My Mother’s Apron

Some years ago, I was going through a stack of hastily packed boxes of my parents’ memorabilia.  Even though I had no idea what they contained, I was surprised to find what appeared to be a fragment of a denim apron.  It was torn at the waist, with a pocket on the right side and metal rivets with bits of twine that likely once tied it in the back. I had no idea where it came from, or, honestly which of my parents it belonged to.

However, as I dug through the box, I found a photo of my mother wearing what I realized was the full apron.  Though I’d never seen the setting of the photo, it wasn’t tough to figure out that it was the factory where she worked.

When my mother reached her 18th birthday… Keep reading


A few weeks ago, while visiting one of our favorite booths at the local farmers market, I was delighted to see a basket full of just-picked vine-ripened tomatoes.  Because I avoid buying what passes for “fresh” tomatoes in the supermarket (which are almost always a pathetic shade of washed-out pink with a mealy texture), I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into one of these beauties. As I held one, I was momentarily transported to a different time and place…
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Take Your Time

“Take your time, Deadra,” my massage therapist said, just as she finished undoing the tension I held in my shoulders and jaw.   Her words startled me – nobody else was saying anything like that to me at the time.  When she told me that she was leaving the room, she added that I didn’t have to rush. “Take your time.” What an amazing invitation; a gift…
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I never thought I be reassured by lilies, until…
The morning of July 10 my husband and I drove home from spending a weekend in the Adirondacks.  The skies were ominous, the weather forecast dire, but the rain hadn’t yet begun to fall. Even so, we knew that some roads were already closed.  But from what we could see, none of the roads we planned to travel had been affected by the worsening storm.

So, we were surprised when a little more than halfway home, we came to the place where one of the roads we depended on was closed.  Keep reading

Treasures of Darkness

I will give you the treasures of darkness…” (Isaiah 45:3)

When I was a child, I was afraid of the dark.  I was certain that hideous creatures lurked in the shadows, ready to pounce the minute I let down my guard. At bedtime I insisted that the hall light outside my bedroom door remain lit until after I fell asleep, convinced that it would keep the other-worldly beings at bay.

Like most children, I eventually outgrew the need Keep reading


The T-intersection where our gravel road intersects with the main gravel road leading to the paved roads (three miles away in one direction, about a half mile the other) is as mucky and mired as I’ve ever seen it.

Even though it’s showing signs of beginning to ease, Mud Season in Central Vermont persists.

There are things I dread this time of year, starting with the rapid cycle of thawing-freezing-thawing that ensures you never know what you will encounter on any road, even if you had traveled it just hours earlier.  On the way down the hill, you might be bumping along on what seem to be valleys and peaks deeply etched into the solidly frozen ground by the tires of vehicles great and small.

Then, just an hour or so later, as you travel back up the same road Keep reading

House of Grief

Earlier this year I visited the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California.  Built by Sarah Winchester (1839-1922), the widow of William Winchester, heir to the Winchester rifle fortune, it’s famous for its staircases that lead nowhere and windows that look out onto brick walls just inches away. This house is an unwieldy affair.  Any attempt to navigate it without a guide and you’re sure to get lost in its endless tangle of rooms and hallways that don’t align in any logical way.  They just go on, and on
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Winter Again

As I write this, we’re in the process of clearing snow dropped on our region by back-to-back storms.  Of course, this is to be expected in early March.

But a week earlier I had allowed myself to be lulled into a false expectation that spring had all but arrived and settled in. There were days in February when temperatures were in the 40s, nipping at the heels of 50.  Snow and ice were melting, and mud was emerging on gravel roads – a sure sign of spring.

To me, this is very much the season of “midwinter spring” that Eliot describes.  It can seem as if we’re caught in an endless loop of winter one day, spring the next, then back to winter.Keep reading

Winter Surfing

The first time I saw people surfing off Maine’s frigid North Atlantic shore in the middle of February, I thought they were crazy.  The water temperature was around 39° and the air temperature was in the teens. Yet, there they were, paddling out to where the waves were breaking, and then riding them back to shore.  Again, and again, and again.

What are they thinking, I wondered? This is nuts!

I had formed an instant opinion of these surfers– and it wasn’t a positive one.

But I’ve since changed my mind.Keep reading

Turn of Winter

“Do you have half of your wood left?” our neighbor who lived down the road and up the adjacent hill asked as he pulled out of our snow-dusted driveway.  “There’s still a way to go this winter.”   He and his wife were among the first people we met when we bought our house.  Being from suburban New Jersey, we had no real idea how to manage Vermont winters.  But kind people like our neighbor were generous with advice, which generally came at unexpected times – like that night, when we were driving to a choral rehearsal.Keep reading