When your dad drops you off at school this morning and reminds you that he has signed you up for the cross-country team, you wonder how you got roped into this one.
One of my earliest memories of coming to terms with mortality was when I was a child, just shy of seven years old.
Some time ago, I went to a reading by an excellent Midwestern poet.
It was summer; and there was a patchiness to the weather.
On our walk through town, my husband and I passed by an assisted living facility. There were a couple dump trucks in front.
Somewhere in a hotel gym, a mother is running on a treadmill. Her sneakers haven’t touched pavement in months, and her taupe leggings make her thighs look like seals.
Spring in our county brings wind. Early in the morning, a light breeze lifts leaves on the trees, in and around the back patio.
When I see the three positive pregnancy tests lined up on my bathroom counter, my first thought is that I wanted another baby, but I did not want another baby like this.
The mind plays tricks on us. This we know. The heart is deceitful above all things. This we accept. But the body is the consummate con artist.
What does it mean to make your body a home when all it has ever known is the loud incessant chatter of rooms too full of thoughts so mean, you’d only dare say them to yourself?
In 1330, five days after he killed his wife, Geoffrey of Knuston of Abingdon sought sanctuary in a church in Northamptonshire.
I used to think that my hometown would always feel welcoming, that I would always be able to slide back into place. I plotted my return for many years.
It is common to intellectualize the sacrament of Communion, and to view the practice as a sacred ritual of reverence.
I am one of two hundred teenage girls walking through the Ozark green on a muggy July evening.
What is “sanctuary”? To me, sanctuary is a refuge, a retreat from the noise and myriad voices competing for our attention.
On a sweltering August afternoon when only a man deranged would return to Savannah, I wheel up.
How can I explain the joy that I get from reading? Words can't fully express it.
Last weekend felt like coming home.
Fire, 20 miles south, 30% contained.
“Who else is on the reservation?” asks the assistant naturalist, who appears to be around the same age as me, as she finds my name on the registration list for a bird talk.
I go there again and again, never tiring of the place. When I’m away, I imagine that it waits for me, no matter how long my return might take.
Sunday, a day early, but those murderous temperatures, and we’d had our gators if not our dolphins, our tidal marsh kayak if not our sunset river cruise, decent meals if never a feast...
I don’t want to worry. But I do. I want to lay my burdens down and find rest. But I don’t. My mind interferes.
I arrived at Nrityagram dance village in Karnataka, India in July of 2014 with the monsoon rain.
Earlier this morning, he called his parents with the bad news. He had just learned he has Covid-19.
Sunset, palm trees, and chicken on the grill - these three ingredients should have made for a perfect evening.
Cherished family memories ground and bond us, enriching our lives in ways nothing else can.
That hot June night, my mother made me ride with her in the dark blue Dodge out to Route 38, what we thought of as “the highway.”
What a dinner Monica has prepared for us. First, she and Allesandro and the younger couple with the baby girl, bowls of snacks and a glass of local red wine in the shade of the towering fig tree.
When I was a girl, I knew only one thing about Loop 360: it was the road that took my family to the barbecue restaurant overlooking Bull Creek
Years before I went to restaurants with dishes like “scallop mousse” and “seaweed gremolata” on the menu, I was a Jersey girl who loved bagels.
I cleaned out the cookware cabinet in my kitchen. Marie Kondoed it.
The gutter overflowed with brown, spiky husks like the aftermath of a tiny urchin apocalypse.
What could she have wanted with all of those empty containers, so meticulously cleaned and stored so haphazardly around the house?
A reflection in ten steps
Last fall, my dad showed me five three-ring binders he kept in his home office. Each was filled with original handwritten letters, many of them yellowed with age and written by my great-grandfather
Cleveland was the place we went back to. Like homing pigeons or salmon returning to spawn. Cleveland felt like no other place, not home exactly, but something separate and apart.
At 18 years old, sitting in my prison cell, I was very lonely. I had just been sentenced to 241 years in prison.
The George Eliot Fellowship greeted my second cousin and myself in Nuneaton with hot tea, biscuits, and a copy of every book that George Eliot had ever written.
All that remains of Gridley’s store is some time-curled paper copies of these supposed facts recorded by someone associated with the State of Connecticut Historical Commission for the Historic Resources Inventory and haphazardly shoved in a purple file folder marked “House Documents” by me.
Tape recorder on, I tried interviewing my 75–year old grandmother for a 6th grade school project. “I can’t talk about it,” my Bubbe said in her Russian-English accent.
Once upon a time… all history books should begin like a fairytale.
On day three of 2022, I found myself giving our Christmas tree the stink eye, its presence a reminder of our Covid-stricken holiday season.
In the summer of 1997, at five years old, I place my grubby little fingers on a thin trunk, the grey bark slightly soft beneath my palms. . .
In July of 1998, on a high school auditorium stage in central New Jersey, I played the starring role of Mirabai, a 16th century Hindu bhakti poet and mystic, in a semi-classical Indian dance drama.
I have often felt, throughout my life, that activism was a “given,” meaning that it was something I was expected to do.
Once I was in New York with my partner. The MOMA was closing in 30 minutes, so we decided to pay full price to see Starry Night.
When winter rolled around and the other kids were busily cutting paper snowflakes, I was drawing circle snowmen and triangle Christmas trees...
I am a former refugee, and a tea fanatic, living in Ottawa, Canada. When I rented my first house in the city, I understood that my love for African tea would be a trigger for racism.
The hot, muggy Maryland summers of my childhood were filled with outdoor activity. Some of this time was spent, willingly or not, helping out in the family garden.
From the beginning of time, people have faced tragedies. Why do some adapt better than others? It's the history of my family that encourages me.
A reflection upon Wendell Berry’s “membership” from a suburban neighborhood...
The gardener is an artist, a creator, and an architect... the serenity in the garden sings to their soul.
As the ocean air spritzes my face on a late morning this past June, its saltiness meets the saltiness of the hot tears rolling underneath my tortoise-rimmed sunglasses.
It really happened: I received the things I was asking for: the simplicity, the sustainability, the radical freedom I desired.
That day at the 90-acre park in the northwest suburbs of Austin, there were signs of life everywhere, and I was one of them.
It was crawling next to Sara for a few seconds before she noticed it . . .
The trees hold earth’s history. The pages revealing the evidence of the planet’s stages through the ages are bound most accurately not between the covers of a textbook but between the core and the bark of the oak, maple, pine, languishing ash.
Worshipping outside for an extended period of time has been an invitation to be surprised by natural elements we cannot control.
Imagine for a moment that our skin was a transparent membrane which revealed the inner workings of the body. That we humans had been designed in a way that left the mechanics and chemistry of our anatomy in plain view
I attend Clark Atlanta University in the West End of Atlanta, an area where 90.5% of the population is Black and the median annual income is around $34,000.
There is a place we return to every summer by the Gulf of Mexico. It has a long winding sandy path we walk on to the beach, covered with old oak trees, reaching to the sky with long branches that hang low and thick over the path like a mother’s hug.
I grew up in the rural suburbs of Kenya, where farming was the primary source of income for most households. My fascination with plants, farming, and the environment stemmed from my mother’s love for gardening.
A whisper of cloud stretched across the sky, as we stepped out of the lodge. We still had a half-hour to wait for the sun to come up, but the cloud already burned orange-mauve, spreading a pale rose glow onto the snow blanketing the meadow.
Early on a summer morning, before the heat held the city captive in its stagnant breath, I sat on a bench in Madison Square Park looking at Ghost Forest, an installation by artist Maya Lin. This barren grove of Great Atlantic white cedar trees stood like weathered sentinels in the verdant park.
Learning to love New Jersey roughly translated into learning how to love myself.