Curious & Inspired

Diamond L

It was short-lived, an ill-fated love affair. After leaving Michael for good, I placed an ad on the ride board in the Student Union at Kalamazoo College to see if I could find myself a companion for the trip back to California and help with the gas. When I spoke to Clara, she seemed right. […]

Rumors of Red Cardinals

Observations from Travels to Virginia. Photographs © David Wakely, Text © Sharon H. Smith.   With rumors of red cardinals and John’s excitement about his brand new green tractor, these Californians left D.C., the city of monuments to visit David’s friend at Walnut Run Farm in the countryside of Virginia for a couple of days. […]

Reverence for Yuroks

Exploring the Land of the Sacred Salmon. Photos of Sumeg Village, Patrick’s Point © David Wakely, Text © Sharon H. Smith.   Outside my window from the Requa Inn, there are tule marshes and the long bend of the Klamath River. Across the water looks like a forested island. Fog fills the sky in layers. […]

The Hawk

He was close enough I could see his armature, his chest like finely layered lace, his feathers like ligature on sheet music. I couldn’t imagine his weight, but his presence had weight. He looked at me with just one eye small and marbled. A yearning, a missing? Above him the clouds breathed, tumbled, broke. The […]

Kabuki Baths

  When I can stop thinking about how old I am, how my stomach has tucks, curves, soft places, my face, lines, shadows that didn’t use to be there. When I can stop the sounds of advertisements in my head for age-defying wrinkle-free creams. When I can stop thinking about how my knees creak, or […]

Martins: A Special Place

Martin de Porres, House of Hospitality, a venerable soup kitchen, is all about love. Each person who comes to Martin’s is treated like a guest, made to feel at home, safe and as a consequence loved. It is a special place where the interaction between the volunteers and guests, many who have been helping out […]


I started running again. Not what you think. Another kind of running. Picking up and delivering food for Food Runners. In 2000, I became a Food Runners Volunteer while co-authoring a cookbook about restaurants, and have been running ever since. For years I ran once a week. With all the wonderful food I buy, cook, […]

Dia de los Muertos

Lupe kneels on the cool red-tiled patio floor loosening orange petals, divining a journey of flowers out her door, out of her courtyard, out the front gate. Debemos de guiara los espíritus. The air warm, pungent. Smoke lingering from last night’s mesquite fire. Lupe, her husband, and their two young girls erect an altar: marigolds, […]

Fairy Dust

This imagined story is a tribute to a family that I greatly admire.  The tree was full of clay handprints, golden stars, tiny churches, red, green and blue shiny balls. Almost all the ornaments had stories like a charm bracelet. Many of them came from their childhoods. The tree filled the picture window with lights crisscrossing the […]

Wine Notes

  At Trefethen we tasted wine at a long live edged table light balancing off wine barrels that surrounded us. The notes in front of us spoke of “bright, pineapple, peach, lingering aromas of cut apple, gardenia, tarragon, spicy on the palette” another wine, “an elegant nose of violets, plums, cherries, hints of forest floor […]


It was his first day in his new role. A role he had not expected. All three knew the family had shrunk by one. It was going to be him, solo dad, and his two small children. Dinner tonight would be pizza. He would order a big one: a simple margherita: mozzarella and tomato sauce, […]

David Kerr Design

And a shout out to David Kerr, who put together this beautiful website for me. Thank you David! Do consider going to his website and see the magic he has performed for others. If you need a website, he is the guy. Creative and easy to work with. Lucky me.

Tiny Beauty

The stone brown owl from Japan, painted tile from Deruta, a Ginko leaf picked up on a pathway in Japan. Tiny memories pressed into books, set on a table, placed on a window sill. A child’s dimpled finger, tiny birds with yellow wings dipping their beaks in cool water. Lazy lizards scurrying under rocks, crawling […]

When I Think About Immigration

  When I think about immigration, I think about Manuel. I find myself back in college many years ago living in a place where many Latinos cooked our food in the dining commons. Manuel, a big burly guy with a wide smile, was one of those people whom I had gotten to know. We became […]


  I saw a small wooden cross tied to a tree when coming up 101 towards Petaluma. The traffic was bumper to bumper. I was in the passenger seat and happened to glance towards the trees. I saw it there, lonely, askew, some flowers wilted, tied there. Evidence of a loss from another time, a […]
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