Truth to Tell

Imperfect Saint

As I sit down to write this, it’s late afternoon.  But the sky is darkening as if night is falling.  A storm is brewing.  Nothing is stirring.  It’s the literal calm before the storm.  
The scene outside my window mirrors the churning in my soul whenever I try to make sense of the news these days. 

In order to cope with the endless stream of unsettling events, I find myself seeking out inspirational and comforting words.  And earlier this week I stumbled on just the thing…Keep reading

What Lies Beneath

Several years ago, we had the barn that was attached to the north end of our house torn down and replaced by a more usable structure.  For the entire summer there was a trench along the east side of our house, rimmed by a mound of dirt.

After the first serious rain the newly dug trench and ridges were dotted with chunks of pottery that had been cast aside by former owners of our house.  And not just pottery, but glass shards, handwrought ironware, and even a few animal bones found their way to the top of the dirt after decades of lying undisturbed below. 

Recently I’ve been feeling like I’m back in the trench discovering bits and pieces of lives lived decades ago.  But my current trench can’t be found around the foundation of the house.  Rather, it’s inside my head and heart.
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Our Lady of the Workbench

I did not grow up in a household of churchgoers.  When I was a child, if I wanted to go to church – and I did, to the local Methodist church – I was on my own.

So imagine my surprise when, while cleaning out my parents’ home, I came face to face with this icon of Mary hanging above my father’s workbench.

It was shortly after my mother died, just ten months after my father’s death. Suddenly my brother and I were confronted with all of our parents’ earthly possessions Keep reading

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…
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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…


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


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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