The power of one

Two generations of my family are best defined by the things they almost never discussed with me. For my grandparents, it was the desperate poverty of the Great Depression, followed by the heartbreak that was World War II. For my father and mother, the event that shaped the years of their early adult lives was the Vietnam War.

I am a member of the first generation of my family who, upon looking back, cannot claim to understand what they went through. My generation has nothing of the kind—and this, as my mother once said quietly to me, is probably the greatest blessing we will never comprehend.When I was ten, I was given a school assignment: to interview an older member of my family to learn what their life was like when they were my age. I picked my maternal grandfather's eldest sister, Belva Davis.

Going down Dogwood once again

This afternoon's headache dictated a short rest. Or, at least, the attempt to rest. Since the cats had done their daily duty of thoroughly monopolizing the guest bed, I chose to curl up with a blanket on the couch.

Look out your window

Sunday. Welcome, once again, to the chilly basement office in the Morrills' split-level house. Jeff is on the second level, eating breakfast in the kitchen (if the clink of silverware is to be believed). We are, it seems, the only people awake in the house.

This room has a small window, set high in this room but low to the ground. In my view of the outside world I can see the camellia bush, still glowing pink with the remnants of this year's blooming. Even now, as the camellia blooms prepare to drop off, the bees continue to work the blooms for their last drops of nectar.

Music as craft: "Hey, listen to this!"

Few things compare to the sudden burst of pleasure you get when someone you care about comes to understand something you care about.

Thus, once again, we turn to one of my favorite subjects: music. Since my teenage years I've been something of a closet fan of Steely Dan. Why? I couldn't really say; when I first began listening to them, I wasn't quite clear on what I liked.


Song in my head: David Gray's Babylon. I may well be buying a copy of the album soon if the rest of the album is as promising as that one song.

Unbidden, unstoppable: southwest to northeast

It is raining.

There is comfort to be had here. The softness of the light, the sound of falling drops splashing onto shingle, the sensation of dry skin relaxing in the presence of atmospheric moisture. Prismatic globes of water trapped between the strands of a finely-meshed storm screen. The rain howling down, slanted by wind until it rained at a sharp angle.