So much depends on a blue wheelbarrow…

It’s my birthday! And to celebrate I’m pulling weeds for my dad in his vast garden. My phone’s weather app reports 86 degrees, but it feels hotter. Maybe that’s just the 91% humidity talking. Some may say I’m crazy to be gardening in the mid-day sun on my day off…

Five Amazing Things From Our National Park Vacation

My family and I recently enjoyed the first real family vacation we’ve had in over two years. The drive (over Easter weekend) was hell, hotels were difficult to find, and packing was nightmarish since we had to prepare for everything from 20 – 90 degrees. But our trip focused on the two national parks best…

A Poem for My Uncle Larry

The bridge to my son is difficult — An assembly of quirks, twitches, snatches of Television dialog laid out and lashed together with Green and blue pills taken once daily. There are Boards missing, replaced with acronyms; Plans written down, filed and Forgotten. He could be an island entire and to himself. But Uncle Larry…

Before the Throne Room

Last winter I had the pleasure of attending the AWP Writer’s Conference in Washington DC. Having just been to D.C. last spring on a family vacation, I had already seen many of the museums and monuments, but my hotel was within blocks of one that hadn’t made our list last spring, The National Portrait Gallery…

The Parable of the Ferns and Hosta

Next to a sturdy brick building, a tree was planted long ago. It grew tall and strong, but the landscape designers–untrained in botany or horticulture–planted it too close to the drainage grate. The tree was to them another piece of medium rather than a living, growing thing. And so every spring the nearby building would…

Most Days

Most days I’m thankful for my neighbor’s transmissionally challenged truck. Reliably at 6:15 each morning it roars down the road full throttle–even though it’s less than 50 feet to the stop sign. There’s a low rumbling pause and then the driver guns it toward U.S. 42. I can hear his gears shifting in the increasing distance…

10 Ideas for Outdoor Activities

Here are 10 things you can do outdoors that require little or no preparation, skills, or special equipment. 1. Hiking You can also bike, run, or jog, but I like hiking because anyone can hike. In some places I’ve been a hiker has to worry about venomous snakes, alligators, or dangerous insects. But the worst…