Leafless

The sunsets got better in the winter. Those years after college—busy ones that I mostly remember for their early mornings in the classroom, not their sunsets—I used to run at dusk. I’d come home from school, bone-tired from a job that was physically and emotionally draining, and grudgingly put on my shoes to go running,…

Of Daughters and Better Songs

I am sixteen going on seventeen I know that I’m naïve. Fellows I meet May tell me I’m sweet And, willingly, I believe! Richard Rogers, from “Sixteen Going On Seventeen” We begin our morning with music. Not always, of course—I’m no Mary Poppins. I’m imperfect in practically every way. But today, songs were a scheme…

Of Board Books and Birthday Questions

We have a lot of board books. If you have no children, perhaps you can’t appreciate what “a lot” of board books looks like. It’s not ten, not twenty. It is, in fact, a whole crate of cardboard-paged little books. They are glossy and brightly-colored, often rhyming. Only a few of them tell stories, most…

Running For Fun

If I were more mathematically inclined, I could plot the direct relationship between the blueness of the sky (assuming that grey-blue is the continuum I insist it is, and not a cloudy-sunny binary that others demand) and the density of crowds walking, running, biking, stroller-pushing and rollerskating around Greenlake. It’s the second busiest city park…

Text Messages

The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, begins like many good tales, and plenty of bad ones, with an introduction. We don’t meet the brothers themselves, the three protagonists whose complicated relationships with their father provide most of the conflict, but instead the Karamazov patriarch. He is, to put it mildly, not the hero of this…

Overalls

Why yes, I do remember the last time I wore overalls. Thanks for asking. I was in the tenth grade. We were performing, for reasons best known to my tenth-grade Language Arts teacher, an original play. In said play was a dance number, choreographed to an NSNYC song. We all performed. We all wore overalls with…

Re-Discovery

Long ago, a bunch of friends and I spent a Saturday moving all of my roommate’s and my things from one part of Seattle to another. It was a pretty typical move, complete with trips to the dump in someone’s borrowed minivan, and furniture crammed in someone’s borrowed truck. The crowning achievement, at the end…

Choosing To Imagine: An Ear of Corn & A Border Camp

I’m feeling very American, standing at my kitchen island and shucking corn. I hardly knew anyone with a kitchen island the whole time I lived in Germany, and the corn—well, that’s about as American as it gets. Because though I’ve spent plenty of summers running and hiking past cornfields in southwestern Germany, Europeans don’t eat…

Twenties Questions

With many recognitions dim and faint,  And somewhat of a sad perplexity,  The picture of the mind revives again:  While here I stand, not only with the sense  Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts  That in this moment there is life and food  For future years. William Wordsworth, from “Tintern Abbey” It takes me…

Grown Up Summer

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters To A Young Poet “What’s your favorite season?” I’ve asked this question countless times, to kids all over the place,…