Dear Rumi,

Why are the pistachios I shell one by one so much better tasting than pistachios already shelled?

When you do things from your soul you feel a river moving in you, a joy. When action come from another quarter, the feeling vanishes.

Dear Rumi,

Why do I feel compelled to eat every last pistachio in the bag?

As you start to walk out on the way, the way appears.

Dear Rumi,

If one unshelled pistachio falls into the bowl of shells, should I search for it?

I’m not asking for pistachio candy, but for your everlasting love. Fifty times I’ve said, “Heart, stop hunting and step into this net.”

Dear Rumi,

What do you do with the ones that aren’t cracked open far enough to get your thumbnail in?

A secret freedom opens through a crevice you can barely see.

Dear Rumi,

Do you throw them out the door for the birds?

All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there.


There it is, that pre-dawn scuffling on the roof, rats or squirrels or raccoons. I grab my flashlight and go out to investigate and mirabile dictu it’s RAIN. Enough to penetrate the sparse thatch of the crown of my head. Enough to make me take my shoes and my bucket of tools inside.

RAIN. I take full credit. My wooing campaign is taking off.

No sooner than I start to crow I am afflicted with mites of doubt. What if all this acclamation is confusing the rain god(s) into coming in September, and that by November the gods will have lost their way? Perhaps it’s better not to admit harboring an uncertainty about the intelligence of the fluvial deities. Surely they will find their way back at the appropriate time. Still, and I swear this will be my last questioning of the great and unsurpassable rain gods, these self-same gods do occasionally have a tendency to act like frat boys at a party school. Go overboard, as it were.

Okay. Got that out of my system. By the time I do, the rain is over. Enough to leave a smell. Enough to give the plants of the garden an erotic thrill. Enough to make me think. they’re listening. Keep wooing. We want more.


Naturally I wondered why I was getting a letter from Amazon. I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the envelope there was a check. Royalties.

INV AMOUNT 4.71                        ADJUSTMENT (1.32)            NET AMOUNT 3.39

I guess they were saving on ink, leaving the $ signs off.

This evening I went looking for the check and I can’t find it. Maybe I recycled it.
Alas. I was going to take my friends out with it.


I googled Rain Goddess Amazon and boy, was I soon lost in Bezosland when I wanted to be among the lianas and the river dolphins. I am doing my best to pay homage to each and every one of the many rain deities; Tefnut, Iris, Lali Peri. Wouldn’t want any to get upset, and deities have a way of getting upset. So as not to leave out the boys (line up in alphabetical order, please) here I offer halleluias to Achuhucanac, Denka, Enlil, Isayawa, Jupiter, Mungo, Tawhiri. Gods, what do you want, virgins? Will you take substitutes? We got no virgins.




First thing yesterday morning, an email informing the block one of our neighbors, Irit, was found dead in her house. “May Irit’s memory be for a blessing,” Debby wrote.

“Is Irit short for Irritable?” I once asked another neighbor. It got a laugh but it wasn’t fair. Irit had been nothing but pleasant to me in our very brief encounters. But I never completely got over that take. The high, inhospitable fence that stuck out from her Victorian house walling her in and off didn’t help.   Maybe Irit didn’t put it up. But she didn’t tear it down.

Irit had a bit role in Woody Allen’s film, Blue Jasmine. She played a cranky constipated elderly patient harassing Cate Blanchett. It was a bit of fizz in a downer. “There’s Irit, that’s my neighbor,” I nudged my companion, dimly glowing in reflected star power. Though she was playing cranky, unsurprisingly, it was my sense she was struggling not to burst out laughing, as if thinking, what a thing to be doing.

May her memory be for a blessing.


Iris.  One hitch in the alphabet from Irit.  Iris is the Greek goddess of rain and the rainbow.






When there is a conflict between food (eggs and garden) and wildlife (raccoons, hawks, squirrels), is it a given that the human activities claim priority? And if not, then how are such questions to be navigated?”

                        from The Urban Bestiary, by Lyanda Lynn Haupt


This morning, after three thunks on the roof, I jumped up and tore outside clapping and yelling and hurling projectiles at the squirrels. There were two in the apple tree, sampling.  This has been going on for weeks.  The apples are still green, idiots!

This afternoon when I came through the gate the newly angled light picked out an apple in particular, unnibbled, plump, slightly golden, perhaps ripe. I would have that apple. It wasn’t easy to get to but I managed without breaking anything, arboreal or corporeal. I rubbed it on my shirt which probably dirtied it somewhat. It was a perfect apple, without one larval blemish. I ate it at my desk and threw the core out the front door to join the galaxies of other nibbled apples, all rage assuaged.

Today’s offering goes to Tefnut, the Egyptian goddess of rain.

Don’t threaten me with love, baby.                                                                                       Let’s just go walking in the rain.

(Billie Holliday)


Apple’s digital wallet.

I told my students, I can get texts but you won’t get one back. And showed them my flip phone, and they understood. Carol said, “Well you know what the answer to that is?”

Sure I did. But I don’t want to get a smart phone because I know I’d be curled over stroking it lovingly just like everybody else. But now they’re going to make me get one, aren’t they? Or else I can’t shop at Walmart or dash in for a quickie at MacDonald’s.

San Francisco is smartphone central. The smartphone gives the citizen just about everything a life needs and what gaps there are a dog, preferably a small dog, fills.

Sooner or later those of us without one will be like the remnant wandering in the woods in Fahrenheit 451. Or standing on the street corner in the rain waiting for bus while all the cars with pink moustaches goes merrily past.

If we’re lucky.

Did someone say rain?

 Il pleure dans mon coeur                                                                                                   Comme il pleut sur la ville.

                                    From Romances Sans Paroles by Paul Verlaine

It weeps in my heart/ like it rains on the town.                                                      (amateur translation. Siri could probably do as well.)


Here, in keeping with the vow, another excerpt:

from “Rainfall”, by S. Arun Kumar

Farmers are so happy,                                                                                                      Greenish nature all over the place,                                                                                         Snow comes to kiss my feet,                                                                                               Rainy, Rainy be with us.