Hands and Voices

After the months of his pursuit of her, now they meet face to face. From the beginnings of the world his arrival and her welcome have been prepared. They have always known each other. Wendell Berry, from “Her First Calf” Needle-sharp stars in a black-ice sky. Snow crunching underfoot, clinging to branches that glow grey…

Candles and Community

The house is cold at dawn. I wake and build the fires. The ground is white with snow. from “IV,” Wendell Berry On the night our daughter is supposed to be born (the “supposed to” determined by an oh-so-precise countdown that started way back in February), we have no electricity at Snoqualmie Pass. We’re actually more than…

Weight, Wait

I’m a riddle in nine syllables, An elephant, a ponderous house, A melon strolling on two tendrils. from “Metaphors,” Sylvia Plath It’s one of those poems that I have almost memorized by accident, Plath’s “Metaphors,” a “riddle in nine syllables” I’ve set to many classes of eleventh graders. “What is she talking about?” I’ll ask them,…

National Forest & Black Forest {Or, Where You’re From}

Dear Luci, John Denver plays over the stereo. The morning fire is down to embers now, and through the upstairs window all I can see are the dark arms of fir trees, calm and complacent in the autumn sun. On the counter sits a bear made of yellow cake, waiting for frosting, because tomorrow is…

My Doorways

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald This quote, snatched far out of context from a tense scene of The Great Gatsby, makes its rounds every September. And while I agree, as much a lover of fall as any girl who likes sweaters, hot drinks and orange leaves, for…

Shorts

“The great illusion of leadership is to think that man can be led out of the desert by someone who has never been there.” Henri Nouwen, The Wounded Healer It’s been a summer of changes. We’ve slept in four different time zones, moved to a zip code neither of us has lived in before, and begun the process…

East

Five years ago, I left the Pacific Northwest. I was alone and excited, seeking adventure and responding to calling on this quest eight thousand miles east. In a few weeks, I’m going back, married and expecting a baby, but with the same sense of calling and adventure as I retrace my steps back to the…

Waiting for Spring

  This is the spot:—how mildly does the sun Shine in between the fading leaves! the air In the habitual silence of this wood Is more than silent: and this bed of heath, Where shall we find so sweet a resting-place? William Wordsworth, from “Traveling” I walked the woods for months, looking for it. In the…