Standing Still 2016

Persephone with her pomegranate. Dante Gabriel Rossetti – Proserpine (Oil on canvas, 1874) – Tate Gallery, London

This season’s solstice (Winter in the Northern hemisphere, Summer in the Southern), occurs at 10:44 UTC, December 22, 05:44 Eastern Standard Time (UTC-05:00), December 21. Etymology: Latin solstitium (sol “sun” + stitium, from sistere “to stand still”)

The name is derived from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still), because at the solstices, the Sun stands still in declination; that is, its apparent movement north or south comes to a standstill.
Solstice, Wikipedia

This year feels darker than most. Yesterday, as expected, the U.S. presidential electorate election was affirmed. “Standing Still” takes on a different meaning if there’s a chance the light won’t return.

A Single Candle

So we light a candle against the darkness, and try to keep it lit. If I’m feeling hopeful, I might reflect on these lyrics from Peter Gabriel’s song written in memory of Stephen Biko, who would have been 90 this past week:

You can blow out a candle
But you can’t blow out a fire.
Once the flames begin to catch
The wind will blow it higher.

Wishing for peace, wishing you peace, these dark days.

This page has a little MIDI file which bangs out the tune so you can follow the score.

Illumination of Earth by Sun at the southern solstice.

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Wikipedia: Solstice

A milkweed by an other name …

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
– Juliet, Romeo and Juliet, Wiliam Shakespeare

A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.
– Gertrude Stein, various

I started to get into a little tiffle on a post (since removed) on one of the insect ID groups in Facebook. The original poster was trying to ID a tight cluster of orange eggs on a leaf of a plant she identified as “milkweed vine.” One of the responders commented: “Milkweed vine? Not likely.” And then we were off.

What’s a “milkweed,” anyway?

Responding in a comment, the original poster specified that the plant was Morrenia odorata, an introduced, and invasive, vine in the Apocynaceae, the dogbane family. (Some authorities still list it under Asclepiadaceae, the milkweed family, which is now considered a sub-family, Asclepiadoideae, of Apocynaceae.) Its common names include latex plant, strangler vine, and, yes, milkweed vine.

The responder’s objection was that “Aclepias is milkweed.” Period. Final. Absolute declaration.

It’s not that simple.

Common names like “milkweed” have no authority. Many plants have “milkweed” as part of their common name, not just Asclepias species. Cynanchum laeve, a native vine in the same family as Morrenia and Asclepias, has a common name of climbing milkweed, among several others.

Noone can claim that only Asclepias species can be called “milkweed.” To insist so is, at best, dismissive. I would use stronger language. (I blocked the responder on Facebook to avoid future tiffles with them.)

Why plant ID matters for insect ID

Why did the original poster include the id of the plant in their requesting for identifying insect eggs? Because they understand that many insect species depend on different types of plants. Specialist insect-host associations are common in the co-evolutionary biochemical arms race between insect herbivores and their host plants.

Only five years ago, I didn’t have any knowledge of insect-host plant relationships. Marielle Anzelone (@NYCBotanist on Twitter – follow her!) clued me in on what was going on when I observed this in my backyard in May 2011:
Battus philenor, Pipevine Swallowtail
I recognized it as a swallowtail. Knowledge of the plant – Aristolochia tomentosa, wooly dutchman’s pipevine – id’d the butterfly as pipevine swallowtail, Papilo troilus. The caterpillars of this species feed only on plants in the Aristolochiaceae, the pipevine family, primarily – but not exclusively – Aristolochia species.

And so it is with “milkweeds” and their most famous herbivore, the caterpillars of monarch butterflies, Danaus plexippus.
Danaus plexxipus, Monarch, on Eupatoridelphus maculatus (Eupatorium maculatum), Spotted Joe Pye Weed
The butterflies nectar on a wide variety of flowers. Their caterpillars, however, are specialized feeders on plants in the Apocynaceae. While they are most commonly associated with Asclepias species, they have also been observed on Cynanchum and Apocynum species. They have even been observed on a few plants outside of this family.

So, when trying to identify insects, knowledge of plants, plant families, and their ecological associations is also important. Being pedantic about common names, not so much.

Related Content


Battus philenor, Pipevine Swallowtail, Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
Battus philenor host plants, HOSTS: World’s Lepidopteran Hostplants Database
Danaus plexippus host plants, HOSTS: World’s Lepidopteran Hostplants Database
Aristolochia tomentosa Sims, woolly dutchman’s pipe, USDA PLANTS Database (Synonym: Isotrema tomentosa (Sims) Huber)
Isotrema tomentosum (Sims) H. Huber,  NY Flora Association Atlas (Does not list as present, let alone native, in NY)

Coccinella novemnotata, nine-spotted lady beetle, aka “C9”

New York State Gardeners: You can help re-introduce our state insect! See Links below.

A decade ago, shortly after I launched this blog, I wrote the following:

[Coccinella] novemnotata was once common. How did New York State get to have a once-native-but-no-longer-resident state insect?

Not just common; C. novemnotata, or C9 for short, was once the most common lady beetle in the eastern U.S.
In 1980, when the bill was first introduced to make C9 our state insect, it was still common. It suffered a rapid decline through the 1980s. By the time it was finally designated the state insect in 1989, it hadn’t been seen in the state for 7 years.

In 2006, then-assemblywoman Nancy Calhoun introduced a bill to change the state insect to one which hadn’t been extirpated from the state. In her words, “Why do we want to get something like this wrong?” I wrote:

Instead of introducing a bill to gloss over the extirpation of a species, let’s reintroduce and restore C. novemnotata to New York State. Then our state insect would be a symbol to aspire to, and not simply an “error.”

Well, it may finally be time to do so. In 2001, 29 years after its disappearance from the state, C9 was finally found again, on Long Island. After years of research, Dr. John Losey and his colleagues at Cornell University have successfully reared C9 in captivity. And now, through the Lost Ladybug Project, they are making C9 larvae available to New York state gardeners and others.

Here’s one of them, freshly released in my garden, exploring Heliopsis helianthoides in my front yard.
Release of Coccinella novemnotata, 9-spotted lady beetle, from the Lost Ladybug project, in my garden, June 2016

Gardening for Insects

  • Stop using pesticides in the garden. Not just insecticides, but herbicides, fungicides, etc.
  • Grow more native plants, and more varieties of them. Many insects feed on plants in their larval stages, e.g.: caterpillars, and can’t feed effectively on plants with which they haven’t co-evolved. 
  • A variety of native plant species also provides more flowers to provide nectar and pollen for adult insects. Choose plants that have clusters of small flowers, which will attract a larger diversity of insects than big, blowsy flowers.
  • Leave piles of leaf litter, old logs and branches, standing dead stems of plants. These provide shelter for eggs, pupae, and adults.


1970: Coccinella novemnotata (C9) is the most common lady beetle species in the northeastern U.S.
1980: Nominated as New York state insect.
1980s: Begins rapidly declining. Speculation as to causes includes competition with introduced species, but no definitive answers have yet been found.
1982: Last seen in New York state.
1989: Designated NY State Insect, despite being apparently absent for 7 years.
1992: Last seen in the eastern U.S.
2000: The Lost Ladybug Project initiated as a citizen science project.
2006-06-15: Bill 2005-A06247 passes the NY State Assembly to change the state insect from Coccinella novemnotata, extirpated from NY State, to Coleomegilla maculata.
October 2006: C9 re-discovered in Virginia, first time it’s seen on the East Coast since 1992, 14 years.
2011-07-30: C9 rediscovered on Long Island, first time seen in New York since 1982, 29 years.
2016: Lost Ladybug Project launches program to re-introduce captively bred C9

Related Content

Coleomegilla usurps Coccinella as New York State Insect, 2006-06-23
Flickr photo set: Coccinella novemnotata, nine-spotted lady beetle, aka “C9”

Pollinator Gardens, for Schools and Others, 2015-02-20
FAQ: Where do you get your plants?
The 2014 NYCWW Pollinator Safari of my Gardens
Gardening with the Hymenoptera (and yet not), 2011-07-31
Gardening with the Lepidoptera, 2011-06-11

My blog posts on Butterflies (Lepidoptera), Bees and Wasps (Hymenoptera), PollinatorsHabitat, and Ecology

My Native Plants page
Retail sources for native plants


Lost Ladybug Project

Ninespotted Ladybug Restoration
C. novemnotata in decline

Other Links

NY State Assemble Bill 2005-A06247

BugGuide: Coccinella novemnotata
Discover Life: Coccinella novemnotata Herbst, 1793:269, NINE-SPOTTED LADY BEETLE, Nine-spotted ladybug
Encyclopedia of Life (EOL): Coccinella novemnotata
Xerces Society:

Animal Diversity: Coccinella novemnotata
Cornell University, Insect Conservation: Coccinella novemnotata, Nine Spotted lady Beetle

Eastern Native Groundcovers

2022-10-20: Please refer to the new, updated list.

I started to reply to a Facebook post and quickly realized I had enough content for a blog post.

Hello from Long Island NY..looking for suggestion for ground cover that won’t eat my plants. I would like somthing a bit tamer the vinca . The area is slightly damp..part sun/part shade. Any suggestions. See posted pics! Thanks!!

The accompanying photos show a mix of young trees, shrubs, and perennials in a nice non-lawn streetside garden. The photos show a lot of sun, with some shade. The shade will increase over time as the trees and shrubs fill in.

Another commenter suggested Lamium and Galium, neither of which I would describe as “tame.” Either can take over an area in the right conditions.

These are some of the Eastern North American species I’ve grown and can recommend as groundcover. Some of these prefer shade, some prefer sun. Most of these will spread by runners, stolons, and the like, as “true” groundcovers. Others are effective as groundcovers because of their habit and crown expansion over time.

  • Asarum canadense, wild ginger
    Asarum canadense, wild ginger, growing in my urban backyard native plant garden and wildlife habitat, May 2016
  • Athyrium filix-femina, lady fern
  • Carex pensylvanica, Pennsylvania sedge
    Carex pensylvanica, Pennsylvania Sedge
  • Chrysogonum virginianum, green-and-gold
    Chrysogonum virginianum
  • Geranium maculatum, wild geranium
    Geranium maculatum, wild geranium
  • Onoclea sensibilis, sensitive fern
    Onoclea sensibilis, Sensitive Fern, High Rock Park, Staten Island, May 2014
  • Pachysandra procumbens, Allegheny spurge
    Pachysandra procumbens
  • Packera aurea, golden ragwort
    Packera aurea (Senecio aureus), Heart-Leaved Groundsel
  • Phlox subulata, mosspink
    Morning Glory: Phlox subulata
  • Phlox stolonifera, creeping phlox
    Phlox stolonifera, Creeping Phlox
  • Sedum ternatum
  • Thelypteris noveboracensis, New York fern
  • Thelypteris palustris, marsh fern
  • Tiarella cordifolia, hearttleaf foamflower
    Tiarella cordifolia, heartleaf foamflower, May 2016
  • Zizia aurea, golden alexanders
    Zizia aurea, Golden Alexanders
I’m sure I will add to this list as I think of some I’ve overlooked. There are lots more I’ve never grown myself.

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10th Blogiversary

10 years ago today, I wrote the first post of Flatbush Gardener, a reflection on my first garden in NYC, started in 1981 in the East Village. I don’t think I can summarize all the changes I, and the gardens, have gone through over the past decade. Blogging itself is nearly a lost art, monetized and franchised, aggregated and amplified

Still, the gardens endure, transformed and transforming, embodying and expressing my evolution as a gardener.

The Back Yard
Backyard Over the Years

The Front Yard
Front Yard Over the Years

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Event: Sunday 5/15 NYCWW Tour of my Gardens

The Gardener’s Nook this weekend
The Gardener's Nook, May 2016
10 years ago, on May 16, 2006, I wrote the first post for this blog. To celebrate my 10th Blogiversary, on Sunday, May 15, I’m opening my garden for a tour with NYC Wildflower Week. The event is free, but registration is requested, as space is limited.

NYC Wildflower Week: Place, Purpose, Plants: Urban Gardening with Native Plants

Date & Time: Sunday, May 15 from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Location: Stratford Road at Matthews Court in Flatbush, Brooklyn

Event Description:
Since 2005, Chris Kreussling has transformed a dusty, weedy backyard and conventional lawn and gardens into a garden oasis. In his gardens you can find over 80 130 species of plants native to NYC, and many more native to New York state and the Northeast. He’s documented scores of native insects that make use of these plants throughout the year, and some that make their homes there, as well. His gardens are registered as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat with the National Wildlife Federation, and Pollinator Habitat with the Xerces Foundation. He’s documented the process for the past 10 years on his gardening blog, Flatbush Gardener.

Geranium maculatum, wild geranium Fragaria virginiana, Virginia strawberry Zizia aurea, golden alexander Viola lanceolata, bog white violet Aquilegia canadensis, Eastern red columbine Phlox subulata, moss pink

Related Content


NYC Wildflower Week

NYC-Regional Native Plant Sales, Spring 2016

2016-04-12: Added the LINPI Plant Sale dates.

Seasonal sales are one of the best ways to acquire a wide variety of native plants. It’s best to do your homework before you go, so you have an idea of your conditions, the kinds of plants that would do well on your site, and your goals for your native plant garden, e.g.: habitat, fall foliage, flowers for cutting. If you’re planting to attract insects and wildlife, prefer straight species over cultivars, and local growers over mass-market names.

All the events listed here are within a 90 minute drive from my home in the geographic center of Brooklyn. If you know of any that aren’t listed here that you think should be, please let me know, either with a comment below, or by sending me a link to the event on Twitter.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Musconetcong Watershed Association (MWA) Native Plant Sale
MWA River Resource Center, 10 Maple Avenue, Asbury, NJ. 08802
Includes plants that are only distantly native, e.g. Midwest natives, and more cultivars than straight species. But they also offer plants from local growers.

Pinelands Preservation Alliance (PPA) Earth Day Native Plant Sale
PPA Headquarters, 17 Pemberton Road, Southampton, NJ 08088
Growers include Pinelands Nursery and New Moon Nursery.
Hit or miss. Two years ago they had a great selection. Last year was a complete bust. They were already sold out of nearly everything when I arrived there shortly after they opened. For this reason, I’m reluctant to waste the time, fuel, and tolls to return on what’s essentially a gamble. They have a members-only preview sale the day before, but that’s a work day for me.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Time TBA
Great Flatbush Plant Swap
Flatbush Food Co-op, 415 Cortelyou Road (between Rugby & Marlborough Roads), Brooklyn, New York 11226
You don’t to bring anything to take home a plant, and all plants are free! Quantities are limited; bring plants or seedlings from own garden to add to the swap, and “earn points” to take home more plants!
I will bring native plants from my own garden, and curate the native plants contributed by others.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Manhattan Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society (MCNARGS) Annual Plant Sale
El Sol Brillante Community Garden, 522-528 East 12th St (between Avenue A & B), New York, NY 10009
While not specifically a native plant sale, they have a wide selection of native plants. The garden is also beautiful in its own right, and worth a visit.

Westchester Community College Native Plant Center Native Plant Sale
Westchester Community College, 75 Grasslands Road, Valhalla, NY 10595
Parking in Visitor Lot
Wide variety of plants, from many different sources. Many/most are cultivars, rather than straight species.

May 20 & 21

Friday, May 20, 3-6pm, Saturday, May 21, 9am-12noon
D&R Greenway Land Trust Spring Native Plant Sale
D&R Greenway Johnson Education Center, One Preservation Place, Princeton, New Jersey 08540

Saturday, May 21, 9am-1pm
Hudson Highlands Nature Museum Native Plant Sale
Outdoor Discovery Center, Muser Drive, across from 174 Angola Road, Cornwall, NY 12518

June 3-4

Friday&Saturday, June 3&4
Long Island Native Plant Initiative (LINPI) Native Plant Sale Fundraiser
Suffolk County Community College (SCCC) Eastern Campus, 121 Speonk-Riverhead Road, Riverhead, NY 11901
Offers Long Island regional ecotypes propagated by NYC Parks’ Greenbelt Native Plant Center, the only retail source for these plants.

Saturday, June 4
New Jersey Audubon Native Plant Sales
Two sales the same day, at two different locations:
9am-4pm, NJ Audubon’s Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, 11 Hardscrabble Rd, Bernardsville, NJ 07924
11am-3pm, NJ New Jersey Audubon’s Plainsboro Preserve, 80 Scotts Corner Road, Cranbury, NJ 08512

June 10&11

Friday&Saturday, June 3&4
Long Island Native Plant Initiative (LINPI) Native Plant Sale Fundraiser

Suffolk County Community College (SCCC) Eastern Campus, 121 Speonk-Riverhead Road, Riverhead, NY 11901
Offers Long Island regional ecotypes propagated by NYC Parks’ Greenbelt Native Plant Center, the only retail source for these plants.

Dates to be announced

Audubon Greenwich Native Plant Sale
613 Riversville Road, Greenwich, CT 06831
Pre-Orders due April 30

Long Island Native Plant Initiative (LINPI) Native Plant Sale

Related Content

Native Plants Planting Plan, 2015-04-18
FAQ: Where do you get your plants?, 2015-01-03


Long Island Native Plant Initiative (LINPI) Plant Sale
Pinelands Preservation Alliance Plant Sale

Spring Native Plant Sales Near Fairfield County (Warning: Site has pop-ups), Kim Eierman, Norwalk Daily Voice, 2016-04-18

Recipe: Crisp and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies, finished and still warm, February 2016

These cookies have been taste-tested recently at a going-away party and after-church coffee hour. Adults rave about this cookie. You will have no leftovers, even from a double batch.

I’ve been working on this recipe for a while, and I think I’ve finally got it to where I want it.

I started with “The Essential Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie” from the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion cookbook. I doubled the recipe, and made a few substitutions and additions, noted below.

I was getting the taste I wanted, but not the texture: they kept coming out too high and dry. They would rise in the oven, but they wouldn’t fall.

I finally realized I just needed to reduce the flour called for in the original recipe to balance my other changes. This made them come out perfect, just the way I wanted them: slightly browned and crisp at the edges, soft and chewy in the centers.

I also like to amp up the chocolate chips, both by increasing the amount, and using different kinds, mixing milk and semi-sweet chocolates. My favorite are the chocolate drops from NYC’s own Lilac Chocolates. They make them in at least three different varieties: milk, dark, and 72% extra-dark.


Pre-heat your oven to 375F. You can also line some heavy-duty cookie sheets with parchment paper.


  • 3 sticks (1-1/2 cups, 12 oz) butter, warmed to room temperature
  • Optional: 1/2 C smooth peanut butter (husband John loves peanut butter in everything)

Whip up the butter until light and fluffy. Then cream the sugars into them and whip them up even more. The batter should be light brown in color.

  • 1-1/3 C (10-1/2 oz) dark brown sugar
  • 1-1/3 C (9-1/2 oz) granulated sugar
  • 3/8 C (6T, 3-3/4 oz) maple syrup, as dark as you can get (this is a substitution for the corn syrup called for in the original recipe, and a 50% increase over the original amount)

Beat in the rest of the flavorings. If you’re using cider vinegar, it does double duty: first as the chemical reagent for the baking soda, second with the slight cidery taste.

  • 2T (1/8C) cider vinegar (you can use white vinegar if you don’t have cider)
  • 1/4 C (4T) vanilla extract (this is double the original recipe. I love vanilla!)
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder OR 1 Starbucks Via packet (I like Via because it has a longer shelf life than the usual plastic container of espresso powder, which ossifies into useless slag, and because they have a decaf italian/dark roast.)
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (omit to reduce sodium)

At this point I’ll do a taste test, before beating in the eggs one at a time.

  • 4 large eggs

You want to blend the baking soda and powder into the wet batter so they can dissolve, disperse, and begin their chemical reactions to give lift to the dough in the oven. I’ve made the mistake of sifting them with the flour, treating them as just other “dry” ingredients, and they don’t get incorporated as well.

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (this will react with the vinegar and brown sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Sift and gradually/slowly stir in the flour, until no dry flecks or lumps remain.  Again, I’ve made the mistake of treating the flour like the rest of the batter, trying to beat it in. That makes for tough, not tender, cookies.

  • 4 C (16 oz) whole wheat flour flour, sifted (The whole wheat makes a big difference in the flavor and texture. The original recipe calls for all-purpose/white flour. This is a reduction by about 1/8 from the original amount.)

The dough will be wet. You should be able to scoop some out with a tablespoon, and have it stick to the spoon. If it’s too loose, add some more flour to get the texture you want.

Finally, stir in, by hand, the chocolate chips and chunks of your choice.

  • 6 cups (36 oz) chocolate chips and/or chunks
Cover the dough tightly, so it doesn’t dry out – some plastic food wrap pushed down onto the surface of the dough works well. – and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours, or overnight.
You can also start baking immediately. At this point, I’ll bake at least one sheet of cookies, both to test the dough, and for (nearly) instant gratification. 


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375F. (But you did that already.)
  2. Cover a heavy-duty cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Scoop out heaping tablespoons of dough onto the paper. Stagger them so they have room to spread without touching. On a standard-“half-sheet”, I can get 5 rows from one end to the other with 3 heaps at each end and the center, and 2 heaps in between those rows. 3, 2, 3, 2, and 3: a baker’s dozen!
  4. In the first few minutes after putting the tray in the oven, the dough should spread with the heat, and rise with the leaveners. 
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Your eyes and nose are the best judge of “done” here. Sniff for the slight smell of burnt sugar, and look for the edges to be set and just starting to darken. The centers should still look wet. Ideally, they will have started to collapse, but don’t wait for that – you don’t want them to set while risen.
  6. Remove the sheet and set aside. Let the cookies cool on the sheet until they slide easily without squishing, bending, or breaking up.
  7. Remove the individual cookies to a rack to cool completely. (Or eat while still warm and gooey).

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One Score Years Ago

David Joseph Wilcox at Wigstock in Union Square, early 1990s. Scan from original slide, date unrecorded.
David Joseph Wilcox - Wigstock, Union Square

20 years ago, on January 22, 1996, my friend, David Joseph Wilcox, died from AIDS.

The last time I saw him was December 12, 1995. I wrote this on my return trip home on the F train back to Brooklyn from the East Village.

Was this the last time I saw you? I want to remember every moment of it, some muse of the eidetic ideal supply my memory for later recounting, to remember you perfectly.

As we leave your building you pause, press your hand against the brick wall, to steady yourself. “Are you okay?” I ask stupidly. Of course you’re not okay. But it comes out this way, my helpless wish that you not suffer more.

Your body answers, first with a contraction, from abdomen to shoulders, then a convulsion. Then I hear the weak, airless gagging sounds, you standing there shaking, retching, overcome by waves of nausea, unable to breathe.

Your body doesn’t understand you haven’t been able to eat for weeks because of the Kaposi’s which lines your throat, the infections which coat your mouth and tongue. Finally, a thin, clear gruel passes your lips, as your stomach offers up the little water you drank an hour ago, mixed with some mucous perhaps from your throat and mouth.

This repeats in another five feet.

And again, but now you lean on a part of the low chain fence which separates the frozen ground from the concrete of the entrance plaza.

Another five steps you sit down on the ledge of the steps. It’s bitterly cold out. In five minutes we’ve traveled 20 feet.

Story Corps booth in the PATH station at Ground Zero, January 22, 2006.
The StoryCorps booth in the PATH station at the World Trade Center/Ground Zero, 2006-01-22

In 2006, on the 10th anniversary of his death, my then-partner/now-husband, John, and I went to StoryCorps at Ground Zero to interview each other about our friend. Here are two short segments from that mutual interview.

The first, “Phoenix,” describes how John and I came together, and our current relationship developed, after Dave’s death.

The second, “Loss, Grief, and Remembrance,” is from the end of our recording time that day.

I cannot over-emphasize his importance to each of us as we shared our lives together, nor how his death transformed us. I still miss him, in part because he is not here to bear witness what we have become, each in ourselves, and together in this third entity. Though he might never admit more than his wry smile you see in the photo that opens this post, I believe he would be pleased.

I wrote the following on the F train on my way to visit him that day, not knowing it would be the last time. Because it’s out of sequence, it feels somewhat false, even trite, to place it here. However, reading it now, 20 years later, it rings surprisingly true. So I end with this.

Only in the midst
of disorder, of chaos,
complexity arises.
Life is born
in the womb of entropy.

As I survive,
outlive the scores,
who still guide me,
direct and indirect.
Accumulating the weight of these losses,
I carry this chaos forward
into the future.
But no longer will I see
dry crust around me,
scorched of life.
With my hands,
my heart,
my hope,
I create fertile earth as my ground.

Related Content

David Joseph Wilcox, 1957-1996, 2008-01-22
Full 45-minute StoryCorps recording