Returning to the Desert: When Life Feels Dry and Despairing

On my return to the desert, I hiked dusty trails up mountains and through vast valley expanses, walking in the sunshine and in the rain and as the wind blew cold through our jackets, over rocks and through canyons and sliding down muddy inclines, under “skies that pull you into infinity, like the ocean,” as Anne Lamott describes it. I listened to coyotes sing songs of dusk and I sat on a rock as a bobcat passed casually in front of me (!!!), and I explored a cliffside cave 2,200 feet above sprawling miles of untouched wilderness covered in cactus forests and squat underbrush. And I returned to a mountain south of the city; with Bon Iver murmuring his melancholy melody in my ears, I watched the sunset—the sun sinking below a distant range, the sky set aflame—bright orange dancing with deep blues and pinks, the mountains surrounding the city cast in a rose glow.

Read More
London Bound: A Guide to Planning Your Trip

If you can have a city-version of the love of your love, then London is mine. I studied for a semester in that delightfully-dreary city and have been madly in love with the place since. Try as I might, I’ve not found a legal way to make London my dwelling place, though I’m currently accepting applications for a British beau. But if I can’t have a permanent London address, I can settle for an annual pilgrimage across the pond to the city that holds my heart. Here are my recommendations for planning your own trip to London.

Read More
Refugees: The Stories, The Facts, and How You Can Help

An American flag hangs over a painting in their modest apartment. They’ve been in America only a few months now. She knows a bit of English, and I know zero Arabic or Kurdish, so we do our best to communicate with hand gestures and Google translate. She’s taking an English class and shows me a notebook of the words she’s learning. She tells me the Kurdish word for flower. And then she tells me that I am a flower. She’s a wife, a mom, a woman just like me.

Read More