SoCal exotica

May 8, 2013 § 1 Comment

Lilac 2  It’s been lilac season and flower vendors have been bringing great purple armfuls to the farmers’ markets. Like daffodils and tulips, lilacs need cool weather to thrive; in L.A., they’re an exotic shrub, just as birds-of-paradise are back east. Most of what’s sold here come from high elevations—places like Tehachapi, where apples and stone fruits also grow well.

Whenever I see bunches of lilacs, I sink my face into the blossoms and inhale deeply. They’re frightfully expensive, so their scent is all I can afford to take away with me. That and memories of growing up in lilac territory. When lilacs appeared, we knew that spring had taken hold at last.

Lilacs, sweet gum seed pods—it’s remarkable what can evoke memories, which, in turn, so easily engender nostalgia. And a weighty sense of loss.

Lilac 1


January 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

IMG_2588 This morning at one of the market stalls, all eyes were on a sweet-faced toddler who trailed after his mother as she moved about selecting carrots and onions and potatoes. As the clerk weighed the woman’s purchases, there ensued a conversation that went something like this:

“What’s his name?”


“Samwise? Is that a nickname for Samuel?”

“No. ‘Sam’ means ‘hear’ and Samuel means ‘hear God.’ Samwise means ‘listen to wisdom.’ We thought we’d, you know, broaden it a bit.”

I haven’t decided if the name is clever, cute, or annoyingly hip. But then, I have grand-nieces named Daisy and Clover so whom am I to judge?

N.B. Since posting this, I have been reminded that in 1 Samuel 1:20 (JPS) the name Samuel is said to mean, “I asked the Lord [YHWH] for him.” The transliterated Hebrew connected with the name is sha’ul me’el: “asked of God.”

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