Category: outside

adventures in uselessness 

adventures in uselessness 

| September 18, 2016 | 7 Replies

Today I listen to Yo-Yo Ma play Bach’s cello suites and I dance around the kitchen. I have lived most of my hours aiming to be useful. The weight of that sometimes grows unmanageable. I am a dancer, but not a Dancer (if you know what I mean), so my body still remembers how to […]

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candle or no candle

candle or no candle

| November 27, 2015 | Reply

I woke very early and eased my body out of bed.  The attic floorboards creaked beneath my careful feet. David slept soundly in the imperfect silence. The darkness of morning usually comforts me, but today uncertainty lay at the surface of my heart like scum on a lake. In several hours we’d be on a plane, headed toward our beloved family in crisis. We […]

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the willow and me

the willow and me

| October 4, 2015 | 1 Reply

I woke with a dozen tasks on my radar: curtains to hang, the office to organize, photo enlargements to order. We host our family next weekend, and I’d love to welcome them into a space that feels homey and cared-for. I’d also like to take a run today, go to the farmers’ market, and get our […]

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window

window

| February 3, 2015 | 10 Replies

The blue jay spread wide his wings and restored me to myself. The spare room is too cold for yoga, and the cat had spent the night scattering litter as far as he could across the floor, but one flash of blue in the small window could hallow the entire day. That’s how I want to live, […]

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a walk

a walk

| November 25, 2014 | 4 Replies

As I walked from the bike shop to the Atomic Café, it occurred to me: I am carrying too much. I’d filled my backpack with enough work for four hours, but I only had 45 minutes till my guitar lesson. And a guitar to carry, of course. At the café I sipped my cup of tea. […]

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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 […]

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the inconvenient day

the inconvenient day

| June 7, 2014 | 1 Reply

Inconvenience is an invitation into the present moment. Some days I need to be invited repeatedly. The first time I took the laundry into the elevator on Thursday, I’d forgotten the bag of quarters. The second time, I found the washer in the 6th floor laundry room occupied, so I headed to the basement. In the basement I realized I […]

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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 […]

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meditations on a dented sedan

meditations on a dented sedan

| February 25, 2014 | 3 Replies

I cracked the car’s bumper last week. I was pulling out of an unusual spot in our parking garage and hit a railing. The unappetizing crunch left a sizable smudge of red paint. Two reactions emerged in such swift succession that it’s hard to say which came first. One was How could I? The other, Good […]

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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 […]

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Wyoming Santa

Wyoming Santa

| December 31, 2013 | 5 Replies

It started with the Wyoming Santa. A brief, typed note and two gift cards from a postal box in Gillette. We looked at each other in consternation. Who do we know in Wyoming? And how do they know that David likes Starbucks and I like Cold Stone Creamery? We surveyed our parents, who proved themselves […]

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the winds of homecoming

the winds of homecoming

| November 22, 2013 | 3 Replies

Ah, not to be cut off, not through the slightest partition shut out from the law of the stars. The inner — what is it? if not intensified sky, hurled through with birds and deep with the winds of homecoming. (Rainer Maria Rilke) I fly above the broad waistline of the country on my way […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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not yet

not yet

| October 1, 2013 | 3 Replies

Two weeks ago I rode against the wind to teach my second yoga class at Truesdell Middle School. News flash, Toto: sometimes in Kansas, the wind blows really hard. At moments I wondered if I should get off my bike and walk. I pushed the pedals and the pedals pushed back. The river appeared to […]

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skinned knees, fresh cantaloupe, Basic Principles

skinned knees, fresh cantaloupe, Basic Principles

| August 19, 2013 | 5 Replies

I haven’t skinned my knee in years, so when I stumbled over the extra-high curb at Mark and Cheryl’s three weeks ago, I knew it meant something. It’s a Basic Principle of mine: Everything Means Something. (Not all Basic Principles utilize italics, but this one likes to have them.) Well, it was a Basic Principle until a […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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. […]

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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 […]

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the definition of darkness

the definition of darkness

| January 12, 2013 | 5 Replies

My hips slide out of place for the second week in a row. “It’s been very mild both these times,” says my chiropractor after I explain that I’ve been doing the physical therapy exercises each day. “You’re doing what you need to do. Just give it time.” She is encouraging. Perky, even. I slip the […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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trees, sparrows & jackhammers

trees, sparrows & jackhammers

| October 21, 2012 | 2 Replies

A few years back, I started walking the labyrinth at my school. In the midst of a bustling teaching day, taking ten minutes to walk and breathe feels courageous. It’s how I remind myself that presence is more essential to my students than productivity. I plod between painted lines on the cement patio, crunching leaves […]

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the cure for unwanted weather

the cure for unwanted weather

| October 7, 2012 | 2 Replies

The cure for unwanted weather is immersion. You envisioned a scenic drive to New Hampshire but woke to interminable drizzle? Snap pictures from the driver’s seat as you zoom up I-93. The blaze of autumn is only snuffed out if you don’t show up to see it. If it is not truly pouring, ride your bike […]

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