Empty Places

We skip Sunday school and head south, seeking somewhere to explore, and after bellies full of flapjacks, we find it at Indian Echo Caverns. This limestone cave, hidden along the Swatara creek, is a geological wonder, a gem of a place to a nature-loving, home-schooling family like us The man leading our expedition says it was first used by the Susquehannock Indians as a refuge from bad weather and later discovered by French fur trappers […]

Marriage is Like a Barn

Roaming the country roads in my car, I carelessly burn fossil fuels just so I can blow off some steam. Hours earlier, a fight with my husband over forgetting my birthday forced me to flee to these quiet cornfields to ruminate in my resentment. All I see for miles is barns. I bet if I threw a rock, I’d hit one. I feel like throwing something. For as long as I can remember I’ve over-romanticized […]

Learning to Swim Again

It’s been three years since I darkened the doors of this locker room, three years since I powdered my swim cap and snapped it over my ponytail and slipped into the tepid waters of my local community center’s pool. I used to swim here all the time as a scrawny kid on the swim team and later as an overcompensating adult training for one triathlon after another. But my membership and motivation ran out several […]

The Wrong Done Against Us: A Marriage and Mercy Story

Our old dog, Murphy, is dying. He hasn’t eaten in days, he can barely walk, and the vet confirms that his heart and kidneys are failing. He’s lived a long, full life, I tell my husband, and I urge him to put the last of our three dogs down. But my husband’s not ready. “You can try giving him an antacid,” the vet suggests as a last resort. “It might increase his appetite.” So he […]

Happy Campers

We’d be in Indiana right about now, maybe Illinois or southern Wisconsin. Our next stop was scheduled to be Lake Carlos State Park in Minnesota, en route to a family reunion in Dodson, Montana. They’ve been planning it for years, my husband and daughter, the two pioneering spirits in this family, and after months and months of wearing me down, they finally convinced me to buy a camper to make the long journey west. “What’s wrong, […]

The Ring: Part Two

This is a follow-up post to a piece I wrote a few months ago about losing my wedding ring. I’ve never been happier to write the rest of the story… My two-year-old son, Wesley, has this habit of taking his toys to bed with him. His diggers, his trucks, his trains. And this is fine, perfectly fine, until he can’t find one of them at naptime. That’s when all hell breaks loose, like the other day. […]

The Ring

That diamond ring burned a whole in his pocket for over a year. He waited patiently to ask me, but I always told him no, not yet. I wasn’t ready to accept it. But then one autumn evening in upstate New York, as we stood on the steps of Hendricks Chapel watching the maple leaves fall, he fell to one knee and finally proposed. What was I supposed to say? I thought I loved him. But I was young […]