Lately I am thinking of contingency. Standing in her office, my editor reminded me that writing is a job just as ditch-digging is. The ditch must be dug. Must not also the writing be written? She is right, of course. The ditch-digger goes to work and digs her ditch; so must the writer go to … More Contingencies

New for a New Year

Putting a book together is interesting and exhilarating. It is sufficiently difficult and complex that it engages all your intelligence. It is life at its most free.  I started in earnest on a new book today. It wasn’t one I’ve been meaning to write. For some time now, the list of what I’ve been meaning … More New for a New Year


This is the picture window in our breakfast room. It hasn’t always looked like this. I don’t think we wrote on it–ever–until Emma was home-schooled in the 7th grade. That’s when she helped me see that this window would make an excellent substitute for a white board. And so, throughout her three years of home-school, … More Window

Morning Drop-Off

I drove the girls to school on Thursday, a late-summer, light-filled morning. It was just the third week of school, day thirteen if we’re keeping count, which might not be a good idea.     The conversation en route was cheerful. Chatter about driver’s ed, gladness that it was already Thursday, and the painted parking … More Morning Drop-Off

The Color Green

This blog post is a gift to my mother, whose birthday was April 21st. And in loving memory of my grandmother, Grace Everett, whose birthday was the 27th. The field guides were kept in the dining room. Not obtrusively on the kitchen table or counter, but just around the corner, accessible to a quick eye … More The Color Green

From Trees

Every year it comes to this, I would imagine–though I can’t say I remember it, surprised as I am every time: the air cleared of humidity so you could see for miles if the way lay straight; the leaves in that state of going, that thinned-outness–falling or still clinging–that makes every breeze into its own … More From Trees

Morning in Winter

The ears wake first, opening to the songs of birds: titmouse, cardinal, the jay’s cry. They are close to the house and they are in the woods; they are streets and blocks and arm’s reach away. In the cedar, in the dogwood, the beech. It’s time to feed, maybe time to nest. Morning is the birds’ world first. Then the … More Morning in Winter


I had forgotten completely this in the longing for winter—this winter now just past, this winter that wasn’t. Thirty degrees today and sixty tomorrow: I had wished for just one solid week of winter. I worked my favorite puzzle on the coffee table again, the one with the picture covered in snow, the one that … More Reminded


I’ve loved January for a while now. It’s not that I don’t love December and all that those 31 days mean– I do. I love the Christmas tree and the decorations and the lights. And more than that, of course, I love Advent: the awareness of the waiting, the quietness of the birth, the miracle … More 1.2.12