Truth to Tell

Path of Totality

My husband Chuck had been making plans for last Monday’s solar eclipse since 2017.
Part of those preparations included determining the optimal place to experience the longest period of totality.  Criteria included maximum duration of darkness, unobstructed views of the sky, in a setting within less than half a day’s drive from home with overnight accommodations.
The winner turned out to be a ski resort in the far northern reaches of Vermont. This is not a place…
Keep reading

Transition

Our daffodils seem to have made a commitment.  They’ve broken through the layers of frosty dirt and there’s no going back now.

The vernal equinox has come and gone.  Here in Vermont there’s still snow on the ground in some places. And lots of mud in others. Earlier in the week the temperature was almost balmy, but today the wind carries a chill reminiscent of January.  As I write this we are preparing for a nor’easter that promises to dump a foot of heavy wet snow. Yet through it all the daffodils – the cheery yellow harbingers of warm weather…Keep reading

The Last Suit

Lent has begun and I find myself gripped by an inexplicable urge to clean my closet. For those who observe the six-week period of Lent, it’s a time of introspection and reflection, a time of eliminating that which separates us from God. Traditionally this has meant giving up something – particularly something that seems self-indulgent, like chocolate or alcohol, or a habit that might create a barrier between the self and the divine. Something that I came to terms with years ago is that I need to work out my spiritual life in the physical world.  Because when I do…

Valentine

My great-grandfather was born on February 14.  His parents named him Valentine and his friends called him Val.  The card in the photo is one of his combo Valentine’s Day/Birthday cards.  I vaguely remember seeing it in an old album when I was a kid and recognizing that the message was that people were thinking of him.  He mattered to them. Giving and receiving cards was a large part of my elementary school Valentine’s Day celebration.  The little paper cards, bearing the words “Be mine,” that we slipped into the slots of each other’s decorated shoeboxes carried the message that…

My Ghost

Imagine leaving all of the unpleasant things from the old year behind and just starting all over again in the new year.  Now that we’ve entered the second month of 2024 I’m aware of the 2023 residue that clings – wars, extreme weather, lingering effects of the pandemic, political animosity.  To say that we’re living in unsettled times is an understatement.  And it makes me anxious. But in addition to the anxiety that I brought into this year with me, I also brought a surprising source of inspiration: Matilda.  Matilda Hoyt Alexander, to be precise. I never met Matilda. Not…

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

Tomatoes

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…
Keep reading

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…
Keep reading

Lilies

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