Firewood: Heats you twice. Or more.

Buying that first wood stove in 1975 was a pragmatic decision–an option we really could not refuse. Fuel oil was 17 cents a gallon. Our first monthly bill in the old house on Withers Road in Wytheville was 300-something dollars when I made $10k. I awoke in the middle of a winter’s night to hear that ancient furnace gargling mildly-warm water from the basement into the massive cast iron radiators. I Imagined dollar bills floating like feathers out into the night through the sieve …

Chop Wood, Carry Water Read more »

If I had a grandfather from either parent (alas, I did not) to hold me on his knee as a toddler sixty-some years ago, he would have held such hope for me. He would have known such pleasure to imagine little Freddie, son of his son or daughter, a grown man someday, with grandchildren of his own eventually, in a future of Perpetually Better Things. His generation had purchased that blessed future by the Great War–at a terrible cost–but mankind would now harness the …

The Very Small Child in the Very Perfect Storm Read more »

Two years ago, I decided to end a decade of pain that visited me before I ever typed enough keystrokes to complete a blog post, email, twitter update or essay. I agreed to see a hand specialist for what is known as “basal joint arthritis” of my left hand. Maybe the hardest part of blocking out 8 to 10 weeks of post-surgical recovery I was told to expect was what to do about my obligations at the keyboard. Would I have to abandon my …

Hands Down, Dragon Dictates Read more »

Here, a second excerpt from Aging Through the Lens of Time from my second book, What We Hold In Our Hands: a Slow Road Reader. I am thinking and writing elsewhere about the role that photography has played in my own notion of place as part of a larger “personal ecology.” Image: Peter Pan’s band of “Lost Boys” who vowed live forever-childhoods in NeverNeverLand. [su_quote]Ten larger fingers later in 1970–it came so quickly after all– I was married and in graduate school. That year …

Facing Retirement: Part Two Read more »

Not for the faint of heart: Face Retirement And someone my age should probably refrain. If you think the bags and dark eye circles and creases could not get worse, don’t kid yourself. But if you’re curious, Dorians and Doriannas, go ahead. Sit before your WebCams and brace yourselves. The first time I had the notion that such a thing would happen to my face, I was 12. It was New Year’s Eve, 1959. This excerpt from Aging Through the Lens of Time (What …

Facing Retirement: Time Has Come Read more »