Embroidered Learning

I had to learn two very different skill sets as a girl: needlepoint and geography. Who would have thought that at one time, girls were expected to learn the two together? What an unexpected interdisciplinary education! Among the women in my family, right up to my generation in the 1970s, needlework and yarn work were…

Read More

Legacy Dilemmas

What do we do when times change and the heirlooms that were once prized have fallen, not just out of fashion, but out of legality? In the wake of more and more countries banning the trade in ivory, what is the burden of family legacy? We were cleaning out the attic of our house the…

Read More

Spring Pops

The past 48 hours or so have brought about several changes. Most of them I expected. One of them I didn’t. First, the mirabelle plum tree in the garden. In just the space of less than two days, it went from this: To this: And someone must have told the bees, because the entire tree…

Read More

Tenacious Vines

There was so much about our trip to South Africa last year that was unexpected, and which I will explore a bit in upcoming posts. But one of the most unlikely encounters was with the grapevine in the central court of our hotel in Cape Town. We stayed at the stellar Cape Heritage Hotel, which…

Read More

Dawn or Dusk

Sometimes it’s hard to tell which it is, dawn or dusk. Getting brighter for a sunny day, or darker for a long night? How to tell the difference? Obviously, it all depends on the direction you’re facing. In this case, I was facing east. It was a dawn that was coming up all soft pinks…

Read More

Long Shadows, Long Light

We’ve had a break from all the clouds, torrential rain, intermittent hail and nights of snow – so I went for a run. At this time of the year, the sun is low at 4:30 in the afternoon and sets only 20 minutes later. It casts long, reaching shadows from its last point of illumination…

Read More

Telling Tales

The Białowieża Forest in Poland is still the kind of place, one of the last in Europe, which looks like it is truly straight out of a fairy tale. And when European fairy tales were being written about forests in all their vast complexity, forests still looked like Białowieża Forest. Several months ago, I wrote…

Read More

Last of the Season

The weather has turned so cold over the past week or so, mostly grey with the mountains getting their first coat of white. But today came up sunny, a nice change. I watched the blue sky while I worked, and finally managed to bundle up and go for a walk at sunset. I found these…

Read More

Built To Last

When the house I live in was built, Leonardo da Vinci was a young man with the Mona Lisa still in his future, and Michelangelo was a toddler. The first part of our house, a small fortified tower in rural France, was built in 1478. When the stones were laid for the tower, Christopher Columbus hadn’t…

Read More