In search of story


Writer in winter

If the fog comes on little cat feet, this snow is coming on a whirligig. I watch it from my kitchen window. Is the wind from the north, south, east or west? Yes. Some of the snow is falling up. The whole of it wants order.

This is not last week’s wall of white but rather gravity-resistant polkadots cavorting mid-air. I can see some clearly enough to imagine feathers; they are the ones that rock lazily back and forth on their vagrant way.

Some fall to rooftops, where they gather in the shingle edges and slowly build a giant grid, neatly right-angled. They gather also in my neighbor’s precise mowing lines, like so many tiny landing strips. In the street, the snow is fingerpaint to an Ansel Adams wind, swirling the white in curls and flourishes, not covering the blacktop but reveling in the contrasts.

A few days ago, the temperature hovered at 50. Robins! Phlox! How embarrassed they must be now: that was not the coming of spring; it was just cruel scam. The green of the emergent phlox was as welcome as the robin red in the bony crabapple tree, but neither belonged.

This is, as the song says, “the bleak mid-winter.” A world of buff and dun, huddled, withdrawn. I like it. It is still my preferred half of the year. Unenthusiastic about dark and cold, I nonetheless love the enforced quiet of this season, its inwardness, its pledge to sustain unseen life. Snow insulates, I am told, so growth can resume.

Gladly slowed, I hold tight to winter’s cloak and mitten-fumble for words.

like words. pushing up no matter the season

like feelings, pushing up no matter the season



My son claims he brings his children to my house to de-tech. What does he mean by that? I have a radio! As a matter of fact, I have FIVE radios, and four of them work! Plus a laptop! And a cellphone — never mind that my grandchildren view it with contempt because it doesn’t have apps. (When they get uppity about such things, I tell them about my single-phone childhood. They can imagine worlds with multiple moons, but not a home with only one phone; their eyes glaze over and I hear no more about my primitive ways.)

However, I do not have television, and the closest thing I have to any kind of digital game is an old Fisher-Price gizmo with a crank on the side that makes Dumbo fly. The closest thing to a big screen is an Ansel Adams print. Apparently, then, there are cultural gaps at Grandma’s House.

I do not apologize.

It is good that I don’t have television; television plays to my prodigiously lazy side and makes me contentedly numb. It costs more than it’s worth to me. So my grandchildren have books, paper, pencils. Seems enough.

It is good that I don’t have push-button games. My grandchildren build cities out of cardboard boxes and tents out of chairs and blankets. They race paper airplanes and labor over origami. They jump flowerpots and mine for silver in the back yard.

It is good that I have other technologies: ice cream scoop, knife sharpener, jar opener, for instance. They appeal to my grandchildren’s fascination with archaeology.

This is the place where their tomorrows meet my yesterdays, their time intersects with mine. It’s life. Technology is just along for the ride.

Grandma tech

Grandma tech