As a mother of a teenager, I do actually listen to her music, and I’ve noticed it’s pretty much the same old American story: the good times are on their way. Be a little more daring, and the guy will come your way; work harder and happiness will rain down; vote for Trump, and the country will be great again.

AKA: that theme I remember from high school history of Manifest Destiny, sailing in.

Could anything be less Zen? What is it with this linear thinking, the view that happiness is a plateau that might be scaled, somewhere off across a desert?

Sip your soda, girl; be here now. I might as well throw that advice back at myself: enjoy parenting the teenager, unique as this may be.

It’s only when caterpillarness is done that one becomes a butterfly. That again is part of this paradox. You cannot rip away caterpillarness. The whole trip occurs in an unfolding process of which we have no control.

– Ram Dass


West Woodbury, Vermont

How To Write a Story….

Any writer knows a story can be told a myriad of ways. Today, visiting a school that once hovered near the brink of disintegration, I realized that school’s story could once have been told in numbers that reflected too much poverty, too little resources and not enough skills: too little – and too little again, and again, and maddeningly again – all the way around.

Instead, this is now a story of growing gardens and colorful classes – and thriving children. Who decides when a story needs to be rewritten? For a school? Or for yourself?

I remember Mary Oliver’s line posing the question about what to do with your one wild and precious life. Create at least one or two fine things, I thought. Leave one or two marks for better, and not for worse.

Sometimes I go about pitying myself, and all the while I am being carried across the sky by beautiful clouds.

– Ojibway proverb


Hardwick, Vermont