333 :: Bittersweet


The house is quiet. I’m looking back at photos from two years ago, searching for images to accompany an article about garlic, when I come upon photos of the bittersweet vine that grows behind our house.

The red berries — each folded inside a pair of orange wings — are vibrant at this time of year. The vines, climbing at least twenty feet up a tree, are unmistakable against the grays and browns of a soggy November day.

We were outside just this morning, cutting some twisted vines to bring inside.

And now I see that we were outside almost exactly two years ago, also cutting a tangle of vines.

So much change in two years. And so much remains the same.

bittersweet vine

327 :: The Nest


We have just set out on a morning walk, and we’re walking up a snow-covered hill, in the woods behind our house. Ellen is complaining about walking in snow pants. “It’s SO HARD to walk in snow pants!” She is right behind me, dragging her feet in big boots. Her mood begins to creep around me like a fog.

Then, suddenly, she calls out in a completely different tone of voice. “I found a nest! A nest and it still has an egg in it!” She is elated.

This little nest. It turns our walk around. It transforms our morning. What is it about a nest? So intricate. So imperfectly perfect. We wonder about the birds who built it and nestled in it. Were there other eggs? Did they hatch? We look up into the trees. We notice pine needles in the nest and wonder if it came from the white pine tree above us?

The nest fits in the palm of Ellen’s hand. The egg is just a bit bigger than her thumbnail. She and Amabel take turns carrying it carefully, all the way home.

All day long, I think about this nest. It seems to call out to me, from its place on the nature shelf, surrounded by petoskey stones, feathers, and chestnuts. I hold it in my hands. It is so light. It is made of such beautifully simple materials. And it is enough. Enough to be a home for new life.


291 :: World’s Biggest Puffball Mushroom


The girls took me on an epic journey through the swampy woods behind our house this morning. They wanted to show me this HUGE puffball mushroom they found yesterday while exploring. The named it “Alienoide.” It does look rather like a planet, don’t you think?!

286 :: Enough


Sun in the morning.  
Rain in the afternoon.  
Outside and in.  
Work and play.  
A tiny slice of time when it all feels enough.