, as it touches the heart of rising above hate and violence; and in doing so, imagine hope and heal each other. Human beings suffer. They torture one another. They get hurt and get hard. No […]

100 Seconds 1/18/21

I came across cold winter’s delight A frozen droplet clinging to a twig A glowing promise of spring to come.

100 Seconds 1/15/21

My favorite Franz Schubert song from “Winterreise” is called “Der Lindenbaum” (The Linden Tree). Another name for this tree which often line avenues is the lime tree, said to have been present in Britain since about 7300 BC. A graceful, ample, wistful shade tree much celebrated in literature. Schubert’s song is set to the words […]

100 Seconds 1/13/21

I haven’t posted for a while, as I’ve been recovering from shoulder surgery and pondering last week’s events, the images of a violent mob storming the citadel of our democracy, emboldened and incited by a president who broke his oath to protect it. I wrote this four years ago, still so haunting today: “With an […]

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