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Content Categorized ‘Nonfiction’

Monsoon and Peacock

What monsoon can do is give you sweetness in spite of the heavy wet. Even when it rains in Kerala, India, people still ride their colorful scooters, and some even carry a friend or a love along with them. If it is a woman behind the driver, she will sit sidesaddle, wrapped in her sari or churidar. One hand grips only the padded rim of the seat for support, the other holds a black umbrella covering herself and the driver. The thwap-thwap-thwap of raindrops the size of quarters and the scooter’s engine—the only sounds worth noticing on their damp course through the village streets. This rain is never scary, though, even during monsoon. You can tell monsoon is near when you hear a sound like someone shaking a packet of seeds in the distance. A pause—and then the roar. You know it’s coming when the butterflies—fire skippers and blue­bottles—fly in abundance over my grandmother’s cinnamon plants and suddenly vanish. A whole family of peacocks will gather up in a banyan tree, so still, as if posing for a seasonal portrait. Then the shaking sound begins. If you could smell the wind from an ecstatic, teeny bat—if you could smell banana…

Snowflake No. 1

My mom’s mother, my Oma, knitted, crocheted, embroidered, and sewed skillfully. In the years I knew her, she spent evenings watching television news programs with my Opa, always working a project in her hands and lap. My mom never learned…

Garni-Geghard

Visiting with her family in her mother’s homeland of Armenia, an essayist ventures to a Christian monastery and a pagan temple, searching for her heritage among cross-stones and fish-dragons.

Metamorph

A writer chronicles the life and times of the African clawed frog, from the one her father purchased for her childhood terrarium, to the species’ part in the development of modern pregnancy tests, to her twin sister’s research on the frog’s role in the global chitryd pandemic.