February 16, 2019

  I started my first tray of seeds yesterday: the heirloom viola known as ‘Johnny Jump Ups.’ The pretty packet from Renee’s Garden Seeds assures me they are edible though I have never sprinkled them on salads or used them to decorate a cake. To me, they are simply one of those harbingers of spring–able to withstand cold nights if set out early in pots and willing to seed themselves all over the garden in order to return year after… Read more

February 12, 2019

  The problem with naming this column “Cultivating Glory” is that we can’t rush cultivation, even though I am a little bored of winter themes and worry about boring my readers, too. A life of cultivation follows the curve of the seasons, the way a plow follows the curve of the earth. And there is no speeding up the movements of sun and stars and spinning globe. They are listening to some other voice than mine. I have written about rest, about dreams,… Read more

February 9, 2019

  First. don’t fight it. I know that can be hard to do. My first instinct when I feel that peculiar itch at the back of my throat, is to scream at the heavens, “Dear God! Please no!” It seems there is never a convenient time for illness. February, at least in this wintery northern hemisphere, is prime time for colds and flus and bodily breakdown of every kind. I have a cold. Last February I had the flu (I… Read more

February 5, 2019

  As a gardener, I am currently in a season of subtraction. * We moved to this old farmhouse six years ago, and six years ago we planted an enormous vegetable garden. Raised beds. A white picket fence. An arbor covered in pale pink ‘New Dawn’ roses. But a few months ago, we tore out the garden to make way for a parking lot. Well, not exactly a parking lot, but we needed a new driveway and a new place… Read more

February 2, 2019

I love new beginnings. I adore happy endings. Well, to be honest, I adore a sad ending, too, as long as it’s beautiful and safely contained within the pages of a book. But what about middles? Despite all of our December caroling about bleak “midwinter,” and whether you call the northern or the southern hemisphere home, February really does feel like the true seasonal middle. Here in my little corner of Pennsylvania, we have already endured weeks of severe cold… Read more

January 29, 2019

  Anyone who ever stood, flummoxed, in the lightbulb aisle of a hardware store knows that light isn’t simply light. Is it warm? Is it white? Is it bright? I admit, I have no idea what to choose in the lightbulb aisle of a hardware store, but I know which light I prefer in the corner of the world that I call home: winter light. * Of course, in January, there is never enough of it. Not only are the… Read more

January 26, 2019

We are used to thinking of summer days as the lazy ones. Heat presses us into a hammock. Vacation puts us right down in a beach chair. The long sunny days say linger, sit still, right here, for a while. But while the pace of a summer day may be slow, by day’s end I usually find that I have ticked just about everything on my list. Even exercise–so tricky to find time for in winter–fits itself into my day more… Read more

January 22, 2019

  Deepest winter has finally blown in to our little corner of Pennsylvania. I had trouble sleeping last night because the wooden shutters on my bedroom windows were knocking on the walls, as if begging me to let them in. When I woke this morning and lifted the blind, the window nearest to my bed was coated in furry, feathery ice crystals. They looked more animal than mineral. The tiny attic room I use as an office is too cold… Read more

January 19, 2019

I’ve now sat for five minutes watching a cursor blink its black bar on an empty, stark white page. If I shift my eyes just a bit to the right, I see another blank page: one more inch of snow fell around this old farmhouse last night. Looking through the tiny window of my third-floor office, I can’t see the driveway. I can’t make out the paths. Other than the footprints my children left when they headed to school, and… Read more

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