For dinner last night, my daughter fried beef for enchiladas. From the garden, I brought in a basket and began washing vegetables. Here, throw in slender leeks, sweet red peppers, onions with their fat greens. I filled a salad bowl with mesclun, radishes, sun gold tomatoes.

Do people talk about the weather as much as Vermonters do? What a summer, we say.

Yesterday: muggy heat, steady rain, a perfect evening. We swam in the nearby pond again, a little chillier after the rain. Then we gathered up our towels and went home.

More from that stack of donated books:

Our story is never written in isolation. We do not act in a one-man play. We can do nothing that does not affect other people, no matter how loudly we say, “It’s my own business.

— Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art


Girls camping, Lake Champlain: water, rocks, sky, and s’mores

Art For The People

What I might lamely describe as rain and the middle school girls laughingly referred to as moistiness, we stopped at the two painted silos. Beautifully painted with agricultural scenes, these two silos stood empty by the side of Route 15 for years.

I walked through a puddle-ish field. The girls, impetuous, ran.

I’ve been aching for weeks now for some brightness of color — and here it was — art transforming the landscape.  Around the back of the further one was a barred owl I hadn’t seen. The girls wandered over cement pad around the silo, talking about what might have once been here.

Four more cars had parked around mine. We took one last look and headed off into the mist and rain — the moistiness — again.

In art, either as creators or participators, we are helped to remember some of the glorious things we have forgotten, and some of the terrible things we were asked to endure…

— From Madeline L’Engle’s Walking on Water


Broken Hearts

Via my lousy cell phone connection, I had a conversation with a person I’ve never met who’s writing a review of my novel. Almost immediately, he told me, You broke my heart. What was I to make of this? I never intended to break anyone’s heart, least of all through my writing.

But is the book broken-hearted? Of course. It’s adult fiction, about a woman and a family. Broken hearts are the way of the human world.

As I write this, my own two daughters are drawing at the kitchen table, the teenager unfolding practically before my eyes into her own young womanhood, the ten-year-old wearing her skis at the table, longing for the excitement of snow, ready to try her mettle. When they were little toddlers, I kept anticipating I’d figure out this mothering thing, that our life would settle down into some kind of pattern, maybe even get a little boring. But my children kept changing that. Oddly enough, the kids kept growing. It wasn’t enough to crawl; they had to walk, then definitely run. At one point, my older daughter surrounded herself with board books, kicking back on our scuffed pine floor with stuffed animals. Now, she read a fat C.S. Lewis grownup book this autumn, hard and philosophical.

All good writing (and I hope my book fits somewhere on that scale) is about loss, as loss is braided into our lives. Of course, I want my daughters to love, and love well, whom and what they love. And yet… I can’t help but wish, admiring these girls surreptitiously, learn from little pieces of loss, my darlings, know them truly and well, and be blessed with long and sweet life.

When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable.  But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.

— Madeline L’Engle, Walking On Water


Hardwick, Vermont