A few months ago I drove to New Hampshire, impetuously, to buy a drum I didn’t need and couldn’t really afford. I spent several hours on the sun porch of an old farmhouse at the end of a dirt road. The drum man understood my need to touch and play so many—from small to enormous, … Continue reading On Choices
In my essay “Kitchen People,” I wrote about an old cookbook I discovered in the summer kitchen at our family’s antique family farmhouse in New Hampshire. Imogene Wolcott’s The Yankee Cookbook (1939, Coward-McCann, Inc.) proved to be as humorous as it was inspirational. Using some of her challenge questions I embedded an ersatz quiz for … Continue reading R U A Yankee Cook?
At some point I must have subscribed to an online thing from The Paris Review because I get emails from them at least once per week. I sometimes open them, glance at the title and think, “Oh, this looks cool/interesting/intriguing/etc., I’ll bookmark it,” fully intending to go back to it later in the day. Ha! … Continue reading On Death, Parenting, and Writing
A long time ago, I think there was some tradition in which writers apologized to their readers for the shortcomings their letters, essays, and books may contain. I do so here: this essay rambles, but I felt moved to write it and am posting it in spite of its flaws. I love the Winter holidays. … Continue reading Presents and Christmas Guilt
In 2009, our family and another rented bikes and braved the beautiful and traffic-free carriage trails on Mt. Desert Island in Maine. What began as a treat to be on land after our family of four had been snugged up on our 27’ sloop through stormy seas turned into a nightmare. For a week, we’d … Continue reading A Hospital Experience Like No Other
In the top drawer of my bureau, I have a collection of rings in a Ziploc bag. It nestles against a not-particularly-useful jewelry organizer I purchased so I would cease to misplace my various bits of adornment. Nearly every piece of jewelry I own, including the bag of rings, has a story. I live amidst … Continue reading Circles and Stories
I sit on the screened porch of the Summer kitchen at White Cottage Farm in New Hampshire, looking at Lake Sunapee beneath the gentler hills to the east of Mount Sunapee, which is visible with its summer “striped” ski trails if I look to my right. I sit on one of a half-dozen black café … Continue reading Kitchen People
I wrote this essay almost twenty-five years ago and have been thinking of it as I plant this year’s seeds, in a different garden in a different yard. Under the guidance of Mrs. Keller, we kindergarteners first learned to grow vegetables, tucking handfuls of beans into the folds of damp towels. The sprouting of their … Continue reading The Garden
I was in despair on Tuesday. The kind of despair that makes it seem nothing you do matters, and nothing you are matters. That makes action or speaking a Sisyphian effort. That makes you wish, however fleetingly, for the sweet comfort of release from this world. I felt very alone. So often we delude ourselves … Continue reading Despair, Nature Poetry, and the Big Question
“God” has been on my mind more intensively than usual during this past week when I had to bid an earthly farewell to my uncle, the most important and beloved person in my life from my infancy until I married and had my children. The Reverend Monsignor William J. Kane, Ph.D. (February 27, 1934-December 8, … Continue reading A Godly Paradigm
Sarah had flung herself into the easy chair next to mine upon arriving home after a particularly difficult day at school. Then my fourteen-year-old daughter erupted, sobbing and screaming with frustration. I sat with her. After the flood abated, she sniffled, “Can I sit in your lap?” She draped her tall body over my smaller … Continue reading Mothering
A perfectionist from the time I can remember, I learned effectively from my mistakes every day. Through cuts, scrapes and broken bones, I learned to climb gaspingly high into treetops, navigate slick rocks across rushing creeks, and coast my bike with no hands or feet. Most learning from mistakes as a young child was painful … Continue reading Make No Mistake
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