All My Flora

I was all excited to develop two new gardens this spring. I forgot what happens after you plant. Congratulations, you have just adopted thirty infant children. Human infants are famously helpless. So are saplings and bushes and flowers. A few days ago it was raw and wet and cold. Suddenly it’s nearly ninety and they…

Naming Our Friends

A few days ago a friend texted to say he had something to give me and when would be a good time to stop by. When he came we sat down. He opened a bag and offered me a small gift as an emblem of our friendship. Handing me the gift, he recounted the thirty-year…

The Ceaseless Longing

Driving home late this rainy spring evening I am listening to the radio. A man is talking about one of those untranslateable German words, like schadenfreude. This one is fernweh. Literally, it’s “farsickness,” but what the Germanic word connotes, the man says, is something more like “longing for a place you’ve never been.” Maybe I…

The Stone Wall Whispers

It’s the week after Easter and I am building a stone wall. Well, not quite. I am an apprentice to a real stone mason, my neighbor Mike. For months my only job is to find stones and pile them at the work site. The land here in Pennsylvania is mostly rocks, but the stone finder’s…

Passion, Anybody?

“What are you passionate about?” Anyone’s who’s ever had a job interview has had to endure this question. It’s first up on the eHarmony profile (and if you’re afraid that, despite your best efforts, your response will be a cliché—‘family and friends!’—there are coaches who will help you write something catchier). I bring up passion…