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The January 31, 1955 cover of Sports Illustrated featured a fresh-faced young skier, blonde curls falling languidly over her sun-and-snow tanned forehead, blue eyes meeting the photographer’s lens with a seriousness that belied her exuberant personality. Her name was Jill Kinmont, and at 18, she was the national slalom champion and a likely medal contender in […]

This winter’s day

You do not have the flu. The cat is not sick, nor the dog lost. The bitter cold has not burst the pipes. The firewood is dry enough to catch the perfect flame thrown by the ordinary wonder of a rough-struck match. The small, wild things — plumed, delicate — fly hollow-boned to the feeders […]

National Squirrel Appreciation Day

Really. This gallery of images goes out to squirrels everywhere whose beauty, acrobatics, comic timing, perseverance, adaptability and fabulous tails continue to impress and delight any human with sense enough to appreciate them. Most especially,  I remember Chloe, whose intelligence and charming sense of entitlement graced my life for five years and inspired this prose […]

I add to my list of questions for God

Why serial killers are handsome, and sociopaths charming, as if we don’t have enough trouble telling good from bad. Whether islands float, or go all the way down. Why baby animals are so much cuter than baby people. Related, why humans don’t have fur, which would make us more attractive as we age. Also warmer. […]

Mary Oliver is dazzled by heaven

So I got up finally, with a grief worthy of you, and went home. Just over the threshold, she cannot move quickly or carefully enough. Oh, what is that beautiful thing that just happened? On ageless legs, the last word she heard with mortal ears still sounding: Come. The angels themselves weary of our meanness, […]

Rumi clarified

  Discharge the surly tenant who has lingered too long in the room previously occupied by happiness. A guest house is not an asylum, indefinite lodging for your secret insanities. It is not a brothel, perpetual indulgence of your basest impulses. It is not assisted living, nor long-term care for your crippling inability. A guest […]

After, in the House of Windsor

Philip walks beside, not behind.  Actually, they run, death having undone decrepitude as well as investiture. Fleet horses canter Elysian meadows, where no fox or stag stays dead. Obstinately happy corgis circle on stubby legs, barking against the faintest memory of mortality, of which they, too, have had quite enough. Bertie still smokes like wildfire, […]


Word from you aches like an old injury, a bone broken and healed but never again unassailable, ever sensitive to the plummeting pressure your proximity announces, the atmospheric disturbance of your many promises, breaking. Sheltered by time and space, I nonetheless roil at your slightest approach. An obstinate naivete persists, trusting as a newborn, set […]

Future Dog

Future Dog wags her tail in the passenger seat of Future Car, which can pull 3,500 pounds, the weight of Future Camper plus a buffer against the life we are leaving,  my old cat dead and cremated, like her brother before; likewise my mother, like my father before; their ashes placed in Future Car for […]

For now

Shy as beaked whales, my metacarpals surface from the swollen sea of my downstream hand, breaching a bruised ocean, a flood of healing. A mile away, ALS gathers the last of my friend, whose eyes no longer contain her. If dying were personal and malice medical, it would look like this: ruthless, relentless, clear and […]