Hard Work and the Beholder

    My sons and I were resting while it rained. I had asked them to help me demo a damaged deck, and while I ran the saw, they carried joists and deck lumber to the curb. We had only worked a couple of hours but were dirty and soaked with sweat and rain. It […]

Why We Know Next to Nothing About Nubia

    Grateful just to be somewhere beautiful and air-conditioned, I stand and skim, as is my sinful habit, the big introduction label to the Saint Louis Art Museum’s Nubia exhibit. I feel the usual distance of centuries and miles; nothing lives in my memory about Nubia, no peg on which I can hang a […]

Q&A: A Peek at The Kimono Tattoo

    I so enjoyed Dr. Rebecca Copeland’s mystery, The Kimono Tattoo, that I wanted to solve the next mystery. Not the sequel (though she is writing one) but the motive. What gave a midwestern university professor the nerve to take this chance? She plunged herself into a world of ancient artistry, then translated its […]

On the Indiscriminate Love of Dogs and Everything Else

    Ah, Westminster! Where else can a trapezoidal head, or an egg-shaped one, be a mark of honor? Dogs are my favorite sport, and dog shows one of its spectacles. I watch rapt, drinking in the elegant curve of a whippet’s underside, the big soft eyes of the Pyrenees, the romp of a giant […]

We Need More Than We Want to Give

      The metal bench is branding the underside of my thighs—I can almost hear the sizzle—and the dog is pacing, lifting each paw the second he sets it down. Necessity has forced my husband into Walmart, an experience he assiduously avoids, and we are waiting for him outside in the heat of the […]

Biden and the Bishops

    In my years as a Catholic, I watched, riveted, as the priest elevated the host, the wafer as round and large and luminous as a distant moon. While he murmured the Eucharistic prayer, I thought about a gentle, scruffy, bearded, dark-skinned carpenter breaking flatbread for loyal friends, pouring wine from an earthen jug, […]


    Heat, like any form of power, can be beneficial or disastrous. The sun’s heat makes life possible, but 2020’s temperatures tied for the hottest year on record, which “suggests a swift step up the climate escalator,” says the Post. “And it implies that a momentous new temperature record—breaching the critical 1.5 degrees Celsius […]

Montessori Meets AI

    My mother talked a lot about Maria Montessori. She could not afford to send me to a Montessori school, so she read all about Dr. Montessori’s work and figured out ways to apply her method at home. Looking back, I suspect that even the way she put milk into little pitcher small enough […]

Acing Work-Life Balance

      I keep rereading what is now old news, those amazing stories about the French Open. Not the stories of grand slams and surprise victories, but the stories about sensible withdrawals. I want them to mean more than they do, on the surface. I want them to herald a widespread return of common […]

Are Goose Feathers a Prerogative?

          The dog inches closer, then leaps backward. Scared by a goose feather because its soft brownish gray tip moved in the breeze. Trying not to laugh, I tug him forward. Another goose feather lays on the lakeside path. Then another. They would be beautiful in that Art Nouveau vase, I […]