Thursday, January 31, 2013

mink river

Today's Menu: Mink River, by Brian Doyle

Drinking: Tea of all kinds

Thinking: You should all go read this book. You should all go read this book. It is the most beautiful, outrageous, ridiculous, loving, inclusive, over-the-top, humble, faith-driven, startling, magical, tender and affirming thing I've read in a long time. Affirming of my love of fiction and affirming of life (and love and messiness and the human spirit in all its deep and misguided confusion).  It has made me grateful for this kick-in-the-butt-cold which kept me in bed all day yesterday so I could finish reading it. (Is that why I got the cold?)

And in case you want a taste of this Doyle writer before making the leap (because this book is not cheap), I recommend reading this essay about imagining foxes and this one about leaping.

Damn does this man have a way with words.

Good morning to you all from these rain soaked (yes, rain soaked) woods.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013


It's officially midwinter here: in the last week we've weathered ten-below nights and ice and snow-covered roads and days without sun and the stomach flu and colds and teething bouts and coughs and the cabin-fevered-cat and cars that won't start and...well, what have you. 

Before I had children I used to worry pretty much incessantly about global warming and the hopeless state of the world. I still worry (in a more acute, personal way), but these children come with the miraculous gifts of hope and joy.  Those words have been diluted by Christmas cards, but the stuff itself is not diluted in eyes of Owen Cricket or the voice of Avah Margaret. It is powerful stuff. Powerful enough to get us through these mid-winter weeks with smiles still on our faces and powerful enough to illuminate my vision of the road ahead. Look at those eyes, radiant with love. How could one not have faith in the human spirit to endure? 

The faces of children are my Bible. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

farm in winter

 May we all some days be a farm in winter.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

sturdy old friends

Yesterday Owen and I took a walk under the trees I've walked under my entire life. Such sturdy (and interesting) old friends, their branches always reaching towards that ever-changing sky.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Monday, January 14, 2013

Day in the Life

Wake to squirming babe under crook of arm and girl in nightgown entering room. Babe nurses. Girl jumps on bed and sings songs (loudly).  Go downstairs with babe in arm and girl in hand. Make tea. Make breakfast. Listen to music (loudly). Make block castle (while sipping tea). Nurse again. Put basket of diapers in machine. Go back to block castle (and tea). Dance party!

Get babe, girl and self dressed. Get teeth brushed. Get hats/boots/mittens/scarves on girl. Kiss and wave goodbye to girl as she heads out the door to school. Nurse babe so sleep. Open up computer. Read letter from prison inmate in response to a story of yours. Choke back tears and read again. Read emails from students. Respond. Start planning this weekend's teaching. Take a break to write thank you cards for the preschool you're on the board of. Respond to emails regarding the town store you are trying to help turn into a community owned cooperative. Read email from an editor regarding an essay of yours that needs work. Baby's awake!

Change baby's diaper. Dress baby. Drive up the road to your recording studio where your husband sits waiting for his bandmate. Set baby on floor and pick up guitar and start learning the chords to the song you're about to record. Learn the chords. Record (pressing the buttons yourself because your husband had to take the yodeling baby outside). Nurse baby. Practice the vocals. Record a take. Nurse the baby.  Hand the baby shakers and rattles and old CDs. Record the baby yodeling. Record a few more takes. Say, "That's good!" Nurse baby. Put some peanut butter on a cracker and call it lunch.

Put baby in car and go pick up your daughter from preschool. Try not to think about the letter from the inmate, your students, or what the editor had to say while driving and talking to your daughter. Get home. Hang up diapers. Make a snack. Check to make sure there are enough leftovers in the fridge for dinner. (Phew!) Write a letter with your daughter. Nurse the baby. Wave to your husband coming through the door. Dance party! Head out the door, computer in hand, for two hours. Whatever you do, Don't get distracted by blogging. 


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

quiet here

There have been some wonderful shifts in our lives of late which might mean things end up being a little quiet here at woodbird; unlike my friend Danielle, who has quit teaching in order to write, I having given up my ounces of free time in order to teach. I am currently adjunct faculty at Union Institute & University, mentoring the independent studies of four amazing and courageous students.

We'll see how this all pans out, but for now, if you don't hear from me often the reason is that I'm either busy teaching, planning, cleaning the house, reconnecting with my phenomenal children or taking a romp through the woods and trees and fields outside my door. There are so many ways to give in this world. Sometimes we have to experiment to find the way(s) that fit us best.

On another note, my essay "Sugaring," published in Orion last spring, can now be read online, just in case you missed it or mud season or both.