Trees and Traditions

Late last year, I read an article detailing the prominent place fig trees hold in the cultural imagination of Italian-Americans and, of course, their backyard gardens. A demographer can trace the path of Italian migration in the United States by simply tracking the fig trees. They can be found in neighborhoods throughout New York City and New Jersey, including my own in Jersey City. This recent article prompted me to think differently about the conception and discourse of urban history.

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Moonlight and Sand

After rarely venturing beyond a one-mile radius of our home since March, my wife and I decided to spend a few days in Ocean Grove, New Jersey earlier this month. Our longing for a change of scene outweighed our fear of mass transit. Since my wife was working on a big project, I left a day before her.

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Solace in the Garden

Amid the distressing events of the past weeks and days–ongoing pandemic, massive unemployment, police violence, civic unrest, and horrible presidential leadership, I’ve found it challenging to concentrate and write. My subjects have grown smaller in scope and range, largely focusing on the happenings of nature in my wife’s and my backyard. Continue reading

Plants & Animals

One recent morning, I wandered through my small backyard in Jersey City, New Jersey, reflecting upon the sudden changes and transformations wrought by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The wheels of modern life have ground to a halt. All the while, the natural world continues with its cycles of birth and death, regeneration and decay. Blinded by the securities and gifts of technology and medicine, had we forgotten that we belonged to that world? Continue reading