When I was a young woman, I immersed myself in experiences — live in a tipi, race an old Saab on an interstate, travel around the country sleeping in the back of a diesel Rabbit — but all as experience, without a context. Maybe that’s one of the main things I’ve gained as a parent — how to see the years-unfolding shape of our lives, the pattern of habits, the emotional tenor. Where are we weak? Where do we flourish?

Now, as my daughters — one exiting adolescence and the other entering — step into claiming their own lives, I watch the shape of the lives they’re creating, different than mine, and yet inseparable.

Late Prayer
Jane Hirshfield

Tenderness does not choose its own uses.
It goes out to everything equally,
circling rabbit and hawk.
Look: in the iron bucket,
a single nail, a single ruby--
all the heavens and hells.
They rattle in the heart and make one sound.



Lake Eligo, Vermont

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