Category: love

seashore prayer

seashore prayer

| November 20, 2017 | 2 Replies

Who are you? How is it you live within me and I within you, and still I am flummoxed by you? My heart’s cry is to enjoy you, yet that’s not always a straightforward task in this world. I tend to be hard on myself for either not accomplishing enough or being overly focused on […]

Read More

Bigfoot and the Woman

Bigfoot and the Woman

| July 11, 2016 | 4 Replies

In the dream, Bigfoot is skulking through a cave, and the Woman is trying to stop him from getting out. She is old and clever and vital: a crone, a witch. She hunches herself into a hole in the cave wall so that she can attack him as he walks by. I don’t remember the […]

Read More

Monday morning prayer

Monday morning prayer

| April 4, 2016 | 6 Replies

Gracious God, please tell me again that I do not have to be Great. Tell me that breathing my way through the day is a triumph, that kindness is sufficient, that honesty is beauty. Good Lord, holy Mother/Father/Sister/Brother, please dwell in my overzealous shoulders and my weighty belly; please settle into my raw heart; please […]

Read More

braiding my mother’s hair

braiding my mother’s hair

| November 4, 2015 | 4 Replies

Late on a Saturday morning I take my mother’s hair between my fingers and begin to braid. Mom doesn’t like it when hair falls into her eyes, and rotator cuff surgery has nixed her usual styling strategies. This turns out to be the number one thing I do to help when I visit: hair styling. Why do […]

Read More

new home

new home

| September 13, 2015 | 10 Replies

Moving into David’s parents’ house was a no-brainer. We’d save on rent, have an easy commute to River Valley (where we’re both happily teaching now), and do Mark and Cheryl the favor of care-taking the homestead while they’re in Dallas. Okay, confession time: I’ve never wanted to live in a big house. I love rambling old New England farmhouses, but […]

Read More

a good death

a good death

| September 4, 2015 | 7 Replies

Let me tell you how Gus the cat died. I promise later I will tell you how he lived. Our fifteen-year-old cat had been losing weight for at least a year, but in the spring he began to look legitimately thin. In early June his back legs began to malfunction. We picked him up to spare […]

Read More

thank you, Tony Hoagland

thank you, Tony Hoagland

| July 26, 2015 | 4 Replies

I am standing in the doorway when I read Tony Hoagland’s poem. David and our niece and nephew are playing with toy cars and trucks and planes, and I’m about to join them. Jack sings gleefully to the tune of Black Sabbath’s Iron Man: “I am orange plane, orange-orange-orange, whack-whack-whack!” I didn’t expect Hoagland’s words to hallow […]

Read More

the kindness of Kim

the kindness of Kim

| March 8, 2015 | 6 Replies

The day I heard of Kim’s passing, I rode my bike to the beach and let the wind chill the tears on my cheeks. The pain came over me in waves all week long. I know her children far better than I knew Kim herself, and my heart ached to think of Sage, Lila, and Toby motherless. […]

Read More

back-to-transformation

back-to-transformation

| September 26, 2014 | 9 Replies

September turns my heart to school. Not just the school where I teach now, but all the schools I’ve taught in and all the schools I’ve attended. In August, sales circulars paint a perennial picture of rosy cheeks, pigtails, and shiny lunchboxes. I appreciate pretty folders and fresh pens as much as the next person […]

Read More

restoration: part one

restoration: part one

| August 16, 2014 | 3 Replies

In May of 2013, I unwittingly lost a glove from my bike basket on my ride to yoga class. When I discovered my loss, I stood in the yoga studio holding the lonely leftie, thinking how good and serviceable those gloves had been over many years. One glove was little use without the other. On my […]

Read More

first year

first year

| July 5, 2014 | 6 Replies

One year ago, on a warm July morning, I woke up incredibly early to walk the beach. A few hours later I arrived in Rowley, Massachusetts, where a houseful of beloved women bustled. My mom and aunt Lisa sat on the couch finishing my sash while the rest of us put on make-up and jewelry. Soon I […]

Read More

the duck thief

the duck thief

| June 19, 2014 | 4 Replies

A year ago a group of beloved friends spirited me away for a lakeside bachelorette weekend. Food, drink, sublime surroundings, and dancing in the kitchen . . . what more could a woman ask for? Well, I believe the best gifts are often what you’d never think to ask for. I’ll begin the story with an email exchange that took […]

Read More

another (brief) lesson in surrender

another (brief) lesson in surrender

| May 29, 2014 | 2 Replies

I have an hour till David comes home with our niece and nephew. An hour to clean up from lunch and water the plants and type the emails and make the phone call and maybe – just maybe – write the overdue blog entry. I love the way Ally and Jack take over our lives when we’re together. […]

Read More

my hands are dying

my hands are dying

| April 28, 2014 | 2 Replies

The luminous Catherine Hawkins was one of my husband David’s childhood friends. Catherine and I became close in the spring of 2012, when I sweet-talked her into a lead role in Hot Mikado. We’re guest blogging for each other this week. After you read her beautiful essay below, check out her blog! **** And for […]

Read More

on mothers, hungers, and toast

on mothers, hungers, and toast

| April 1, 2014 | 8 Replies

When I get home from the airport, I’m hungry. I make a piece of toast and slather it with coconut oil, the way Mama does nowadays. I put it on the blue plate she left on the kitchen counter and sit in her spot on the couch. It’s my spot again. For days I’ve cooked […]

Read More

walk, linger, love

walk, linger, love

| March 19, 2014 | 5 Replies

Vespa came to me in my dreams last night, wanting a walk. She wagged her tail and moaned her emphatic morning song, and off we went to greet the day. When I met Vespa in 2008, we were rehearsing Camilla’s a cappella group. The enthusiastic Italian spinone nuzzled her way into the circle of eighth […]

Read More

stay in tune (and other love advice from children)

stay in tune (and other love advice from children)

| February 14, 2014 | 4 Replies

Stuart the duck perched atop the valentine David made. I walked into the kitchen this morning to find all three of them (Stuart, the valentine, and David) grinning brightly at me. David and I like to make each other cards. Call it creative or call it frugal; it’s our tradition. Weeks ago we agreed to […]

Read More

space for sadness

space for sadness

| February 11, 2014 | 8 Replies

Before I tell you about the gift I gave Laura, I should tell you about the gifts Laura gave me. A hug each time I passed in the hall. A raised hand for every question I asked in class. More songs than I can count: songs I taught her, songs she brought from home, songs […]

Read More

conditions for joy

conditions for joy

| January 30, 2014 | 12 Replies

High time I fess up: my plan for the year failed. I came here with the dream of investing time in my writing: submitting essays, getting published. I knew that getting published is hard, but I didn’t fret: I can be persistent as a jackhammer. What I didn’t foresee was how disheartening the process would […]

Read More

2013 Thanksgiving newsletter

2013 Thanksgiving newsletter

| December 2, 2013 | 10 Replies

It’s the second morning of December. True to form, I started a Thanksgiving newsletter before Thanksgiving but didn’t finish it in time. I’ve cherished grand ambitions about the scope and detail of the letter, but today I want to write something short and sweet. Today I want to write about the Christmas cactus in bloom, […]

Read More

tree roots and laundry

tree roots and laundry

| November 13, 2013 | 1 Reply

My friend Ralph Eckhardt sent this picture the other day. He wrote, “I had just been thinking about your latest Breathe Deep and praying for you when I saw it, and it was a picture to me of how complicated life is that produces the wonder of who we are.” My mind keeps wandering back to […]

Read More

Wichitastic

Wichitastic

| November 6, 2013 | 9 Replies

It’s a rainy morning in Wichita. Most of the colored leaves in the courtyard below our apartment still cling to their branches. The flags whip whirling music against the flagpoles. The cat sleeps, the light is soft, and a new month has begun. For several years I spent the month of November writing daily thank […]

Read More

groundlessness and tea

groundlessness and tea

| October 31, 2013 | 5 Replies

Waking up in the morning feels like the hardest thing I’ve ever done; maybe the hardest thing anybody has ever done. I might always feel this way in autumn, as darkness presses in from both sides. Our mornings spill over with common kindnesses. My husband lets me sleep twenty minutes more while he takes a […]

Read More

while waiting

while waiting

| October 15, 2013 | 3 Replies

It started July 26th at 11:30 p.m. on I-40, 3.1 miles from our exit in Brownsville, Tennessee. We were planning what we’d do when we arrived at the motel. I’d check in at the front desk; David would coax Gus into his cage and gather what we needed for the night. We’d driven 15 hours, […]

Read More

Hafiz, hula, and surrender

Hafiz, hula, and surrender

| September 18, 2013 | 14 Replies

So I’ve been teaching this yoga class. My beloved friend Jennie bequeathed it to me shortly after I met her, which was shortly after we moved to Wichita. (I showed up at her yoga studio, two hours later she came over for tea, I gave her granola, we went for a swim in the pool, […]

Read More

just so

just so

| September 13, 2013 | 4 Replies

Ben, Joy, Ally and Jack will be here in less than three hours, but I’m sitting down in my untidy bedroom to write a blog entry. Uncompleted tasks sun themselves on the desk. In the living room the fan hums loudly, drying the last of the laundry. I’ve barely begun the paper crane mobile. How […]

Read More

dear Quentin

dear Quentin

| August 12, 2013 | 21 Replies

Dear Quentin, Happy August! I miss your songs and stories. Remember how we used to find luminous, common things on the playground at recess? I will always remember that. You are one of the best people I know at finding luminous, common things. I’m happy that you and your mom e-mailed me. You asked, “What […]

Read More

the Sun and the shower

the Sun and the shower

| June 10, 2013 | 5 Replies

I woke early Sunday morning, wearied by the ludicrous night visions only a bride-to-be must endure. A shower rinsed off the outermost layer of fretfulness. Mom was still sleeping, so I took myself to the beach, aching for the cleansing only salt water can afford. A year ago I was at Rowe Conference Center, soaking […]

Read More

all the colors

all the colors

| May 24, 2013 | 12 Replies

Weddings mean flowers, right? I’m sure most summer brides have already ordered their bouquets, but that item is still languishing on my to-do list. My focus for the moment is on a different variety of flower. Being a glutton for connection, I’m inviting a host of women I love to contribute a flower to my wedding […]

Read More

something to bury

something to bury

| May 16, 2013 | 2 Replies

Tuesday morning I found a dead field mouse. It was in the shed where I keep my bike. My breath caught on the sharp edge of the morning bustle. This mouse is here for me, I thought. I set my bicycle aside. I pulled a leaf  from the earth and stooped beside the mouse, ready to […]

Read More

70 miles per hour

70 miles per hour

| May 12, 2013 | 4 Replies

Driving home from the Grub Street conference last Sunday, I worked my camera with my right hand and the steering wheel with my left. The Cinco de Mayo sun made its languid descent over southbound traffic, casting trees and shrubbery in unprejudiced glow. The hula girl on the dashboard chuckled at me. Who tries to […]

Read More

the Monday after

the Monday after

| April 22, 2013 | 5 Replies

Last Monday morning I planned to write about Vespa the dog. While my friends the Worsfolds take their customary April trip, I inhabit their home and spoil their Italian spinone with long, meandering walks. The tradition began five years ago, just two weeks after I’d told my husband I wanted a divorce. The realities of […]

Read More

looking back

looking back

| April 12, 2013 | 2 Replies

Looking back, you’ll want to be able to say that you walked in all kinds of weather. You’ll want to know that you caught the branches in the midst of their greening. You’ll want to remember how they wore the droplets with casual elegance, like Jackie O. in her pearls. Perhaps you were weary, but […]

Read More

in praise of all things sweet

in praise of all things sweet

| April 5, 2013 | 2 Replies

Blessed be the first bite of birthday cake. Hallowed be that moment, long before the gears of memory began to turn, when I learned that Sweet could eclipse mashed pears and mother’s milk. Did I learn the way Lydia did, encircled by family, smearing frosting on my flawless face? No matter. Blessed be that day. […]

Read More

the momentous in-between

the momentous in-between

| March 24, 2013 | 7 Replies

On my walk to the beach I snap pictures of other people’s yards.   Winter and spring coexist right now, and for all my talk of warmer weather, I’ll be sorry if I miss this. The momentous in-between. The earth softens underfoot. New-minted green peeps out from the latest snow. My life coincides with this […]

Read More

short trip to the compost bucket

short trip to the compost bucket

| March 21, 2013 | 4 Replies

After the show, bouquets took over the apartment, preening above my life’s neglected minutia. Delphinium trumpeted above the half-written birthday cards and half-read letters; gerbera daisies flounced atop books and script pages and the city census. I would love to love fancy floral arrangements. Indeed, I welcome them into my home with the cordiality I’d […]

Read More

books were never the point

books were never the point

| February 16, 2013 | 4 Replies

Driving to Suzanne’s for Book Club took forty-five minutes longer than it should have. I suppose rush hour is as good a time as any to close down roads for snow removal. Silly Somerville. As we inched our way along the detour, a middle-aged man in a Eurovan kept bleating his horn. Oh, how we […]

Read More

new and not-so-new

new and not-so-new

| December 31, 2012 | 1 Reply

On the train home to Boston yesterday I gazed out the window at the new fallen snow. Celebrating my birthday with my family in Philadelphia had gladdened and wearied me in equal measure. Holiday hubbub provides little space for the solitude that keeps me sane, so I was counting on Amtrak for restoration. I turned my […]

Read More

if this isn’t nice, i don’t know what is

if this isn’t nice, i don’t know what is

| December 25, 2012 | 3 Replies

Lately my heart has felt near to splitting its seams. It’s partly because this is my first Christmas far from my family. It’s also the Newtown tragedy, and the polar ice caps melting, and the slowly subsiding pain in my body. Lately the world’s immeasurable sadness has been crowding the margins of my neat little […]

Read More

the blog entry I planned to write

the blog entry I planned to write

| December 14, 2012 | 3 Replies

The blog entry I planned to write today was about my lost earring, the silver flying pig earring that disappeared while we were in Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving. I’ve had those earrings since my pig-collecting adolescence (inaugurated by my star-studded turn as Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web the Musical). I consider them lucky, mostly because I’ve held […]

Read More

in pain’s classroom

in pain’s classroom

| December 8, 2012 | 8 Replies

The month of November was shrouded in misery. Did teaching feel impossible because I was sick all month or was I sick all month because teaching felt impossible? There were three consecutive colds (well, it might have been one long cold with two brief intermissions). My hips were sliding out of place every couple weeks. […]

Read More

profusion

profusion

| November 11, 2012 | 4 Replies

Okay, sulky self. You woke up still sick, but you might as well get out of bed. Put on your sneakers and your hat. The day is warm and there’s an entire world out there to see. The word of the day is profusion. Not officially or anything. It’s been years since you had a […]

Read More

a lesson from Lydia

a lesson from Lydia

| October 29, 2012 | 4 Replies

This weekend I visited my family in Pennsylvania. I went down to see a CD release concert by Constant Recourse, Ben and Jess’s band. I went down to see their daughter Lydia, whose presence I’ve pined after since July. I went down for family dinners and walks with Mom. I went down to admire Dad’s […]

Read More

when Mom came to visit

when Mom came to visit

| October 11, 2012 | 3 Replies

When Mom came to visit we walked to the beach and stared at the waves. We spoke of mundane matters: an old friend who got married, Facebook photos. We ate frozen yogurt for dinner and pizza for dessert. When Mom came to visit we took turns on my heating pad. We’d both just been to […]

Read More

keep watching

keep watching

| September 28, 2012 | 3 Replies

The day after David and I got engaged, I rode my bike out to Salem to walk a friend’s dog. A host of purple-gray clouds were congregating in the southeast, and the sun overhead shone like it knew its time was nearly up. The black lab frolicked through the park while fear clenched a sweaty […]

Read More