Wednesday, January 18, 2012

We've started a new blog:

We'd love to see you there!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

And Then We Came To the End

I've talked about this before with some of you, about how what I put on the screen is an abridged version of life as it really is. It has to be. Otherwise every moment would take a page, every day a book.

What I've put on this particular screen is, I think, the most truthful I've ever been. But I've left parts out. The ugly parts, the boring parts, the tedious parts. I'm not completely the person you know through this blog.

I haven't told you about how, once every couple of months, I scream at my kids so fiercely that my throat aches the rest of the day. I never mentioned how M and I had a not-quite-whispered argument in the car in front of a dear friend and how it embarrassed me. And this: if you are skinny, or rich, or otherwise remind me of certain girls from high school, I might not like you upon our first meeting. Yes, I'm shallow. Less than zenful.

Please don't mistake this as a call for reassurance - I have good qualities, I know. I am generally happy with who I am and how my life works. But people have said things to me about this blog, about how my life seems to be full of raucous laughter and sweet kisses, and it is but I don't want anyone to get the impression that joy is a constant, that I have reached the nirvana of family life and every day is sunshine and lollipops from the nice ladies at the bank.

So - it isn't.  Sometimes the lollipops are not the right flavor. 

That picture of me - I hate my teeth.  And my face is too red.  And one eye closes more than the other.  And is my nose really that big? But there I am. This is me.

We're going to keep going. B and I, we don't get to see each other very often even though we don't live all that far apart and we work even closer, geographically.  This is a way to stay in each others' lives and I don't want to give that up. Plus, the fame and fortune of blogging is just too much for us to resist. So join us in the new year at our new blog, This isn't so much as goodbye as it so long, see you soon.
There are doors everywhere you look, some of them are magic and some of them don’t look like doors until you step through them.

Two years ago we came up with an idea for this collaboration. At the time it seemed like a lark and making it through all one hundred words was perhaps a possibility. Like seeing your child off to kindergarten and wondering what the cap and gown will look like at their high school graduation. Never has one felt so far away from its counterpart with the two extra zeros. Yet it’s never just a hop, step and a jump to the other side; rather its baby steps--one next to the other until you turn around and realize how far you’ve come. Turn around sometime and see for yourself, I promise that you will be amazed.

The writer, Mollie Hunter, says children are the ones who ‘never pass a secret place in the woods without a stare of curiosity for the mystery implied… who still turn corners with a lift of expectation at the heart.’ No matter how many years old I am this is how I live my life, always wondering and full of wonder. This is the season for delight and merriment, feeling like a child and realizing that anything is possible. Even magic.

If you just believe.

The next time you have a chance, say yes to a collaboration and see where it takes you. Open a door to another world and step through without hesitation. Little by little this blog has become a part of my weekly routine. By saying yes to this weird and wacky idea we had, there’s been the opportunity to reflect on our lives and connect with people we didn’t even know two years ago. Looking through my lens each week—every day if possible—has been the most incredible gift I could have ever asked for. Seeing what my dear friend a saw and reading her words next to mine has been surprising, funny, heart wrenching and has shown me parts of her I didn’t know. I cherish each and every one of these posts. Somehow we’ve created this mosaic of our lives, a bit of beauty from broken pottery and a little bit of somethin’ to make it all stick together.

As crazy as it can be, December is also the time of year when we start to wind down, wrap up presents and loose ends. We’ve finished our challenge and are taking on tackling another literary work, which should last about another two years. After a brief break we’ll post here every week starting in January. If you have a moment, please comment and let us know some of your favorite photos and stories. Hearing from you would be quite a treat as we gear up to step though another doorway into the beyond. We hope you’ll join us.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Why do I dread these writing these posts? At the beginning of the week I am hopeful, even joyful for the challenge. Come Sunday I keep wishing for wisdom and a perfect image to appear in front of my lens. It often takes me forever to put into words what my heart is longing to say. I reach out and they fall like sand through my fingers. I’m afraid that the words I do capture fall short of my intention. It’s like they aren’t good enough, and by extension I’m not good enough. As if someone will read what I have to say and make these judgments.

I make my own judgments about my life maybe too harshly. I can’t pass by a mirror without averting my eyes. I can’t-- won’t look at the me I’ve become. Being a student and now being a teacher (in addition to librarian, bookseller, wife and mother) have thrown my equilibrium off and distorted my sense of self. I found myself cringing a few weeks ago when there was a mirror in a scene of a movie I was watching. I soon realized the impossibility of the situation, the irrationality, and that maybe this is not your everyday fear, but perhaps a phobia. Otherwise known as  Catoptrophobia.
At night I dream of those same mirrors, or showing up to school unprepared, or driving off-road, downhill and being unable to stop. I wake up wanting to shake those thoughts out of my head, salt out of a shaker. But the dream that terrifies me to the core is the one that I wake up from and shiver, as if it was a reality that seeped under my skin. In it I am rocking in a chair, it is dark and I think I can see and hear but there is nothing around me. All I can feel is the emptiness that surrounds me. I am old and have been left all alone. What I can’t understand is how it happened. Surely in my old age I would have a cat or two. Could it be that I cannot care for myself, that in my old age I have become feeble, vulnerable, waiting for it all to end.

It cannot end that way. Each time I make a decision, choose a path, I think about where it is leading. Yet the end cannot be all consuming. It’s about savoring, living, noticing, taking it all in because it is
mine. These are the days I will revisit. Moments make the days, days make the years and together they make a life. I want to look back and feel full, not empty. In my old age I want to read and write. If I cannot read, I want to listen. And if I cannot do that I hope I can have my memories to comfort me. There are days now when I wish for the chance to rock back and forth. Slowly. An empty house around me, but only until everyone comes back, eager to share news of their day.

These words from Tara Sophia Mohr, hit home today and made me see that words have power. They can transcend and connect us all. Even if they aren’t perfect, not the words she wanted. She wasn’t afraid to put them out there, and for that I am thankful.

“What you’ll want a thousand years from now is this:
A memory that beats like a heart—
A travel memory, of what it was like to walk here,
alive and warm and textured within.

Sweet brightness, aliveness, take-me-now-ness that is life.
 You are here to pay attention. That is enough.”

I say: Forget fear.  Be brave. This is the end, but there is no need to be afraid of what lies ahead. An end means there is room for a beginning.

When I was three I threw a rock at a truck.  And managed to hit it.  The driver braked and shouted, "Who threw that rock at my truck?" and I ran to the house and tried to open the door, but I was three and the doorknob was unfamiliar - this was my uncle's house in California where my mother and I were staying on our vacation - and uncooperative.  I couldn't get into the house, where safety and my mother waited for me.  I don't remember how the situation ended - maybe my mother opened the door, maybe my older cousin helped me out - but I remember the feeling of dread that persisted in my stomach for the remaining afternoon.  Would the truck driver come back?  Would he do something horrible to me, to my mother?  That's the most afraid I've ever been in my life.

At least that's the most consciously afraid I've ever been in my life.  I mean, there's the ever-present fear of death.  It's the death of my children that scares me more than my own.  Dying myself would hurt less than my children dying.  There's the fear of total nuclear annihilation.  There's the more pedestrian fear of the bank balance.  There's the fear of the unknown that I get every time I climb the stairs to my office, even after two months of working at that wonderful place.  There's being afraid of the month ahead with its resident deadlines, shipping fees, and hours packed too tightly with have-tos instead of want-tos.  There's the abstract fear of never publishing a book, never visiting Africa, never being invited on to Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

All of which I can mostly handle.  But that fear from thirty - ahem - four years ago of having done something terribly bad with unmanageable consequences looming over me, that fear can still keep me awake at night, lights blazing a weak defense.

But I learned: never throw rocks at passing trucks, even if there's no chance of hitting the target.  Because there's always a chance.  So feel safe driving your truck down my road.

Next Week: we wrap it up.

Monday, November 28, 2011


I Am Losing My Bloom.

Not of youth. That patina was rubbed off several years ago, not by a specific number of accumulated years but by my children, who are determined to make permanent the hint of red in the whites of my eyes.

No. My current loss of bloom concerns writing. The voices in my head are getting quieter and quieter because I listen to them so rarely. They are annoyed with me. They've almost given up. They whispered the other day, in the car, “Yes, we were concerned at the lack of specificity in the cartographer's directions. Most of were concerned. Those of us who spent our time looking down at the ground were concerned, but those of us who more often looked up at the trees felt no worry.” I know, it's not much, but it was mine and it was singing until... someone asked if we could get pizza for dinner. And then someone else asked for cd 2, song 4, which happened to be that mining song by the Decemberists that I really loved until we played it for the 459th time – two months ago.

My purse used to be littered with scraps of paper. Important scraps of paper with ideas written on them. Now my purse is just littered. On my computer I used to have several documents open and active and each one would be visited every day and added to a little bit. I still have several documents open in various stages of completion; some of them bordering on late, most of them bordering on boring.

Is this a phase? Does everyone go through a time in their lives when they fail to work at what they love the most? And how does one end the phase? I've tried booze, I've tried Mozart, I've tried candlelit tubs. It's no use.

Patience, I suppose. Patience and distraction. I try hard not to look too closely at the problem, and that's pretty easy since life is full of peanut butter jelly sandwiches, shirts on backwards, those bills that come every month, salted caramels and earaches. Maybe the voices will return full strength in the spring. Which is tough, since, despite the snow on the ground, it isn't even winter yet.

Maybe I just have to listen more closely. Shhhhh.....

It used to be that there were more lazy sundays, those special do-nothing days of the Calvin and Hobbes variety. The apartment and the surroundings may have changed—not to mention the addition of children and pets--but the music has remained the same. Once upon a time Sinatra was the soundtrack to our sundays. Sometimes there was Ella or Hartman, sometimes Baker or Etta, but the sounds from the stereo always went down like a smooth drink that warmed or cooled depending on the weather. Now that it's November the days are looking a bit grey and we're starting to gear up for the beginning of the holiday season. In the face of the chaos that is to come, our teenager spent the afternoon at a friend’s and the grown-ups took the day off.

Blossom Dearie was the clear choice today. She's one of my favorites, I think I feel a connection to those big glasses she's wearing on the cover of the CD. I love her easy, carefree lyrics, which are the perfect upbeat accompaniment to waffle-making, knitting and hand holding. As much as I wanted to cross off all of the items on my mammoth to-do list, I resisted. Still, it seemed to be sitting there, mocking me, growing and expanding every time I turned my eyes away. It haunts me. Yet I wonder, when will I learn that you can only push so far before you break and snap?

M is often after me to take it easy; to rest, relax, enjoy. And I try, I really do. Every time I manage to slough off that ten-ton bit of baggage I've been carrying, I am amazed at how much I enjoy myself and I begin to love life again. I had this idea recently that maybe, just maybe “growing” isn't enough. Could it be that we need more than the basics: food, water and shelter? How much do we need to feel a connection, to be with someone that we can just be ourselves, our ugly selves if need be, to really thrive? Maybe being in a relationship of any kind that is honest and sincere is where we start to show our true selves--our best selves—which allows us to blossom and shine. Given those connections and that intimacy, what we produce and are capable of creating can be heartbreakingly beautiful. I think of those sunflowers I admired this summer and how they would turn their heads toward the sky and just drink it all in. I know (though that knowledge may be buried somewhere deep inside me) that a decent rest can rejuvenate you just the same. “Go, go, go!” doesn’t always have to be the mantra.

Unfortunately we won't see the sun much for the next few months, the days are getting shorter. Much to my dismay I find that my energy runs out so much faster at this time of year. In the summer it often feels like I can go on forever. Now words like “dormant” and “hibernation” trip off the tongue. Really those are just a way of describing a longer rest, cause in the scheme of things Spring is only a season away. We just have to get through the snow that will inevitably bury us several times over this Winter. I don't mind the snow, it's the sun I miss most. On those days when I feel depleted, M will remind me of all we have to look forward to come Spring and how we'll rejoice when we finally see the leaves budding on the trees. He'll also remind me how much I love being cosy in these snow-covered months, and that it really is the best time to knit, curl up with a good book; and that icicles, snowmen and hot cocoa will begin to make their long awaited appearances. As much as I fuss, I can't begin to imagine a year without them.

No matter the time of day, the time of year, or how he's feeling, M never fails to perk me up when I need it most. He supports those crazy out-of-this-world goals and dreams of mine. When I whisper ever so faintly how much I love baking and taking photographs he is the one who hears the quiet longing of my heart. And when I (finally) get up the courage to make those passions a bigger part of my life I know he'll be there with open arms to clap for me or pick me up when I fall.

In the words of our gal Blossom, “I'm glad that I'm the one who found you. That's why I'm always hangin' round you. Do I love you? Oh my, do I. Honey, indeed I do.”

Next Week's Final Word: Afraid

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


November is many things, chief among them grey, desolate and often the calm before the chaotic holiday festivities. It is also known to others as NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. A few years ago my sister-in-law mentioned to me that she might like to try it. Last year I signed up online, mostly for the pep talks, which come once a week from a variety of authors. Even though I didn't really write any fiction last year--that thesis seemed to suck up all my energy like a high-powered vacuum cleaner--I did enjoy getting an “I know you can do it” message in my inbox each week. This year I signed up without any reservations or hesitations. At this point my word count is still meager, but I have created characters that seem to be living with me. It's like I bump into them occasionally while I'm on my way to something else. Through these little interactions I'm always surprised to find out what sort of breakfast cereal Mattie prefers or what bedtime rituals help Jamie drift off to sleep. Still no matter how many words I actually accrue towards a finished novel, for me it's all about the pep talks.   (Erin Morgenstern thinks that “pep” sounds like a dog nickname, and encourages you to think of her inspirational note as a small dog full of spirit or energy. Gotta love that imagery.)

This year the NaNoWriMo website has an agony aunt, Maureen Johnson, in all her irreverent irrepressible glory.  Every day she responds to a question a struggling writer has submitted. The results are very unexpected but always right on target. As much as I find some wisdom in her answers, I highly enjoy the pictures she includes from old black and white films that feature the Marx Brothers, Gregory Peck and Jimmy Stewart. In one of her very first letters she made reference to a cheese wheel race down a very steep hill every held Spring Bank Holiday in Gloucester, England. The analogy being that this month in which one tries to write a whole novel is all about giving in, letting go and rolling with the words wherever they take you. It's not about editing, critiquing or refining; it's about writing that rough draft no matter how bad it may be.

One of the ways I foster my creative energy (and conveniently procrastinate) is to read most everything I can lay my hands on. Right now it's “Bluefish” by Pat Schmatz. Skimming the blurb on the back of the book I was instantly drawn to Velveeta. It is a name she wears with as much style as the colorful scarves she adorns everyday--each one different to suit her mood. Her real name is Vida, but she was given nickname by a classmate in second grade. Much to her dismay, she is also known as Cheap Cheese. This being a YA novel, the moniker seems obvious, but Velveeta manages to ignore it, her dysfunctional family and most everyone around her. She finds herself drawn to Travis, a boy with issues of his own. And then there is Mr. McQueen, a teacher who helps his students discover their true potential. He does it in such a sincere way (or as Velveeta calls it: all Stand and Deliverish) that I wish I could channel him in my class. As far as I’m concerned, any book that offers up “The Book Thief” and “One Fish Two Fish” as important influences is pure genius.

I am more than enchanted and excited by both of these characters and the author as well. It's like by reading her words, Schmatz has given me some highly-caffeinated, super-sugared drink that's enabled me with super powers. I can't get to the keyboard fast enough. Yet I can only maintain the buzz for so long. I find in that in the quiet moments it's the poetry of Mary Oliver makes me want to be a better writer. She instills in me this sense of wanting to put down word after word after word just to see what they look like floating next to each other in a sea of paper and ink. .

If this were somehow possible, I imagine that they (characters, authors and poet) are all on the path up ahead of me, beckoning me forward. I don't know where they are leading me, try as I might I can't see past them. Will it be a clearing, a flower-filled meadow, sandy beach or steep hill? Be it the latter, I should do up my laces, and get ready to run. Auntie MJ, I think I'm ready for those trips, stumbles and ridiculous speed you mentioned. Heck, I don't even care if I win the cheese, I'm just happy to be in the race.

Context is everything.

For the past few days I have been able to remember, very faintly, the smell of the carpet in my parents' living room.  Not the living room carpet they have now, which is red.  I think.  I have no head for details.  But the carpet currently haunting me was beige and fairly unblemished by exposure to ancient dogs.  It did not reach the walls all the way around but was framed by bare pine boards run through with squiggly dark lines that I used to suspect were secret codes implanted by a child who'd lived there before me.  The rug's weave was scratchy against my elbows.  That floor, that rug, was where I read most of the Little House books.

And when I snuggled on the couch last Friday night with T, L, B and friend D, and read to them about how to slaughter a pig and make head cheese, that rug came back like it had been lying in wait around the next bend of brain.

This happens more and more often as T reads the books I once read, sometimes the same worn copy.  He zipped through retro Gordon Korman and I found myself in a sleeping bag on a friend's floor with MTV blaring from the television on the dresser.  He read A Wrinkle In Time and boom, my mouth was filled with sharp rock candy.  It's not just kids' books - whenever I reread The Stone Diaries I taste roast beef half subs on white with oil, vinegar, and rosemary, my standard lunch during my last year of college.  Rosemary for remembrance. 

I wonder what attracted to me to those Little House books, which turn out to be a long list of instructions that could have been titled "Frontier Living For Dummies."  But T loves it.  Which is strange, since he's the one who spends months October to May wrapped in a quilt.  He's the one who avoids the outside if he hears the whine of any type of insect.  But there he sits, reading about cutting ice from frozen lakes and escaping beatings from the schoolmaster.

I wonder what he'll mentally associate with these books when he's older.  Maybe the smell of a dying fire.  Maybe the taste of eggnog of which we are all allowed one glass a day during this delightful season (some of us add spiced rum and moan like Homer Simpson).  Maybe he'll remember me, something about me.  I'd like to be remembered as all-knowing and benevolent, but most likely my voice will sound a tad, ahem, whiny in retrospect.  Probably it sounds like that now.

But we have little control over what our kids will remember about us.  Mine might remember laughing about head cheese as we sat cozy on the couch in late evening light.

Next Week's Penultimate Word: Blossom

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


One morning last week L asked me "Do you want to hear this song I made up?"

No.  I did not want to hear the song he'd made up.  I wanted to feed dogs, walk dogs, feed horses, feed children, drink more coffee, make lunches, shower, brush my teeth, sign T's reading log.  My morning had no room for made up songs sung in high, squeaky voices.

"I'd love to, sweetie."

And so he began.  This was no ordinary song.  This song had props: shiny slivers of colored stones held up against the morning windows of our front door and crowned in the sunlight: kings of earth, sea, wind and air.  I'm not sure why he called them kings.  I'd record the lyrics if I could remember them, but only the theme has survived my my beleaguered brain.  L carried those stones, his kings, with him for several days - to school, to a cub scout meeting, to bed.  A few times I caught him holding them one by one up to whatever light source was available, sometimes humming under his breath.  Those stones, for at least a week, were something magic to him.  I miss that, about being young.  The ability to know for sure that magic exists.

Of course, today was overcast.  We tried to recreate the light-and-stones show for a picture, but the inside of our house was uncooperative and the outside just as bad.  After a few dismal tries L and I headed for a flag burning ceremony.  I was a bit shocked when the e-invite to the flag burning came from the cub scout leader, who never seemed the type to take that sort of action, but M explained this is what you do with a tattered flag - burn it.  Not bury it, not shove it in the trash can.  And apparently you can't cut it into squares to use as hankies, like we do with old cloth diapers.  No, flags have to be honored with fire.  The stripes are cut apart and burned individually; the square with the stars goes last; it's all very solemn and...cold.  At least today was cold.  And really there was nothing about kings on that patch of grass next town over; it was all about the opposite, the democracy we find ourselves trying to uphold with occupations both foreign and domestic, but the ceremony was royalesque, and L, standing at attention a few times visibly trying not to shiver, looked princely.

My princes of New Hampshire, my kings of New England.  Keep reminding me of magic.

After several weeks of rehearsals, T's play was performed this past weekend to several sold-out shows. My son is usually the one to be on stage, but this time he found himself working behind the scenes. As part of the tech crew he moved props and made sure everything on the stage was where it needed to be. He also stepped in to rehearse lines when different members of the cast were unable to make a practice or two. As a result there were many lines from the play being bandied about at home. One in particular was my very favorite, and was often quoted to me whenever I stood in the kitchen with mixing bowls and oats at the ready.

When I actually got to experience the performance I found that I knew much of the dialogue and was familiar with several of the songs. Still, I kept waiting for my line. Finally we came to a part where the old and new toys are facing off against each other. Mr. Potato Head confesses that the only reason he's still around and not in the recycling bin is that some mommies don't believe in letting their kids play with video games. Queen Frostine chimes in with her affirmation, “I have met those moms. They live in a magical Kingdom called Vermont and they make their own granola.”

If I were to be a king I would wish for something as beautiful as Vermont the woods and hills as far as the eye can see. I know that I am truly lucky to live here and at the end of each day before I close my eyes I often hear a familiar refrain (albeit in a voice reminiscent of Michael Caine.) “Goodnight you princes of Maine, you kings of New England. Then I start what has become for me a nightly Cider House Rules ritual. Which begins by me silently saying “ Let us be happy for...” and like a prayer I go through in my mind all of the things I am grateful for. And in this way my days come to a comforting close.

Yet overall endings to most anything make me weepy and tearful, I'm rarely ready to let any experience go. The end of this weekend's play was no exception. Throughout each scene the queen is insistent that her one wish will be granted and it will finally snow inside the toy store. As the lights dimmed and a hush fell over the audience, the first flakes started to fall and it truly was magical. In a clear quiet voice she began to sing, “And when it snows. It is how I know. I am home.” Tears came to my eyes as I felt a recognition and deep connection to those same thoughts. This is my home and it truly as beautiful as a dear friend reminded me in the midst of my feeling sad this week. My one wish would be that everyone should have a place like this to feel at home. A house, a fortress, perhaps a castle--or my fondest desire: a turret-- where they can live, reign and love as they so choose.

Next Week's Word: Cheese

Just three more left, hard to believe.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Looking back over this week, a flood of inconveniences wash over me: the overflowing toilets, the lack of sleep, and the walnuts that were toasted beyond recognition. Then there was the alternator in my car that gave up the ghost. I really couldn’t blame it, weeks like this make me want to throw in the towel too.

Having only one car threw a real wrench into my weekend plans. I had a commitment on Saturday and needed a way to get there. The only solution was to wake up at the crack of dawn and take M to work. As we stepped outside the stars were at their brightest, surprising me with their beauty. Who knew the sky could be so intense before the day breaks? We drove down the hushed streets of town without seeing a soul. Most likely they were still asleep, enjoying a slow start to a day off from work. After dropping M off at the store, I headed back to the house; turning up the radio to keep awake but not really listening. As I drove out of town a fox crossed my path, breaking me out of my thoughts.

When I got home I fed the dogs who were eagerly awaiting breakfast and snuck back into bed. I picked up a Maureen Johnson book and tucked under the covers. A few pages in and there it was, a description of a fox wandering early in the morning. And then another mention a few pages later. An artist had tattooed the names of her foxes on her feet. Instantly I felt a connection and the book became electric in my hands.

Then it was time for me to get up, get ready and head out on my way. The drive up to school gave me an opportunity to think about all that’s happened these past few months. The question I keep coming back to is this: Why is it just when I think I’ve reached the bottom does the rug suddenly get pulled out from beneath me?  It makes it so hard to get my footing, and almost impossible to take that first step

We live in a nice house in a lovely small town, but we certainly don’t live on Easy Street-- though I think about moving there. When I do, I hear that song in my head from the Annie musical. Which always reminds me of that redhead’s introduction to the mansion and everyone who works there. What would it be like to have someone draw my bath, lay out my clothes and give me tennis lessons? It might be fun-- even thrilling--at first, but overall it sounds boring to me, never having a chance to do things for yourself. I am nothing if not a DIY gal.

Given everything that’s happened to our family recently, I’ve realized that it comes down to a choice. I can be broken or broken open. That’s the one true thing that I keep coming back to again and again. Rather than be deluged by thoughts of inconveniences, hardships and mishaps I’m choosing to look beyond. I think of the stars, the fox and the warmth of sneaking back into bed with a book. Too bad those people on Easy Street slept in and missed it all.

We live on a road.  I don't think I've ever lived on a street.  Streets offer neighbors, hot dog vendors, sidewalks, parades.  If you live on Mulberry street you might catch a glimpse of elephants, pashas, bands and men with long beards.  Our road is dirt and quiet.  Sometimes dusty.  Today I met a man with the same last name as our road.  That's what happens when your neighborhood is both large and small.  When the dirt you walk upon is old as...dirt.  My dogs and I generally rush through our morning walk these days; the air is frigid already and there are small people to deliver to various spots.  But the road is very patient.  It waits for weekend days when time is somehow longer and stretchy.  Our road has never hosted a parade beyond our line of boys and four-legged friends, except when the road needs grading.  Then we sit on our porch and pay close attention.  We wave.  We might cheer.  And we feel less alone in the world populated by large growling machines.

Next week's word: King