Hazards of hiking with abandon

With the exception of never telling anyone where I’m going, I’m generally a pretty safe hiker. **The contradictory nature of that sentence is recognized and noted. I carry a backpack with some essentials: lots of water, a pocketknife, a towel and extra t-shirt. Snacks for me and Buddy. Reading glasses, pen and paper. Bug spray with DEET.  One day last month, though, I left my backpack in the car. I had dropped my daughter off at school, and planned toRead more

Successful Art, Part II

Did you read Successful Art, Part I? Well, do that first. In the years before my father died, nobody went to our old country cabin anymore except him. He drove over there every once in a while to check on it.  One day, he called me after spending an afternoon sitting on the screen porch listening to the trees whisper. He told me about driving down the dirt path to get to the cabin, and becoming tearful at the sightRead more

Successful Art, Part I

There’s a little farmer’s market on Saturdays in Jacksonville Beach, and I like to go there after my workout. There’s a guy who sells fresh kombucha, which I’ve decided helps me recover from whatever madness we’ve been browbeat into doing at the gym. 100 lunges! 100 burpees! Run a half-mile! It’s like the coaches think we have nothing to do for the rest of the day.  It’s a pleasant habit, this wandering around among families and happy people. I oftenRead more

Riding like the wind

When I was 8 years old, my parents gave me a pony but they let me think I bought her myself. I had saved for a long time, and had $26. “That’s exactly how much she costs,” my dad told me, and I believed him for years.  I’m not sure how I turned into a horsey girl, but I was one. I hung posters of horses in my room, and I read books about them – Misty of Chincoteague, TheRead more

My Frenemy Grief

Two days into the beginning of the end of my life as I knew it, I went to a tattoo parlor and had a Maya Angelou quote inked onto the inside of my wrist: But still, like air, I’ll rise. I love the Angelou quote, and I stare at it often – but I also remember the exquisite pain that came with its etching. It didn’t take long – maybe 10 minutes – but those 10 minutes relieved me ofRead more

The Fantasy Man, Part II – Job Description

Did you read Part I? It’s pretty good. Click here and do that first. Just before my most recent purge of dating apps, a man began peppering me with questions online. It felt like a job interview. His final question: “What do you consider as unforgivable in a relationship?” I thought seriously about this, not for him but for me. I’ve become picky. Why not? I want what I want. I answered: “Dishonesty. Cheating. Narcissism. Lack of compassion for others.Read more

The Fantasy Man, Part I – The Search

My neighbor periodically asks me whether I’m dating. No, I tell her. Are you kidding? No. Which is mostly true. But every couple of months, I hop on a dating app just because. After a week or so and a few disconcerting exchanges, I delete everything and go back to reminding myself that my dog loves me unconditionally and that’s enough.  It’s rough out there, y’all. Slim pickins. I am looking for my Keanu Reeves in a land full ofRead more

That time I had a perfect moment.

I recently read a short story by Arthur Krystal in The New Yorker about an old man ruminating on his life. He had the sudden realization that most of what had happened during his 70-odd years on the planet was gone from his memory bank. He was left with fragments of occurrences, like still portraits or maybe three-second films. The concept has stuck with me. Most of what happens to us in life will be forgotten, as real and sharpRead more

Man-things I do now, Part II

My outdoor shower is roomy enough for a few plants and a footstool, and for more than one bather, if that’s a necessity. It’s not. No one bathes there but me. My kids think it’s weird. But I’m not the only visitor there. I have to keep the soap in a plastic container because otherwise it gets stolen. The thief seems partial to lavender but not lemon verbena, so I myself have become partial to lemon verbena.  I’m pretty sureRead more

Man-things I do now, Part I

On Halloween, I was cutting the grass aggressively with my new eco-friendly battery-powered lawn mower. I have a large yard that’s kind of unruly, and sometimes I get ambitious. I can get rough with my outdoor equipment.  I spotted some brush in the bamboo garden and plowed ahead, thinking how satisfying it would feel when the remnants came spitting out of the mower. As I pushed, I felt a sharp pain on the back of my ankle. “SNAKE!” my veryRead more