What Lies Before Us

I was walking in the woods this afternoon. It was about 3:00 or so and I was heading due west. I know this because the sun was perfectly and directly staring me in the face such that I could not see in front of me. There was a path at my feet, that much I […]

True Blue

I remember the very first moment I saw her. It was the fall of 1985, the first day of my sophomore year of college. She was leaning up against a railing on the front steps of Johnson Hall at UMass Amherst, wearing a bold orange Wheaties sweatshirt and a bright blue beret atop a mass […]


We were driving along a road in Western Massachusetts on Sunday when she handed me a word. “The first time you do something is so special,” she told me me, “the Japanese have a separate word for it…hajimete.” Hajimete: for the first time. I love that this word was part of Sunday’s conversation, because Sunday’s […]

Far Away Memories

One of my earliest memories is the smell of Indian food and the taste of cardamom pods. When I was three or four years old, my parents were invited to dinner at the home of the Indian couple who lived in the apartment below ours. I remember, very clearly, the sounds of grown-up conversation mixed […]

Bird Watching

He was walking his dog along the edge of the grass, carefully and quietly — like one does in this place. I saw him out of the corner of my eye as I talked softly to an old friend. Her birthday would have been Sunday. I brought her pink geraniums, which I set down next […]

The Great Cape Escape: A Celebration

11:00 p.m., Friday Today, my friend Mary Anne joined me to celebrate her birthday here on the Cape. We agreed to a trek up the coast, along the National Seashore. When a Park Ranger told us about the whales and dolphins seen at Race Point Beach, we knew our day would include a trip to […]

The Great Cape Escape: Back to Life

Friday, 9:00 a.m. Walking down the beaches this week, I had been disappointed to see the carcasses of numerous animals — sea gulls, shore birds, horseshoe crabs. Was it the recent storms? The ferocious winds? “It’s common,” the Ranger at the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge reassured me. “Creatures die and get washed ashore often.” But […]