The singular and the strange

Well hello!  Yes, I am still here.  I love this little corner of the internet.  Photo from Instagram which is where I do more writing these days (though still not enough.)

I am endlessly fascinated by why things come to our mind when they do?  Why is a certain person that I’m not in touch with in my thoughts one day, and a quote I’ve known for years but not thought of in ages pressing into my consciousness another?  I’m sure there’s some hidden meaning to these rhythms, equally certain we’d do well to listen to them and heed the message they bear.  Today the words I’m thinking of are old ones by Gail Godwin: “The more you respect and focus on the singular and the strange, the more you become aware of the universal and infinite.”

I am reading and enjoying a book whose protagonist is a midwife (The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon – enjoying!) which made me think about how if I wasn’t a recruiter and a writer I’d be a midwife and a writer.  And so I wanted to ask and share some small details that I personally think can illuminate a lot about a person.  My own version of the Proust Questionnaire, I guess.  I’d love to hear your answers!

What would you be, professionally, if you were doing something else?

A midwife

If you are married, what is engraved inside your wedding ring and that of your spouse?

Mine: nothing (it’s diamonds so can’t engrave).  Matt: you are my sunshine

If you ride the train, do you like the Quiet Car or hate it?

Love.  If I could live in the Quiet Car I would.

Do you prefer sunrises or sunsets?


What is your favorite color?

Orange.  No, this is not because of Princeton, though that doesn’t hurt.  It is the Buddhist color of enlightenment and I’ve always loved it!

What is your favorite quote?

“There is no such thing as a complete lack of order.  Only a design so vast it appears unrepetitive up close.” – Louise Erdrich (for which this blog is named)

What is your Myers-Briggs type?



“We are moving towards the solstice, and there is still so much here I do not understand.” – Adrienne Rich

This is the holiest day of the year for me.  I’ve written ad nauseum about it.  For many many years my parents co-hosted a Winter Solstice black tie dance on this night.  It’s the darkest day of the year yet it also holds the promise that tomorrow we begin to move towards the light.  Deep darkness that holds the promise of light.  That’s what this day means to me.  I am thinking of Adrienne Rich’s words which are in my head most days.  The more I know, the less I understand.  Darkness.  Light.  Memory.  Movement.  Life.

From Instagram on 12/21/23.  Photos below from a family wedding on 12/20/23.  And below, some links to previous thoughts on the solstice.

The Huffington Post: Darkness and Light

Solstice: Light and Shadow

Thoughts on Darkness

A Darkness Full of Light



Kilimanjaro was nothing to this

A couple of sappy Instagram posts for Matt seem to be worth sharing here.  We are newly empty nesters and just celebrated 23 years.  Wow!  FWIW I do most of my writing on Instagram these days. I’d love to come back here.  Maybe someday.

I’ve shared this picture before and I likely will again. It was taken 25 years ago, in August 1998, by my father in Marion Massachusetts, in the exact spot we would take our wedding photos two years later. It’s framed in our house. Matt just sent it to me and I am struck by how much has changed and how much has not since this photo. The last 25 years have been full of adventure and both ups and downs, challenges, heartbreak, surprises and joys. Most of all welcoming and watching grow our two beloved children, both of whom are now in college and off on their own paths. And so we are full circle and back to these two people again. Circle Game. May we remember this joy as we move forward to this next phase, Matt.  I love you and I have for a very long time. Onward.

23 years. Wow. Craig, the visiting minister who married us, was right. Kilimanjaro was nothing to this. And we find ourselves at a new camp now, in a new season. Back to where we began: just the two of us. I found 8 selfies of just the two of us taken since June. This is our new reality. It’s different and it’s quiet and we really miss G and W but wow I’m lucky that all those years ago you chose this difficult redhead. Thanks for walking this path with me – challenging and surprising often, stunningly beautiful sometimes, interesting always. I love you MTR. Here’s to the next 23

Mornings during a time of transition

Morning in the mouse house. Coffee in my favorite Ratio mug (thank you VJQ). Phoebe. Crossword. Matt is sleeping. Whit’s been gone all weekend. This is such a time of transition, hanging between what was and what will be. I guess it’s not a surprise I am feeling emotional and raw (Dr Thompson made me absolutely weep on Friday morning at BHS – high school graduation is the end of childhood). Whit is leaving and we are entering the empty nest. Grace is halfway through college. We are not in our house. I can look out the window from where I am sitting and see the house my parents lived in for 30 years and where Dad died. Blink, and everything changes. I think of last year’s holiday card message, which is still true: “Once again a time of change. Oh the change makes music.” Music and heartbreak. Beauty and loss. This is apparently the lesson I have to keep learning in this life. Can’t have one without the other. As Dad told Grace after John died (a month before he died): everything passes. The only thing to do is to reach out for the future with both arms, even if it hurts. What I’m learning to trust as I enter deep midlife is that I can let go of the past and it will still be there. I lived those years well. I paid attention. They’re always with me. Those small children, that younger me, that Dad, those moments – they exist in some way in this one. I’m just figuring out how. Onward. Both arms

Originally posted on instagram.


Sometimes a book says things that are in my heart, puts words to things I have felt but been unable to express.  Enchantment by Katherine May is such a book.

“We are a forgetful species, obsessed with the endless succession of tasks that hover over our days, and negligent of the grand celestial drama unfolding around us.  And here I am, remembering.”

“Slowly and slyly it had crept into me, this conviction of . . . what? That something is there, something vast and wise and beautiful that pervades all of life. Something that is present, attentive, behind the everyday. A frequency of consciousness at the low end of the dial, amid the static. A stratum of experience waiting to be uncovered.”

“The act of seeking attuned my senses and primed my mind to make associations.  I was open to magic. and I found some, although not the magic I was looking for.  That’s what you find over an over again when you go looking: something else.”

I think I’m beginning to understand that the quest is the point. Our sense of enchantment is not triggered only by grand things; the sublime is not hiding in distant landscapes. The awe-inspiring, the numinous, is all around us, all the time. It is transformed by our deliberate attention. It becomes valuable when we value it. It becomes meaningful when we invest it with meaning. The magic is of our own conjuring. Hierophany—that revelation of the sacred—is something that we bring to everyday things, rather than something that is given to us. That quality of experience that reveals to us the workings of the world, that comforts and fascinates us, that ushers us towards a greater understanding of the business of being human: it is not in itself rare. What is rare is our will to pursue it. If we wait passively to become enchanted, we could wait a long time.  But seeking is a kind of work. I don’t mean heading off on wild road trips just to see the stars that are shining above your own roof. I mean committing to a lifetime of engagement: to noticing the world around you, to actively looking for small distillations of beauty, to making time to contemplate and reflect. To learning the names of the plants and places that surround you, or training your mind in the rich pathways of the metaphorical. To finding a way to express your interconnectedness with the rest of humanity. To putting your feet on the ground, every now and then, and feeling the tingle of life that the earth offers in return. It’s all there, waiting for our attention. Take off your shoes, because you are always on holy ground.