Random Selections from the Blog

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It’s Not Over Until It’s Over

Posted May 13th, 2010

No effort to accommodate an individual student goes unpunished. It’s true. A student when informed that the midterm will be on the first day back from Spring Break says that she will not be back from Switzerland yet. When a time for a make-up exam is scheduled, her return is twice delayed by airline strikes….

Real Friends

Posted December 22nd, 2010
Real Friends

I anthropomorphize. Pretty much everything, all the time. Of course, I idealize, too. Not only do I see creatures as human, but I see them as beings of the kind that I wish people were. I don’t always think about this tendency, but I have been more aware of it recently. While wandering through the…

The Mouth In The Oval Office: One Year Down

Posted December 31st, 2017
The Mouth In The Oval Office: One Year Down

The news media—certainly the “fake news” media from which I get most of my information—are weighty with analysis this morning, the Sunday morning of New Year’s Eve 2017. Trump has been president of the United States of America for just under twelve months. On every day since 20 January 2017 I have gone to sleep…

Arizona 1: Discovering the Desert

Posted March 24th, 2013
Arizona 1: Discovering the Desert

My lips are chapped, the top of my shoulders faintly pink despite sensible shirts and the omnipresent wide-brimmed hat, and my mind is filled with constant contrast of an arid, spiny and primeval beauty locked in a death struggle with ugly human sprawl. Saguaro cacti, the “apartment houses” of the desert, even in the National…

The Mouth That Would Be President: It Has Been Elected President and I Am Sick

Posted November 9th, 2016
The Mouth That Would Be President: It Has Been Elected President and I Am Sick

When I went to bed, North Carolina had already fallen and I knew the nightmare was about to descend. When I awoke, I watched the numbers on my clock flip toward 6:15 when the radio would click on with the news on WYPR. And it did. And three or four words in, I heard the…

Making a Green Velvet Carpet of Moss

Posted April 3rd, 2012
Making a Green Velvet Carpet of Moss

When we signed on the dotted line and acquired the key to our new home in 2005—a new house in a new development—the rock-studded clay and steep slopes of our lot offered a tabula rasa. The woods beyond, a non-tidal wetland protected by the state Department of Natural Resources, would ring with birdsong as soon…

The Fourths in Unison

Posted July 4th, 2009

In years long, long past, we often celebrated the Fourth of July at the family compound  in New Hampshire. Ma’s father’s family had been visiting Squam Lake since the 19th century; first they boarded at local farm houses and later rented a cottage at Rockywold-Deephaven. Eventually GreatGrandFather began to buy parcels of land on Mooney…

James and the Giant Fall

Posted November 16th, 2009

The subject line of Emily’s e-mail was “James and the Giant Fall.” The funny headline all but trumpeted the reassuring news contained in the note. James is the sixth of my mother’s grandchildren. A gangly, bearded boy, he is a lover of wild places and high elevations. The Giant Fall took place in Utah far…

On the Gulf Coast 1

Posted January 11th, 2013
On the Gulf Coast 1

We updated the the Garmin Nuvi and lost Serena. Serena’s charming English diction tended to break down with the letter “r” but that was kinda fun, you know, the “what on earth did she just say?” giggle. With the update, the voice changed to something of slightly flattened affect, still distinctively English but something less…

Up, Up and Away!

Posted November 1st, 2010
Up, Up and Away!

When the clock alarmed me at 5 in the morning, all I knew was exhaustion and the weight of darkness. I turned on the light and groped for the phone and the instruction sheet. They said I should call to confirm after 4:30 and to be sure to be there at 7. The voice on…