Year: 2020

20200418-_Z7A3005

The Moon's Light, A Path

This post is the third of the Small Noticings series, started here.  In New York, I can't see the moon from our windows, and its light is replaced by round, buzzing street lamps. But with thin curtains over open windows at night in this quiet cabin, I notice the brightness of the moon's variations. Right now it is waxing, growing bit by bit. The night before the full moon, we work on our small fire, and the clouds blow thin and fast over the moon, blurring it. Last night, I reached to pull…

20200425-_Z7A3035

Travelers and Toads (SN2)

This post is the second of the Small Noticings series, started here.  At first, I found it hard to notice nature here at the cabin. Everything is still. The water is a dark, pure mass. But at lunch we take the paddleboat into a glassy lake, and watch the runners slicing open the water's surface. We pull into the dock, and a boreal chorus frog (I look up later) sits so still I put my camera almost to his back and he doesn't take a breath. I touch his thigh and he still holds. This great…

20200430-_Z7A3101

Long Lake: Three First Impressions

This post is the first of the Small Noticings series, started here.  I have spent no time on lakes, I realize when I'm talking to my mom on the phone, and they make me uneasy. When the wind blows and all the water rushes south, I can't figure out where it goes. It seems to be an endless flow and yet the lake has a tight limit, the grass and birches holding it in. Sun-warmed on top, wind stirred, what is in the lake can't hide in the marsh grass long. A turtle head in the distance. A loon…

20200425-_Z7A3046

Small Noticings: A New Series

From our small perch, it has been tempting to look at the world not through our own windows, but the news right now. These very wide lenses project vast change and uncertainty. The ruminations of what could be ahead for the entire state, country, world are expansive and uncharted. Much as the horizon view seems to keep others centered, looking at everything at once is too much of a stretch for my head right now. So for the past two months, I have been writing field notes nearly daily, small…

20200412-_D5A1057

Late Snow; Life Lately

On Sunday morning, flakes turned from drifters to thick clumps of stars, not sparkly, but a dense white feathering over the whole world. I had been watching for buds, but this was more beautiful than I had imagined a world of green being, our Easter renewal. The past week has felt almost stagnantly normal. In the few moves I've made, I'm surprised how quickly huge changes become routine and how quickly normal itself can change.  Even now, I've forgotten what the inside of my home…

20200320-_D5A0882

Breaking the Ice (Fogo Island in March)

As I mentioned recently, novel trips are my favorite. New places. So when we decided, fairly spontaneously in February, to again visit Fogo Island in March, it surprised even me how drawn I was to the prospect of a return. We had just been in Fogo nine months before. But the deep appeal of the place was how authentically it was itself, and how its purity was in it not trying to be something else.  In early March, we left LaGuardia to an empty plane and airport, the world a bit still and…

20200323-_Z7A2051

Being Small and Still

Since I can remember, one of my life's greatest joys has been planning and finding remote and interesting places to visit, new places my eyes have never seen before. I dream of (someday) Namibia's sand dunes and the cliffs of Oman, and before we ever visited, the plains and peaks of Patagonia. Novelty has been nearly an addiction, perhaps. Seeing new things, researching trips where a new landscape, vista, culture or food is housed: I can't help myself. Each January, I spend full Saturdays…

20200322-_Z7A1983

Where We Are (Minnesota Lakes)

When I wrote last, I think the world felt a bit like the calm right after an orchestra has tuned and has lifted their bows, and now we are in a full-on crescendo. Everything has gotten louder. We feel a collective anxiety and uncertainty like never before, and by moment I wonder if I have too many thoughts or too few, if I am not taking this seriously enough or am taking it too seriously. Several weeks ago, we were in northern Newfoundland on vacation, feeling the last sense of freedom, and…

20191130_093019-_Z7A0235

The Hill in a City (Edinburgh)

The world feels a bit loud and scary and uncertain right now, and although I don't like to admit it, the thought of being afraid to travel is unfamiliar. I was supposed to be in Austin today, wearing a dress that my arms could feel the sun in, but plans were cancelled abruptly on Friday. We are still supposed to board a plane in two days, and I am trying to remember what life was like 3 weeks ago, before I thought about sanitizing my tray table and arm rests. And so it is that looking back at…

20191128_121239-_Z7A9881

Queen of our Hearts, St Andrews

To me, where I am so much weaves into who I am. What I am noticing is what is important and what makes life into a something. And our years living in Scotland were so very rich in time to pay attention, to feel the wind blow into one ear and straight out the other, watch the sands river off the coast. We'd been yearning for a visit, and with 5 years distance from our last, it was well overdue time for a return to the place of autumn's early twilight and still-bright grass: St Andrews, where we…