An Ocean

July 12, 2010

As I was spreading a great sheet of black plastic on my lawn to dry, I suddenly recalled a scene from the first summer we lived in our house… Read the rest of this entry »

A Drive

June 24, 2010

We just got in the car and drove, the two of us, unencumbered. We drove south towards Massachusetts, towards a town not quite on the cusp of revival. We followed the winding streets, looking for a small house of lovely proportions, an empty nest just for two. Read the rest of this entry »

A Sunday Morning

June 23, 2010

Way back in the dark ages—my dark ages—the days dictated by “should,” the pastor’s wife said: “I used to love Sunday mornings when I was living at home. My dad would buy bagels and the New York Times, and we’d spend the morning reading the whole thing, drinking coffee, and eating New York bagels. I miss that, but, of course, I can’t do that anymore.” Read the rest of this entry »

A Ranch

June 22, 2010

I’ve been thinking about Julie lately. Thinking about the choice she made to go with love and her gut and start a ranch with her husband. I conjure the stark image from Giant, that huge house out on the range. Then I scale it down and modernize it. No, it’s not that bleak, but the isolation and struggle is tangible through communication dependent on internet magic. Read the rest of this entry »

Mowing the Lawn

June 21, 2010

I love mowing the lawn. It’s wrongly right in so many ways: It’s loud-loud and stinks like gas because I don’t use one of those manual mowers or one of those fancy electric things; and it kicks up dust that goes up my nose; and I wear sloppy clothes and huge sunglasses; and I pile my hair on top of my head; and I sweat, and the dirt sticks to my skin; and the sun beats down and makes me woozy. I drink water from a jar, and keep moving. Read the rest of this entry »

Stepping Away

June 18, 2010

My friend, Bob, was telling me about the small garden his grandfather taught him to plant every June when he was a kid, and how every July his family would go on vacation for a week. He used to get a certain thrill from knowing that the six-by-six plot he’d carefully laid out was living its own life while he was off having fun. Read the rest of this entry »

A Paper Crown

June 17, 2010

One day, four years ago, a work  friend told me it was her birthday. She was chair of her department and was having a challenging year. Sometimes ideas just take hold of me; and, on that day, the idea that my friend should be acknowledged became my mission. We needed a little joy in Mudville. Read the rest of this entry »

A First

June 16, 2010

I pulled into my driveway and saw it, but kept my delight in check until I searched the other garden beds. None in the bed on the side of the barn. None in the raised bed facing the kitchen. Nope. None of them except that one. The first daylily bud to open and stretch and smile. The first very first one of the season. Read the rest of this entry »

A Step

June 15, 2010

I was talking with a friend about his three adult-age  kids: One child soars and glides; one shuffles and stumbles, yet resists a hand to hold; and one got lost in a maze, but is trying a new route. Read the rest of this entry »

A Pile of Papers

June 14, 2010

There are certain things that I put off for another day. Okay… there are lots of things that I put off for another day; and it seems like the more I put those things off, the larger they grow in proportion and personality, until they are large and loud and naggy creatures. Read the rest of this entry »

A Margarita

June 11, 2010

I went for a margarita with a friend. Though the sun was shining, the oppressive weather pushed us inside to an air-conditioned booth. I looked for and failed to find a switch to turn off the light above our table. My friend reached up and unscrewed the bulb enough to darken our little cool world, a world made even cooler by margaritas on the rocks with salt. Read the rest of this entry »

A Baby

June 10, 2010

Eighteen years ago I gave birth to my fourth child, a boy. Born after a challenging pregnancy, where the  danger of pre-eclampsia put me on bedrest in the fifth month in the living room of an unfinished cape with three lively children running around. Read the rest of this entry »

A Brown Pelican

June 9, 2010

In a story about the environmental impact of the BP oil disaster, most specifically about the threat to the brown pelican population, a young woman biologist choked back tears. This young woman was trying to answer a series of questions about the methods being employed for saving birds whose habitat is now ringed with oil. Read the rest of this entry »

Counting Change

June 8, 2010

~ We could hear the sound of the ice cream truck from a block away. At the notes to “Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush,” we’d race inside, yelling for our mom, begging for the right change to buy a treat. Read the rest of this entry »

A Clock

June 7, 2010

It’s quiet in the house at this moment, save for the hum of the Seth Thomas clock my husband rescued from a junk heap in an old office building in New Orleans nearly thirty years ago. To my recollection, the clock was painted a putty color that hid a handsomeness we had yet to discover. Read the rest of this entry »

Going Deep

June 4, 2010

Our daughter drove to the mountains of North Carolina a few months ago to attend a session at Penland School of Crafts. Since she was a bit of a girl, she has always been a creator, a maker of lovely things. Read the rest of this entry »

A Broken Key

June 2, 2010

Alan is the locksmith where I work. He is past retirement age and, selfishly, I don’t want him to retire as long as I am here. We’re friends, Alan and I, and I love seeing his smiling face approach when we happen to meet. Read the rest of this entry »

A Callus

June 1, 2010

I was an alley rat kid, running around barefoot as much as I could, climbing trees and racing through the behind the houses world, staining my feet purple beneath the huge and prolific mulberry trees. My calluses protected those filthy running feet. Read the rest of this entry »

I still remember the first time I got a table of people to laugh. I think I was twelve. I don’t remember what I said, but it was probably just inappropriate enough to be delightful without being totally offensive. Read the rest of this entry »

Sleeping Diagonally

May 27, 2010

One morning I woke up sleeping diagonally in my bed. All of the pillows were mine. The birds and the radio chattered at me. The white noise of the humidifier kept me in a state of almost-awake. All of these things were luxuries. Read the rest of this entry »

A Cabana

May 25, 2010

Beyond the house and the adjoining barn is the fire pit where we and friends gather on occasion. Beyond the fire pit is the cabana or, as I slummily call it,  “the shack in the back.” My husband designed and built the cabana last year when I suggested we could use a screened room to prevent the mosquitos from carrying us away. Read the rest of this entry »

A Pooping Panda

May 24, 2010

One day my grandson told me I was only just better than a “pooping panda.” On the surface that sounds like not so sweet a compliment for a five-year-old to give his grandmother; but I heard something in those words that delighted me: Alliteration. Read the rest of this entry »

The Insistent Sun

May 21, 2010

This morning I was awakened by the energy of the insistent sun. Most of the winter we have a sun that mopes into the morning sky, its eyes barely open. It shuffles through the morning, and peaks at noon with whatever energy it has mustered. Then it slides into the afternoon like a teenager going into his darkened room and shutting the door. Read the rest of this entry »

A Green-ish Thumb

May 19, 2010

I don’t even remember all the plants I’ve killed. For years we lived under the impression that I had brown thumb, and that any plant I was given would die a slow death under my less than adequate care. My husband was reminding me of that and wondering what happened to change it. Read the rest of this entry »

An Empty Nest

May 18, 2010

I was smiling in the grocery store’s produce section as I thought about all the things I wanted to buy, realizing that they would be where I put them when I wanted them the next day or the next. Read the rest of this entry »

A Rubber Rat

May 17, 2010

We’ve had this rubber rat in our house. A souvenir from family reunion pranks many years ago. His name is Rodney, and he’s our pet. Read the rest of this entry »

Early Morning

May 14, 2010

I woke up earlier than usual one recent morning. It always feels like a gift. Alone time. No house noises, no radio, no chatter. I hadn’t written much in a few weeks. I needed to write. I knew this. So that early quiet in my office accompanied by a cup of coffee was a gift. But then… tap, tap, tap at my door. Read the rest of this entry »

A Crying Child

May 13, 2010

On the airplane, a child across the aisle was crying. His mother was doing her best to sooth the little boy on her lap, but was jammed in the window seat next to two indifferent people. Read the rest of this entry »

A Bit of Money

May 12, 2010

When a bit of money came my way from the settling of my dad’s estate, I really puzzled over how to best use the sum. It wasn’t an inheritance that would make a huge ripple in my life, and yet I didn’t want it to get swallowed up in property taxes or car repairs. I wanted to apply it in a way that I could mark. Read the rest of this entry »

A Goodbye

May 11, 2010

My son gave me a good, real hug when he left home. It was the kind of full on, full pressure, hands on back “I love you too” hug that one doesn’t get every day; and it squeezed the words out of me: Read the rest of this entry »