Spákonufell

I was invited to be a writer-in-residence at NES in Skagaströnd, Iceland for the month. So right now I’m living at the base of the mountain, Spákonufell. It’s stunning. How I got here: I took an overnight flight from Boston, landed in Reykjavík at 6AM and stayed put for two nights, acclimating to (and reveling in) the intense wind, traveling alone again, the dramatic approach of darkness, the dwindling of light and the escape from so much day. I did the things I love to do in cities: WALK, take pictures of streets and buildings, talk to strangers, WALK, eat new kinds … Continue reading Spákonufell

I love you, Brad Atwood

I’ve been at my friend’s this summer in Providence, working on a research grant. Working, working, working–and then this……. Yesterday morning, my friend, A., had a little stack of NY Times on the kitchen table with a pink heart made of construction paper she’d cut out and put on top. Coffee was brewing and lemon scones in the oven. It was the kitchen my children and her children had raced through since babydom, stopping for moments of tamari almonds and cheese quesadillas and there in the kitchen was the melding of past and present and so much love offered and … Continue reading I love you, Brad Atwood

Providence, Where Dreams Live

I see a mom with an infant strapped to her front and a toddler in her cart at Whole Foods. She’s talking to the toddler about what she’ll make for dinner and explaining the importance of eating organic. I smile. That was me 20 years ago. I was a mother with an infant and a toddler, walking the aisles of Whole Foods, though it was called Bread and Circus back then. The localization of my memories of my daughters’ childhood is right here in Providence, where we lived for nine years. I walk my little dog down familiar streets and … Continue reading Providence, Where Dreams Live

Dismantling Yourself

“Out of a deep cut, opened in a biography, a new being comes into the world,” writes French philosopher, Catherine Malabou, in the book I am currently devouring, The Ontology of the Accident: An Essay on Destructive Plasticity.  When my world crumbled six years ago, I began rebuilding almost immediately. I thought it was a restoration of the outside elements of life: money, house, another relationship. But now I see that it was an inner remodel I was working on. First there was an initial expulsion of my former self. I was completely altered after loss–unrecognizable to myself. I began … Continue reading Dismantling Yourself

Remembering and Letting Go

Today I climbed Y Consti. The fog was thick. The path completely still. There was a biting silence as I stood at the top. I held a heart-shaped locket filled with a tiny bit of my late husband’s ashes. I opened it and let the ashes float out over the Irish Sea. I knew it was the right place and time. From the top of the hill, I felt strong enough to let go. Something has finally shifted for me after six years. By moving away from Vermont where my memories live and looking squarely at my own limitations, I’ve … Continue reading Remembering and Letting Go

Flowers are Blooming

It’s spring in Wales, though for this Vermonter, I wouldn’t call the last few months “winter.” I mean, okay, it snowed a few times, but no studded tires needed. And in the town limits of Aberystwyth, no shovels either. I posted a picture of my dog on Facebook a few days ago and people from home reacted to the tiny flowers surrounding her. “Flowers?!” I know there’s been a lot of snow this year back at home–and by snow I mean children sliding off rooftops into piles of it! There are so many flowers blooming in Aberystwyth right now so … Continue reading Flowers are Blooming

Sunday Drives: Aberdyfi & Dolgellau

You can walk to Borth from Aberystwyth, although Beesly and I have not yet attempted it. Perhaps when it’s a little warmer we will venture up the hill, Y Consti, and wander along the cliffs above the sea. In the fall, I was lucky enough to catch a ride to Borth and stand on the shore at Ynyslas, a peat bog and estuary, about a mile and a half from the town. I was told that in the summer the sand dunes turn to wildflower meadows. It was hard to imagine flowers growing out of the brush and sand on that … Continue reading Sunday Drives: Aberdyfi & Dolgellau

Walking and the Druid Sun

I’ve always walked to get thoughts worked out in my mind. Sometimes I like to talk out loud to myself. In the city, New York or Ljubljana, I wore earbuds so it looked like I was on the phone, but really I was trying to verbally parse apart something for myself–a problem that needed resolving. In Vermont I could just speak out loud–no one for miles could hear me. But here in Wales, I find that I don’t have a need to speak when I walk. There is just a kind of quivering silence that creates a meditative space for … Continue reading Walking and the Druid Sun

The Short Driving Lesson

My Welsh buddy and I went to the car park–or mud pit with ditches and remnants of stone walls– so I could “have a go” at driving on the opposite side of the car. It was the perfect place for me to begin. After thirteen years in rural Vermont, I was used to driving on dirt roads. I sat in the driver’s seat on the right side of the car and put my left hand on the gear shift. Immediate disorientation. I felt as though I didn’t know at all how to drive. So I just sat there for a … Continue reading The Short Driving Lesson

Paris

I used to suffer from pretty bad anxiety. My late husband, Jay, suffered from depression. He always told me that anxiety and depression were two sides of the same coin. When he died, though, my anxiety seemed to disappear. It was as though he “took it with him” I used to say. But now, almost six years later, I’m beginning to feel it rise up again. So when I found out that my youngest daughter had her passport, money and debit card stolen in France this past Saturday night, that her friends had to go back to their study abroad … Continue reading Paris