The Black Sea Nettle, the Blue Blubber, the Pink Meanie, the Sea Wasp, the Flower Hat, the Cannonball, the Darth Vader, and the Fried Egg. The Butterflies drift like embroidered hankies dropped by dainty damsels. The Mauve Stingers pulse with the coloring of a rotting, uprooted mushroom. The Medusa Cassiopeias glow like lava lamp chandeliers and the Crown Jellyfish glint like bedazzled vulvas. The deadly Portuguese Man ‘O War (commonly mistaken for a jellyfish but actually a siphonophore) looks like a box of blue Otter Pops left to melt in the sun. Most likely, it was the transparent parachute of the Aurelia labiata or Moon Jellyfish that collided with you that day. Read more →
There is a path up a mountain in Sapporo that is not clearly marked.
If you can read Japanese or are familiar with the city, finding the entrance is clear. But I knew neither the language nor the geography so, in a manner that had become signature during my time in Japan, I shrugged and started up a random path. After almost an hour, I hit a dead end next to a white church. I tilted my head back and squinted into the bright grey sky and weighed whether to continue without a clear path forward. Read more →
We set off in the canoe around noon, at the mouth of a filthy creek in Queens, intent on circumnavigating Rikers Island, the largest prison complex in North America. It was an act of protest, a symbolic gesture, an allegorical feat, whatever you want to call it, but also an attempt, in a physical way, to get a grasp on what we were up against. We wanted to see the beast from all sides, to complete a loop, to call it a drawing, and to gesture toward the tens of thousands of souls locked inside—to see if it was even possible. Read more →
Unfurled, it looks like a cartographic chart: a navigator’s map to travel the salty oceans, from the Pacific to the Atlantic and back again. It’s horoscopic, rife with details about my future.
It is sweltering inside the tiny and cramped apartment in Mumbai. Outside the rusty barred windows, the thin bamboo trees sway gently in the scant breeze. The heat and humidity of the city are almost insufferable. My aunt K is carefully supervising dinner preparations in the tight galley kitchen. I savour the scent of cinnamon and cardamom as they hang in the air. Puris lie in wait in silver thalis, sweating under metal lids. My mouth waters. Read more →
Looking at Australia, Looking at Me
Although it looked small on a map, the extensive size of the Australian continent was coming into view. I had travelled to Australia to learn about the individual and societal impacts of inter-generational trauma that still linger from the 80-year forced migration of 162,000 convicts, including children as young as nine years old, who were imprisoned in chain gangs and on isolated housing estates. While learning about the brutality of the convict system, I tripped over the equally important and traumatic story of displacement and incarceration of Indigenous peoples. Read more →
We are landlocked creatures, and the birds know better. They teach us about lightness, coasting, and enjoying the in-between, as they hang on updrafts of wind, wingtips gripping the swells as they float— Read more →