Archive • Columns 2020

December 01, 2020
Creating Traditions
It is the tradition of holidays that we recall, stirring our memories of time past and connecting us with the present. Christmas has myriad traditions, allowing us a month when the sense is that our lives have, in one way or another, been transformed. When I think back to my childhood it is with wonder that our home was magically transformed into a place of enchantment with boughs  ... Continue Reading

November 15, 2020
Giving thanks
Have you noticed it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas? Store windows filled with Christmas displays, old fashioned Christmas music (“I’ll be home for Christmas”) drifting through the aisles of the food market and outdoor lighting displays sparkling at the end of the day. It is understandable, of course ... Continue Reading

November 01, 2020
The meditative power of knitting
A few years ago, the Financial Times published an article about the health benefits of knitting, suggesting that knitting can lower one’s blood pressure and create a sense of relaxation, the same sensation experienced through practicing yoga or walking.  As a repetitive task it allows one to exercise both physical and cognitive skills.  ... Continue Reading

October 20, 2020
Baking a Halloween Cake
When we were young our mother made certain holidays were magical. Gifts were creatively wrapped, cards included thoughtful messages and usually there was a dinner, a dessert or something that made the occasion memorable. What I particularly remember are her birthday cakes. One had a real doll with a flowing pink frosted cake skirt.  ... Continue Reading

October 08, 2020
The autumn menu
In 1940 Bette Davis, the Hollywood legend and Academy Award winning actress, restored a farmhouse on Sugar Hill. While staying in Franconia she met and married the assistant manager of a local inn and they enjoyed New Hampshire for three years before he died in a fall. Ms. Davis’ home, Butternut Cottage, is three miles from Franconia  ... Continue Reading

September 20, 2020
The Power of Friendship
 The word friend is derived from the Old English freond meaning "one attached to another by feelings of personal regard and preference."  We think of boy “friend” and girl “friend” as a relationship with an individual we prefer to be with at a particular time in our lives before making a commitment. In an obituary or reading memoir ... Continue Reading

September 10, 2020
Falling Leaves
Thinking about the change of seasons last weekend my mind drifted to drawing. If you have had the experience of drawing from a live model you know there are long poses and short poses. During the long pose, usually twenty to thirty minutes, there is time to study the figure and contemplate the composition.  ... Continue Reading

August 25, 2020
A Perfect New Hampshire Day
One day last week, sitting in a rattan rocking chair lined with cushions covered in fabric faded from the sun, I thought, “this was a perfect New Hampshire day.” An August day I will remember when the days are short, and the earth is covered with snow. The day began before dawn when the sky was gray. The birds were talking, one to another, the trees were still. Enjoying my coffee and toast I watched the formation of the clouds as the sky turned a perfect blue. ... Continue Reading

August 08, 2020
The Fields of August
August is the eighth month on the Gregorian calendar, the calendar that was introduced to us by Pope Gregory XIII and came into general use in 1582. The word august, which derives from the Latin, can mean majestic dignity or grandeur. If you were born in August and have any interest in astrological signs you probably know that you ...Continue Reading

July 10, 2020
The Writing Life
If Memorial Day marks the time when we begin to think about lemonade, hamburgers, fresh greens and a refreshing afternoon swim, by the Fourth of July we are truly into summer. Now our thoughts turn to lazy days of enjoying glorious weather and perhaps an afternoon, one or two, even a weekend or a week … Continue reading "The Writing Life"

June 14, 2020
The (pure) joy of fishing
What is it about fishing? Reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer I have been reminded of what it means for boys (and men) to live near a river with, in the case of Tom and Huck, the opportunity to catch catfish, grill it over an open fire and then, leaning  back on moss covered logs, enjoy the fish for dinner.  Even an elaborate feast couldn’t compare with this simple food ...Continue Reading

June 10, 2020
At Twilight
The Japanese word for twilight is higure, which is neither darkness nor light, nor even a mixture of the two, more a grayness, the most suggestive color in all of Japanese art. It is a world of ... Continue Reading

June 03, 2020
On Saturday afternoon I kept my eye on the clock, not wanting to miss the launch of SpaceX at exactly 3:22 p.m. As I’m certain you know, and hopefully you watched too, this was the first spacecraft to take off from Kennedy Space Center with NASA astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, since the last Atlantis space shuttle was launched in 2011. That mission ended the space shuttle program after thirty-one years as the centerpiece of America’s spaceflight program. ... Continue Reading

May 05, 2020
Why Read Mark Twain?
While many people are reading the cyberpunk, speculative fiction author William Gibson to gain an insight into how one might imagine the future, why are we reading Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer? What most readers look for in fiction are stories.  ... Continue Reading

May 05, 2020
Mother’s Day is drawing close …
“Who was the founder of Mother’s Day?” Imagine if we were playing a game of Trivia and that was the question. Could you answer and then provide us with the date and the history? Anna Marie Jarvis (1864 – 1948) held the first memorial service that eventually became a designated Sunday in May known as “Mother’s Day.” ...Continue Reading

April 24, 2020
Earth Day: The beauty and language of spring
The seasons are defined.  The vernal or spring equinox occurred on March 20-21, the summer solstice occurs on June 20 -21, the autumn equinox three months later September 22 – 23 and the winter solstice is celebrated on December 21-22.  There are boundaries that define the seasons, according to the calendar. ...Continue Reading

April 10, 2020
The Arc of Life
At the moment life appears to be one long run on sentence. Without punctuation.  The days slip away.  Filled with domestic chores, work, home schooling and the ever- present distraction of the news. Our routines, day after day after day, are beginning to seem oddly familiar.  Too familiar. It’s disconcerting. ... Continue Reading

April 07, 2020
What are you reading? Watching? Streaming?
On the morning of September 11 when two planes flew into the World Trade Center New York City was shut down.  The bridges were closed.  Trains in and out of Grand Central and Pennsylvania Station were stopped.  Subways were halted. ... Continue Reading

March 24, 2020
Chaos and Spreading Kindness
As most Americans have been asked to shelter-in-place, we are now living in a world very different from the world we knew when we opened our eyes on 12 March.  It was later on that Thursday afternoon, beginning at 5:00 p.m., when ... Continue Reading

March 11, 2020
Journaling Nature
There are many reasons I enjoy reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.  Tom is an explorer, loves nature and treasures what he finds there.  My home is filled will shells, rocks, pieces of birch bark, two bird nests, feathers and even a glass vessel with a silver top that a diver found at the bottom of a lake and gave me as a gift ...Continue Reading

February 25, 2020
Make it a stack
For one reason or another, I seem to be drawn to the circus and carnivals. Joyful costumes. The pure sense of fantasy and frivolity that prevail removing us, temporarily at least, from the routines that define our lives.  This week many people celebrated Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras before the beginning of Lent on Wednesday. ...Continue Reading

February 14, 2020
“Be Mine”
On Sunday I was in a friend’s kitchen assisting with brunch preparations and noticed a chalk board with a list of weekly chores, followed by dates and at the bottom in script:  This home doesn’t do Valentine’s Day ...Continue Reading

January 28, 2020
Jonathan Daniels, our New Hampshire neighbor
On Friday afternoons one of the e-mails I look for in my inbox is Nancy Brown’s Laconia Links. There are so many programs and activities going on in and around Laconia it’s difficult to keep up:  play reading at the Belknap Mill, programs at the Laconia Library, activities at Prescott Farm and a myriad of events for seniors and high school students. ...Continue Reading

January 13, 2020
“Mind the Gap”
If you have spent time in London and traveled on the London Underground, you will perhaps smile when I mention “mind the gap.”  I’m working in London this week and maneuver around the City from one meeting to another on the “tube” as it is called here.   At each stop a woman’s voice announces the name of the station ...Continue Reading