Don’t Look Now

We have reached the pissy part of winter, the cold, unforgiving phase I want to believe won’t happen year after year. “Don’t look at me,” Shelley says, which of course, makes me turn my head. It’s 26 degrees with a breeze — feels like 19 — and she is laughing, only her eyes visible, with […]

Christmas in April

I watch the big truck backing towards me, standing under the red tips in our back yard, trying to ignore the disturbing scent of its flowers. Like Christmas in April, black magic spills off the end of the truck, filling the air with earthy musk. Mulch is a wonderful thing! Like furniture polish or a […]

Five Ways to Beat the Holiday Blues

I’m not going to lie; this is a difficult time of year for me. Life this far above the equator feels like death. I thrive on sunshine, and wither in the cold. My nose drips, and because of the dry, forced-air heat, when I blow it, it bleeds. My eyes drip and my skin chaps. […]

Post Publication Depression

“It’s probably just winter”, I think, slogging through sleet and slush from the car to our back door. I’m suffering from malaise, and looking for something to blame. Lately, I find myself just going through the motions. I don’t feel like starting anything, and I really don’t want to finish anything, either. My brother Michael […]

The Exorcists

Shortly after sundown on the vernal equinox, a group of people gathered to light a bonfire and exorcise winter from their rural neighborhood in central North Carolina. Dancing, chanting “Winter, go away!” as the flames sent sparks rising to a starlit canopy, they believed they were bringing on a new, warmer season.

Bob and I […]

Going Through the Motions

It’s my morning to write and I can’t think of anything to say. The sun is going through the motions on another cold day, rising to spotlight the branches of the oak across the street. The squirrels are fighting over bird seed. Traffic dribbles down the Moncure Pittsboro Road. The forced air heat and refrigerator […]


On Wednesday we woke to a Winter Wonderland in North Carolina – snow blanketed lawn and dozens of birds queued up for birdseed at the two feeders outside our office window. Cardinals brilliant against the white sky, perched in the leafless willow oak. Every now and then a car hums by on the icy road […]

Being Good

It’s so hard to be good. One day I get a perfect score with my To Do list while getting a poor grade on my Personal Well Being list, the next day I balance the two to perfection but score poorly on my Self Reliance list by burning too many BTUs of fossil fuel. Some […]


I never actually expect winter to happen. After living in the tropics for eight years, I kind of got out of the habit.

I’ve heard people say that we don’t really have winter in the south, but that’s not my reality. I know that North Carolina is considered part of “The South” but it […]


I get it, now. I understand the allure of the four seasons as experienced in the temperate zone.

Over the years, we’ve heard a lot of people say they couldn’t live in the tropics because they would miss the seasons. “We have seasons!” we’d say, defensively, but they would just smile knowingly. Obviously, we didn’t […]