From Essays

Brave enough to break it open

In the past two months, I have lost my home, my possessions, my job, and my church. I’m not a natural disaster victim. I didn’t do anything wrong. My partner didn’t leave me or die. All of these losses were voluntary. I lost them in order to gain something far more precious: my health. Allow…

Cozy without comfort?

Hygge is the posture of the Danes in the long dark months of a northern winter.  They create environments of beauty and pleasure, safe from the harsh elements outside. Candlelight in the windows, wood piled high for the hearth, knitted blankets, hot tea, and good books. Everything this hobbit of a girl could ask for.…

Bittersweet

On Tuesday, August 21, 2015, after a 12-½ year battle with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), including almost four years’ separation, my husband, Patrick, now with U.S. Legal Permanent Residence (LPR) status, landed at SeaTac International airport.  Our 8-year-old son, Solomon, and I were waiting anxiously and I sobbed with elation and relief…

Last light

It’s late afternoon on a winter Saturday, and I’ve taken my children to the beach for an hour of fresh air, an hour of running around and tossing beach stones into the water before the day is gone. What light we’ll get today in the northwestern corner of the country has already crested and is…

Pizza and my place in the order of things

I need a single bowl of tomatoes for dinner, but the plant is overflowing with the delicate orange orbs. It’s the end of an extravagantly fertile summer that began with a slow spring and plentiful rain, a rarity for our high desert climate. My garden has responded to the weather, heavy with produce. As I…

Presence

Think of that feeling when you are cozy. Lit candles are scattered around the room, good food is in your belly, and a hot cup of tea is in your hands. Maybe you are alone, on a no-work day, sitting on the couch with a good book and no bra on under your old, tattered…

The abundant now

My phone alarm wakes me. As I silence it, groggy and half-blind, I see a notification that someone has commented on my post. I swipe to see it. And there I am, phone already in my face, inundated by images and words through a luminous screen. Before I’ve even taken stock of my body, said…

Trains on their tracks

I can hear it from our bedroom, that low heavy rumble of a train on its tracks. There is a faint whistle, but we are many streets up and there are rows of trees and a river between us, soaking up its sound. Often only the heaviness of movement is what I can hear, a…

New mercies

I am typing this on a borrowed laptop. The ceiling paint above me is cracked and peeling, tainted with yellow stains. The bedroom door won’t shut into a door frame deformed from years of settling. I can see out the window because several of the blinds are cracked or missing, but the view is incredible.…

In the blood

As we walked the field webbed by early century water lines, I noticed in moments of stress, he’d lift his hat with a hand on his head, favor a leg, and take a deep breath. I used to wait, like a kid who lit a firework, for the explosion. But, the explosion never came and…