When We Went Hither–and what we swore

“Don’t even think about it,” Tizi said. We were walking down to the local market the other day, a two-mile round trip on foot. It was a bright morning in October, perfectly autumnal. I was telling her about a professor of mine who used to say au-TOOM-nal, a pronunciation I liked and tried on for…More

More Than Enough–on walking at 5:00 a.m.

I’ve been thinking about topophilia of late. “One’s mental, emotional, and cognitive ties to a place,” as University of Wisconsin geographer Yi-Fu Tuan, who coined the term, defines it. Where I’ve had this feeling, of being tied to and restored by a place, is just outside my door.  This morning I can’t see much of…More

When Bacco Smiles–from American English, Italian Chocolate

My wife’s old aunt has an omino (the diminutive of uomo, the Italian word for “man”). Omino.  Little man.  When she wants to cook a rabbit for lunch, she has an omino who sells her the rabbit. She wants fish, she has another omino. She has a repair job to do in the house, she…More

On Wine Tasting and the Limits of Winespeak–from Get Thee to a Bakery

  “You taste wine the same way I do,” the guy pouring says.  “We all have the same equipment: nose, mouth, tongue, palate.      Technically, yes.  And it’s very nice of him to say that.      It’s my last day in Sonoma. I’ve had a head cold all week, so none of my “equipment” has…More