Two By Two

In Middle Tennessee we don't have much of a winter, even under perfectly normal circumstances. Rainy gray day follows rainy gray day, punctuated once in a while by the clarity of snow. This winter hardly counted as winter so mild were the days, so rare was the snow. Still, the trees were bare, and the … Continue reading Two By Two


When I was in college, English majors were required to take at least one math class (or approved math substitute) and at least two science classes (for which there were no substitutes at all). Both requirements filled me with dread. In high school, when it was my turn to go to the board, the trigonometry … Continue reading Science

He Is Not Here

Three or four years ago, weeding the garden in early spring, my middle son inadvertently uncovered a cottontail nest tucked beneath the rosemary. The baby rabbits seemed hopelessly vulnerable: thumb-sized creatures, eyes still closed, without a bit of shelter from the cold March rains. And yet their nest under the rosemary plant was a perfectly … Continue reading He Is Not Here


Wild storms came to Middle Tennessee this week, right on schedule for a region on the edge of Tornado Alley. Many branches fell out of our seventy-year-old maple trees, and many others were left dangling, torn but not broken—a scenario that is always a trigger at our house for a conversation that goes like this: … Continue reading Secrets

River Light

I was twenty-two years old the first time I saw the Mississippi River, twenty-six the second time, twenty-nine the third, forty-eight the fourth. On this trip, I am fifty-five. And every time I see the Mississippi River, I see it for the first time. I acknowledge Heraclitus. I acknowledge the relentless influence of time—of the … Continue reading River Light

Last Breath

Weeks ago, when they first appeared in the neighborhood, I assumed they were starlings. A flock of starlings is the bane of the bird feeder — a vast, clamoring mob of unmusical birds soiling the windshields and lawn furniture, muscling one another aside so violently that no other birds dare draw near the suet. But … Continue reading Last Breath