April 16, 2014

Ways to Say Spring

in French: printemps 
in Albanian: pranvera
in Romanian: primăvară 
in Catalan: primavera 
in Latin: ver
in Icelandic: vor
in Norweigan: vår
in Danish: forår
in German: frühling
in Estonian: kevad
in Finnish: kevät
in Persian: بهار
in Arabic: ربيع
in Basque: udaberri
in Zulu: intwasahhlobo
in Czech: jaro
in Lakota: wétu
in Japanese: 春 

Or, in Me:
pretty treetops
birds suddenly everywhere
open streams
rushing rivers
muddy banks
rutted roads
sounds of footsteps and chirping and growth
evening light
morning fog
sudden cotton clouds
green berries
children in trees
wet faces

March 27, 2014

"A child said, What is the grass?"

A child said, What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands;
How could I answer the child? . . . I do not know what it is any more than he.

I guess it must be the flag of my disposition, out of hopeful green stuff woven.

Or I guess it is the handkerchief of the Lord,
A scented gift and remembrancer designedly dropped,
Bearing the owner's name someway in the corners, that we may see and remark, and say Whose?

Or I guess the grass is itself a child. . . . the produced babe of the vegetation.

Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic,
And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow zones,
Growing among black folks as among whites,
Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the same, I receive them the same.

And now it seems to me the beautiful uncut hair of graves.

-- Walt Whitman
lines 90-101
from Leaves of Grass

March 3, 2014

What I've Been Into - Winter 2014

Hi everybody,

Hope this finds you some place warm, although that's unlikely, as so much of the U.S. has been plunged these last months deepdeep into unending Polar Vorti (plural for vortex?). So cold! So much snow! I haven't seen drifts like this since I was a young girl passing through the prairie town of Marshall, Minnesota, staring out the car window open-mouthed at snow blown as high as rooftops. We have been making lots of soup and drinking lots of tea, and I have given up on professional shoes and wear boots to work. This chill, though, does have its benefits, namely its insistence that one curl up under covers once the baby toddler has gone to sleep and read ones way through stacks of books. This is my story season. The outside world may be a white canvas, but the color these pages take me to. In this time of my life of no to Costa Rican road trips, words can be wheels and wings, both. 

  1. Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez --A perfect pairing with this season. Two things: I am in awe of Lopez's brain and I am in awe of Eskimos.
  2. On Looking: Eleven Walks With Expert Eyes by Alexandra Horowitz -- Particular and quirky and truly eye-opening. This wasn't a page-turner for me, but it wasn't written to be. Instead it's a meditation, and especially lovely to open up if you want to be reminded of all the things we miss when we're too busy to slow down.
  3. The Iliad by Homer -- Andromache saying goodbye (forever) to Hector while holding their baby boy? Quite the emotional read for me this time through...
  4. When We Were On Fire by Addie Ziermann -- Ziermann is a local author and blogger, so I enjoyed reading about the transformation of both her faith and herself, specifically since it's steeped in a 90's culture I can easily recall.
  5. Everything Matters! by Ron Currie -- Didn't finish this one. I was interested in and respected what Currie was trying to do, but I'm just not quite at a point in my life where I want to think about a little boy who thinks too much  about the ultimate destruction of the world.
  6.  The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer -- Although I still found myself a little annoyed by yet another story line that takes place along the hallowed avenues of NYC (another reason why I need to write a book!), I was intrigued by Wolitzer's characters, and definitely appreciated the way they noticed things ("straw noise!").
  7. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie -- I always love what Adichie writes, and this story in particular pulled me in. She's writing about race, and the immigrant experience, but she's also writing about what it means to be young and forging ones way through early adult life. Mostly about race, though. And she poses important points for reflection and discussion.

TV and Movies:
  1. Game of Thrones, Season 3 -- First of all, Dire Wolves actually existed, and second of all, The Red Wedding?!?!?!?!
  2. Downton Abbey, Season 3 --  :(
  3. House of Cards -- We are Netflix people. And love Kevin Spacey.
  4. Dexter, The Final Season -- Nothing can quite match Breaking Bad for me.

  1. "The Act of Writing: Speak and Bear Witness" by Erik Reece -- A fascinating and heartbreaking piece about mountaintop removal in Kentucky. I don't know him, but I like Erik Reece. I've read several of his essays now that resonate with me.
  2. "The Inner Landscape of Beauty," Krista Tippett interviews John O'Donohue -- Yes, please. 
  3. "Soda vs. Pop vs. Coke: Mapping How Americans Talk" -- This reminded me of my essay from a few years ago.
  4. "Into The Woods" by Emily Bazelon -- Forest kindergarten? Sign Elliot up!

    1. Roads and Kingdoms -- "Journalism and travel, together at last."
    2. Brain Pickings -- a fabulous collection of eclectic trivia, literary connections and insights, and general cheer.
    3. Writing Minnesota -- Great project that brings together some fine Minnesota writer-minds.
    4. "The Wolves and the Ravens" by local band Rogue Valley -- beautiful, beautiful song.
    5. Mika Estaa and Saunas are Hot -- One of my dear college friends is on a Fulbright in Finland; the first blog is hers, the second is her husbands (which includes amusing videos of the both of them jumping into Finnish lakes in January in giant red wetsuits).
    6. Toblerone -- As in, I find it in my desk at work, pop a triangle in my mouth, and the stress...just...melts...
    7. SmartWool -- Seriously, somebody from this company send me a set of your socks, and I will write a moving, ardent essay about how much I love them. LOVE THEM! 
    So that's where my mind has been. You? What have you been reading, friends? What content online deserves some serious perusing? And any writers/readers/teachers with Twitter feed recommendations? I'm slowly s l o w l y s  l   o  w   l  y  figuring out  how that strange and sometimes sweet place works. A shout-out to Carly Gelsinger for welcoming me there with such kindness.

    Happy MARCH, everyone. May it be full of bright buds and birdsong. (Yeah, right.)


    February 13, 2014

    A Letter to My Pre-Mama Self, One Year In


    First of all, yes: that is still your name. In the past twelve months you have become mama and mother and mum, comfortable and soft and sing-songy and milk and bread. These are complex, intricate, beautiful things. They fit around your body like a winter blanket. But you are also still Em, still girl, still woman and partner and writer and dreamer and wanderer and springbud and bonfire and hawk. Sometimes it will surprise you, this speaking of your name, this connection to the you that was you before you became Mom. You will feel awe: that that you and this you can coexist. You will ask, How? Twelve months in, I will tell you: it doesn't matter. You can figure that out later, if you still want to. Think instead of the Why. Think instead of how wide and deep and expansive you are.

    Second, it will be okay: all of it. You will be scared of so many things. The labor and delivery, the tending of this helpless human being, the moment when the food prepared by family and friends runs out and you will have to leave your son, your tiny son, for the longest forty minutes of your life in order to buy bread and milk and a few minutes of alone time. You will feel helpless, in those first 3:00 a.m. mornings, when you have been pacing the floor, rocking, shushing, and still he cries. You will feel helpless when the thrill of his first steps wears off enough for you to sense the insinuation: that this is how it starts, the walking away. There will be weight charts and pureed yams and a fever and a rash and a fall and a bruise and all those many many hours you are gone from him, working. You will doubt yourself. Everyone doubts themselves. You will read message boards and consult books and ask colleagues and finally buy the thing that is meant to fix the other thing, and then two days before it arrives, whatever was troubling you (and him?) corrects itself, heals, disappears as if it had never existed in the first place. Twelve months in, you will have a slightly bruised child who cannot move his feet fast enough to enter your embrace. It's okay, you'll tell him. You will spontaneously craft a lullaby that hinges on those two words. And you will sing it over and over, a mantra, a truth.

    Third, ignore the machine. And by machine, I do not mean the swing or the bouncer or the mobile, although in a way I guess I do. Ignore the societal impulses behind them. Ignore the articles and blogs and experts and any kind of other that makes you feel less. As a new caretaker, you will be susceptible to the message that if you don't buy or supply the right kind of that thing, you are doing it wrong. Don't believe this. But when you do (because you will), try to be gentle with yourself. Remember that women birthed babies in caves, carried them on their backs wrapped in animal skins, fed them meat that had been too long in the sun. And still these children grew, and became strong people, your ancestors. Let the Expectations of Motherhood slip from your forehead into the dust of our repeating history. Then walk forward, your small boy nestled in your arms. Twelve months in, you will know that this is all he really needs.

    Fourth, you will need to learn to ask for--and receive--help, especially from other mothers. Especially from your own mother, who you'll understand and appreciate more than you ever have.You will say Thank You over and over. You will say, I get it now. Twelve months in, these women will feel like a sturdy net around you, and when you think of them, the long rope of their linking arms, you will feel held up.

    Fifth (perhaps it is inevitable, what with you holding your baby, kissing your baby, tickling your baby, rocking your baby, bouncing your baby), your relationships with others--especially those who are not mothers--will shift, and sometimes suffer. For the first time in your life, you will struggle to return emails. Texts will be forgotten within moments of your reading them. You will remember Thank You cards, but birthdays will pass without you even picking up the phone. On an eagerly anticipated ladies-night-out, you will sit with your dearest friends, childless, and wonder at yourself, your inability to focus, your inability to express, their inability to see. You will tell them about your son's first laugh, about him finding his feet, and they will smile and sigh and say something kind, which always used to be enough, but isn't any longer, and you won't be sure why. You will want to talk about it with your husband, but by the time you arrive home, both he and the baby are sleeping, and in the dark and milky fog of morning, you will lack the energy to pick up the pinpoints of yesterday's thoughts. So another conversation floats off unhad. Another morning passes where your husband--before he leaves to work in a world that feels a millions miles from yours--only knows that you are tired. Another day fills up with baby and baby and baby, darling baby, and you tell this wee one all your secrets, wanting desperately to be known. Twelve months in, though you will be getting better with birthdays, this is still what you'll want.

    Sixth, your once wide world will focus itself, sharply. Every novel that features a mother and son will be read differently, as if it were about you and yours. You will see photos of boys, grown up young men, and you'll be startled by sudden tears. You will make dinner, make space in the living room, make plans or not make plans on the weekends, based on your child. Everything you write will somehow tie back to him. You will try not to do this, sometimes. You will worry over all your other aspirations. But twelve months in? Sister, give in. His gaze will not stay focused on you much longer.

    Seventh, despite knowing number six, you will dream for two straight days about a National Geographic Fellowship. You will come across it on a Friday, after a week mashed between student essays, the frenetic end of your husband's semester, and your son taking twenty-one steps at daycare, and you will think this is the answer to everything. Yes, your brain will say, and you are off, researching water. Yes, your body will say, and you feel the future, the Philippines, your love and little boy, strolling barefoot along the sandy shores of Palawan. And your spirit, too, will say yes: yes to a year of writing, of reflective adventure, of us. The first night, you will hardly sleep for the vividness, the life, you have already created in your mind. The next day you are imagining a perfection that is--you'll see it later--a little over the top, a little straight crazy. Like perfect always is. But then, that night, something will happen, someone will say something, your baby will whisper a combination of round vowels that you'll interpret as the word roots. And something else about restlessness. And you will look at him, this bringer of old wisdom, and you will feel all that hot and frantic do! do! air that has been building up inside you release. You will pull him in to your chest, kiss his stomach, smile at your husband, and just breathe. Yes, twelve months in, it will surprise you--how short and how long life will seem simultaneously. How the present is the full and fluid dream.

    Eighth, despite the postponed adventures, despite the expectations, despite the strained relationships and tired eyes and implausibility of ever mastering something you so desperately want to get right, it will be joy. Not all of it. Not every moment. But the moments that count. Those will all be joy. Joy when he first discovers wind. Joy when he first tastes orange. Joy when he bangs on the piano, giggling. Joy when he brings you another book, curious. Joy when he presses his forehead against yours, Mama. Joy when, at two months, you kiss his face repeatedly, and he smiles and coos and smiles, until you realize he has fallen asleep beneath you, just like that, covered with the comfort of your tenderness. You have known Big Love with your husband. You are a romantic, so this is not surprising; in fact, it is something you expected, something you were ready for even while it was new and undefined. But Mother Love. It is your chest squeezing. It is your bones breaking under the weight. It is a realignment of language, where this means that, and wait means yes, and always doesn't have a meaning because it has no opposite. Twelve months in. Twelve months in. Look at him, there, tearing another leaf off the philodendron, leaving sticky finger prints on the patio door. Listen to me: here, joy is capital-lettered. And it means hold on.

    February 8, 2014

    You, Outside

    In the weeks before you were born, the temperatures dipped colder than they had in 1400 days or nights. Wind chills barreled in at -35'. People did not move about much. But you. Warm inside me, more perfectly comfortable than perhaps you will ever be again, you shifted and rolled and trembled and swayed. I sat on a Saturday morning with my feet up and my hands pressed against the sides of my stomach, contemplating the millimeters of skin, space, and time that separated us, for now. You were coming soon, any day or night. Barefoot and short sleeved, I did not care about the cold, thought only of the way I would come to know your familiar weight in a different place, hot and milky in my arms.

    Now you are a year old.

    This has been the coldest winter in twenty years, let alone 1400 days: wind chills at -45', school called off en masse, the outside world a frozen pane of white and gray and blue. I am not wearing short-sleeve shirts or going barefoot. The rings on my fingers slip, hang loose, and often when I am alone, driving here or walking there, I am so thoroughly chilled that I shake. I stuff my hands into my coat pockets, and sometimes, when the wind stops for just a moment, I notice how I've pressed my palms against my stomach, like I used to.

    Because you are a year old now, a full outside-world-year.

    It is cold out, baby. It is bitterly, bitterly cold. And this kind of cold will certainly come again in your lifetime. But we are northern people. The wind is music. We read poetry in ice crystals. We see white, and think: peace. We walk among the frost-covered blades of last year's grass, under a sky that is all breath, and it is a kind of baptism, I think, a kind of bone-deep purification. I come in from that place of being blown clean. I walk through the front door, through miles and millimeters of space and time. And just as my body warmed you for those months, those years of you waiting to be, I am the one waiting now, reaching. And you are the one, gathering me up, pressing your warm cheek to mine.

    Thank you, Elliot, for choosing me. A life changing-year, and such joy.

    December 23, 2013

    Light Years

    Bright snow, bright moon
    Mornings of bright breath beside mine
    Such aching, such light


    Though I've shown up here less this last year, Landing on Cloudy Water is still a special place for me, as are all of you. Thanks for your continued community and support. Here's to a spectacular, gentle, and joy-filled 2014! 
    Merry Christmas!

    December 16, 2013

    All Ignorance Toboggans Into Know

    all ignorance toboggans into know
    and trudges up to ignorance again:
    but winter's not forever,even snow
    melts;and if spring should spoil the game,what then?

    all history's a winter sport or three:
    but were it five,i'd still insist that all
    history is too small for even me;
    for me and you,exceedingly too small.

    Swoop(shrill collective myth)into thy grave
    merely to toil the scale to shrillerness
    per every madge and mabel dick and dave
    --tomorrow is our permanent address

    and there they'll scarcely find us(if they do,
    we'll move away still further:into now 

    -- by e. e. cummings

    November 10, 2013

    Wild Animals: One Mom on Holding On and Letting Go

    Dinner on a weekday means this: something basic, something hearty yet fast, like soup with a slice of unbuttered bread, because the moment I am up and at the kitchen counter--my face four feet from his face, my hands not tickling the length of his wiggly body--my almost-nine-month-old son is at my legs, standing and pulling and leaning against them, his faultless countenance a half bowl of instinct and need. He wants to be held. It is both beautiful and heart-wrenching, the way he grips after me.

    "Elliot," I say to him, reaching under the nests of his arms, lifting him like a bird before settling him on my hip, pecking his nose, calming him instantly. "Baby, you're fine. Haven't I told you before? In this northern savanna, there are no cheetahs."

    Of course, he thinks I'm hilarious. Which is one of the thousand reasons why I keep lifting him up, holding him close, stirring the soup with one hand, not buttering the bread.


    About a month ago, though, there had been enough soup. So in the first truly cold hours of Autumn, our breath smoking out ahead of us into the night, my husband and I left Elliot already sleeping in the care of a dear friend, and drove toward a different kind of dinnertime. 

    We took G's car. We blasted the heat. Turned up the music. And as we drove down the highway, we started laughing, just laughing, because it seemed so funny, for it to be the two of us, in this small car with manual locks--less safe, more young, another life--a vehicle we hadn't ridden in together, we realized, since before our child was born. We held hands and laughed, the headlights illuminating the pavement ahead of us, the backseat as dark and carefree as it had always been.

    At dinner there was no plastic. Instead: glass. Instead: china. Sharp silverware. A white tablecloth. We enjoyed a series of focused and sustained conversations about politics and music and teaching philosophies. Everything we ordered included artfully prepared, fresh salmon. We ate at a leisurely pace and finished at the same time.

    "This is nice," G said.

    And yes. That night we were a strange mix of earlier yet older versions of ourselves. We knew a child's weight--that solid force we had learned to carry. But for those few hours we could let ourselves be free of it. We could just be us. And there was a slight shock at the buoyancy that came from such a letting go.

    For a while, we reveled in that lightness. We remembered Costa Rica and Strasbourg and the first time we had sushi together back in 2004, after I'd picked him up from the airport and before we'd returned to my apartment in a small midwestern town.

    And then, long before we needed to, we went home to Elliot. There was suddenly nothing we wanted more than to be close.


    Some mornings I wake before my alarm, the day still pregnant and dark, and instead of sleeping I wait. I am eager and grateful and I wait.

    When this waiting gives way to weight, I bring my twenty pounds of boy into bed, and the room is lit with the energy of him shifting between his father and me. "Dadt, Dadt, Dadt," he says over and over. He buries his face against G's neck, offers up a contented sigh that is otherworldly. Then he raises his head and finds me, grins bodily at six in the morning as only a child can, and launches himself into my chest. I wrap him up. I rock him. G caresses the top of his head, squeezes the pads of his feet. If he had the words, I swear, our son would speak a steady stream of "hold me, Mama, hold me and hold me and hold me."

    That is what I hear anyhow, in the way he moves. And the happiness is such that I would give up buttered bread and even fresh salmon for the rest of my life if it meant he would always fall into my arms like this, if my presence would always be enough, the thing to turn toward, reach for, the answer. No where else, not even in the arms of our lovers, can we ever hope or want to be so complete.

    "Elliot," I whisper. I can feel the fullness and firmness of his cheek against me. "Baby, can you remember the moment when Mama held you for the very first time?"

    He pushes up to sitting, looks at me wide-eyed. Even in the muted tones of early morning, I am amazed at how much of everything his eyes take in. What were those eyes, what substance, when he was just that speck of cells, floating inside me, held onto by my heart?

    He doesn't answer, of course, and of course--perhaps inevitably, in spite of the person I am, with so many intentions of marking moments and sifting out significance--I don't even consider what comes next with anything but pride. 

    First he wiggles in the way he does when he wants to move. So I hold out my hands, and he grabs them, pushes himself onto his feet.

    "Dadt!" he says again, grinning at his papa.

    And then all at once, for two or three bright seconds that intimate so much that is just ahead, El looks back at me and releases his grip on my fingers. Just lets go. 

    We gasp. We cheer. We clap our hands. We will cheer him on for the rest of his life. It is instinct and need. Beautiful and heart-wrenching. A lesson I'll realize I've been taught after it's already passed. Notice: I did not say learned. From this side of nine months, I can't imagine I will ever feel adept at releasing something so precious. Instead, I will no doubt find myself waiting at the window some cold November night, imagining wild animals, a blanket wrapped around my arms for warmth.

    October 27, 2013

    What I've Been Into -- Fall 2013

    Hi everybody,

    Hope you've been enjoying these cooler days, what ever that means to you in degrees. Autumn is my favorite season, and October my favorite month, which is lucky because it's when I was born, and hiking at St. Johns University with family on my birthday suited me quite well. Hello, blue blanket skies! Hello, quilt of leaves! I'm grateful for all the reasons this season gives to pull those I love closer.

    Things have been quiet on the blog these last few months, which I both expected and didn't, if that makes any sense. I've been a working mom for over two months now. Definitely a transition. We've found some semblance of "flow" to our days, though, which feels good, but it has come as a result of simplifying, doing less of some things, and giving in more to unplanned present moments. I still find myself longing to write, missing the particular energy and time that I need to create something fresh and weighted with these lovely little things called words. But then I blink and kiss this lovely little person called Elliot and, really, the rest of it just fades.

    He has three teeth! And loves when we chase each other around the kitchen. We are sleeping less and living more.

    And, of course, sometimes we live when he sleeps, too. Here's a bit of what I've been into lately, especially between the hours of 7:00 and 9:00 (such a night owl over here!):

    1. Glossolalia by David Jauss -- Fabulous collection by my former professor and advisor. A modern-day Chekhov? Yes.
    2. Disobedience by Jane Hamilton -- I enjoyed Map of the World and The Book of Ruth more, but as I read all stories about mothers and sons differently now, this one kept my attention in a new way.
    3. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter -- Easy and breezy and full of pop culture references set in romantic locales. Haven't read a book like this in a long time. Enjoyed it.
    4. Gryphon by Charles Baxter -- A collection of short story gems: before Glossolalia and Gryphon came into my life, I had almost forgotten how perfect the short form can be, especially as a way to wind down from the day.
    5. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg -- Only a third of the way in, and as someone who has practically no experience with the business world, some of it feels very... bottom-line? But I do appreciate the way Sandberg encourages women to go after their goals. 

    TV and Movies:
    1. So You Think You Can Dance -- in my next life, I will be a professional dancer
    2. Breaking Bad -- My students fully grasp complex, unreliable characters now because of Walt. Pop culture has a purpose after all!
    3. Lots of TED talks -- interesting, sometimes inspiring, and...short! Who has two hours to devote to an actual movie?!

    1. "Dear World: Postcards From a Prison Teacher" by Jennifer Bowen Hicks -- a beautiful account of the power of humanity, by a fellow VCFA alum
    2. "When Mom Died," by Stacey Torres -- sad, blunt, and moving; used it to talk about personal narratives in my creative writing class
    3. "Has anyone else tried pouring this stuff over dried cereal? A-W-E-S-O-M-E!" -- Amazon reviews gone funny
    4. "Most Famous Book Set In Every State" -- I still feel a bit frustrated with Sinclair Lewis over Main Street
    5. "Reading literary fiction improves empathy, study finds" -- yes!

    1. Books and Bars -- a very cool book club for the local set
    2. Prairie Oaks Fall Festival -- happiness and peace live at POI
    3. Brain, Child -- billed as the only literary magazine in print dedicated to motherhood, and full of great content (thanks, Kris!)
    4. The Beat -- a radio show in Northern Minnesota that broadcasts the work of local poets, including yours truly. I particularly enjoyed viewing the list of contributors, as a good number of them are familiars and colleagues. 
    5.  Twitter
    6.  Instagram 
    Okay, so those last two aren't really finds, as I've known about them for years (and I actually feel quite conflicted about their usefulness in my life), but... I recently signed up for each because of my students. I do teach communication, after all, and social media--the big kids tell me--is a serious part of how they understand themselves. In any case, follow me here and here if you're into those things. Instagram is mostly baby and Twitter is mostly writing, teaching, and oarfish.   :)

    What have you been into lately? What's caught you by surprise? 

    Have a great week, all! Wishing you beautiful moons.

    October 7, 2013

    How To Find Who You Are

    For me it is always
    about color, about wind, about movement, about
    sun, rain, storm, stars, soil, 
    smells and sounds and yes.


    September 13, 2013

    Words I Whisper

    Hush. The light is fading.
    Hush. The ducks are flying.
    Hush. The smoke is sifting.

    Hush. The moon is rising.
    Hush. The owl is hunting.
    Hush. The trees are creaking.

    Hush. The fall is coming.
    Hush. The fish are sleeping.
    Hush. The sky is stretching.

    Hush. The light is fading.
    Hush. The light is falling.
    Hush. The light is lightness.

    August 30, 2013

    Ways to Say Summer

    in Danish: sommer
    in Swedish: sommar
    in Old English: sumor
    in Dutch: zomer
    in Czech: éto
    in Greek: καλοκαίρι
    in Quechua: chakisqa pacha
    in Arabic: صيف
    in Lakota: blokétu
     in Chechen: akhke
    in Chinese: 夏天
    in French: été
     in Japanese: 
    in Latin: aestas
    in Fijian: vulaikatakata
    in Russian: лето
    in Somali: xagaa
    in Spanish: verano
    in Thai: หน้าร้อ

    Or, in Me:
    lazy mornings
    barn swallows
    playground swings
    small stones in clear streams
    farmers markets
    aluminum canoes
    back porches
    flower gardens
    wide skies
    baseball hats
    leaves, shaking
    baby, laughing
    late nights
    white wine
    love in the afternoon