Appetite For Destruction — Fixing Roofs in Waverly by Alex Joyner

Plastic vulture on roof overlooking street
 

“Simply to look on anything, such as a mountain, with the love that penetrates to its essence, is to widen the domain of being in the vastness of non-being. Man has no other reason for his existence.” —Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain   I walked warily through Waverly—aware that I felt at ease there. It was in the wake of destruction and the town was slumping under the weight. But I am comfortable with narratives of decay and hauntings. The other day a friend pointed out a fir outside my window. “It’s dying,” she said. … Continue reading Appetite For Destruction — Fixing Roofs in Waverly by Alex Joyner

Goal! by Spriggan Radfae

wood boardwalk on hill
 

Who am I? Why am I here? What do I want? What do I offer? Last week, when I attended an event about purposeful living, a group of 10 people meditated briefly and answered these same questions. We had agreed to confidentiality in advance, and for an hour, we took turns sharing our answers with each other. Since many in the group were strangers, I worried that fear would obstruct emotional vulnerability or honesty. But several people who were in their twenties and thirties described themselves as “lost” and “directionless”, so it was no surprise … Continue reading Goal! by Spriggan Radfae

Be a Woman Bug by Susan McCulley

cartoon of cat watching ladybugs
 

“Be an ant,” he says. “Don’t look at the whole project at once and try to do it,” says my stone-steady, clear-eyed, logical-thinking husband. “Be an ant. Do what’s in front of you. Do this one thing, take this one step, then do the next one.” I’ve seen the ant approach in action over and over. This man has renovated dozens of old houses by being an ant. He has a vision, then he “ants” them, piece by piece, bit by bit, until they’re finished. Things that once resided only in his imagination become real. … Continue reading Be a Woman Bug by Susan McCulley

Room For Grace by Daniel Kenner

person standing in middle of water
 

You Held My Hand And Walked Me Out Of The Water     Sometimes I look at the photos of my parents before they were sick to try and find clues of the diseases to come. There’s one of them courtside at a Providence Friars basketball game, three days after Valentine’s Day. It’s a Thursday, a school night, timestamped 9:25 p.m. Mom must have skipped Survivor. It’s almost a year to the day before Dad’s official diagnosis. They look bold and bright. They belong together, they’re soulmates. And I cry. Mom chose “Grace” as her … Continue reading Room For Grace by Daniel Kenner

Quetico by Larry Glass

Fog over water and trees
 

At some point—I’m not sure when—I came to accept that there are quite a few things that I can’t control. It was not a conscious decision, no epiphany, no wrestling with big ideas. It’s not really ceding control—it’s accepting what has become increasingly obvious, in truth probably somewhere between realizing and accepting. The stock market, terrorism, famine, middle of the night trips to the bathroom, gray hair, the clutter that my wife and kids leave on the kitchen counter where I’m trying to cook, the hair that our dogs shed on the furniture, the weather. … Continue reading Quetico by Larry Glass

Beauty in the Grey by Benjamin Chirlin

close-up of cracks in concrete
 

Beauty in the Grey   I was born without a shadow. Deftly estranged, The way moisture collects In the soot sky. Relief is temporary But the stark song of the crow Shows beauty in the grey. I saw your reflection In the concrete. Cracks as deep As ocean trenches, Catacombs as intricate As arteries. I heard your voice Within every pulse. You are the mercury rain, A monotone melody On a tin roof. I am the rust Seeping through the pores. You are the alchemist Creating gold armor. I am the rind Enriching the earth. … Continue reading Beauty in the Grey by Benjamin Chirlin

A Circular Argument by Miles Fowler

Older computer monitor and keyboard
 

I am a compulsive researcher. If it were not such a useful compulsion, I would need a twelve-step program to break the habit. I can get hooked on almost any research project, although I tend to obsessively research things that interest me like history, motion pictures and the supernatural, which, like religion, has long been a topic of interest to me without my necessarily believing in the suspension of the laws of nature. I am especially motivated to spend hours poring over records if I feel an emotional connection with a subject, for example, a … Continue reading A Circular Argument by Miles Fowler

Computing the Elusive Spirit of Place by Inderjeet Mani

Statue in front of blue and pink sky
 

We have our entanglements and love affairs with places. “And the end of all our exploring,” T. S. Eliot promises, “will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” Such knowledge may be never-ending. We don’t know what the sense of place felt like to our hunter-gatherer forebears, but judging from their sophisticated tracking and navigational skills, they were able to notice things in their environment that most of us have long forgotten. Luckily, along with other mammals, we still have our built-in sense of place, with maps of … Continue reading Computing the Elusive Spirit of Place by Inderjeet Mani

Diluted by Jaime Balboa

Lemons in white sink
 

I hate the scent of imitation lemon in dish soap. It’s too concentrated to be authentic. But the scent will lose potency once I dilute it in water. That’s always the trick. Dilute what’s unpleasant. Dilute what hurts you, what keeps you up at night and, even though it’s still there, you can bear it, even accept it. The pyramid of dishes starts with a foundation from yesterday and leads, like an archeological excavation of dried food bits, through memories of breakfast and lunch to the dinner we just ate. Dirty mugs and glasses clutter … Continue reading Diluted by Jaime Balboa

Why Do I Have Happy Memories

two puppies playing in grass
 

One summer evening, long after dusk, I was relaxing on a porch in a comfy chair next to a novelist I’d just met when she softly announced, “The stars in the sky look like an ocean. But I’m high, so maybe that’s just a stoner-thought.” I flicked my eyes up and verified that the cloudless, night sky did indeed resemble a boundless ocean, then I assured her, “No, no. It does look like an ocean.” I understood her concern because stoner-thoughts—while they may appear initially as profound, inspired ideas—often collapse under scrutiny. That said, I … Continue reading Why Do I Have Happy Memories

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