After attending a 2018 opening of a retrospective exhibit in which one hundred pieces created by native Rhode Islander and internationally known artist, Morris Nathanson, were on display, we headed to a local restaurant to chat about the exhibit in the afterglow of its opening. His body of work—paintings, wood block prints, “found art” assemblages, and drawings—filled two rooms at a spacious gallery. The exhibited works reached back to 1955, the earliest a pen and ink watercolor, Funeral in Tatco.Continue reading… "I Was Born to Live in a Café"
The day Jason got orders for Iraq, I was teaching night school in Nashville, which meant leaving Clarksville around four-thirty. He wouldn’t muster until evening, so I left the house first. Framed by the doorway, he waved goodbye wearing his battle dress uniform, BDU’s—now khaki for the desert—as I got in the Pontiac and drove away. He had the empty house.Continue reading… "Going to Work"
Out for a drive, my wife Julie and I traveled across the open, rolling Illinois countryside under turbulent December skies that seemed almost like a painting by one of the great masters: high billowy mountains of white and gray, constantly changing shape, reflecting the late afternoon sunlight in deep yellows, nearly orange in places, and mostly heavy with water vapor, and then not. Every once in a while we could seeContinue reading… "Into the Wind"
When I was a kid, my friends and I often played with matches and, by extension, fire. We had ready access to everything we needed. The adults made that easy. Many of them smoked, so matches were easily found, and taken, from most kitchen cupboards. And the garages in our suburban Detroit neighborhood contained all kinds of flammable liquids, like cans of gasoline, kerosene, or paint thinner, not to mention actual lighter fluid. In those days, the mid-1960s, most parents were comfortably oblivious about what their kids were up to. “Go outside and play,” they’d say. So we did—with matches and things that would burn.Continue reading… "Pyro Days"
There’s been extensive research into “the role of the father in child development,” including a 656-page academic albatross by that title that’s currently in its fifth edition. But what about the role of the child in a father’s development? Emily certainly played a significant role in mine.
By the time she was two years old, she had figured out how to run around, eat her own food, and communicate with and without words. Her worries were few and quickly forgotten—a real mark of maturity.Continue reading… "Developmental Milestones"
My time here on earth is moving into its late innings. All the more reason to live each remaining day as fully and authentically as I am able.
“Fully and authentically.” What does it really mean? How can I best pursue such an intention? Two complementary desires seem to guide my discretionary time:Continue reading… "Letting Go and Letting In"
Here’s the history of life as we know it. First came single-cell organisms around 4.1 billion years ago in hydrothermal vents, many scientists say, deep in the ocean. About 600 million years later came multi-cellular organisms. Hundreds of millions of years after came the earliest animals. Hundreds of millions of years after that came the ancestors of modern humans. Perhaps there’s a fragment somewhere in my DNA that remembers my unicellular origin, remembers when my ancient relatives propelled through the sea engulfing nutrients. Is that why I am hypnotized by the ocean?Continue reading… "Wavelengths"
Redwood trees surround the three-acre lot on all sides. Sun streams through the leaves, beams of light in the fog. In the orchard, branches hang heavy with plums, pears, crabapples. Locusts buzz, doves coo, and birds of prey flap their heavy wings. The oppressive humidity fills my sinuses, giving me the sensation that I’m underwater.Continue reading… "Dewey Lane"
I am at Reeder’s Mortuary where everything is heavy –- the drapes, the cherry wood furniture, the dust on the fake flowers, the makeup on the funeral director’s face. It’s been a week since Luke, my six-year-old nephew, died of brain cancer.Continue reading… "Fire in the Hills"
I was late to marriage,
late to motherhood.
When I met Jamie in New York,
something blossomed in me
that had been dormant.
His jazz club became my hangout,
I dressed up every night
with some place to go.
He was the owner, and I was his girl.