On one of my solitary walks with Kokopelli, I admire the fullness of purple-tipped grasses along the canal bank. Some offer bunched, short seeds in clusters. Others have long-shafted seeds in plumes. Or oblong, spiked seeds suspended like bells. “There must be a thousand golden variations,” I tell him. Oats. Wheat. Barley. Bread and beer. Silk-enshrouded ears of corn for sweet butter. Fat tender steaks. Sour whiskey mash. Like some people I knew. The many named needles and strands of whips and brushes reach skyward, flaying the wind, inviting birds to flight.

For more insights from the American Far West and Kokopelli, click here.


a well-crafted turbine a flower in bloom the blades of a large jet engine a honeycomb exhaust fan no stops for granola bars this anatomy of a rippling stone in the stream, a fingerprint no monkeys in the Squirrel Temple Poem copyright 2016 by Jnana Hodson To see the full set of Partitas, click here.


Does a mystery novel have to revolve around a detective? Even a charming amateur? Or can it focus instead on the leading suspect?

In proposing a book with the working title, Dinner to Die For, I envisioned an anonymous restaurant critic who works for an independent television station. How to handle the visuals for each review would have posed an interesting challenge, something quite unlike the so-called Phantom Gourmet who has since become a popular staple on a New England cable news channel. He’s widely recognized on the street, for one thing.

Well, the novel never moved forward. This project was predicated on two collaborators, who eventually declined, however discretely.

Still, enough remained to slip into my newest book, Along the Parallel Tracks of Yin and Yang.

As a further twist, my biggest novel on the way is also about food and restaurants. This time, from the inside. And I promise, it won’t be a mystery.


Parallel Tracks
Parallel Tracks

For these stories and more, visit Thistle/Flinch editions.


1 slowly approaching a line that grows from the edge of the sea and then spreads at the harbor mouth slowly, details emerge and at last, some recognition in what’s become familiar home, or at least neighborhood extending attuned here, more than elsewhere the awareness, something all your own has happened with this place but […]


As I wrote at the time:

It’s the third straight day of temperatures above ninety, with humidity to match. Still, we’ve avoided a miserable July this year, and the heat has not locked itself into the house: we’ve been able to cool everything overnight. What strikes me is that we’re no longer floored by the oppression. We simply move slower, more deliberately. Avoid using the oven. (We’ll grill outdoors this afternoon.)

In other words, we’ve adjusted ourselves to seasonal change.

Come winter, we’ll have to brace ourselves all over again for biting cold. What will be bitter in November or December will instead feel balmy come February or March.

At the office, I know that any sharp change in the weather brings an increase in obituaries. We can joke about the shift that sends those who are barely hanging on over the edge, but the numbers support us. People in climate-controlled chambers all the same responding to minor shifts in barometric temperature or dew points, all the same. Do we inhale and exhale something other than air?

Spaces I’ve entered where silent prayer or meditation are already under way all felt set apart from their surroundings. I’ve sometimes described it as diving into water and swimming beneath the surface or like entering a pressurized rare-book library.

Returning to the ashram and its grounds after being away presented a similar sensation, as have old Quaker meetinghouses, even years after their regular use.

Live within that energy, and you no longer notice it – it’s simply the way life is. Leave it, though, and you can feel you are falling through space, for weeks on end.


For more Seasons of the Spirit, click here.


each springtime and summer we go our rounds, grubbing out pervasive maple sprouts, glistening slugs the evil elegance of bindweed to open way for what flowers or what bears would harvest each repetition its own mixture of success and disappointment * * * as my Lady of the Fabric Bins explains the palette of the […]


Why wait for the dust to settle? Here are 10 bullets from my end.


  1. A bit of gardening before Meeting for Worship. A round of picking raspberries, peas, string beans. Blueberries and currants are next to ripen.
  2. One foot in the present, the other in the past. Not just a pattern for dreams. It’s intrinsic to the process of writing. Add to that smells, sounds, touch, taste.
  3. I love the concept of the Commonplace Book – a kind of scrapbook of observations of a personal journey. It’s related to the tradition I discovered in whaling ship logs.
  4. The logbooks, by the way, had a specific form, which by 1840 came in printed versions with columns H, W, K – hour, wind, knots – plus course and comments like “lost sight of land” or notations of birds seen. Across the bottom of each page are other notes, such as latitude and longitude or the distance traveled in a day, where I saw up to 140 miles recorded. Turns out the entries also helped determine or justify extra rations for the crew and so on, depending on the conditions. Wonder how that format would work as a personal journal.
  5. What do we make of rounds of thunderstorms, interrupted by bursts of sunlight, knowing more weeds and garden slugs are on the way?
  6. The Portsmouth Greek Festival differs from ours in Dover. Their event has two food lines, rather than one, and an outdoor tent for dancing. It all takes place behind the church, rather than miles away. I’m surprised how little interaction there is between the two Orthodox congregations.
  7. Been meditating for 66 years now, one way or another upholding the spiritual discipline. More than half of that time has been as a member of Dover Friends, worshiping in our 1768 Quaker meetinghouse. Some of the members have been there the whole time with me. (How could that be? Already!)
  8. I’m not a big fan of comparative religion, looking for commonalities and similarities. I’m more interested in vital differences and nuance. How far this is from what I’d envisioned, back when I was largely agnostic.
  9. In a very fragile condition, a snake having just shed its skin.
  10. What was the biggest mistake in my life? (Or in yours?)


Doesn't everyone have a stone wall for the pots?
Doesn’t everyone have a stone wall for the pots?