UtS 15 ms photo Townsend Photo by Christina Schmidt

Photo by Christina Schmidt

 

My Thoreau Summer

Alison Townsend
If, on an afternoon in midsummer, I happen to find myself near a small lake or pond, opening like earth’s blue eye before me, and then catch a whiff of the water’s clean mineral scent, overlaid with algae and mixed with the head-clearing resin of white pine, all of it intensified, cooked by sunlight, I am instantly transported to . . .

 

UtS 15 ms photo Nizalowski Desert Stream III

Photo by John Nizalowski

 

To a Destination Unknown

John Nizalowski
In western Virginia, there is a house, over a century old . . .   Near the junction of Colorado’s Dolores and the San Miguel rivers, downstream from granite sided mountains and alkaline basins, there rests a small rainwater pool at the foot of a steep sandstone cliff. To find this pool, the traveler must . . .

 

 

 

UtS 15 ms photo Leskiw Patterns (combined)

Photos by Tom Leskiw

 

Recognizing the Patterns

Tom Leskiw
Since we’ve been doing it for a long time, humans are adept at pattern recognition. This ability to make sense of seemingly random blotches and dots has been crucial to our survival and success as a species. For instance . . .

 

 

UtS 15 ms photo Kroschell Bald Mountain Preserve Photo by Cynthia Dockrell

Photo by Cynthia Dockrell

 

Forever Young

Jim Krosschell
That first morning I came early to the Salt Palace Convention Center, feeling a college-kid mix of excitement and intimidation. I was new to the land trust movement, and there was so much to learn, so much land to save. The first exhibit I saw didn’t ease my mind. It advertised conservation legal services, and the lawyer setting up the booth handed me a button that said “Perpetuity, Dammit.” I laughed a little, from ignorance, I suppose . . .

 

UtS 15 ms photo  Fincke

Lutherlyn

Gary Fincke
“You have to leave,” a middle-aged woman who looks to be doing janitorial work says . . .

 

 

 

UtS 15 ms photo Hammond

Eight-Per-Five

Jeffrey Hammond
It’s a chilly October night in our small Ohio town: perfect football weather. The stands are full and the air is foggy under the lights. The marching band stands at attention in two ranks, one in each end zone, with the drummers positioned on the fifty-yard line. Everyone is waiting for me . . .

 

UtS 15 ms photo Hosking Photo by Elizabeth Evans

Photo by Elizabeth Evans

 

My Father Teaches Me Life Lessons: A Quartet of Memories

Gail Hosking
Police the area,” my father told my two younger sisters and me as he handed us a paper bag and pointed to the backyard. We were living on an American army base south of Munich during the Cold War . . .

 

 

 

UtS 15 ms photo Odishoo Photo by Christina Schmidt

Photo by Christina Schmidt

 

Germane German: A Lesson in Disspelling

Sarah Odishoo
The German language is an army of words. You know, one word stands for a whole battalion of words in English. Words like Zeitgeist—say, well, that’s the spirit of the age that lights us up. You can imagine the entire population as eyes in a cave, watching a screen where all of us say . . .

 

 

UtS 15 ms photo Barbeito Photo by Brian Michael Barbeito

Photo by Brian Michael Barbeito

 

Diasporas and the Hierophant of the Industrial Corridor

Brian Michael Barbeito

It’s a place most would avoid. Rueful. Not outright malevolent but quickly lurid. There is nothing sexy there, certainly no ergonomic chairs or lots, no hardwood floors or large entrances. The only stained windows are actually stained with oil, grime, grease, and some gritty heavy vibration not provable but quite present. I, however, always thought there was something alluring, some truth to be found. I had been around those parts off and on for years. Characters. That is what one met there, characters. Men who . . .

 

UtS 15 ms photo Livatino Photo by Christina Schmidt

Photo by Christina Schmidt

 

Christmas Cards
and Places in the Heart

Mel Livatino
It is the end of January, and all the Christmas cards have finally arrived, the last one just a week ago. There would be no more. So early on a brilliant sunny afternoon I began going through them, looking and remembering. I expected to spend an hour being charmed one last time before consigning most of them to the wastebasket. But I had not counted on what listening to George Winston’s December would do to the deep wellsprings of memory as I held each card before my eyes one last time . . .

 

UtS 15 ms photo Doyle Photo by Christina Schmidt

Photo by Christina Schmidt

 

Discovering My Gall Bladder

Jacqueline Doyle
It was 5:30 in the morning in the ER and this doctor was explaining the gall bladder to me, drawing pictures in blue pen on the bed sheet . . .

 

 

 

 

 

UtS 15 ms photo  Levi

Extra-Firming Night Cream

Miriam Mandel Levi
I am a trusting sort. When the weatherman forecasts rain, I take an umbrella. When a mayoral candidate promises to build speed bumps on my street to slow traffic, I vote for him. I sincerely believe that the new, improved Bran Flakes will taste better. Sure, I’m disappointed at times, but I don’t lose faith. Trusting as I am, though, I draw the line at anti-aging cosmetics. I just don’t believe those creams reverse the effects of aging, reduce wrinkles, or . . .

 

UtS 15 ms photo  Kennedy Photo by Christina Schmidt

Photo by Christina Schmidt

 

Not Exactly a Morning Beer

Sarah Kennedy
The first time I met Dave Russell he may have been shirtless with a cowboy hat, swaggering between tents at a music festival, a little high and drunker than he appeared . . .

 

 

 

 

 

UtS 15 ms photo  Knorr Photo by Chels Knorr

Photo by Chels Knorr

 

Enter Through the Laundry Room

Chels Knorr
At first I thought it was odd that the main door of the orphanage opened into the laundry room. There was no ambiance. There was no welcome, the sense one gets on entering someone’s home and being immediately greeted by a warm interior. But soon I realized why the laundry room is . . .

 

UtS 15 ms photo  Root Photo by Robert Root

Photo by Robert Root

 

Wild and Precious

Robert Root
Cheryl Strayed starts Part Five of Wild with a quotation from Mary Oliver’s poem “The Summer Day”: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do/ with your one wild and precious life?”

 

 

UtS 15 ms photo  Hipchen Photo by Christina Schmidt

Photo by Christina Schmidt

 

Hush

Emily Hipchen
“Hush,” my father says, “hush, hush.” I go under again, hush the same sound as the water rushing into my ears, hushhush. Underwater I open my eyes . . .

 

 

 

 

UtS 15 ms photo Warner Photo by Cathy and Kevin Warner

Photo by Cathy and Kevin Warner

 

 

 

Other Mothers Aren’t Like This

Cathy Warner
I hit my daughter. Once. Hard. She was almost three and had been . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UtS 15 ms photo Buttenwieser  Photo by Christina Schmidt

Photo by Christina Schmidt

 

Laws of Motion

Janet Buttenwieser
One recent evening, my kids in bed, the toys put away, the dishwasher loaded, I read a New Yorker article about quantum computing. The physics professor who gave me my only C in college would be surprised to learn that I voluntarily stayed up late to learn about quantum mechanics, absorbing author Rivka Galchen’s words under my bedside lamp. She explained that two particles can be related. Entangled particles, as they are called, can share information that an observer cannot perceive. The particles can perform this operation even when they are far away from one another. Galchen describes that information as their “collective secret.” Friends share secrets, first as children, then adults. The particles in our bodies share them, too, even when we stop holding hands, even when . . .

 

UtS 15 ms photo  Galbreath

 

Toward Eternity

Pamela Galbreath
I braked the Cleveland Airport rental car in the driveway from which heat rose as wisps of steam. The rain storm had followed me over the Ohio border to New Wilmington, to my mother-in-law’s house on Beechwood Road. The poem’s opening had haunted me since my departure from Denver International Airport. Its rhythm and ambiguity so strong that I never once glanced at the airline’s complementary magazine, never once touched the radio buttons on the car’s dashboard. The iambic stresses irritated me. Because I could not stop for Death, / He kindly stopped for me . . .