The world does not proceed according to our plans. The world is an old dog, following us around the kitchen with its eyes. The world understands us. We understand nothing, control less. Today is the first day of spring. Every green thing has grown greener as the dark pines send out new growth. Every brown … Continue reading Equinox


Cold weather is hard on creatures who don't hibernate. Small animals and birds are burning more calories to keep warm just as their greatest sources of food—seeds and berries and insects—have disappeared, and predators are burning more calories to keep warm just as their greatest sources of food—smaller animals and birds—have grown less plentiful, too: … Continue reading Raptors


This week I've spent a lot of time thinking about how lost I felt in 1984, the first year I ever planned to be away from home for Thanksgiving (although it didn't actually end up being my first Thanksgiving away from home, as I explain in this essay). It's been decades since I gave any … Continue reading Homesick


With a big deadline bearing down the first week of December, I’ve spent much of this fall sneaking up to Sewanee for long weekends at Rivendell Writers’ Colony, where I hide out from the world and write in a sunny third-floor attic studio that looks out over Lost Cove. There are window seats along two … Continue reading Shadows


My husband and I have lived in this house for twenty-two years. Here we raised three children, buried two dogs, raked an uncountable number of falling leaves in this season of constant leaving. All but a handful of our first neighbors are gone now. They have died in their own beds, or gone off to … Continue reading Pickers


Back to school season is always a busy time in families, especially in a teacher's family, but these last two weeks have been unusually chaotic. All jumbled up together were writing deadlines, crunch time at work, the family patriarch's birthday, a series of houseguests, a long-distance wedding (for which there were no suitable shoes in … Continue reading Ragged