Such Meager Light

I stood in a barren courtyard beside the city palace watching the beggar children play with their kites. The only child concentrated on keeping his kite aloft was the youngest boy. The dozen other children were more concentrated on me than their kites. They flew with one eye and kept their other eye on me. […]

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The Mussel Diver

In the dark I pushed my paddle against the concrete and drifted to the center of the river. Behind me was the steady thwap, thwap, thwap of a woman standing in the river slapping her laundry against the concrete platform. I looked back to watch her. Her red and yellow sari floated around her ankles. […]

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Learning to Sleep

My first night off Sicily and onto the Italian mainland I was walking a road along the coast searching for a place to sleep. To my right the rocky land shot straight to the sky and to my left the road plummeted to a rough Mediterranean sea. The sun was already below the horizon and […]

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The Catacombs

The bowl was streaked with red bolognese sauce and the wine glass only held the dark dregs of the syrah. Both exceeded every expectation I had of Italian cuisine and yet I was unfulfilled. Palermo had it all – the food demanded it be savored, the wine had me heady the moment it touched my […]

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One Day Lost

Down from the blustery plateau and into the farmland of north Tunisia were rolling hills green with alfalfa. Stone farmhouses dotted the great hills and as the sun approached the horizon a scattered orange light broke through the clouds above them. It was as Savannah and I were walking out of village that I spotted […]

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Guard Your Thoughts

The sergeant of my escort had olive green eyes that matched his uniform and a gray mustache which hung over his upper lip. He was about fifty and radiated an aura of experienced assurance. When he nodded up the road and said “Three kilometers,” he stood with his hands together behind his back. What he […]

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Some Things Wait

Savannah and I stood on the grass in the long park in the middle of the road as though it were an island. From between palm leaves I could see the hotel receptionist watching us from the hotel steps. If I decided to go farther than the park the police would have to accompany me.

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Green Shirts

On my fourth morning in Algeria I woke to the sound of footsteps crunching dried pine needles. The sound made a wide arc around my tent then stopped at the dirt road. I heard the click of a car door handle then the sound of the door shutting. It was still dark out. Savannah was […]

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Protect the American

The police officer came bounding out of his dusty hatchback and across the street.  “My friend!  Can I see your passport?” “Sure thing.  One second.” I veered my cart off the asphalt shoulder and onto the dirt path beside it. The Spanish port-city of Melilla was thirty kilometers ahead.  Because of this proximity to the […]

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Lucía of the Sierra

Savannah had a predilection for horses.  When she was only a puppy in Texas she darted beneath a barbed wire fence and nearly touched noses with a horse bending low to her.  I thought she was going to be crushed, but she merely hurried back with her tail wagging. And her tail was wagging now […]

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