Category Hope

On the Defiance of Sunflowers

A little over a week ago, I was thrilled to discover a lonely sunflower growing on the compost pile, cheerfully defying both its unpalatable origin and the impending chill. Unlike its garden peers, who were already shriveled and brown, this plucky little flower turned its unwaveringly sunny gaze up to the ominous gray sky. “What […]

Good Grief

A couple of months ago, Ellen Stimson’s publicist contacted me about reviewing an advance copy of her upcoming book, Good Grief. (Apparently, she’d seen my review of Stimson’s first book, Mud Season, on Goodreads back when I was motivated enough to actually write reviews instead of just rating books with stars.) It took me quite […]

A Formal Feeling

I’ve finally moved from Emily Dickinson’s “Sweeping up the heart” phase of grief for my dog Chaussette to her “After a great pain/A formal feeling comes” phase. (Emily Dickinson makes a perceptive guide when navigating the waters of sorrow.) My initial reaction to Chaussette’s premature death—she was barely a year old—was not just sadness, but […]

Colicky horses and canine inspirations

My dog Chaussette may be dying, but apparently she never got the message about that inconvenient fact. It’s been over a month now since I loaded her and my son Sage into the car and drove them to Sage’s school. “You should probably say goodbye,” I told Sage as he got out. “Chaussette might be […]

Clawing my way out

My summer should have been idyllic—laughter of children and words of friends, chortling of chickens and song of birds, unfolding of flowers and swelling of fruit—seemingly endless days of sunlight and warmth. I saw the sun, all right, but it was from the bottom of a dark hole; its rays occasionally reached me, but all […]

November flowers and vegetable love

As I write this, I’m sadly coming full circle to the beginning of my blog, which I’d started to help me grieve when Peri, the dog I’d had for thirteen years, became paralyzed and had to be put to sleep. I’d fallen into a dark place, feeling empty and lacerated, until I got my puppy […]

Mr. Squitty

Things weren’t looking too good for the one-eyed goldfish. An impulse purchase at a long-forgotten fair, the stuffed fish had languished on a dusty shelf for years. He’d lost one of his black button eyes in an also-forgotten and probably dog-related incident, which didn’t increase his prospects of becoming a beloved plaything. And yet there’s […]